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May 16, 2014

special announcements

UNION POOL & OTHER MUSIC PRESENT: SUMMER THUNDER

EVERY SATURDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 31-AUGUST 30

Union Pool: 484 Union Ave. Brooklyn
Facebook Event Invite | Free Admission

It's almost time for Union Pool's annual Summer Thunder concert series, which is about to enter its fifth year! Other Music is thrilled to be presenting this FREE weekly party with Union Pool, taking place every Saturday afternoon from May 31st to August 30th in the iconic Brooklyn bar's big backyard. This year's line-up of bands and DJs is killer, guaranteeing this will be the best season yet! DJ crew Blazer Sound System and a live performance from Permanent Love will kick off the event on 5/31, and then June's lineup includes Pissed Jeans (6/7), Joe Bataan (6/14), Liquor Store, Call of the Wild and a TBA "Special Guest Headliner" (6/21), and IIII (Four) featuring Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Hisham Akira Bharoocha (Soft Circle / Boredoms), Ryan Sawyer (Lonewolf) and Ben Vida (6/28). As usual, every party will be complete with brunch options from El Diablo Tacos and drink specials that will include offerings from Brooklyn Brewery, Jameson Black Barrel, & Kelvin Natural Slush Co. More acts will be announced soon, so mark you calendars and get ready for Summer Thunder 2014!!


OTHER MUSIC GOES TO DELAWARE!

SATURDAY, JUNE 14

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: 6 Cannery Village Center, Milton, DE

Join Other Music for a weekend of vinyl shopping, live music and cask beer in coastal Delaware at Dogfish Head's Analog-A-Go Go! This annual record swap and cask beer fest is going down Saturday, June 14th at their brewery in Milton, DE. After the Go Go Saturday evening, Other Music Recording Co.'s Mutual Benefit will take the stage at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats nearby in Rehoboth Beach. Tickets can be purchased here and for more information, visit the Dogfish Head website.
 

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Cult Music 002.5 (Various)
Merchandise, Milk Music & Destruction Unit
Ned Doheny
Amen Dunes
Little Dragon
Swans
Jack Ruby
Brock Van Wey
Ninos Du Brasil
The Black Keys
K. Leimer
Roy Montgomery
Eastlink
Mick Harvey
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
Douglas Dare
La Sera
Kishi Bashi
Watery Love
 

ALSO AVAILABLE

The Clientele
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Chromeo
Yo La Tengo (Fakebook on LP)
Craig Leon (Now on CD)
Sonic Boom (Now on CD)
Other Music Slipmats
 

announcements

WIN TICKETS TO THE FAINT

SATURDAY, MAY 17

Webster Hall: 125 E. 11th St. NYC

The Faint are back with Doom Abuse, the Omaha electro-rockers' first album in six years, and the band is town for a couple of NYC dates, having just performed at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday night, and upcoming shows this Saturday at Webster Hall and Monday at the Bowery Ballroom. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to their big Saturday performance at Webster Hall with Suuns opening, and you can enter for your chance to win by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com.


WIN TICKETS TO THE EVERYMEN'S  RECORD RELEASE PARTY

MONDAY, MAY 19

Baby's All Right: 146 Broadway, Brooklyn

Hailing from New Jersey and damn proud of it, The Everymen are celebrating the release of their killer new album, Givin' Up on Free Jazz (out Tuesday on the Ernest Jenning Recording Co.) with a record release show this Monday at Baby's All Right! If you like your rock'n'roll loud, raw and beer-soaked (who doesn't?!), then this night is not to be missed -- and neither is the new album and they'll have those for sale! Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky winner, and you can enter by emailing contest@othermusic.com. It's going to be one hell of a party, so plan on calling in sick the next day and don't miss the Everymen on Monday night.


HAILU MERGIA TICKET GIVEAWAY

FRIDAY, MAY 23

Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

Like so many, we were immediately taken by Hailu Mergia's mid-'80s solo debut when it was unearthed last year by Awesome Tapes from Africa. Featuring this Ethiopian composer/keyboardist's hypnotic accordion-led symphonies accompanied by Moog, electric piano, and a drum machine churning out traditional Ethiopian rhythms, Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye landed in our Best of 2014 list, and now we're very excited to be offering a pair of tickets to see him in a live performance at Le Poisson Rouge on Friday, May 23rd. Email tickets@othermusic.com for your chance to win!!

this week's update

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Cult 002.5
(Cult Music)

Fresh from the UK and direct from the masked mask himself, Zomby's Cult Music label offers their first CD EP. Cult Music 002.5 is based off the split-vinyl single between producers Forever Forever and Prayer, which we sold out of in a few days and is now out of print. This CD version expands the listening experience beyond the mournful and stunning original tracks with remixes from the extended Cult family: Silverlink, Blocks & Escher, and Actress. The label is slowly building its brand and this is a nice selection of original productions and imaginative re-workings. Here you'll find lots of dreamy textures crafted from forlorn-sounding chords and weeping strings, warm synth patches, crystalline programming, a touch of jungle, as well as deep, deep bass rumbles. This is definitely in the same vein as Zomby, yet it's overall more ethereal than ravey, and what I consider to be underground dance music at its most majestic. What else would you expect from a crew that unashamedly wears their hearts on their designer sleeves? Needless to say, I'm a fan and as such I offer a recommendation as well as a warning: these won't last long, so don't think too hard about it! [DG]

$16.99 CD


MERCHANDISE/MILK MUSIC/DESTRUCTION UNIT
USA '13
(540)

Highly anticipated, three-way split LP that was supposed to be an RSD release but got pushed back... now we have it! This limited vinyl features all-new songs from fresh 4AD signees Merchandise, desert shredders Destruction Unit, and holy smokin' blues-by-way-of J Mascis rockists Milk Music. Merchandise start things off with two tracks of reverb-smeared sadcore, kind of sounding like a 2014 version of the Cure by splitting the difference between referencing both Disintegration and "Friday I'm in Love," respectively. In fact, they sound ready for the radio, abandoning pretty much all of the rawness associated with earlier releases in favor of a straight-up Morrissey-influenced '90s mainstream alternative sound. Destruction Unit turn things up with "Feed the Dogs," a track that's equal parts crunchy garage and Kraut heaviosity that bleeds three simultaneous guitar solos atop a Neu!-style driving beat. Milk Music close the record out with covers of both CCR and Johnny Thunders, as well as a tougher lo-fi version of a song from their last LP. The whole thing plays like a celebration of a certain ecstatic sound and energy that a close-knit group of friends have been refining over the past few years. [RN]

$19.99 LP

NED DOHENY
Separate Oceans
(Numero Group)

It's a truly baffling cultural crime that Ned Doheny has seen little success and recognition as a songwriter and performer outside of a small but fanatical fanbase of connoisseurs, most of whom are in Japan or forever grooving in some tropical all-night Balearic nightclub. Consider the man's pedigree and peers: He came up with the likes of Jackson Browne, the Eagles, and Graham Nash. Doheny was meant to be the third member of a trio with Dave Mason and Cass Elliot, but was kicked out of the group before they'd cut their landmark album due to his openly critical opinion (he did manage to get one of his songs on the duo's LP, though). He's written songs for Chaka Khan, the Average White Band, Millie Jackson, and countless others. His albums feature production by one of Booker T.'s MGs, as well as performances (on FUNK TUNES!) by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, J. D. Souther, and Linda Ronstadt. His refusal to abide by the rules, combined with his super chill Cali vibes, led to Doheny slipping through the cracks as he never really played the game the way his peers did.

Give thanks to the Numero Group, then, for this OUTSTANDING retrospective of Doheny's early years, featuring choice cuts from his first three albums (all of which we sell on CD -- no vinyl, kids, sorry!), as well as a goddamned treasure trove of previously unheard studio demos, outtakes, and rare versions of tunes from this 1970s period. Heads will perhaps know "Give It Up for Love" or "To Prove My Love" (repped here via the rare vocal mix, previously unavailable on vinyl, and long available only via the Japanese CD of third album Prone); those tracks are undisputed deep classics of underground dance and blue-eyed soul, but Separate Oceans also shows a side of Doheny seldom-heard from his debut LP on Asylum: a blend of Laurel Canyon troubadour folk and subtle groove. There are a handful of demos cut with Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles, and a number of songs made with Hamish Stuart of Average White Band. The real crown jewel of the set, though, is without question the original studio demo of "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me," a song penned by Doheny in 1979, recorded by Average White Band in 1980, and made a bona fide hit by none other than Chaka Khan in 1981. Doheny cut a version on his 1987 album, Life After Romance, only ever available in Japan (along with three other LPs that the West has never seen and seldom heard!), but this first attempt in '79 is a hefty, tough yet tender revelation.

I'll be honest in admitting that Doheny is one of my favorite songwriters, and his albums are personal desert island favorites; I've been waiting feverishly for this set ever since Numero first announced it, and I'm psyched to say that it was WELL worth the wait. It ably serves as both a wonderful introduction to the man's work for the neophyte, while also serving up a heaping portion of rare and previously unheard versions for the heads (it's about an even 50/50 split). This has been in CONSTANT rotation in my ears since acquiring an advance copy last month, and it's set to be one of my summer soundtracks without question. This quite firmly gets my vote for one of the top archival releases of 2014, complete with in-depth and informative liner notes by Numero's Ken Shipley, beautiful packaging, a bright and balanced (yet loud) mastering job, and unimpeachable track selection. If you dig the likes of Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, beachy Balearic dance music, heartfelt and soulful troubadours, and blue-eyed soul, this is straight-up ESSENTIAL listening, folks. Seriously. [IQ]

$15.99 CD
$21.99 2LP


AMEN DUNES
Love
(Sacred Bones)

Amen Dunes' newest record is the first with a full band, but it somehow plays like the most personal statement in a short yet already prolific career. An album full of recurring themes, lyrical motifs and melodies, Love not only feels like Damon McMahon's definitive work, but it is also one of the most devastatingly beautiful records that you're likely to hear this year. Recorded in Montreal with a bunch of pals, including Constellation Records all-stars, this is a sonically dense suite of songs with lots of acoustic instrumentation, smooth jazzy bass, piano on many tracks, and soft percussion rattling in the distance.

Album opener "White Child" is sugary in its slide-addled country sweetness, while the excellent single, "Lonely Richard," favors a subdued Galaxie 500 pace with a propulsive, melancholic one-chord strum. McMahon's voice is clearer than ever and sounds bright and fierce, with just as much gusto as a solo John Lennon LP, or even some of the breakout countrified burners of the past ten years (dare I say Father John Misty, Wilco, Jim James, etc.). But to lump Amen Dunes into that category would be to sell the whole thing way too short. Never has this cabal been about genre study but rather they've proven that an exercise in fluid, musical cross-pollination can truly pay off. Whereas earlier records blurred the line between raw, post-Siltbreeze-ian home recording and early-aughts finger-picked guitar studies, Amen Dunes is an original, and both Murder Dull Mind and Through Donkey Jaw have seen McMahon and Co. carve their own niche into a fragmented modern indie landscape simply by doing their own thing and doing it well.

Amen Dunes' latest has all the makings of an indie classic and could be compared to influences as seemingly disparate as Syd Barrett, Cass McCombs' Wit's End, the La's, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spoon, Rufus Wainwright's Poses, the Gris Gris, Velvets and beyond. But the truth is, Love has its own distinct vibe, and I challenge you to watch the beautiful video for "Lilac in Hand" and tell me it's not the best song you've heard since you decided to revisit "And I Love Her" on some rainy day last month. A triumph and a new high-water mark of the songwriter variety! I played it twice in a row, and I'm ready for more. [RN]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$15.99 LP

LITTLE DRAGON
Nabuma Rubberband
(Republic/Loma Vista)

This Swedish electronic pop band has been on a steady rise since their self-titled debut in 2007 for Britain's Peacefrog label. Since Little Dragon's humble beginnings, the group, led by female vocalist Yukimi Nagano, became something of an "it" band for collaborations, finding themselves in the studio with A-list artists like Big Boi, Gorillaz, SBTRKT, and David Sitek, and subsequently playing larger venues and gaining a wider audience. In turn, their sound has grown bigger and that was encapsulated in their last full-length, Ritual Union, which felt like their quirky brand of soulful pop filtered through an almost festival-tuned PA system. Now comes Little Dragon's anticipated fourth album, Nabuma Rubberband (their first on the Republic label), and it plays like a sum of their previous efforts. Balanced between big and bouncing crowd-pleasing anthems and the subtle, soft pop that is at the heart of their foundation, this may also be their darkest work to date. Supposedly, Nagano listened at length to Prince and Janet Jackson as inspiration for the album, and those legendary singers' sense of catchy yet dark-hued synth-pop can be heard throughout.

Album opener, and my personal favorite, "Mirror" feels like a Velvet Rope-era Jackson cut: soft and moody, with a playfully sexy delivery and lyrics about looking at one's reflection, and all the emotions that could result. Throughout, Nabuma Rubberband has a warm sound with processing and subtle dubby effects that never get in the way of the music, but it really broadens their sonic world. Featuring collaborations from producer Robin Hannibal (Rhye) and writer David Jolicouer (a/k/a Dave from De La Soul), across these 12 tracks Little Dragon creates a sound that would make Blood Orange jealous. "Pretty Girls," co-written by Dave, is a perfect example, with its '80s-influenced rhythmic stride, synthetic flutes, and live strings -- a cautionary tale to the pretty girls of the world, it's a timely and infectious pop song. The group's brand of futuristic R&B always felt a bit retro but never nostalgic, and Nabuma Rubberband finds the band at their best: accomplished and tight, offering songs that work at home as well as on stage at the festivals.

Fans of any of the pop-leaning groups embracing electronic rhythms on the scene -- from FKA Twigs and Solange to Weeknd and Hiatus Kaiyote -- will no doubt find their next headphone jams here. Little Dragon have been around for more than a minute, making sweet-flavored future/retro electronic music since the beginning, and they keep delivering the songs to keep them in the game. Followers of the band will not be disappointed, and this is a fine place to start. It's another great step from an artist still on the move. FYI: the new Peacefrog-released Best Of compilation is actually really good too, cutting some of the fat from the first three albums. [DG]

$10.99 CD ON SALE
$23.99 LP+MP3


SWANS
To Be Kind
(Young God)

If you were to tell anyone savvy to their discography ten, twenty, thirty years back that Swans would, in 2014, become one of the most critically beloved, fanatically lauded groups in underground rock music, you'd most likely get laughed at, and possibly even punched. (Swans fans were pretty savage back then!) Yet here we are, and here is Michael Gira, recording new Swans music, touring relentlessly, and wowing the masses with a band that has become an exponentially increased extension of the unrelenting brutality that has always been the one key constant in their epic discography. What's most shocking about their new album, To Be Kind, isn't its increased runtime (two CDs or three LPs, choose your poison) -- even longer minute-wise than its predecessor, The Seer -- but rather its swagger and groove. Yes, that's right, there are moments on To Be Kind that swing, bump, and swivel unlike anything else they've ever recorded.

The album on the whole combines the orchestral spectralities of The Seer with a mutated interpretation of New Orleans rhythm, creating an opus that occasionally proves more inviting to the casual listener, while also leading toward some of their darkest, most dystopic soundscapes ever. It plays at times like an entirely fucked-up mutation built upon strands of DNA extracted from Dr. John's Gris-Gris, Tom Waits's Bone Machine, and Scott Walker's Tilt -- all albums with a dark, jagged tone, yet anchored by a lopsided funk that's as grotesque and hypnotically repulsive as it is kinetic.

Although the entire band delivers fully on all cylinders, the expansive textures of percussion utilized throughout give the record a more detailed expanse and subtlety... not a word usually thrown around when describing Swans. While 2012's The Seer felt like a more epochal statement -- a grand and epic surprise from a band who'd already delivered one with 2010's reunion album, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky -- To Be Kind proves to be what is perhaps the band's most nuanced and accomplished work, while sacrificing none of the intensity upon which they built their reputation. Though there are no easy answers, no hidden doors through which a new listener can gain entry, and longtime fans have most likely already picked themselves up a copy, there is good reason that this album is already being so heavily praised in the media and amongst the devoted: it is magnificent. [IQ]

$15.99 CD ON SALE
$21.99 2CD+DVD ON SALE
$29.99 3LP+MP3


SWANS
The Burning World
(1972)

Swans' Burning World has also just been reissued on vinyl for the first time since its original pressing in 1989. If you're a longtime fan of the band, you surely have your own opinion on this one, as does Michael Gira, who has always been vocal about his distaste for this record, along with its production from Bill Laswell. This would be Swans' one and only major label release; the group would be dropped shortly after and Gira would go on to form the Young God imprint in 1991, releasing the triumphant, epic burner, White Light from the Mouth of Infinity. But The Burning World does present a softer, gentler side of the band, and some have claimed that the particular type of "world" influences coming through the arrangements have more in common with a Laswell record of the era. Swans' then core trio of Gira, Jarboe and Norman Westberg is joined by A-list session players like Ornette Coleman/Don Cherry sideman Karl Berger on strings and vibraphone, multi-instrumentalists Fred Frith and Nick Skopilitis, and tabla player Trilok Gurtu. While the resulting album lacks the depth and power that the group is known for, it's not without its highlights. Tracks like "Saved," "God Damn the Sun" and the Jarboe-sung cover of Blind Faith's "Can't Find May Way Home" give cause that in spite of any missteps, The Burning World was unfairly maligned at the time of its release.

$22.99 LP


JACK RUBY
Hit and Run
(St. Cecilia Knows)

After years of barely registering as a footnote in New York City music history, it finally seems to be Jack Ruby's time. Formed in 1973 by Albany ex-pats Robin Hall (vocals), Chris Gray (guitar/bass) and Randy Cohen (Serge synthesizer/drums), the band was equally influenced by the harder underground sounds of Detroit and NYC and the electronic music avant-garde. Yet despite claiming to have mainstream intentions, Jack Ruby made an insane racket and created some of the most vital no wave sounds ever, several years before that scene even existed. The first half of disc one on this essential set is material that was recorded in the spring of 1974, and the mix of proto-punk riffs and experimental electronics is a revisionist history wet dream. Had Jack Ruby actually been able to release something during their time as a band, there is no telling what sort of impact they would have had on the musical landscape.

The album opens with "Hit and Run" and "Mayonnaise," both also featuring electric viola from a mysterious figure named Boris whom Cohen knew from his time spent in the electronic music scene at Cal Arts. His contributions to both tracks are distinct, but he was reportedly upset over songwriting credit, and vanished from the band and scene. After this, the group managed to finagle a demo deal with Columbia Records, and recorded three songs at CBS studios that are all amazing, but must have surely terrified the suits there. Cohen's involvement stops here and his synth goes with him, and he was replaced by bassist George Scott, the only member of Jack Ruby who would have a significant musical resumé after the band, as he would go on to be in both the Contortions and 8-Eyed Spy. The material with this line-up is restricted to rougher rehearsal recordings, but what they lack in fidelity they make up for in raw power. This version of the band reworked "Hit and Run" and this later take, almost twice as long, is as great as the first.

Most of disc one was briefly available a couple of years ago on Weasel Walter's UgEXPLODE label and is presented here again with a couple more unreleased rehearsal tapes, as well as Don Fleming's excellent remix of "Bad Teeth." Disc two is entirely unreleased and features the first line-up of Jack Ruby, including the mysterious Boris, but it is really more of a Randy Cohen solo record. It is a great, noisy trip, highlighting the Serge synthesizer and the unique sort of proto-sampling way in which Cohen used it. Two 16-minute-plus tracks bookend another eight tracks that are all a minute and a half or less and which might not get the same amount of play that the first disc will, but it is still fantastic on both historical and musical levels -- and it is quite a workout. The packaging on this version is through the roof too; from the quasi-Warhol portraits of the band's namesake on the cover to the extensive booklet of photos and a great oral history of the group, it's essential across the board. [DMa]

$23.99 2CD


BROCK VAN WEY
Home
(Echospace)

With a combined running time of more than 150 minutes, Brock Van Wey's massive, two-disc Home is quite challenging to absorb in one sitting. It's perhaps also not meant to be experienced as a monolith, as each disc contains a perfect musical unit in itself, the two-part structure further emphasized by their separate titles. To call the China-based American ambient producer prolific would be an immense understatement: Van Wey has released about 25 albums since 2007, not counting his numerous singles, EPs, and mix-tapes. Using aliases such as Bvdub, Earth House Hold, and East of Oceans, not all of his stuff is of equal quality, but the rare recordings he releases under his own name hold a singular position in his sprawling, ever-growing discography. 2009's White Clouds Drift On and On presented an unforgettable take on ambient music, which shifted the genre's often perceived atmospheric tendencies towards a deeply emotional, daring meditation on feelings of loss and isolation.

Home is an equally disruptive affecting statement. Just like its predecessor, the album is released on Detroit's Echospace, but those expecting the label's signature dub techno sounds might be in for a considerable surprise. As a matter of fact, it's as if Van Wey is seeking to subvert the inner workings of techno altogether. Imagine all the epic build ups of dance floor anthems associated with the genre, but then disentangled from their structural and rhythmic elements, merged together in an endlessly repeating peak that seemingly goes on forever. The result is awe-inspiring free-fall. Devoid of any immediately discernable reference points, Van Wey's masterfully balanced sense of timing, not to say the least his evocative use of voices, turns this experience into one of ecstatic drift. After five songs of such uncompromising bliss, there's an electric guitar that cuts through the thick haze of "Got to Carry On," the second disc's opening track, marking a new episode that carries on in ever more elegiac spheres. For those of you who appreciate points of reference, think of the ambient timelessness of Steve Roach, the classic flow of Stars of the Lid, or the emotive longing of Burial, but above all Brock Van Wey establishes a musical universe entirely his own, delivering a truly ambitious, impressive journey. [NVT]

$23.99 2CD


NINOS DU BRASIL
Novos Misterios
(Hospital)

Oh man -- all I can say about Novos Misterios, an album of brutal, visceral techno/samba hybrids on Hospital Records by Italian duo Ninos Du Brasil, is WOW. Armed with piles of South American percussion, stacks of analogue electronics, and some fiery chanting vocals, the duo crafts a hypnotic spell that fuses the propulsive, festive hypnotism of Brazilian carnival, an intoxicating, relentless Vodou throb, and a strong dose of punk snarl into a truly modern music that reminds me quite a bit of UK post-punk group 23 Skidoo. But where that group fused metallic industrial clang with b-boy funk and proto-rap grooves into a style they dubbed "Urban Gamelan," Ninos Du Brasil creates a similarly jagged yet sensual concoction of contempo house and techno dancefloor sounds with jungle drums, revealing the simultaneous primitivism and modernity of each. This is hands down one of my favorite albums of 2014, and anyone with a passion for drums, for dirty, aggressive rhythms, and for the darker strains of the techno/industrial spectrum NEEDS to hear this -- its urban exotica makes for one of the most welcome left-field curveballs to come out in a while. [IQ]

$26.99 LP


THE BLACK KEYS
Turn Blue
(Nonesuch)

When the crop of rock-revivalist bands emerged at the start of this millennium, few predicted that a little-known group from Akron, Ohio, would be standing at the top of the heap in 2014. Dismissed at first as a White Stripes knockoff -- they were both duos, they both had no bass players, they even had similar-sounding names -- the Black Keys have not only outlived all their competitors (anyone hear from the Vines lately?), they just might be the biggest rock and roll studs on the planet, depending on how one defines that elusive label anymore (I mean rock, not studs). It's easy now to see the Black Keys' appeal. Their commitment to the blues and garage endears them to the dads who still cling to their Bad Company LPs (yeah, I'm raising my hand now), while their smooth delivery and bouncy hooks appeal to those indie kids still smarting that the White Stripes are no more. Oh, and there's another reason: They're really freaking good. They can play, they can write a catchy tune, and -- this is where the band really stands out -- frontman Dan Auerbach can sing. Warm and soulful, Auerbach's pipes harken back to the day when a hard-rock band was supposed to have a lead singer who could wail and croon with equal facility.

Which brings us to Turn Blue, the Black Keys' eighth studio album of new material, and it's a safe bet that it will keep the band's rock-supremo status intact. At this point, most people have already made up their minds about the Keysters; they either love 'em or shrug their shoulders. If you're a fan, Turn Blue will not disappoint. It doesn't have a single as infectious as "Lonely Boy" and isn't as beginning-to-end awesome as Brothers, but it's a very fine LP with many highlights. Once again coproduced by Danger Mouse -- who deserves much of the credit for turning the Black Keys into the behemoth act they are -- Turn Blue takes a few risks. The seven-minute opener, "Weight of Love," is a slow burner that builds to a frenzied psychedelic climax. The title track and "Fever" tread in more familiar Keys territory; the band rocks and the choruses stick with you. "It's Up to You" combines thunderous percussion and psychedelic fuzz to great effect, while "10 Lovers" goes pleasantly synthy (really). Then there's the closer, the joyous "Gotta Get Away," fueled by Keith Richards-like licks and an upbeat chorus belying the song's melancholy subject: Auerbach's recent divorce. Yeah, this band knows how to have fun, even when they sing about heartbreak. I predict they'll be playing at the Super Bowl in a year or two. Rock on. [JBr]

$17.99 CD
$26.99 LP


K. LEIMER
A Period of Review (1975-1983)
(RVNG Intl)

The latest archival release from RVNG is this beautiful compilation from Seattle's K. Leimer, focused around works created in the years 1975-1983 which have never been released to the public. Leimer's Palace of Light imprint was active from '79-'83, but neither the label or Leimer himself ever received much in the way of accolades or press, perhaps due in part to his reluctance to perform his music live.

A Period of Review serves up an astonishing 30 tracks across four LPs that range from serene, almost ambient atmospheres, to slightly more forward and percussive drum machine experiments that bring to mind elements of groups like Cluster and Tangerine Dream. While the Krautrock influence is undeniable, Leimer tends to favor smaller loops and simpler melodic ideas often edging in on some new age or modern classical territories. Fripp and Eno are referenced in the press release with good reason, and that influence is pretty clear throughout these pieces. The track listing might look a bit daunting, but A Period of Review floats by easily with a relaxing vibe that's perfect for early summer days. RVNG comes through with top quality yet again, showing off the proper way to put together a great archival release. [CW]

$14.99 CD
$24.99 2LP


ROY MONTGOMERY
324 E. 13th Street #7
(Yellow Electric/Drunken Fish)

Major public service reissue: Roy Montgomery's legendary collection of singles, vocal work, and morose guitar exercises splayed out over a beautiful 2xLP reissue courtesy of Liz Harris a/k/a Grouper's Yellow Electric label! In the past few years, Montgomery has been a close collaborator of Harris', so this double album comes as a welcome addition to their already inextricably linked body of work. Originally released on CD in 1999, 324 E. 13th Street #7 is a collection of mostly home-recorded New York City sessions from this prolific New Zealander. Famous for his darkened, slow strumming in bands like the Pin Group, Dadamah and Dissolve, this fine collection sounds like a deconstructed version of said groups, that could also live next to outsider artists Charalambides, the best Jandek records, downer Velvet Underground sides, Galaxie 500 or even a less aesthetically grating Death in June. It's completely beautiful all the way through, with a very New Zealand X-Pressway vibe to it -- lots of hushed vocals, multi-tracked acoustics, and a slurred bedroom vibe. Includes never before released material, and no doubt this is essential and very special stuff. [RN]

$13.99 CD
$29.99 2LP


EASTLINK
Eastlink
(In the Red)

A few years ago, Eddy Current Suppression Ring opened the world's ears to the current Australian underground music scene, and since then that scene has repeatedly risen to the occasion by producing some of the better rock'n'roll and indie-pop records of our recent times. Bands like UV Race, Total Control, Lower Plenty, Dick Diver, Blank Realm, and tons more have all put out great releases that have kept people half a world away paying attention. Well, you can certainly add Eastlink to that list because this LP is one of the more confounding and wonderful records I've heard in recent memory. Insistence and repetition are great things for a punk band to have, as well as for a Krautrock group, and Eastlink are both of those. The album starts with two hard-charging punkers and then does an about face into the seven-and-a-half minute drone of "Dinnerchat," which recalls the great Träd Gräs Och Stenar, and then side one closes with the atmospheric "Eastie Shit." Side two bounces back and forth between more punkers and Kraut jamming, sometimes in the same song, like "Overtime." It is a great mix that keeps the record feeling fresh and begging for repeat listens. [DMa]

$13.99 CD
$16.99 LP


MICK HARVEY
Intoxicated Man/Pink Elephants
(Mute)

While every cool kid in the English-speaking world now cops to loving Serge Gainsbourg, back in the mid 1990s this was still a rare thing -- an almost unheard of badge of refined culturalism during a period when most people were still shaking off Seattle rock and the rap world still hadn't quite launched its mint-making juggernaut takeover of the mainstream. "World music" was still a bit of a novelty to most folks, before Google, eBay, and the like made it easy to seek out great records from other nations that went beyond your local Jem Imports distribution center.

Mick Harvey's two albums of Serge Gainsbourg covers, translated into English for the first time pretty much ever, were a minor revelation upon their respective releases in 1995 and 1997. His collaborative ties to brooding "alternative" rock icons like Nick Cave and PJ Harvey gave these records the perfect context to woo new listeners, and the translated lyrics offered new insight for those who were hip enough to know Serge's music, but perhaps not his mastery of the written word. Many of Harvey's arrangements for these songs remain quite faithful to their originals, but are given a heavy dose of back-alley noir and rock'n'roll dirt, and he dips into not only Gainsbourg's mid-'60s pop phase, but also his criminally underrated early period of more jazz and Afro-Cuban songs as well. I'll be honest, some of these translations are a bit clumsy, but the fact that they were made at a period that also saw the beginning of the USA and UK's reappraisal of Gainsbourg's work beyond the scandal and novelty of "Je T'aime (Moi Non Plus)," and the fact that next to NO ONE else has ever attempted a similar feat on record makes the long-overdue reissue of these albums perhaps even more necessary today than in the '90s. If you're a Gainsbourg fan, these are damn near essential listening, and if you're a fan of the Bad Seeds, PJ, Leonard Cohen, or any other of the more sophisticated and literary poets of rock music... You know what to do. [IQ]

$19.99 CD


THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER
Midnight Sun
(Chimera)

When your parents are music icons, it's simply impossible to separate your own work from your legacy. Though Sean Lennon has had a diverse and ambitious career over the last 15-plus years, as all psychedelic pop is in some ways judged against the Beatles, so will be this enjoyable new LP from the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Lennon's ongoing project with longtime girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl. In the case of Midnight Sun, it's a comparison that Sean has no reason to shy away from -- I'm not going to say it's the next Sgt. Pepper's..., but it's a damn good record that at the very least lives up to much of the work by Beatles acolytes like Tame Impala and Flaming Lips. The group has explored late-'60s arty psych-pop for a while now, blending Serge Gainsbourg's sexy international orchestrations with jangling post-Beatles pop, and an unmistakable nasally Lennon vocal delivery, and they seem to have found their soul on this new one. It's a killer band, and an ear-tickling production, mixed by Dave Fridmann -- infinitely detailed, built over months of tinkering in the couple's Manhattan home studio, with a core rock group buoyed by unexpected instrumentation and sonic exploration. I doubt the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger will be changing the face of pop music any time soon, but by sticking to the family business, Lennon has made one of the more compelling records of his career. [JM]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$19.99 LP


DOUGLAS DARE
Whelm
(Erased Tapes)

Whelm, the stunning debut album by UK-based singer, pianist, and songwriter Douglas Dare, aches with a melancholy and stateliness that belies his 23 years. Crafted entirely from just voice, piano, Minimoog, and a minimal palette of ticking electronic percussion, he delivers these ten songs with a confidence and maturity that adds weight and depth to the already quite accomplished musical arrangements. Comparisons can be drawn to folks like James Blake, Thom Yorke, and even Rufus Wainright, but Dare doesn't really sound like any of these artists; rather, he's utilizing a similar array of musical ingredients, yet placing them in a context that's not been much explored with the degree of commitment displayed here. This is without a doubt one of the most surprising and gorgeous debuts I've listened to all year, and if he keeps at it, we're likely to be hearing much more from Dare in the future. Those who like their troubadours with a heavy dose of cloudy shadow and a sprinkle of electronics should most definitely check this ASAP. [IQ]

$14.99 CD ON SALE
$24.99 LP


LA SERA
Hour of the Dawn
(Sub Pop)

With Vivian Girls officially done now, this is the record where La Sera goes from a solo side-project to a full-fledged band. Hour of the Dawn feels like a sort of coming out for Katie Goodman, who has shed her role as Kickball Katie, the harmony-singing, bass-thumping redheaded side woman, and is now stepping fully into the spotlight. The first two La Sera albums were pretty different from each other, but both found Goodman in more of a stripped-down bedroom pop mode, paying straight-faced homage to classic girl groups on her debut, and adding a healthy dose of Blondie-styled punk energy on 2012's enjoyable Sees the Light. She's not so much reinvented the sound here as nudged the evolution a few steps forward, still referencing these classic sounds of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, but with a much more powerful and confident band that is anchored by guitarist Tod Wisenbaker's fluid and hook-filled playing. Wisenbaker delivers chiming riffs, beautifully fuzzy chords and swirling, sunshine-filled leads, and for the first time, La Sera sounds like a real band, with Goodman's confident and nuanced vocals driving a set of classic pop-punk. Goodman has been saying that she wanted this record to sound like Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag, and while it would be near-impossible to really deliver on that promise, Hour of the Dawn comes pretty damn close, and if you add in all the other above-named influences -- and maybe (or maybe not) a little Poison Idea, whose t-shirt Goodman sports on the LP cover art -- you'll have a good idea of what's in store, and it's a pretty nice combination! (LP is pressed on colored vinyl, while supplies last.) [JM]

$11.99 CD
$14.99 LP+MP3


KISHI BASHI
Lighght
(Joyful Noise)

The classically-trained violinist K. Ishibashi thumbed his nose at chamber music and started the Brooklyn-based post-punk band Jupiter One, before building a formidable career as an indie-rock sideman with artists like Of Montreal and Regina Spektor, when he again changed directions, and stepped into the limelight as the front man and creative force in Kishi Bashi, Ishibashi's arty pop project. After a surprising hit with the soaring pop of "Bright Whites," off their 2012 debut, the group returns with an eclectic new album that opens with a swirling violin introduction, but morphs quickly into a hook-filled '80s pop sound that nods to mainstream old-school artists like Tears for Fears and current favorites like Phoenix, while maintaining an eclectic and highly individual sound. Lush and orchestral, while remaining lean and very focused, Lighght is a strutting pop record that is not afraid to rock out, but also colors its margins with beautiful string arrangements or high wire proggy riffing and Queen-inspired vocal acrobatics. Very accessible yet unmistakably weird and arty, it's a surprising album from an artist who is always worth a listen. [JM]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$15.99 LP


WATERY LOVE
Decorative Feeding
(In the Red)

Philadelphia's Watery Love have been kicking around for a few years now, and have released a handful of wonderfully hateful singles, and their move to the long-playing format is everything I hoped it would be: gnarly, low-end riffs; squalls of feedback; primitive pounding; and shouted, spleen-venting vocals. I realize that this sort of music isn't for everyone, but for those of us who like to try to wash away the layers of mundane crap that accumulate in our lives with noisy, paint peeling rock'n'roll, Decorative Feeding is perfect. A track that starts with the line, "Every day, total bullshit" -- hey, I'm in. Songs range in topic from being unknowingly dosed with acid to unpleasant odors, our final end and skulls -- lots of skulls. Expertly recorded by Michael Gibbons of Bardo Pond, and like his own band's recent records he does an amazing job of capturing this chaos without it turning into a blur of noise and sludge. And it is all wrapped up in a Graham Lambkin sleeve that is actually worth starring at. Whether this stuff is your bread and butter or if this is the only noise rock record you buy this year, Watery Love is THE nasty, loud band to beat right now. [DMa]

$13.99 CD
$16.99 LP

also available

THE CLIENTELE
Suburban Light
(Merge)

Though culled from various singles and demo recordings, the Clientele's Suburban Light plays like a perfect debut full-length, and 13 or so years later is regarded as a modern psych-pop classic. For many, this would be the introduction to the London group's hazy, autumnal pop, and even as the band has continued to produce great records, nothing can quite capture the magic of this hypnotic, gentle set. This reissue of Suburban Light features the original European tracklisting of the album (mastered from the original analog tapes), along with bonus material which includes cover songs, rehearsal recordings, B-sides and three unreleased tracks. (The CD that comes with the LP contains only the bonus tracks, but this version includes a download coupon for a full version of Suburban Light.)

$13.99 CD
$19.99 LP+CD+MP3


THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
Days of Abandon
(Yebo)

Shedding founding members Alex Naidus and Peggy Wang, singer/guitarist Kip Berman and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Kurt Feldman return with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart (V.2), now joined by A Sunny Day in Glasgow's Jen Goma who contributes backing vocals and a couple of leads. Naturally, Days of Abandon marks a turn of the page for the indie pop band, who replace the denser production of 2011's Belong (provided by '90s alt-rock dream team Flood and Alan Moulder) for a pristine sound from producer Andy Savours. As such, TPOBPAH's shoegaze fuzz is mostly eschewed, and here Berman's modern-pop song craft is fully revealed to be, dare we say, radio ready.

$13.99 CD
$19.99 LP


CHROMEO
White Women
(Atlantic)

Just in time for those hot and sweaty summer dance parties which are right around the corner comes a new album from these beloved electro-funk-lovin' goofballs. As any Chromeo record, there's plenty of tongue-in-cheek, Prince-inspired party anthems, with cameos from Toro y Moi, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, and recent newsmaker Solange on the (purposefully) syrupy '80s inspired ballad, "Lost on the Way Home."

$13.99 CD
$26.99 LP

back in print on vinyl

YO LA TENGO
Fakebook
(Bar/None)

Back in print on vinyl. Released in 1990, Fakebook sees Yo La Tengo joined in the studio with former guitarist Dave Schramm (who had left the band after their Ride the Tiger album) along with guest spots from Gene Holder of the dB's, the Holy Modal Rounders' Peter Stampfel and more. It's a lovely, intimate record and for the listener it's as if you're sitting in the same room watching a group of friends play their favorite songs. Ira's strummed acoustic guitar, Georgia's brushed drums and the pair's lovely harmonizing gently propel this set of mostly covers by the likes of the Flamin' Groovies, Gene Clark, the Kinks, Cat Stevens, John Cale, and Daniel Johnston.

$15.99 LP+MP3
$13.99 CD

 

now on cd

CRAIG LEON
Nommos
(Superior Viaduct)

Craig Leon's 1981 album Nommos, arguably the most unusual record released by John Fahey's Takoma label, sees a long overdue reissue, remastered from the original analogue master tapes in a full reproduction of the original release. Leon is primarily known as a record producer who helped start the careers of NYC icons like Blondie, Ramones, Suicide, and Talking Heads, and who then went on to helm the boards for such high-profile luminaries as Luciano Pavarotti. What many don't know is that he released this incredible LP of analogue electronic wizardry at the height of the post-punk era, creating a monstrous, hypnotic beast of an album that combined the rough-edged primalities of early electronic synthesis with a more studied compositional sophistication.

The record's five extended explorations were inspired by African ceremonial rhythms, and predate and foresee the electronic tribalism of early house and techno and the gritty ambient textures of the Mego/Blackest Ever/Modern Love set. It's of the same contextual cloth as Eno and Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and Hector Zazou & Bony Bikaye's Noir Et Blanc, in that all three albums were released nearly simultaneously and explore the same physical alchemy of African music with electronic tools that were arguably as primitive in aesthetic nature, if not more so, as a thumb piano or slit drum. That all of these albums still hold up today, and continue to inspire, is a testament to the power of these recordings. Anyone who has enjoyed works by the aforementioned, not to mention Monoton, early Cluster, and even Terry Riley's keyboard work, needs to grip this post-haste. [IQ]

$15.99 CD
$18.99 LP


SONIC BOOM
Spectrum
(Space Age)

People tend to see Spiritualized as the only post-Spacemen 3 outfit worth remembering, and certainly the most successful project attempted by any of the group's membership, but S3 guitarist/vocalist Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember was clearly a major creative force in that group. In 1990, on the eve of Spacemen 3's disbanding, he released Spectrum as a stunning import, complete with psychedelic/optical illusion gimix sleeve, and its general unavailability stateside has made it little more than a memory. SHAME ON THIS -- this is a beautiful, dark, delicate record worthy of rediscovery. Sonic plays alongside a host of sidemen (Will Carruthers and Mark Refoy, who'd soon go on to start Spiritualized with Jason Pierce, Josephine Wiggs of the Breeders and Perfect Disaster, Jazz Butcher on sax) through some of the most solemn and concerning music of his career, fitting nicely as a depressive coda to 1989's Playing with Fire.

Opener "Help Me Please" glides in on a morphine drip, the sad tale of our narrator contemplating suicide, tremolo bubbling up in the background, while leadoff single "Angel" builds from a simple percussive click and three-note bass line into a mournful epic about the loss of a friend that takes a surprising upward trajectory. Covers of Doc Pomus' "Lonely Avenue" and Suicide's "Rock and Roll Is Killing My Life" shake things out of the grooves a bit, but come on -- you're here for the downer, and Sonic makes sure you get nothing but. Better than some Spacemen 3 output, it's a good thing that this one is back in print. [DM]

$17.99 CD

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