February 27, 2014

special announcement



Free Admission | Limited Capacity

Don't miss this special acoustic performance from Wild Beasts, this Monday at Other Music. The band will be celebrating the release of their new album, Present Tense, and if you purchase the CD or LP from us that evening, you'll be entered for a chance to win a pair of tickets to their sold out show the following night at Music Hall of Williamsburg!

in this week's update


Ø (Mika Vainio)
Neneh Cherry
The Notwist
St. Vincent
Bob Frank
Wild Beasts
Mark McGuire
Clay Wilson 12"
Doug Tuttle
DJ Spider & Franklin Da Costa 12"
DJ Spider & Marshallito 12"
Ratchett Traxxx 12"
Ike Yard (Remixes 03)12"
Move D 12"


Studio One Rocksteady (Various)
Let No One Judge You: Early Recordings from Iran, 1906-1933 (Various)
Gardens & Villa
Vertical Scratchers
Superchunk (Reissue)
Morrissey (Reissue)


20 Years of Downwards Records (Various)




Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Rose Cinemas: 30 Lafayette Ave. Brooklyn

This Friday, February 28, BAMcinématek begins its weeklong run of Frantisek Vlacil's medieval epic, Marketa Lazarova, a crowning achievement of Czech cinema from 1967, and screened on a freshly struck 35mm print. Other Music is giving away one pair of passes, redeemable for any one of the showings through March 6. To enter for your chance to win, email



Music Hall of Williamsburg:  66 N. 6th St. Brooklyn

Wrapping up a tour supporting their excellent sophomore full-length, Trouble, Brooklyn's Hospitality are playing a homecoming show this Saturday, March 1, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, with Air Waves and ARMS supporting this great bill. We're giving away a pair of tickets courtesy of Merge Records, and to enter for your chance to win, just email

this week's update


As one half of the legendary electronic duo Pan Sonic, as well as through his numerous collaborations with the likes of Kevin Drumm and F.M. Einheit, Finnish noise experimentalist Mika Vainio has earned himself a reputation with a sound that is as abrasive as it is essential. By synthesizing habitually conflicting sound worlds, including industrial and hip-hop, or techno and outlaw country, Vainio's aural universes appear bleak, while often confronting the outer limits of sonic experimentation. As Ø, he has been expanding his palette towards more contemplative territory, introducing a bleep-heavy strand of minimal techno as early as the mid 1990s, around the same time as similar experiments were unfolding in Detroit. More recent releases are characterized by analogue warmth and an unusual take on field recording in which concrete sounds are processed into unrecognizable dimensions.

Sinister, desolate, and mysterious, Konstellaatio opens up tensions between high-pitched frequency and sub-heavy bass, as well as variations on extreme silence and descents into the abyss. From an almost pastoral exploration of the void in opener "Otava" to the dubbed-out electro of closer "Takaisin," the music is one of rare chilling beauty, sensitive, precarious, and slow. To call it ambient, however, wouldn't do it justice: its constant emphasis on the physicality of sound makes its effects on the listener way too visceral. Instead, Vainio's strategy is one of manipulation, offering complex artificial constructions that deviously guide one through deceiving, wandering paths. Turning sounds inside out while masterfully balancing frequencies, there is a sense of continuous wonder and endlessness to the music. It's refreshing to hear an artist of Vainio's stature explore new territories with such a searching sense of sonic bewilderment. An impressive highlight of an essential discography, Konstellaatio has arrived for us to marvel at while its depths will only be revealed over time. [NVT]

$18.99 CD

Blank Project
(Smalltown Supersound)

Let's be frank: Neneh Cherry's career has been far too deep, varied, and innovative than she's ever given credit for, thanks to a monster hit single that deservedly still riles people up today. We all flip out and bust our best "Buffalo Stance" any time the track pumps out of a set of speakers, but she's rarely acknowledged for her roots as a UK-based teenage punk, singing backup with the Slits and fronting one of the post-punk era's wildest, most genre-shredding and soulful collectives. (That'd be Rip Rip + Panic, whose catalogue has thankfully been legitimately reissued on CD in recent months). She was there at the start of Bristol's game-changing production scene, working with and even mentoring the likes of Massive Attack and Tricky, and when she set aside making music on a professional scale at the end of the 1990s to focus on raising her family, we lost a serious player. She thankfully returned from that hiatus (a few small-scale collabs aside) for 2012's The Cherry Thing, a sharp and intensely beautiful teaming with Scandinavian avant-jazz heavyweights the Thing. That album was mostly a set of covers paying tribute to both her and the band's myriad influences, but one of the highlights was the sole original tune, "Cashback," which hinted that Cherry still had the magic, not to mention the voice. That record led to a collaboration with Four Tet's Kieran Hebden, who remixed the group's hypnotic cover of Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" and further hinted at the possibilities of something wonderful around the corner. Well, folks, here it is... and holy shit, it's a doozy.

Blank Project is Cherry's first full-length of new, original material in nearly twenty years, and to say that the sound of the album is a surprise would be an understatement. Allegedly recorded in just a week's time, these ten songs are raw, rhythmic, and rugged on the surface, anchored by the talented chemistry of keys/drums duo Rocketnumbernine and assisted by Hebden's lean, subtle, fuss-free production. I'm reminded constantly of the metamorphosis underwent by another veteran crew who rose from that same Bristol scene; sonically and in terms of sheer aesthetic power, the one record with which I can legitimately compare Blank Project would be Portishead's Third, and that's nothing but the highest praise coming from this writer. Cherry's sensuous, streetwise soul radiates from the jagged, droning metallic tribal structures of these tunes, and her voice throughout is simply stunning. She's created a record that references her past works (her husband Cameron McVey, a longtime collaborator as far back as her debut, also contributes) while still moving forward and taking risks. Even when Swedish pop queen-of-cool Robyn drops by for a duet on highlight "Out of the Black," the results are refreshingly low-key, and more on par with the collective attitude of her youthful alliances with the Slits, New Age Steppers, and Rip Rig + Panic. In total, it makes for a fantastic, knotted, gnarly, shit-kicking groover that keeps Cherry's trademark tender sass intact and proves that she's still, after all these years, a totally raw force with which to be reckoned. Absolute highest recommendation, folks. [IQ]

$21.99 2LP+CD

Close to the Glass
(Sub Pop)

Formed in Munich in the late '80s by the brothers Markus and Micha Acher, the Notwist morphed from post-hardcore to something more abstract, before settling on a groundbreaking blend of indie and minimal electronica by the end of the next decade. They predated the Postal Service and pretty much anyone else doing this sort of thing by a number of years, and produced some great, innovative albums, including 1998's Shrink and 2002's breakout Neon Golden. Their hybrid of heartfelt, melancholy indie pop with buzzing, popping electronic abstraction triumphs in the test of time, and with Close to the Glass, the band have crafted another haunting pop record, with a new home on Sub Pop. Full of texture and meticulous sound design, and of course, Markus Acher's instantly recognizable, fragile and emotion-rich croon, these songs are constructed from both chiming guitars and pulsing analog synth, noisy percussion and beautifully restrained string arrangements. As I listen, I can't help but be reminded that, so many years ago, these guys opened our minds to the possibilities of new production techniques. Though many of the lessons they taught us did in fact find their way into the mainstream, the Notwist still do this better than just about anyone ever has. They still got it. [JM]

$13.99 CD
$19.99 2LP+MP3

St. Vincent

Let's just get this out of the way right now: St. Vincent signed to a major label, created a full-blown pop album, and it's not only the best record she's ever made so far, it's also one of 2014's best releases. Annie Clark has sharpened her skills as a lyricist, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter into daggers that cut straight through anything getting in their path, and the results make for one of the year's most odd, funky, and endearing listens. It's what she has rightly described as "a party record you can play at a funeral." Everything is delivered with a heavier, more forceful physical weight that counters her soaring, confident vocal performances; the tense, jerky, blown-bass-bin groove of the drums feel like punches to the gut delivered by unwashed hands, and the low-end comes almost solely from farty, squelching Minimoog. As the anchors to her serrated, barbed-wire guitar lines, the overall sound and vibe reminds me throughout of late-period Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band circa Doc at the Radar Station or Shiny Beast (she's even had her keyboard player dressed in some uncannily Beefheartian duds as of recent). What gives the album such a strange air, though, isn't so much the sound of the arrangements but the fact that these arrangements blanket what are essentially full-on pop tunes at times not terribly far removed from what we'd hear from Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. (Seriously -- you can detect it in the chorus of lead single "Digital Witness," which also manages to beef up and refine the experiments of her sadly maligned collaborative 2012 album with David Byrne, which deserves to be reexamined). It's a brilliant move, honestly; the hooks to these tunes are huge, shiny earworms scuffed up by subversive, intellectual lyrical details and the filthiness of her band's performances.

Perhaps most admirable and astonishing to my ears, however, is the fact that Clark has written one of the first and ONLY albums I've heard in the internet era that successfully speaks to and references contemporary technological concerns relating to the (lack of) balance between gluttonous, unceasing public consumption and the longing for nutritious emotional sustenance. Without making specific references, she manages throughout to address the never-ending desires for continous distraction, instant gratification, falsified interpersonal connections, and the elemental recalibration brought on by the buffer of ether in which we constantly surround ourselves. That album she made with Byrne in some ways feels in retrospect like a bit of a torch-pass now; she's tackling content and material about which he loves writing, and much in the way Byrne grew more assured both vocally and lyrically as years progressed, Clark steps into those shoes with stunning confidence and ability. I'm not one for hyperbole, but this record has honestly been the biggest surprise of the year for me, and I'm doubtful that anyone else is going to convert me to their cause as effortlessly and powerfully as Clark has. If you're like me, respecting her previous work but only listening from the margins, I urge you to check this out; longtime lovers will perhaps appreciate that Clark hasn't rested upon past successes here, but instead continues to refine and reinvent herself. St. Vincent shreds, grooves, wallops, and wails like few others I've heard in 2014. I can't give higher praise than that. [IQ]

$13.99 CD
$22.99 LP+MP3

Blue Film

For lack of a better word, Matthew Hemerlein is cool. The classically trained multi-instrumentalist has been traveling around the world for years, writing and performing songs everywhere from Bali to Nashville, using only his circumstances as inspiration. Having recently signed to 4AD, and embarked on a high-profile tour as Lorde's handpicked opening act, Hemerlein has emerged directly into the spotlight with his very smooth debut, Blue Film.

Hemerlein's pseudonym, Lo-Fang, is meant to evoke a Taoist sense of sonic balance between soft and harsh, and this search for symmetry pervades the record as a whole. Fusing quiet electronica with acoustic guitar, piano, and string orchestration, Lo-Fang creates his own take on modern pop R&B, and tiptoes, a la Alt-J, toward stability. But while the quiet grooves and intimate vocal delivery might feel like a come-on, Hemerlein has also suggested that one of the main themes on the record is a balance of gender roles. For such a hefty and polemic topic, the songs do seem relatively linear, but tend to avoid cliché. While there are great hooks, Hemerlein plays with structure in quite the innovative manner. The tracks swiftly flow between climactic intensity and tranquility, and utilize the singer-songwriter's gentle voice to render focus and beauty. The album's seven-minute first single, and best cut, "#88," exemplifies Hemerlein's amorphous craftwork at its finest. While the lilting chorus of existential questions (enter Taoist influence) will linger inside any listener's head without fail, the oscillations between synths and stringed plucking that backs the lyrics keeps the song quite alive. Just don't ask about the slow-jam cover of "You're the One That I Want." [MM]

$11.99 CD

Churches Schools and Guns
(Stroboscopic Artefacts)

Excellent sound, atmosphere and a wholly unique, ear-peaking take on album pacing. This record starts off slow and relatively beat-less but combines the ethereal space and intensity of Raime and Regis, and the rhythm-less moments of Shed's The Killer, with the industrial heaven of the Downwards label. This only gets better and better as it climbs and scrapes toward higher energy levels. It's the way the album sidesteps expectations throughout, replacing clichés with thoughtful and inventively placed additions that truly set the record apart. Each additional layer, beat particle, tone, or tempo shift is placed in an unexpected and stimulating compositional space that only adds to the dense, uplifting, powerful yet starkly bleak mood. I won't offer any spoilers here besides saying that this record entirely avoids being straightforward techno while embracing it entirely. This is one you must hear for yourself, start to finish. So pure, so rewarding. An early best of the year list-maker here, for those who know and those who want to know. Undoubtedly! [SM]

$17.99 CD
$37.99 3LP

Morning Phase

While it's been six years since his last proper full-length, Beck hasn't exactly been keeping quiet; he's produced and mixed a number of records for other artists, published a book of sheet music for other performers to read and interpret, and has even released a handful of excellent singles in the time between 2008's Modern Guilt and his new Morning Phase. While his last trio of albums were seemingly attempts to recapture the offbeat glory of his classic Odelay record (with varying degrees of success), it's those three self-released singles issued in 2013 that really showed a promising new context and maturity; they took his deft, DIY artiness and fused it with the more "accessible" strands of his folk troubadour DNA. While his new album unfortunately features none of those three gems, it taps more fully into that same acoustic songwriter stream. Morning Phase has repeatedly been called the "proper follow-up" to 2002's Sea Change, an epic downer of a breakup record that fused elements of Nick Drake's Bryter Layter, Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire De Melody Nelson, and his own One Foot in the Grave into a platter that displayed a maturity and sensitivity that Beck had only before hinted upon in fleeting moments.

It's a bit foolhardy to compare Morning Phase to Sea Change, though, in that the man was in two completely opposing emotional places of his life during the recording of each; Sea Change was a full-length lament at the sun setting on a shattered relationship, while Phase sees him facing the dawn with a wife and two young children. The overall atmosphere throughout this record is honestly even more twilit and shadowed than anything he's done before, but melodically and lyrically, he's climbing out of a hole, rubbing his eyes, and letting a bright wave of light wash over both him and the songs he's written here. Morning Phase shakes loose any of the emotional baggage or hesitant uneasiness that bogged down his previous acoustic material, and sees him at his most confident and beautiful vocally. The arrangements are also lush and subtly psychedelic, all slowly nudging tempos and grand, wide-open harmonic vistas. Where Sea Change was Beck shrugging his shoulders and accepting that his life was, from his perspective, completely fucked, Morning Phase is that same man looking back at that period and openly singing not only about how much of a jackass he was at that time, but boldly and humbly admitting that he's learned a great deal from his past mistakes. It stands as one of Beck's most breathtakingly gorgeous records, and continues to show how well he's now capable of songcraft without the crutches of winking pastiche. To think that this is the same person who once wrote "Satan Gave Me a Taco" and "Steve Threw Up" is simply astonishing. [IQ]

$13.99 CD

Bob Frank
(Light in the Attic)

It begins, "Take a look at the wino / take a look at the bum ..." You don't hear lyrics like that anymore. You also don't hear albums like Bob Frank's 1972 magnificent self-titled debut anymore. You can't re-create this sound; it's so perfectly of the era -- spare, lovely Americana, with acoustic guitar, harmonica, and fiddle, no drums, and Frank's warm voice and socially conscious lyrics. A Memphis native, Frank toiled on the folk circuit, did a stint in Vietnam and joined the California hippie scene before landing a contract with the Vanguard label, then the home of John Fahey and other folk stalwarts. Frank's debut earned strong reviews but didn't sell and quickly went out of print. But he maintained a strong following over the years, his name frequently showing up on those lists of "greatest singer-songwriters you never heard."

Now Light in the Attic has rereleased the album -- keeping it intact and sparing us alternate takes and bonus materials -- and for fans of this period's country folk scene, it's sheer bliss. Frank's voice was remarkably varied, his guitar playing supple and melodic, the arrangements perfect. He also ingeniously weaved different genres into his music, from Dylan-esque Greenwich Village folk to Merle Haggard-like country. Among the highlights are the funny "She Pawned Her Diamond for Gold"; "Judas Iscariot" (the most Dylan of the songs here); and the plaintive "Way Down in Mississippi." The songs are short -- most hover around the 2:30 mark -- and the album flies by in under 30 minutes, but you won't mind a bit. This is the best half hour you can spend. Highly recommended for fans of Michael Hurley, Gordon Lightfoot, Dave Van Ronk, Kris Kristofferson and the artists and genres already mentioned. Also: listen to this at least once on headphones. [JBr]

$16.99 CD
$21.99 LP

Present Tense

Wild Beasts' fourth full-length comes with few surprises for longtime fans -- that is a good thing in this case -- but it continues a trend towards streamlining and focusing their swooning indie R&B that has been happening pretty much since the beginning. With the input of producers Leo Abrahams (who has performed, produced or written with artists as diverse as Brian Eno and David Byrne, Seal and Paul Simon) and Lexxx (who has mixed records from Crystal Castles to Keane to Madonna), these tight grooves are colored by more synthesizers, along with chiming guitars and acoustic production flourishes. But it's still the dramatic interplay between Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming's voices that draws you in, and this set is thoughtful and emotional without being overwrought. There is a darkness, maybe a sadness throughout, but it's probably the most lyrically mature and balanced album the band has made, and truly lovely. [JM]

$13.99 CD
$19.99 LP+MP3

Along the Way
(Dead Oceans)

Perhaps one of the more interesting evolutions in recent years has been the gradual transition of certain musicians from the blazing noise-centric set of the mid-aughts to a more listener-friendly type of genre-bending that may or may not owe a debt to the now re-appraised New Age. No one exemplifies this transformation more than Mark McGuire, the Los Angeles by-way-of-Ohio resident who first came to greater public notice as a member of Emeralds. That Midwestern trio may have gotten their start (after a slew of micro-run releases) with records on Hanson and No Fun, but from the beginning they steered their gritty drones into more kosmische-inspired directions. As McGuire's solo releases began to mature, subsequent collections found him leaning heavily on the beatific and genteel, with simple guitar figures lapping against wafting synth drones. No longer a member of Emeralds, and with the backing of a larger, more traditionally songwriter-aligned label to boot, McGuire's Along the Way marks his highest profile release to date.

While one would be forgiven for thinking the transition from uber-leftfield Editions Mego to more commercially friendly Dead Oceans would bring structural changes to the music as well, that isn't really the case here. Instead, McGuire forges ahead with his most confident batch of compositions, a suite of pieces tied together with dense philosophical liner notes, and an increased sonic palette that merges McGuire's effects, guitars and synths with a host of other sounds (ranging from drum machines to what sounds like a zither on some tracks). While his previous albums could ride earnestness into schmaltz, here he toes the line well. Tracks like "In Search of the Miraculous" explore the serendipitous with subtlety, while "Silent Weapons" matches chiming, delayed guitars to piano lines and distant percussion for something distinctly darker. Perhaps best of all, though, is "The Instinct," an album centerpiece that slowly builds to a powerful crescendo of spiralizing guitars and pounding drum machines. All told, each suite on Along the Way highlights McGuire's amazing growth as a composer and performer, with the final result easily being the highlight of his still-young career.  [MC]

$13.99 CD
$17.99 LP

(The Bunker New York)

The Bunker New York continues the top-quality aesthetic of their stunning inaugural release with their second 12", a hypnotic platter by young Brooklyn-based producer Clay Wilson, who brings a refreshing blend of psychedelic minimalism and sophistication derived from a background rooted in New York's avant-jazz community. Opener "E4" is an eight-minute séance of throbbing low-end and spiraling pointillist percussion details, while "Socorro" gets into a deep vibe constructed by gently flickering pads, a squelching click-throb beat, and some lovely modulating synth squeals that somehow subvert what would in most producers' hands be a tension-inducing centerpiece into a rather entrancing and soothing detail. Closer "Oizumi" shifts gears into a darker, more sinister, phased warehouse groove that reminds me somewhat of Sandwell District. The entire EP flirts with classic dub-techno formations but blankets them in a sophistication often lacking in the work of such young and new producers. Wilson's definitely a name on which we should be keeping a watchful eye, and this EP provides not only a wonderful introduction, but further evidence that the Bunker's shaping up to be one of techno's most formidable new labels. This is pure magic. [IQ]

$12.99 12"


What I like most about Phantogram is that, on record, Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel don't just wear their influences proudly -- they brandish them aloft like a mad semaphore flagman on the deck of an aircraft carrier, bringing an F-16 in for landing. On their 2009 Barsuk debut, Eyelid Movies, the duo broadcast a sound that drew as much from Portishead and J Dilla as they did from contemporary electro-rock bands of the time, like Mates of State and Beach House. Carter self-produced Eyelid Movies and imbued that record with a sense of closeness that brought the group in accord with the prevailing bedroom pop wave. But with Voices, Carter and Barthel welcome Top 40 producer John Hill (you've heard his bigger-is-better approach everywhere, from Shakira to Rihanna to MIA, Santigold, Kings of Leon, Wavves and Mayer Hawthorne) and effectively blend the tense, bass-heavy electronica of the Drive or Tron soundtracks with the muscle of bands like Metric. "Nothing but Trouble," "Black Out Days," and "Fall in Love" are all FM-radio bangers, replete with skittering polyrhythm's and fat analog synthesizer squelches. On these songs, Barthel's voice is generally tripled to massive effect or diced up into a percussive instrument and sampled heavily. But the lower key moments like the Phil Collins-y "Never Going Home" and "Bill Murray" are affecting and nicely echo the duo's more humble first record. Phantogram have always been a cinematic electro-rock band, and on Voices, Carter and Barthel go from small-screen to mega-plex without sacrificing the charm that brought them out of the bedroom in the first place. [MS]

$11.99 CD
$22.99 2LP+MP3

Doug Tuttle
(Trouble in Mind)

New Hampshire motorik-psych outfit Mmoss (not to be confused with the British stoner-doom Moss!) released a couple of great, slightly under-the-radar albums in their time before the creative and romantic partnership that fueled the group fizzled. Doug Tuttle, who comprised one-half of that partnership, moved himself to Boston and is now back at it again with his first, self-titled solo release. While Mmoss were able to bound from charming psychedelic pop to more rugged, droning, and decidedly Krautrock-ish extended pieces, Tuttle's focus is a little more narrow here, keying in more squarely on the late 1960s West Coast psychedelic vibe that powered parts of his old group. Which isn't to suggest that the eleven tracks gathered here are any less expansive, as Tuttle's skills as a songwriter, arranger, and performer imbue Doug Tuttle with a powerfully hazy summer vibe that's a nice respite from the winter that continues to beat the crap out of the Northeast.

Quicksilver-ish leads and Byrds-ian guitar chimes abound throughout the record on tracks like "Turn This Love" and "Lasting Away," but Tuttle still has the power to make these sounds his own and not just signifiers of some bygone era. Elsewhere, songs like "Leave Your Body" and "We Could Live" balance out elastic bass lines and tumbling drums with droning keys, giving Tuttle's sleepy voice a bed upon which to rest. Ultimately, the more I listen to this, the more I am reminded of folks like the Olivia Tremor Control, whose beautiful psychedelic textures were always imbued with just enough trickery to keep the listener on their toes. As of right now, Doug Tuttle might be hovering just out of view for most folks as his last band generally did; Doug Tuttle, however, should go a ways towards placing him and his carefully crafted psych-pop nuggets more at the forefront of peoples' minds. [MC]

$11.99 CD
$18.99 LP

Genetically Modified Tracks

NY's DJ Spider, on Berlin's Killekill label. Mean, lean, tight and psychedelic -- all things we've grown to expect from Killekill. The A-side stands out for its throbbing melodic bass hits, and all around, this EP can't be categorized as simply straightforward, deep, dark, mean techno. Very subtle stone-y elements that still veer toward a sinister/twisted mindset, without losing control or becoming simply indulgent. Keeps with the Killekill tradition of quality while adding something to it as well. Recommended. [SM]

$15.99 12"

Propaganda for the Devil EP

World-class quality for a refreshing domestic price. A-1 prepares us for the wild, varied ride with a great post-apocalyptic, last-baby-crying soundscape. A-2 is the mean, lean groover on here but still special. B-1 brings classic dub-techno elements (warm almost-piano chords) into new territory with steppy/stompy yet tightly restrained bass hits. Blobby bass pops in and out as well as nicely placed bits of warm and warped synth. The results are fantastically disembodied house. B-2 is a bouncy blues-soul hoedown with layers that pop just outside of normal psychedelic standards... fans of some of the best Romare tracks will def love this one. That is high praise! [SM]

$10.99 12"

(Ratchett Traxxx)

With a name like this, they either had to deliver or forever be banished into hipster wannabe purgatory. Well, this record delivers! In a nutshell, Ratchett bring together elements of house, acid, ballroom, juke, hip-hop, ghetto house etc. -- throw it in a blender and make it WERK for the dance floor. Hard to describe just what makes this so good, but suffice to say, it manages to do pretty much what the enclosed manifesto proclaims: mix the last 10-20 yrs of dance floor music into something that will work for underground dance floors NOW. I have to point out that while occupying a very unique space, it doesn't quite earn its claimed status as the "most important record of the last two decades." (Social media has really sought to destroy humility, hasn't it?) Anyway, what I like is how it respects the root elements while making it fucked-up. Reminds me of a dirtier, more irreverent Kingdom but still swangin and nasty, and Ratchett... kind of like the "Fuck Everything" remix of Tyler, the Creator. Keep 'em coming boys. Two fists UP! [SM]

$10.99 12"

Remixes 3

Third installment of the unstoppable Ike Yard remix EPs on the Paris-based Desire label. Most are probably excited to hear the Powell and Vessel remixes, but while those deliver, I also have to give credit to the KVB mix (nice rolling beat and vocal bits). Vessel strips it all way down with a long spacious intro, half-phrase snippets, ricocheting beat particles and a primal bass roll that kicks into gear with a slow machine-like feel. The Bandshell mix shakes up expectations rather nicely, with my choice for top cut of the EP. It's a gurgling bass skitter of a track that reads a lot like a non-Afro Shangaan Disco remix, with a nice, huge, arcing static canopy hovering over the top. A bit of the weirdness of Actress is in there, but it sits in its own place aesthetically. Great record, plus I'm grateful for more primal/offbeat industrial material to blend in with the singular Regis remix from vol.1! [SM]

$19.99 12"

The KM20 Tapes (1992-1996)
(Off Minor)

Unearthed, unreleased, pure/live synth grooves set to tape (live at home studio) back in the early '90s... Moufang's leanings toward deep, heady sound is def present, plus the tracks are a bit stripped down. Kinda like a cross between his Clear and Source label output plus the rawness of Workshop all in one. [SM]

$16.99 12"

also available

Studio One Rocksteady
(Soul Jazz)

The latest installment in Soul Jazz's landmark series documents the passing of the torch from ska to rocksteady, and subsequently the birth of reggae. Eighteen tracks featuring Jamaican music heavyweights like Ken Boothe, Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, the Heptones, John Holt, Jackie Mittoo, and more, all recorded at the legendary Studio One. CD includes a 16-page booklet with excellent liners by Lloyd Bradley; double LP comes with full sleeve notes and a download code.

$21.99 CD
$28.99 2LP

Let No One Judge You: Early Recordings from Iran, 1906-1933
(Honest Jon's)

This compelling collection of early 20th century Iranian recordings is as extensive as it is utterly gorgeous. Including sparse and haunting tracks from vocalist Iran-od-Dowleh Helen, hypnotic instrumentals from tar-player Morteza Ney-Davud, and staggering improvisations from Abd-ol-Hoseyn Shahnazi, everything here has been carefully restored from the original 78s at Abbey Road Studios in London. The 4LP and 2CD box set both come complete with detailed notes and photographs, which go into depth about the 35 tracks selected for this lovingly crafted compilation.

$23.99 2CD
$59.99 4LP Box

Give Love to Your Children

Zambian collective Musi-O-Tunya's second album is a welcome addition to the Now-Again roster. Culling works from 1972-1976, Give Love to Your Children was created at the height of the Zamrock movement and is a blur of psych, funk, and Afrobeat with fuzzed-out guitars, heavy bass lines, blended percussion, group chanting, and impassioned lead vocals. This reissue comes complete with extensive liner notes by Egon and bonus tracks from two rare 45s.

$18.99 CD
$35.99 2LP

(Secretly Canadian)

For Gardens & Villas' sophomore release, the Santa Barbara-based quintet traveled to rural Benton Harbor, Michigan to record with producer/DFA co-founder Tim Goldsworthy and it was well worth the trip. Dunes is an electro-pop gem with strong beats, haunting synthesizers, bansuri flute flourishes and the alluring vocals of Chris Lynch. Fans of Broken Bells, Cut Copy, Wild Nothing, Washed Out, and Phoenix will want to check this out.

$13.99 CD
$15.99 LP

Daughter of Everything

Dayton, Ohio darling John Schmersal (Braniac/Enon) returns as half of Vertical Scratchers. Along with Christian Beaulieu, the pair crank out 15 dizzying, often Kinks-inspired punk-pop tunes, each one clocking in at around two minutes. The entire set was recorded live at the Smell in Los Angeles except for "Get Along Like U," which was tracked at Waterloo Sound in Ohio and features none other than Robert Pollard on lead vocals.

$13.99 CD
$18.99 LP+MP3

Indoor Living

Indoor Living is often viewed as a transitional album in Superchunk's 25-year-spanning discography, and at the time of its release in 1997, some might have even speculated this to be the band's swan song. Superchunk had survived Mac and Laura's romantic split, but here the group's anthemic, pogo-inducing indie rock takes a full turn into something more reflective. There's no "Slack Motherfucker" or even a "Hyper Enough" in this mostly mid-tempo set, yet Indoor Living has stood the test of time and when listened to now, it's ever more apparent that the maturing in Mac's songwriting was paralleling what longtime fans were also experiencing: learning to embrace adulthood but on your own terms. This newly re-mastered reissue includes liner notes by Laura Ballance and producer/engineer John Plymale, and both the CD and 180-gram vinyl pressing come with a download of a live concert recorded at Duke University in 1997.

$15.99 CD
$21.99 LP+MP3

Your Arsenal

Deluxe, re-mastered edition of 1992's Your Arsenal, if not the best album in Morrissey's solo catalogue, certainly the most rocking. Produced by Mick Ronson and featuring a then new back-up band led by guitarist Alain Whyte, the Moz delivers a powerful, often swaggering set with glam and rockabilly influences ever more pronounced. CD includes a bonus DVD featuring a previously unreleased live performance filmed on Halloween 1991 at California's Shoreline Amphitheatre.

$19.99 CD+DVD

back in stock

20 Years of Downwards Records

From the sublime depth of the Substance remix of Regis' "Cold Water" to the muffled, soul-freeing, pummel-bashing of Fret's (a/k/a MJ Harris of Napalm Death, Scorn, Lull, etc.) "Untitled" to the dropped-out bottom, dungeon dub of Talker's "Cute the Weight" to the screaming legions of downed-fighter-planes atmosphere of Samuel Kerridge's "A Shadow Cast"... I'm almost speechless. How often can a 20-year retrospective techno compilation reveal its position at the forefront of techno both informed by industrial pioneers as well as a forerunner of the current new wave? And with such class and beauty! This does not sound like a retrospective at ALL, much less one that spans two decades. Timeless music here, which I think has always been the point with these guys. Absolutely great. [SM]

$27.99 2LP

the big picture