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October 23, 2014

other music events

OTHER MUSIC RECORDING CO. CMJ SHOWCASE 2014

TONIGHT: THURSDAY, OCT.  23

Union Pool: 484 Union Ave. Brooklyn 
Facebook Event Page

Other Music Recording Co. is very excited about the diverse talent playing tonight in our CMJ showcase, one which will be focused on our newest signings: Xylouris White, who will be wrapping up their October residency at Union Pool in celebration of their debut full-length, Goats; the timeless, kaleidoscopic pop of Invisible Familiars; the mesmerizing Arabic-inspired sounds of 75 Dollar Bill (the duo of Che Chen and Rick Brown); and the shimmering West Coast rock of L.A.'s Tall Tales and the Silver Lining. We hope you'll come out and join us for this great evening of music!

10:30 PM - XYLOURIS WHITE
9:30 PM - INVISIBLE FAMILIARS
8:30 PM - TALL TALES AND THE SILVER LINING
8-11 PM - 75 DOLLAR BILL (performing FREE sets in Union Pool's front room)

 


DREAM THE END + OTHER MUSIC POP-UP GALLERY & SHOP

WED. OCT 22 - SUN. OCT 26

2 Rivington St. @ Bowery, NYC
11-8 p.m.

Online magazine and art space Dream the End have put together a wonderful pop-up gallery and shop in the Lower East Side, which will be open Wednesday, October 22 through Sunday, October 26. The work of 20 incredible artists will be on display along with a limited edition box set of artist prints curated by Dream the End. Other Music will also have a special hand-picked selection of music for sale, plus there will be unique offerings from Mast Books, Printed Matter, and jewelry designer Bliss Lau.


DJ'N AT BERG'N

SATURDAYS @ 9:00 PM

Berg'n: 899 Bergen St. Brooklyn
Facebook Event Invite

Starting this Saturday night, Berg'n -- the new 9,000 square food/beer hall space owned by the Brooklyn Flea  -- will be hosting a special Brooklyn Flea Record Fair-related DJ series in the main room from 9 to 11 p.m. DJ'n at Berg'n will kick off with a set from Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone and in weeks to follow will include some of Other Music's own team members: Ryan Naideau, Gerald Hammill and Clay Wilson!
 

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Nude Beach
Thurston Moore
Scott Walker & Sunn O)))
Kevin Drumm
Gazelle Twin
Cooly G
Jessie Ware
Paul White
A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Hailu Mergia & the Walias
Kevin Morby
Bass Drum of Death
Soul Side

PRE-ORDER + SONG PREMIERE

Hookworms

ALSO AVAILABLE

We Were Promised Jetpacks

BACK IN STOCK

Kevin Drumm & Jason Lescalleet

NOW ON VINYL

Iceage
Fennesz

announcements

WIN BUDOS BAND TICKETS

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25

The Wick: 260 Meserole St. Brooklyn

The Budos Band's brand new album, Burnt Offering, is an exciting departure from the more traditional Afro-beat/funk moves of the New York ensemble's early days. Picking up from III's exotic incorporation of Middle Eastern music and Ethiopian jazz into their horn-driven sound, their latest is packed like a bong, with lots of fuzz guitar and wheezing Farfisa laying much of the darker melodic foundation, resulting in a set that owes as much to early '70s Black Sabbath as Fela. The band is celebrating its release in Brooklyn this Saturday at the Wick, and we've got a pair of tickets to give away. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win.


SBTRKT TICKET GIVE AWAY

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27

Terminal 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC

With his new album, Wonder Where We Land, just released, SBTRKT makes his return to New York City, playing two nights at Terminal 5 next week. The Sunday show sold out pretty quickly and due to demand, a second date was added. We've got a pair of tickets to that Monday (October 27) performance up for grabs and all you have to do is email tickets@othermusic.com for your chance to win.


WIN TICKETS: MEKONS MOVIE SCREENING + JON LANGFORD PERFORMANCE

OCT. 29 - NOV. 4

Film Forum: 209 W. Houston St. NYC
The Bell House: 149 7th St. Brooklyn

Next week, director Joe Angio's new documentary Revenge of the Mekons opens at New York's Film Forum, running from October 29 to November 4. There are a lot of Mekons-related events throughout its run, including Q&As with the director and Mekons band members Jon Langford and Steve Goulding, and film intros from the Hold Steady's Craig Finn and noted authors/critics Luc Sante and Greil Marcus -- a full schedule is listed on the Film Forum website. In addition, Jon Langford will be performing a special concert at the Bell House following the 7:15 p.m. screening on October 29, and the following day there will be a free symposium on the Mekons hosted by Columbia University's School of the Arts in the Davis Auditorium. Other Music is giving away a pair of passes to any of the movie screenings (winner's choice) along with a pair of tickets to Jon Langford's Bell House performance! Email giveaway@othermusic.com for your chance to win.

this week's update

NUDE BEACH
77
(Don Giovanni)

It's no secret that we're big fans of Nude Beach, the power-pop trio who kidnapped our hearts and ears in 2011 with their self-produced second album, II -- in fact, we loved it so much that Other Music Recording Company quickly stepped up and gave the LP the wide release it richly deserved. II was a barnburner of an album, a searing slab of flyover-state heartland pub rock and power-pop that also bellowed with New York F***in' City attitude. We all heard little bits of our favorite rock bands when we listened to Nude Beach, from the angsty rumble of the Replacements to the tart bubblegum sweetness of the Exploding Hearts to the mid-fi fury of Bill Fox and his group, the Mice. There's a much longer list of influences and references that I could use to describe the band, but simply put, Nude Beach is a thrilling rock 'n' roll group that oozes both swagger and soul, and their new album -- an 18-song double-LP out on Don Giovanni -- provides plenty of prime cuts for riff-seeking electric warriors, the high-nosed record collector set, and those of us who are aching for more sounds like what we've heard on this year's Reigning Sound and Ex Hex releases.

Though 77 was once again self-produced by singer and guitarist Chuck Betz, there's no telltale signs of budget recording (excesses of hiss and/or reverb) to be found here -- the band immediately breaks free of the garage with album opener "Used to It," on which acoustic guitars and electric 12-strings chime brightly over a rhythm and cadence that will feel familiar to fans of Teenage Fanclub. The slide guitar solo recalls the Byrds' further adventures in country rock on albums like Ballad of Easy Rider and Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, and best of all, Betz trades in a bit of his howl for a laconic and effortless balladeer's drawl that blends beautifully with drummer (and Other Music staffer) Ryan Naideau's backup harmonies. As performers, Betz, Naideau, and bassist Jim Shelton have always been as tight as a fist, but Nude Beach really highlights their exceptional musicianship and lightness of touch on the softer-edged ballads like "Used to It, "Time" and the country and gospel-inflected "If We Only Had the Time." On the other side of the coin, Nude Beach also imbue their livelier numbers with shades of glam ("For You") and ballroom blitz riffs and rave-ups that outdo even the most Petty-ish Telecaster work from their previous album ("See My Way," "The Witness," "Can't Get Enough," the ten-minute jam "I Found You"). 77 is a 68-minute double-LP that, thanks to a dizzying variety of tempos and riffs, runs and rides like an album of half its length. This is ingeniously constructed rock and roll, brilliantly performed by a band that we just can't get enough of, no matter who's putting out their records. [MS]

$10.99 CD ON SALE
$21.99 2LP

THURSTON MOORE
The Best Day
(Matador)

In interviews surrounding the release of The Best Day, Thurston Moore has been talking up the positivity behind his new solo record, the first album to be released under his own name since the very public breakup of his marriage (and band?) a couple of years back. Like any good punk, Moore can be willfully confrontational with the press, and he loves to inflame, so as many longtime fans fumed as he broke up his longtime marriage to Kim Gordon with an unapologetically public affair, he is having a peach of a day! Even during Sonic Youth's creative and popular apex, Moore was and is a perennially creative and restless soul, always working with new collaborators and forming new groups, and it's hard for a fan to always know what sort of weight to give a new release, if we should expect an offhand noise jam, or something more considered. But as with his very first solo effort, the 20-year-old major label-released Psychic Hearts, The Best Day is a proper song-oriented rock album, full of the sort of hooky noise-pop that made Moore one of the most important and beloved artists of the post-punk/indie era.

Moore is now living in London, and recording with a group that includes Debbie Googe of My Bloody Valentine on bass, James Sedwards of Nought on guitar, and, of course, Steve Shelley on drums. Less aggressive and metallic than Chelsea Light Moving, but a lot more rocking than Moore's last two acoustic-heavy "solo" albums, this is a record for Sonic Youth fans, full of scraping guitars, chugging punk rave-ups, motorik rhythms, and a lot of vocal attitude. And positivity. Moore's playing always tiptoes towards the dark side, but overall, he seems to have achieved his goal, and The Best Day is a joyful noise and an enjoyable set that may not challenge longtime fans, but should sate those hungry for some new songs from one of the living icons of underground rock. [JM]

$13.99 CD
$21.99 LP


SCOTT WALKER & SUNN O)))
Soused
(4AD)

After jaw-dropping surprise and speculation, one of the year's most unlikely yet completely logical pairings have finally released their eagerly awaited collaboration, and oh yes, folks... it lives up to the hype. Soused is the new album by legendary singer, composer, and producer Scott Walker, who curiously shares top billing with his collaborators in dark, grotesque rock mutation, Sunn O))). A failed attempt on Sunn O)))'s part to get Walker to sing on their Monoliths & Dimensions full-length is what led to Walker's recruitment of the band for Soused's material, his first new music since 2012's Bish Bosch. That two-year gap is a shockingly fast turnover for Walker, who hasn't been this prolific since his early years of solo recordings, and that energy and vigor is apparent throughout this album.

The five ten-plus-minute songs crafted by Walker seethe, strike, and sluggishly pummel harder than anything in his discography previous; while touching upon elements from Tilt, The Drift, and Bish Bosch, the album of which it most reminds me is his grossly unsung 1984 masterpiece Climate of Hunter. That record was Walker's first attempt at shifting the palette of rock music into something more sinister, brooding, and truly alien, featuring squawking, bleated horn calls, discordant beds of droning synthesizer, wailing guitars, and the punch and slap of treated percussion. Soused takes those same ingredients and strips them even further from their roots, using Sunn O))) as his guitarists and adding them to his roster of regularly featured players -- while Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley's signature molten lava sludge is recognizable throughout, Walker's compositions push the band into previously uncharted territory throughout. This is very much Walker's show here; as the composer, arranger, and leader on these five songs, Scott is fully in control here, but the benefits are symbiotic -- each party seems to fuel the other into a frenzied yet studied inspiration that so seldom rises up in high-profile collaborative situations like this one. Walker vocals haven't sounded this roused and impassioned in years; his operatic quaver often rises to more terrified and full-bodied cries, and while he never revisits the velvet croon of his early years, his palette hasn't been this confidently varied since Climate of Hunter and Tilt.

Despite a more overtly rock and metal-oriented grounding here, those who've had trouble warming to Walker's contemporary works likely won't find much to cling to; this still sits next to his contemporary trilogy of albums more comfortably than his early solo LPs of baroque discordance, and to hear him singing without the massive blocks of orchestral sound upon which he's often anchored his fractured hauntings is both odd and yet thrilling. It proves to be a highpoint in both artists' discographies, and as a lifelong Walker fan and more casual Sunn O))) listener, I can say that this ranks highly among both acts' canons of work, pushing both into exciting new regions while remaining true to the creative essences upon which we became fans. Soused sits firmly in my personal Best of 2014 list, and that's about as high a praise as I can give such a challenging, visceral, thrilling and nightmarish album. [IQ]

$13.99 CD ON SALE
$33.99 2LP

KEVIN DRUMM
Trouble
(Editions Mego)

"You cannot compete with the noise of the world," Jakob Ullmann, the German composer responsible for what is frequently called the quietest music around, recently declared in an interview. For him, the act of making music is an ecological statement, a profound response to the unrelenting sounds of everyday life. Opposing Ullmann's approach, the American experimentalist Kevin Drumm, has produced some of the most abrasive music out there. On records such as Sheer Hellish Miasma, Impish Tyrant, and Electronic Harassment, he explores some of the sickest and most distorted regions of the audio spectrum. For Drumm, an appropriate maxim could read: "You cannot compete with the noise of Kevin Drumm." Yet the Chicago-based musician turns unnervingly quiet on Trouble, barely one month after The Abyss, his nightmarish descent into nothingness produced collaboratively with fellow noise- and troublemaker Jason Lescalleet.

As always, Kevin Drumm is in a sneaky mood, this time providing 54 minutes of almost indiscernible audio. One has to turn the volume all the way up to hear the record, and even then its sounds appear almost imperceptibly. Delivering a layer of floating resonances, which is "disrupted" by a minute or two of sheer silence, Trouble makes for an uneasy listen. There is nothing really to hold onto in its balanced frequencies of lethal vacuum. Sounds are constantly reflected onto one another, their subtle explorations of reverb conveying something approaching the ghostly afterlife of a cosmic spectacle. Is this the aural equivalent of an afterimage -- aftersound? The idea of quietness as a deliberate aesthetic choice is all the more remarkable given the usual preoccupations of its composer, as well as the strange effects of the listening experience, but Kevin Drumm persuades deviously with this sublime, ethereal mind fuck. [NVT]

$15.99 CD


GAZELLE TWIN
Unflesh
(Last Gang)

British multimedia artist Elizabeth Bernholz (née Walling) has quickly established herself as one of the most promising new talents producing song-oriented electronic music, crafting a persona (or anti-persona, as it were) as Gazelle Twin, stripping her face from any part of her artistic identity and crafting shadowed worlds of spectral sci-fi pastoralism. Her sophomore album, Unflesh, proves to be a stark, harrowing listening experience blending dryly percolating and pummeling rhythm beds with ghostly siren cries and spoken ululations chopped up and intermingled to emphasize the record's lyrical focus upon matters of the body. The songs on Unflesh are often stripped to the bone, marinating in a claustrophobic violence that serves partly as primal scream therapy, and at times as a psychotropic hallucination out of Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder. Where her debut, The Entire City, often came across like an imaginary collaboration between Kate Bush and Fever Ray's Karin Dreijer Andersson, on Unflesh Bernolz feels closer in aesthetic company to the Knife's swansong, Shaking the Habitual, and FKA Twigs's LP1, fusing together the relentless metallic discordance of the former with the latter's startling intimacy. It's a curious combination to be sure, and that's part of what makes this album so unsettling; a record this confrontational often isn't simultaneously so kinetic and outright danceable, yet Bernolz absolutely delivers, and her voice is fully engrossing throughout. Unflesh is a dark, chilling release, but one whose catharsis is inspirational and hypnotic. No sophomore slump here, folks... this is a staggering success. [IQ]

$12.99 CD

COOLY G
Wait 'Til Night
(Hyperdub)

One of my favorite Hyperdub artists, Merrisa Campbell a/k/a Cooly G, is back. Since her self-released CD-R comps and early singles on her Dub Organizer label, this singer, producer, and DJ has always incorporated her vocals into a range of styles: from house to jungle, UK funky to reggae-tinged techno. Cooly G's great debut full-length, 2009's Playin' Me, was a liquid mixture of snappy, dubby, rolling rhythms and R&B, with soundsysytem bass accents, and her singing in an almost dub-poet meets pop-seductress style. On her new album, Wait 'Til Night, she lights the candles, locks the door, and presents a collection of soulful lo-fi bedroom music with her vocals rapping close to your ear, breathing down your neck, and toasting in your face as she hovers around your body. Like her track from the Hyperdub 10.2 compilation ("Obsessed" -- not included here) which gave a glimpse of her new fuller vocal approach, this album takes a stronger cue from sexy American R&B, combining it with her spacious and intimate soundscape of minimal darkwave synth-pop, with rich and fresh results. In a way, Wait 'Til Night is similar to FKA Twigs, yet Cooly G offers more of a direct and blatant exploration in sensual lust and sexy beats. Song titles like "Your Sex," "So Deep," "Fuck with You," "Like a Woman Should" or "Freak You" let you know that Campbell has one thing on her mind. Across the twelve tracks she whispers, coos, exhales, and tickles the ear with her warm and soft vocals, and though she doesn't have a huge range, it works to her advantage in offering a subtly varied yet honest display of emotions that gives her a unique style.

Campbell's expertise in and with UK bass blueprints allows her to create a bubbling, broken, warm and thumping soundscape for her tales of wanting, longing, and satisfying. But she's changed her formula up some too, exchanging what once would have been synth-led melodies for treated rhythm guitar, which lends a bit of live edginess to her production and sonic variation to the melancholy and dubby synth-pop. Songs such as "I Like" are a blend of lovers rock and the kind of mid-tempo electronic soul that an artist like Kelela has been exploring. Elsewhere, another standout, "Dancing," could very well soundtrack a dance-floor love scene in one of the Step It Up movies -- with its jumpy and punchy rhythm, searing guitar, crisp handclaps, and lyrics that tell a story of dancing near a potential mate, the track mimics the uncertain acknowledgment of a reciprocal display of attraction. Throughout there's a true sense of ownership of her role in the physicality of sexual longing to the marriage of beat and lyrics. Yet even amidst the wealth of sexy singers as her contemporaries -- from Banks to Beyonce, Lana Del Rey, J.J., Jessie Ware, or the above-mentioned FKA Twigs and Kelela -- Cooly G's display of sultry themes, slow-moving beats, spacey synths, and soulful moods feels the most rewarding.

Album closer "The 3 of Us" breaks the mood, bringing in some reality amongst all of the heated fantasies. Following a lengthy solo-synth intro, rich chords, sparkling fireflies of sonics, and a choppy trap-influenced rhythmic stride lay the musical foundation as she raps about a missing baby daddy, a man walking out and not committing to his role. It's a poignant ending to a journey that has been about the raw energy of interpersonal relations, physical longing, and just wanting to share yourself with another person. It all makes for a solid and seductive artistic statement of intent that is a bit surprising in that it thankfully lacks pretension or parody and is an accomplished expansion on the tried and true formula of upfront femininity and unapologetic sexual prowess. Like the King of Porno-Soul once said, "Ain't nothing wrong with a little bump and grind," and Cooly G does a fine job at it, with skills for miles. Wait 'Til Night has my vote for best album about hooking-up released this year, and yes, there have been more than a few. [DG]

$15.99 CD

JESSIE WARE
Tough Love
(Interscope)

The once-rookie who released one of 2012's best pop albums is back, more confident and far more mature. No longer hiding behind (albeit beautiful) electronic details, with Tough Love Jessie Ware stands at the forefront, remarking mostly on the complex downsides of romance. The eclectic team of Benny Blanco, Dev Hynes, Ed Sheeran, and Ware herself collaborated on the songwriting, while Julio Bashmore and Emile Haynie (of Kanye West's "Runaway" and Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness") helped produce. From this star-studded cast you might expect a robust pop album, but Tough Love is surprisingly soul-oriented. The influence of these artists certainly tightened the tracks, and few are as grand as Devotion's hit "Wildest Moments." This newfound subtlety is a testament to Ware's success as a chameleon: she thrives in somber ballads as much as in anthems.

It's the melodies on songs like "Pieces" and "Want Your Feeling" that work Ware's voice to its fullest capacity. Vocal range aside, though, the tracks are all extremely catchy, given you've listened a few times through. Some, however, err on the bubblegum side of accessibility -- I can't imagine putting on "You and I (Forever)" more than twice without skipping. In this case, the glam element of the production leaks into the melody, making an innovative song sound cliché and even annoying. Lucky for us, this is a rare instance, and Ms. Ware's outstanding voice overrides all else. Overall, it's less of a firework than Devotion, but that very well may be because it's less direct. With the exception of the obvious hits ("Say You Love Me," "Tough Love"), the tracks begin to reveal themselves only after a bunch of plays; what might sound dull at first can blossom after a second or third try. For fans of AlunaGeorge, Solange, and the like, Tough Love will not let you down in the least. [MM]

$15.99 CD
$18.99 DELUXE CD
$26.99 2LP


PAUL WHITE
Shaker Notes
(R&S)

Paul White's newest album sees the UK producer shifting away slightly from his roots in the world of hip-hop and stepping out for more of a pronounced solo turn. Recorded for noted techno and electronic label R&S, Shaker Notes is a dense, dizzying platter of modern-day psychedelic soul centered around White's own singing and playing more than anything he's done before. It's also possibly his strongest release yet. White takes layered thickets of North African and Middle Eastern percussion, fuzzed-out guitars and organ, neon-hued synth work, and clouds of his blurry, murmured vocals, and creates a stunning, hypnotic record that somehow simultaneously nods to Madlib, early James Blake, and Jean-Claude Vannier. I've had the album on near-nonstop repeat since its release, and I've just grown more and more fond of it with each listen; it's also one of the most lovely layered headphone records I've heard all year. While those who know and love White via his work for rappers like Danny Brown and Guilty Simpson may not warm as instantly to Shaker Notes as his past, more overtly rap-oriented releases, this album retains his dusty fingered beatwise credentials and steps things up considerably. Whether it proves to be a one-off experiment or a daring new career shift remains to be seen, but White's steps into the spotlight are truly solid and most welcomed by this writer. Highest recommendation, folks. [IQ]

$14.99 CD

A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN
Atomos
(Kranky)

The second offering from A Winged Victory for the Sullen, the duo consisting of composer and pianist Dustin O' Halloran as well as Adam Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid, Atomos was originally conceived as the score to a dance performance by British choreographer Wayne McGregor. Consisting of eleven pieces of music that balance contemporary composition, drone, and ambient sounds, it's quite hard to resist comparing this excursion to the golden days of Stars of the Lid. The latter were by all means irreplaceable in their beatless, hallucinatory glory, which consisted of dynamic movements characterized by distinctive volume swells and relentless guitar feedback, an effect both calming and provocative. Comparatively, A Winged Victory for the Sullen sounds a lot more conventional.

First of all, by modestly naming the tracks on this album "Atomos I-XII" (mysteriously omitting IV), the duo deprives us of the sheer surprise of discovering those lavish, humorous Stars of the Lid titles, such as "Tape Hiss Makes Me Happy," "Fucked Up (3:57 am)," or "Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30, Pt. 1 & 2," which contrasted cunningly with the divine and blissful character of the music. On Atomos, A Winged Victory for the Sullen offers undeniably beautiful, lush arrangements, albeit in a more traditional sense. This isn't a bad thing, of course, but knowing about its stimulating prehistory makes one wonder about the potential of this unique collaboration, which is perhaps not pushed to its utmost limits. When the duo fully delivers, however, such as on "Atomos I" and "VI," they convince quite impressively with restless, dynamic music full of splendid, shimmering effervescence. [NVT]

$14.99 CD
$22.99 2LP


HAILU MERGIA AND THE WALIAS
Tche Belew
(Awesome Tapes from Africa)

The Awesome Tapes from Africa label returns with a stunning second release by Ethiopian keyboard master Hailu Mergia. While their first record of his music (Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye) was an offbeat yet impassioned platter that presented Mergia's dexterous, multilayered keyboard work in a more stripped-down solo setting, Tche Belew moves things away from the drum machines and cosmic overdubs and features a more robust full-band sound. This 1977 album sees Mergia leading a group of Ethiopian jazz musicians into territory that shares aesthetic commonalities with peers like Mulatu Astatke and the intergalactic big-band harmonics of Sun Ra & His Arkestra; in fact, the music throughout comes across as a wonderful fusion of these sounds into one of the most beautiful, heavily swinging, and dreamily melodic slices of African jazz and funk that I've ever heard. While I was (and remain) a HUGE fan of the previous Mergia disc, it's an absolute delight to hear him surrounded by a full group that riffs and bounces off of his brilliant playing and arrangements. This has been one of those rare but special albums that demands the attention of all within earshot each time we play the disc in the shop, and which has been a storewide favorite amongst our diverse, eclectic staff. If that doesn't speak of the album's power and magic, I honestly don't know what does! [IQ]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$16.99 LP


KEVIN MORBY
Still Life
(Woodsist)

At this point, to call a songwriter "Dylanesque" is a bit of an empty gesture. It's kind of like calling a jazz musician "jazzy." That said, there are Dylanesque vibes aplenty on Kevin Morby's second solo LP, Still Life. It's a good thing. With sterling guitar work, warm organs and buoyant rhythms, his band ably conjures up that "thin, wild mercury sound" of Dylan's classic mid-'60s period, without resorting to mere mimicry. It doesn't feel retro, it just feels right. Morby's enigmatic lyrics fit the bill too; he can be funny, emotional and downright weird all in the space of a single verse. His voice, a more exuberant and expressive cousin to Cass McComb's low burr, is an added attraction. Morby is still best known for his work with Woods and the Babies, but the one-two punch of last year's masterful Harlem River and the equally strong Still Life should establish him as a creative force to be reckoned with. [TW]

$13.99 CD
$15.99 LP


BASS DRUM OF DEATH
Rip This
(Innovative Leisure)

Though it's not my usual listening choice, sometimes I really love punky garage rock -- stuff that's straight ahead and in your face, no frills, no fuss, just bass, drums, guitar and a snotty vocalist. Bass Drum of Death fit that bill perfectly, and they've released one of the better rock and roll records I've heard in awhile. What attracted me to their 2013 self-titled album (and debut on Innovative Leisure) was the band name, and true to the image, the songs were an assault of catchy punk energy that seemed to always be ready to soundtrack a bar fight, mosh pit or just simply fuck things up. The drums in particular were heavy, relentless, and dare I say killer. Their new full-length, Rip This, likewise lives up to its name, and with ten songs coming in at just thirty minutes, they rip through a tight set of feverish jams that all find a groove within the balls-out pounding.

Album opener "Electric" reminds me of why I once liked the White Stripes: a lo-fi garage-rocker with punchy bottom, grinding guitar lines, and shouty delivery, yet undeniably a great song. Now a duo, BDoD have improved upon the drunken spirit of the dearly missed Jay Reatard, with bits of Ty Segall, Black Keys, MC5 and/or Stooges thrown in. Messy yet hooky, tracks such as "Sin Is in 10" have an almost sing-along spirit like a now-classic Nirvana hit -- this is music as energy, with a jangling entanglement of drums, bass, voice and (now more than ever) guitar drenched in a web of feedback and reverb. "Black Is Glow" is another infectious and catchy gem featuring a curious chorus that reads, "And I want you and it feels so wrong now baby, I don't need you if black don't glow." Like my relationship with Liars, there's just something about Bass Drum of Death that hooked me in and it's hard to explain. Fans of energy filled garage rock with a likable punk spirit, and just a fun ride, this may be what you need. [DG]

$14.99 CD
$21.99 LP


SOUL SIDE
Trigger/Bass 103
(Dischord)

Dischord has just released Soul Side's Trigger EP from 1988, tacking on the band's "Bass-103" single, all remastered and pressed on yellow vinyl, with new artwork by Jason Farrell. The music here reflects the nuance, politics and energy of DC's post-hardcore era, pushing the more emo sounds of groups like Rites of Spring into more challenging directions, with songs like the title track bringing to mind Fugazi. While either of the aforementioned bands may be better remembered, Soul Side left an indelible mark on the DC scene during their all-too-brief existence, after which three of the four members (Alexis Fleisig, Scott McCloud and Johnny Temple) would go on to form Girls Against Boys with Soul Side sound engineer Eli Janney. The rest, as they say, is history. [HW]

$13.99 LP+MP3

pre-order + exclusive track stream

HOOKWORMS
The Hum
(Weird World)

Hookworms follow up their 2013 breakthrough debut, Pearl Mystic, with The Hum, out November 11th. The Leeds-based psychedelic noise-rockers' second full-length is a more powerful and blistering set than its predecessor, all the while finding the band incorporating more melody and songcraft into loud blasts of garage- and punk-influenced abandon. Check out this stream of the album's most subdued, spaced-out moment, "Off Screen" (exclusive to a select handful of independent record stores), and pre-order The Hum, set to arrive at your door by the 11/11 release date.  

$13.99 CD PRE-ORDER
$23.99 LP+MP3 PRE-ORDER

also available

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS
Unravelling
(Fat Cat)

We Were Promised Jetpacks return with their third full-length and it's the Scottish group's most fully realized album to date. Since their 2009 debut, These Four Walls, WWPJ have grown more confident with each release, and here producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand) harnesses the energy of their live show in the studio. As fans would hope, it's a powerful and dynamic set for sure, and with multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan joining the ranks, we also hear a new depth and clarity in We Were Promised Jetpack's thrilling, emotional song craft.

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$15.99 LP

back in stock

KEVIN DRUMM/JASON LESCALLEET
The Abyss
(Erstwhile)

The Abyss is an epic, dynamic statement that shows the wide range of sound these two esteemed artists are capable of creating. The lengthy list of instruments used, plus the year it took to assemble, gives an indication that there is a grander modus operandi at play here than the linear works that Kevin Drumm and Jason Lescalleet are known for. CD-1 is made up of seven pieces that run the gamut, with electronic crackle, digital shards of noise, piano mangle, and even dissonant brass clusters that wouldn't sound out of place in a Hermann Nitsch 'Aktion'. The second half of the disc is taken up by the title track, which lives up to its name. Over 34 minutes in length, cavernous drones ebb and flow in a way that recalls Drumm's more sedate work on Imperial Distortion and Tannenbaum.

CD-2 features a single 49-minute study that ranges from shrill electronic pitches ping-ponging around the stereo field to ominous atmospheric tone clouds to low-end rumble. It's near impossible to tell who contributed what here, even though the credits list the particular instruments played by Drumm or Lescalleet. Like the best artists do, they have surrendered their individuality for the greater good of the whole. The Abyss is a compelling summation of their talents. [NN]

$23.99 2CD

available on vinyl

ICEAGE
Plowing into the Field of Love
(Matador)

I wrote a review of the last Iceage album that basically said "y'know, it's good these songs got out there, but after this and their debut New Brigade, they really cannot make another record like those again." Guess what? Plowing into the Field of Love is about as far removed from the youthful hardcore attack of their first two albums as one could hope, maybe not an entire 180 but really, really far off. How far off? They've got enough mandolins, pianos and strings to make Dexy's Midnight Runners blush, and they're strewn all over this thing, a reinvention into dark rock and cowpunk that glances Crime + the City Solution, Love Life, Fields of the Nephilim, the Blasters, Cult of Youth, and even early U2, while still retaining the sting of their earlier, blurred teenage efforts. Everyone in this Copenhagen quartet is now of legal American drinking age, and seems to have come to grips with who they are as people, as artists and maybe even as lovers, because this is easily the most passionate and wild Iceage yet, even as tempos have burned off and left to smolder in the autumn air. Johan Wieth remains one of the singular guitar talents out of the whole of modern post-punk, coaxing out melodies you'd rarely expect, and Elias Bender Ronnenfeldt's breathy, atonal crooning takes on a new level of intensity now that he doesn't have to compete with the relentless velocity of the music behind him.

At first I really didn't know what to make of this record, as it seems built to push the buttons of anyone expecting more of the same, and grind on the patience of everyone else. But I'm coming around -- there are a great many moments of brilliance all over Plowing into the Field of Love, ready for you to discover whether it be on the first listed or the 101st, or anywhere in between. This band is a gleeful mess, but they are operating solely on their own steam, unwilling to make anything less than what they feel represents them at the time. You read something about an artist like Grimes, who reportedly scrapped an album because she thought it would alienate her fans, then you come across a group like Iceage, who sets their own pace and their own rules, and forces you to come to their table, begging for a seat. I'll always accept the challenge. Why won't you? [DM]

$13.99 CD
$21.99 2LP


FENNESZ
Venice
(Touch)

Touch releases this special 10th anniversary edition of Venice, the fourth studio album from Christian Fennesz, available for the first time ever on vinyl, pressed on double LP and housed in a gatefold sleeve. As we wrote at the time of its release: "Venice sees Fennesz focusing on the sound of the electric guitar, extending its palette through various digital processing techniques... While Venice may not be as immediate as some of Fennesz's previous efforts, its combination of somber haunting melodies and grainy texture illuminates a space where simple, somewhat catchy guitar playing wontedly coexists with the din of contemporary computer manipulations which is further illustrated by Jon Wozencraft's beautiful cover photographs documenting human interaction and manipulation of nature.

Highlights include 'Transit,' a stunning collaboration with David Sylvian that continues where their fantastic duo track on Sylvian's recent album Blemish left off. Situated directly in the middle of a mostly subdued listening experience 'Transit' literally bursts out of the speakers accentuating the album's more pop-like characteristics as well as its more restrained moments."

$22.99 2LP

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