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MAY 1, 2014

special announcement

THE BROOKLYN FLEA RECORD FAIR

SATURDAY, MAY 10 (11am-6pm)

Smorgasburg at East River State Park
90 Kent Ave. at N. 7th St. Brooklyn
Free Entry! | Facebook Event Invite

On Saturday May 10th, Other Music is excited to be participating in the spring edition of the biannual Brooklyn Flea Record Fair! Held next to the Smorgasburg food market inside the East River State Park, the fair hosts over 50 tables of pure vinyl goodness -- including record labels, stores and private collectors. Redbull Music Academy will be on site as well for the day presenting DJ sets from Sandra Electronics (Regis & Silent Servant), Autre Ne Veut, Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Optimo, and Jesse Cohen (Tanlines). Mark your calendar!

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Ought
Generation Next & Big Strick
Fluxion
Wye Oak
Sd Laika
Chicago Underground Duo
Nat Baldwin
Polysick
Kelis
Major Lazer
 

ALSO AVAILABLE

Neil Young (Just In!!)
Damon Albarn
Pixies (Free Lithograph w/purchase)
William Tyler
Chad Vangaalen
Screaming Females
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
The Hive Dwellers
William Basinski (Melancholia now on LP)
 

announcements

WIN DEERHOOF TICKETS

SATURDAY, MAY 3

Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

A trifecta of Le Poisson Rouge concert giveaways in this week's Update, starting with this Saturday, when San Francisco's Deerhoof bring their noisy and wonderfully unpredictable art-pop to the LPR stage, with Tomaga and Awkwafina opening the night. In other words, don't miss this one! Email giveaway@othermusic.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets.
 


LIARS TICKET GIVEAWAY

THURSDAY, MAY 8

Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

Next Thursday, Los Angeles' avant-techno-funk noiseniks Liars return to the city they once called their home, performing at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge in support of their excellent new album, Mess. Jana Hunter opens the bill ensuring this to be a diverse, heady night of music. Email tickets@othermusic.com for your chance to win.    
 


PANTHA DU PRINCE TICKET GIVEAWAY

FRIDAY, MAY 9

Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

Other Music is giving away a pair of passes to see one of our favorite electronic producers, Pantha Du Prince, who will be playing a special live show at LPR next Friday, May 9, along with a live set from Scott Mou (Queens, Jane, Other Music) and Fixed's JDH & Dave P. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win!

this week's update

OUGHT
More Than Any Other Day
(Constellation)

A new Montreal-based post-punk band on Constellation, you might think you know what that sounds like, but Ought distinguish themselves with a fidgety, fiery style that is a lot more direct than most of their label mates, owing more to bands like Television and the Fall than they do to Godspeed! and the like. And yet, the label and the hometown are both perfect settings for Ought's tense and fiercely human songs, with a political bent supposedly born out of the young international lineup coming together during the 2012 "Maple Spring" student uprising against the Quebec government's proposed tuition hike. Their creation story forms the spiritual backbone of their sound, if not the literal subject matter for any of their songs, and there is jittery electricity coursing through the album that seems to bear out their aspirations, as singer and guitarist Tim Beeler lays out his emotions and convictions. There is a definite old-school vibe here, but it's not retro, it's just raw and sincere in a way few bands dare (or bother) to be any more. A surprising album that seems to be picking up steam (Pitchfork gave it a rave this week), Ought's melodic, spasmodic and heartfelt punk is definitely worth a listen. [JM]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$19.99 LP

GENERATION NEXT & BIG STRICK
Like Father Like Son
(7 Days Entertainment)

Extraordinary producer Big Strick teams up with his offspring, Generation Next, for a killer new album straight from the depths of Detroit's house underground. Formerly of FXHE records, on which he released his first 12" and subsequent 100% Hustler mini-album, Big Strick's characteristic atmospheric soul excavations, warm, bubbling rhythms, and oozing synth melodies have quickly become a raw house favorite amongst Detroit-heads. On 2012's Resivior Dogs, he masterfully explored minimal beatdown grooves that elegantly balanced off the most essential elements of the genre, much in the off-kilter house tradition of his more famous cousin Omar S. This release also properly introduced Generation Next, his then 16-year-old son, who after appearing on a couple of obscure 12"s, gained proper visibility here, as was responsible for four of the album's most gritty and melodic tracks.

Announced with little fanfare, Like Father Like Son respectfully extends the duo's intergenerational house collaboration, which by now has become an affectionate family affair. Whereas Generation Next is responsible for some of the most immediately appealing tracks, such as the irresistibly tunneling "Mo Money" and the slap-bass sweetness of "Flynn," it's father Big Strick who really gears up the game here. Although his tracks might not appear instantaneously seductive, his mastery of unusual, sometimes chaotic harmonies, resonant rhythmic arrangements, and atmospheric, dark melancholy, ends up delivering some of the most blissful moments of the album. Big Strick truly reaches for divinity on the perfectly structured "Stickin' Movin'," with well-paced claps and deep, moody resonances, as well as on the eccentric "Rain Dance," whose subdued bells, inflated harmonies, and dub organ arrangement make it a truly irresistible house anthem. There are too many highlights to mention in this short review (among them the two tracks the duo co-authored), but the album's well-measured overall flow makes it one of this year's most consistently exciting ones. If you like your house raw, deep, and charismatic, this is simply as good as it gets. [NVT]

$16.99


FLUXION
Broadwalk Tales
(Echochord)

Greek producer Konstantinos Soublis first entered the dub-techno chamber during the late '90s under his Fluxion moniker, recording releases for the Berlin-based Chain Reaction label -- two of which, Vibrant Forms 1 and 2, are now hailed as classics within the sub genre. With his latest full-length on the equally aquatic Echochord label, Fluxion takes a walk through the streets of New York with vocalist Teddy Selassie in tow. Recorded in NYC, Broadwalk Tales is a minimal and atmospheric stride, filled with taut rolling rhythms, dub effects, hazy textures, warm synth washes, and even a li'l jazzy number. Like a night drive on the FDR heading towards one of the bridges to Brooklyn, scenery moving past you as you sink into the ride, water on one side, a glowing metropolis on the other, surrounded by machines, Fluxion's productions are mechanized and churning, immediate and distant, subterranean and urban. The album is balanced between vocals and instrumentals with Selassie adding a sense of the BK on the even-numbered tracks, with his Jamaican accent and spirited quest for peace and reality. Following the collaboration of Deadbeat with Paul St. Hilaire, the Hardwax associates seem to be ushering in a new wave of vocal-assisted dub techno, and I'm down with it. More vibey and subtle than the Deadbeat album yet just as recommended, let the next chapter in digi-dub begin. [DG]

$17.99 CD
$27.99 2LP

WYE OAK
Shriek
(Merge)

Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win tickets to see Wye Oak at NYC's Webster Hall next Wednesday, May 7, with Braids opening! 

Since coming together in Baltimore in 2006, Wye Oak have been refining their particular strain of folky indie rock, based around Jenn Wasner's mesmerizing guitar playing, her deeply expressive vocals and songwriting, and Andy Stack's sharp rhythms and melodic keyboards. They really hit their stride on 2011's excellent Civilian LP, relying less on the stomp-box dynamics that had given many of their best early tracks a shot of adrenaline, focusing even more tightly on Wasner's swooning voice and swirling guitar. Now, after two years of touring behind that breakthrough record, Wasner has hung up her six-string. For now at least, what many of her biggest fans likely would have called unthinkable has happened, and the Shriek album is a guitar-free creation that uses piano and keyboard as its main melodic instruments, with Wasner mostly holding down the bass guitar and focusing on her dreamy, hook-filled vocals.

It's well-established that Wasner loves R&B and radio pop, and in the past she has explored those passions in side-projects Flock of Dimes and Dungeonesse. But here she and Stack have inverted the classic Wye Oak sound to focus on the dreamiest pop-oriented elements of their songs, using drum machines as often as they do a live kit, and letting strutting keyboard stabs, lovely piano riffs and thoughtful acoustic and electronic colorings shape the production. Recorded with Nicolas Vernhes at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, Shriek isn't really aiming for radio gold, and the sound is a lot more atmospheric and vintage feeling than current top-40, but instead of Wye Oak's old shoegaze-folk formula, they have embraced sepia-toned shoegaze-pop, and though it's impossible not to miss Wasner's great guitar playing, this actually works quite well. Whatever your production predilection, the band's songwriting and arrangements are more refined, thoughtful and fully engaging than ever, and Wasner's voice is in the best shape of her career; what lies next, fans will have to wait and see. [JM]

$13.99 CD ON SALE
$19.99 LP+MP3


SD LAIKA
That's Harakiri
(Tri Angle)

Sd Laika, one of Brooklyn industrial/electronic label Tri Angle's newest recruits, is the pen name of Milwaukee producer Peter Runge, arguably the brashest of the label's lineup, though he certainly has plenty of stiff competition for that title. Tri Angle has absorbed everyone from Evian Christ to Fis to Clams Casino to the Haxan Cloak, and they are a force to be reckoned with, sonically speaking, but Runge steps headlong into the fray, as every track on this debut trembles with either arcade sounds, groaning bass, rapid-fire clicking, or, usually, all three simultaneously. Each song subtly mutates itself at such a quick pace that it's hard to find a rhythm at first, but it's certainly there. While That's Harakiri comes off as more dark avant-garde ambience than accessible electronica, more listens clarify and distinguish the tracks from one another. "Meshes," the album's lead single, floats from shuffling dance floor beats to steel drums, but shifts at a steady pace to keep the listener enticed and nodding along. Cuts like "Remote Heaven" and "Peaked" initially appear amorphous and even difficult, yet they become much more attractive with time as the enigmatic knots with which Runge layers his productions begin to untangle and reveal some dark, torturous emotion beneath a layer of chaos.

Though Sd Laika seems to suggest that this album is Harakiri -- the ancient Japanese custom of cutting one's stomach open in an act of noble suicide -- I would beg to differ. Sure, it is painful and indubitably violent, but it's an equally enjoyable experience. It will take a serious toll on you, but it's worth all of the fury; Runge's work is so very rewarding due to the extent that he can unearth his own strife in a beautiful and novel manner. [MM]

$13.99 CD
$19.99 LP


CHICAGO UNDERGROUND DUO
Locus
(Northern Spy)

One of the last remaining projects that was birthed during the Windy City's '90s heyday of post-rock/new jazz fusion, and still causing a racket today, has been horn player Rob Mazurek and drummer Chad Taylor's Chicago Underground Duo. Part of Mazurek's large C.U. Collective, his duo work with Taylor has always been a favorite. Through the years, both musicians have begun incorporating electronics into the palette and on Locus, the two form a nice balance between synthetic and organic. Their seventh album together, their sound is still fresh and inspired, incorporating cornet, bamboo flute, allophone, mbira, drums, and Game Boy into the groove-based mix of breaks, free playing, ambiance, Afro-pop, and Ghanian folk. If you are a fan of classic avant-garde jazz in the vein of Phil Cohran, Sun Ra, Don Cherry, or Cooper Moore, yet want something new and now, Chicago Underground Duo have a wealth of material to fill your contemporary jazz needs, and here's a great place to start -- two seasoned musicians stretching out and feeling good. [DG]

$13.99 CD
$18.99 LP+MP3

NAT BALDWIN
In the Hollows
(Western Vinyl)

With an angular, string-heavy sound that tiptoes a line between avant-pop and straight-up songwriting hooks, Nat Baldwin's great new album might be exactly what you would hope for from the Dirty Projectors bassist, and it's a great addition to his growing cannon. Baldwin is an in-demand sideman, working with the DPs for many years, as well as, more fleetingly, helping out friends like Vampire Weekend and Department of Eagles, but it's in his decade-old solo guise that Baldwin really shows his range. With a powerful but reedy voice and emotional double bass playing, fleshed out with crisp drums and swelling string arrangements, Baldwin has crafted a lovely album that will be enjoyed by fans of any of his past collaborations or solo work, but really stands on its own as a personal high point in an already exciting career. [JM]

$8.99 CD ON SALE
$13.99 LP+MP3


POLYSICK
Dream
(AudioMER)

With Daydream, Italian producer Egisto Sopor a/k/a Polysick delivers the kind of singular, late night electronic delight that urges this reviewer to retroactively write about it, despite the record having been issued a year ago. The album is issued by the consistently excellent small Belgian experimental music label AudioMER, whose keen eye for detail and impeccable production values make a difference in today's world of oversaturated, often hastily put together independent releases. Collaborating with contemporary artists to produce a unique visual identity befitting the outspoken personalities of their atypical roster of often-outcast musicians, previous highlights of their back catalogue consist of notable releases by Chicago house experimentalist Hieroglyphic Being and New York's very own beatnik noise duo White Out. Following this tradition, AudioMER provides Daydream with a beautiful, stylish cover in washed-out blue that references the retro futurism of '90s rave flyers.

Previously working with labels such as 100% Silk and Planet Mu, Polysick produces acid-induced atmospheric techno with a hypnagogic, beguiling twist. Imagine the subdued subtlety of Tin Man's epic neo acid mixed with the flawlessly timed ambient sensibilities of Donato Dozzy, as well as the analogue fetishism of retro house renegade Legowelt, and you can start mapping out the polyvalent territory of Polysick's musical universe. Conceptualized as a flash back to the acid house era, Daydream is a remarkably convincing affair that merges fluent, malleable synth tones with more dance-oriented sensibilities. The album peaks in its seven-minute-long title track, whose controlled, meticulously built structure reaches for a strange sense of ecstatic restraint, but all in all it's the more psychedelic, abstract cuts that truly push the record towards an unreal, dream-like state in which it is ultimately simply pleasant to get lost. [NVT]

$25.99 LP


KELIS
Food
(Ninja Tune)

Harlem-born R&B singer Kelis has worked with a high-profile but creatively schizophrenic collection of producers since her early days with the Neptunes behind the boards. CeeLo Green, Andre 3000, will.i.am, Raphael Saadiq and even Boys Noize, Free School, Benny Benassi, and David Guetta have all had their moment creating a vibrant and soulful background for Kelis' scratchy voice and creative songwriting. Yet the charismatic singer seems to be settling in on Food, her new album for Ninja Tune, as the whole project was produced by TV on the Radio's David Sitek. Recorded in Sitek's California studio, it's a warm and retro-feeling collection of rock/soul hybrids with splashes of folk and Afro-beat. This set finds her in a natural and acoustic feeling atmosphere where before she may have fallen prey to the digital flavors of the day -- nice string arrangements bring forth a subtle pop and classic vibe throughout. Though I tend to prefer her more overtly urban material, this is a fine next step in a maturing artist's discography. [DG]

$14.99 CD
$29.99 2LP+MP3


MAJOR LAZER
Apocalypse Now
(Secretly Canadian)

Pharrell, the unexpected superstar of 2014, is the first voice heard on Major Lazer's fourth release, Apocalypse Soon. The EP's first and only single, "Aerosol Can," moves at the speed of light, wildly, yet quite simply. The beats are vibrant, evoking the island-influenced rhythms that Major Lazer likes to embed into their hip-hop rave, and Mr. Williams, like the chameleon he has become, blends in perfectly. Inevitably, though, I fear there's some charm missing when a big name is featured on a project that succeeds based on its authenticity, as was the case with "Bubble Butt," where Bruno Mars seemed to water down much of the charisma of Lazer's production. Perhaps Major Lazer thrived most as a side project, without the pressure of the spotlight on them all the time, but that said, with Diplo as a co-producer, nothing can go too awry. The five-song 12" still has its fair share of rapid Rasta-rap on "Sound Bang," the musical manifestation of the explosion on the album's cover, and "Lose Yourself," on which RDX and Moska join forces to humanize and intensify the lazer-sounding electronica that Switch and Diplo seem to progressively be moving towards. While Apocalypse Soon may lack the originality that the duo's debut had, it's never boring and is readymade to soundtrack any dance scene, whether that be a tribal campfire, a Jamaican street parade, or an elite nightclub. [MM]

$9.99 CD
$14.99 12"

also available

NEIL YOUNG
A Letter Home
(Third Man)

Just in! A Letter Home is a brand new album from Neil Young covering songs by Bob Dylan, Everly Brothers, Bert Jansch, Willie Nelson, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen and more. Each tune was recorded directly to vinyl in the 1940s-style Voice-o-Graph booth at Third Man Records with Jack White appearing on a couple of the tracks, giving this set a crackling, intimate vibe, best described by Young who calls the LP "retro-tech." CD version and deluxe vinyl edition out later this month.

$19.99 LP


DAMON ALBARN
Everyday Robots
(Warner Bros)

While Damon Albarn's never really been one to kick back and take it easy in recent years -- what with juggling Gorillaz, a Blur reunion, writing operas, and collaborating with a host of African musicians -- Everyday Robots is surprisingly the first album of songs ever released under his given name. One listen to the record gives you a clear idea as to why he chose not to cloak himself behind a pseudonym this time; it's a beautiful, melancholy look at a life filled with both triumph and torment, with many of the songs reflecting upon Albarn's biographical surroundings and how they've metamorphosized greatly. There's an able balance of the many influences he's displayed over the years, but overall the sound echoes most closely the underrated album he made as The Good, the Bad and the Queen -- these are dark songs sighing underneath slowly kinetic rhythm beds and aching orchestrations. Longtime fans will find much to love here.

$17.99 CD


PIXIES
Indie Cindy
(Pixies Music)

Purchase now for a free lithograph, while supplies last.

Culling all the tracks from Pixies' recent EP 1, EP 2 and EP 3 releases, Indie Cindy marks the first new full-length from the band since 1991's Trompe le Monde. It would be almost impossible for any group to come close to even touching that string of now-classic albums from the late '80s/early '90s, and held to those standards, this one does not -- beginning with the noticeably absent Kim Deal, though longtime producer Gil Norton is back in the chair. Yet these songs could not have come from anyone but Black Francis and Co. and highlights like "Greens and Blues," "Andro Queen," "Ring the Bell" and the title track are nice additions to the band's recorded and live repertoire and will be welcomed by longtime fans.

$13.99 CD ON SALE
$26.99 2LP


WILLIAM TYLER
Lost Colony
(Merge)

Coming off a busy year of touring in support of 2013's highly acclaimed Impossible Truth full-length, William Tyler's new three-song EP has more of a live-band feel than the bare-bones approach of his solo albums. The lead-off track, "Whole New Dude," is a new re-working of "Man of Oran," originally recorded under his Paper Hats guise for 2008's Deseret Canyon. Here, this Nashville guitarist's virtuosic fretwork is fleshed out with steady propulsive drumming and a swooning pedal steel, the song full of byzantine twists and turns throughout its 13-minutes. Also included is a full-band version of Impossible Truth's "We Can't Go Home Again" and a soaring cover of Michael Rother's "Karussell," in which Tyler and his group take a motorik romp through the Tennessee hills. Limited vinyl pressing!

$9.99 12"


CHAD VANGAALEN
Shrink Dust
(Sub Pop)

Chad VanGaalen's new album, Shrink Dust, sees the Calgary-based singer and songwriter experimenting with what he dubs a more "country" sound. Inspired by bands like the Flying Burrito Brothers and the comics of Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky, VanGaalen's fifth full-length is unified by the sounds of the pedal steel guitar, an instrument he recently began exploring and which makes itself heard on many of the songs throughout. All in all it's a weird, lovely slice of acid-fried psychedelic folk that's equal parts Gram Parsons and Ariel Pink.

$13.99 CD
$15.99 LP+MP3


SCREAMING FEMALES
Live at the Hideout
(Don Giovanni)

A thrilling raw document that captures this New Brunswick power-punk trio in their element: on stage. Recorded over the course of two sold-out nights in Chicago with Steve Albini behind the board, Live at the Hideout finds Screaming Females tearing through a ferocious set that includes early cuts like "Foul Mouth and "Boyfriend" as well as more recent songs like "Extinction" and "It All Means Nothing" off 2012's Albini-produced Ugly. While obviously no live album can replace the experience of being in the audience, you won't find a stronger case than these 13 songs for pushing your way to the front row the next time this band pulls through your town.

$13.99 CD
$22.99 2LP


THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA
Hang on to Each Other
(Constellation)

Well, this is a surprise! Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra take the acoustic campfire tune "Hang on to Each Other" from their Horses in the Sky album and trick it out into a self-described "house banger" with these two new beatwise versions. The result isn't far off from the likes of Primal Scream twisting their post-Velvets psychedelic comedowns into acid house excursions during the Screamadelica era; these two lengthy tracks arpeggiate and throb, complete with even some diva-soul vocals to boot! It's an interesting one-off for the band, perhaps not what fans would expect, but still a welcome detour for more adventurous heads. Don't fight it, feel it!

$9.99 12"


THE HIVE DWELLERS
Moanin'
(K Records)

The second full-length from the Hive Dwellers, led by K Records stalwart Calvin Johnson along with Evan Hashi, Gabriel Will and a small slew of guests. Johnson's singular baritone melodies steers the band through wonderfully subdued and oft shambolic odes to hometown life ("Streets of Olympia Town"), love and rejection ("Baby Be Mine," Your Kissing Me," "Love on the Wax"), and the bluesy fuzzed-out "Daughters of the Revolution."

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$15.99 LP

available on vinyl

WILLIAM BASINSKI
Melancholia
(Temporary Residence)

Now remastered and available for the first time on vinyl, here's what we wrote about William Basinski's Melancholia back in 2005:

Originally recorded in the early '80s, the 14 tape-loop compositions included on the album flutter and wilt with a beautiful and somehow uplifting sadness. Somewhat reminiscent to Gavin Bryars' classic "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet," Melancholia achieves its unique and haunting quality by manipulating tape loops of what sound like distant piano, string quartets and other less specific aural ephemeralities. While the source material is quite similar to many other fine works in the Basinski catalog, the 14 miniatures on Melancholia stand out as some of the most intriguing representations of Basinski's singular aesthetic. [KH]

$19.99 LP

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