AUGUST 21, 2014

special announcement



Every Saturday Afternoon through August 30
Union Pool: 484 Union Ave. Brooklyn
Facebook Event Invite | Free Admission

Other Music is thrilled to be co-presenting this FREE weekly party with Union Pool, which takes place every Saturday afternoon through August 30th in the iconic Brooklyn bar's big backyard. There are only a few more left in the season, this weekend's being a very special daytime installment of the PAT party, with Honey Dijon, W. Jeremy, JD Samson, Amber Valentine and Murray Hill. Next weekend's Summer Thunder blow-out is not to be missed as well, with Heavy Blanket (featuring J Mascis, Johnny Pancake and Pete Cougar ) and Honey wrapping up what's been another amazing summer of performances. As always, these next two Saturday's will be complete with brunch options from El Diablo Tacos and drink specials that will include offerings from Brooklyn Brewery, Jameson Black Barrel, & Kelvin Natural Slush Co. More details can be found on the Facebook event page.



Ace Hotel New York: 20 W. 29th St. NYC

Other Music's annual summer residency at New York City's Ace Hotel is wrapping up this Monday, August 25, with DJ Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh spinning her favorite records inside the gorgeous lobby bar from 8 p.m. to midnight. It's been a great summer and we'd like to thank all of you who joined us over these past few months, and special thanks to Ace Hotel for their great hospitality. 

in this week's update


FKA Twigs
Mirel Wagner
Naomi Shelton
Pauline Oliveros (2 Reissues)
Steve Roach


Comet Gain
Spider Bags
Twin Peaks
Lykke Li (Now on Vinyl)


Bishop Allen, Com Truise, Crime, Lee Gamble, Grateful Dead/John Oswald, JJ,  Moon Duo and more!




Baby's All Right: 146 Broadway, Brookln

Cymbals Eat Guitars' new album, Lose, hits store shelves next Tuesday, August 26, and that night the Staten Island indie rockers will be celebrating with a performance at Brooklyn's Baby's All Right. Show openers Grooms will be on hand to wish their friends congratulations on a great new record, and you can too. Email for your chance to win a pair of tickets!



Terminal 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC

Countless fans were thrilled when Slowdive reunited earlier this year and announced a world tour, which finally lands in the United States this fall. The legendary shoegaze band's New York City date on October 25 at Terminal 5 with Low as special guest is long sold out, but Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets. Enter for your chance to win by emailing!

this week's update

(Young Turks)

One of the most anticipated releases of the summer comes from 26-year-old British/Jamaican singer and onetime dancer Tahliah Debrett Barnett, a/k/a Forever Known As Twigs. Her seductive debut full-length of all-new material follows two EPs and continues Barnett's development of a sparse and open variation of the new electronic soul formula. The resulting album is a blossoming display of unrequited love and deep sexuality, with FKA Twigs working within the complex and multifaceted theme of relationships, even as she bends and twists the meaning and perspective into contortionist configurations. Quickly becoming the princess of the new wave of electronic-infused R&B, FKA Twigs bridges the gaps between a few sub-genres by accenting her songs with sonics usually associated with dubstep, grime, hip-hop, and the most obvious, trip-hop, but all topped with a shiny, crisp pop overcoat. Barnett's hometown of Gloucestershire is a British county that once included the neighboring Bristol within its borders, and it certainly lends a depth to the skeletal hip-hop atmospheres that often recall the cinematically noir worlds of Massive Attack or Portishead.

Listed in LP1's credits you'll find lots of up-n-coming writers, producers and musicians that share a similar love of the moody quiet storm revival -- names like inc.'s Daniel and Andrew Aged, Devonte Hynes of Blood Orange, Sampha, and Clams Casino -- all the while the trio of Arca (Kanye West), Emile Haynie (Lana Del Ray, Eminem) and Paul Epworth (Adele) holds down the bulk of the co-production. The end result, however, is a unique fusion of current UK underground sounds and glitchy pop, but with the sonic body all hollowed out. The reductive aspects of the production brings the listener into a bass-filled womb leaving Barnett's airy vocals as a center point while giving the surrounding sound more weight.

Though her songs may spark references from Grimes to Aaliyah, Twigs's brand of lovers pop contains more than a hint of venom underneath her nuanced delivery. Lyrically, the album is playful and provocative, filled with a melancholic take on love, longing, and lust as its themes, but with a strong sense of self, no matter how many times she faces rejection. Twigs writes from various angles: denying that she's "the girl from the video"; a hopeful admirer; a self-assured dominatrix; a woman who is lost in her search for companionship. Possessing a strong yet refined ethereal voice, she isn't really a typical pop vocalist (Barnett once worked as a jazz singer in a burlesque carnival show), and her sweet high register is downright hypnotizing -- she's equally a mermaid on the rock singing to passing sailors as much as a black widow seducing her intended prey into a deadly web. And while her phrases and delivery incorporate soul and bits of jazz and classical, it's never overblown; in fact it's the opposite.

Over the past few years, we've seen a growing number of artists following the minimalist soul footsteps of, say, the xx -- from Rhye, Jesse Ware or Solange, to Sohn the Weeknd and James Blake. FKA Twigs, however, is the weirdest, most impassioned, cosmopolitan and organically multifaceted talents to come around since the early days of Bjork's solo career. LP1 is a subdued yet powerful debut album that opens the space for a new voice and fresh perspective; FKA Twigs dares to create a deep sonic world and on so many levels she succeeds. [DG]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$17.99 LP

When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day
(Sub Pop)

Snatched up by Sub Pop following her eponymous 2012 debut, Mirel Wagner is an Ethiopia-born, Finland-raised singer-songwriter whose ascent is as unexpected as it is special. Electronic producer Sasu Ripatti (Vladislav Delay, Luomo) is perhaps a surprising choice as any to lead these recording sessions, however, When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day remains a bare-boned, organic affair comprised of not much more than an acoustic guitar and Wagner's sharp, rugged voice, all the while maintaining the dark and mysterious atmosphere of her previous release. These are ten short ballads, full of a creaking emptiness that mirrors the album's title, and though not a concept record, the songs are interconnected in a poignant and unnerving way.

Wagner evokes the work of 1920s and '30s blues singers, even more so than on her debut. That said she brings some real poetic innovation (sometimes cozy, sometimes haunting, and often both) to the table, leaving her somewhere between fellow Scandinavian Jenny Hval and Leslie Feist. Wagner's songwriting is as disturbing as it is alluring, her surreal, detailed vignettes touching upon life, death and love, and recalling the psychological complexity of Nick Cave's murder ballads effortlessly embedded into a sparse, bluesy folk form. The chilly plucking that surrounds the lyrics is merely the most appropriate medium for her words. Together, she creates nightmarish lullabies that never lack in beauty or bravery. A solid step in Wagner's continually captivating repertoire, When the Cellar Children... is not to be missed. [MM]

$13.99 CD
$15.99 LP

Substrata 2

These are important times for ambient music. Significant, deluxe reissues of seminal works by the likes of Steve Roach, Harold Budd, and William Basinski have recently appeared with renewed public interest. Notwithstanding these composers' outspoken, varying aesthetic interests and strategies, they nevertheless share notable experimental and avant-garde sensibilities, which they merge with more popular forms of minimalism, drone, and new age. But, as we continue to digest and reassess their diverging bodies of work, new, different musical horizons for ambient music become apparent, ones in which distinctions of high and low, sound and atmosphere, become obsolete. Of course, connoisseurs of the genre will claim that such constantly shifting horizons have always been an essential part of the ambient experience, excitedly proclaiming alternative lineages running from Stockhausen to Sun Ra and from Les Baxter to La Monte Young. As these unusual musical connections previously were lost in the cracks of music history, pre-internet and reissue-hype age, we should welcome the unique opportunities these reissues offer to reconsider the genre and understand more of its unique achievements.

Enter Norwegian composer Geir Jenssen a/k/a Biosphere. When his Substrata album originally appeared in 1997 on All Saints, it presented the culmination of a ten-year long musical odyssey which led him from new age doodling with Bel Canto to ambient techno under the Bleep moniker, and finally to the environmental experimentalism of Biosphere. A late-'90s classic of deep, immersive ambient compositions, the album was gloriously reissued and remastered by the consistently excellent Touch label in 2001. This 2014 reissue presents the same material, with the original Substrata album on the first disk, complemented with bonus tracks and Biosphere's soundtrack for Dziga Vertov's 1929 Soviet masterpiece Man with a Movie Camera on the second.

The main album simply remains a milestone of subtly melodic and often acutely melancholic soundscapes, successfully merging field recording with electronic manipulations and soft, indolent guitar lines (think the great Loren Connors, or, more recently, Other Music's very own Scott Mou a/k/a Queens). It has often been said that it is all too easy to ignore ambient music altogether, its echoing and atmospheric sounds lost in the maelstrom of everyday noises. But Geir Jenssen achieves something altogether unique on this album, as he forces us to listen to the silences between sounds, making apparent yet another, less obvious link with the 20th century avant-garde, and thus, once again, opening up a previously forgotten lineage of ambient music... Highly recommended! [NVT]

$18.99 2CD

1200 BC EP
(Mon Dieu Music)

Two sparkling talents from NYC's current underground hip-hop scene come together for this short, tight and dense EP. Brownsville rapper Ka has been on a steady rise with his self-released albums (not mix-tapes) Grief Pedigree and the soon-to-be classic The Night's Gambit. For his latest, he connects with the Mon Dieu Music label run by local DJ and producer DJ Preservation (who made a name for himself as in-house producer and tour DJ for Yasiin Bey, f/k/a Mos Def). On 1200 B.C., Ka and Preservation create a gritty yet heartfelt and thought-provoking mini-album where the rhymes and storytelling are upfront, and the rhythms are rich, sparse, and often lush. Ka's spirit is that of the everyman on his daily grind, but not without a sense of pride, love, and history. The music is built from samples of Barry White and other mellow soul moments that help to establish a more low-key, laidback, and almost anti boom-bap aesthetic. Separate and now together, producer and MC are both digging deep to serve up something a bit against the grain yet full of heart. Fans of Gang Starr, Wu-Tang/RZA, Roc Marciano, and those more in tune with the storyteller than the hype machine should pay close attention of what these two are up to. [DG]

$4.99 CD-EP
$14.99 7"


Warp Records throws us a bit of a curve ball with this new 12" by South African producer Nozinja (a/k/a Richard Mthethwa), probably best known to the west as part of the Shangaan Electro crew. Featuring an instrumental and vocal version of the title track, both sides of the single conjure a dizzying Technicolor haze of chirping, rapid-fire synths and sped-up lo-tech samples riding atop heavy bass and frenetic tempos. It's one of Warp's most leftfield moves in a while and I for one am pretty excited about what's to come next from Nozinja. [MM]

$11.99 12"

Cold World

Daptone may be a label that trades primarily in the sounds of yesteryear, but truth be told, their records sound fresher than most music being made today. Unlike other retro practitioners, Daptone's releases never have that gauzy film of nostalgia or sentimentality slopped all over them. Every note on a Daptone production is going to be razor sharp. Case in point, Cold World, the latest from Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens. It's a scorching platter of funk-soul-gospel that puts the 70-something Shelton in her rightful place: the spotlight. The singer's gritty, powerful vocals are front-and-center, with the Gospel Queens providing classic call-and-response backup. Comparisons to the mighty Staples Singers' 1970s work are not out of the question. With a crack band full of funk/soul vets sending Shelton on her way, the 12 songs here positively crackle with energy, even on slow-burn tracks like "One Day." It may be a cold, cold world, but Naomi Shelton sounds devoted to spreading some warmth. [TW]

$12.99 CD
$16.99 LP

Intruder - Cassette

Intruder is a mysterious new NYC project with roots deep in the punk underground. The debut release, a crudely packaged demo-length cassette, is a total knockout of darkened, drugged-up, late-night downer jams. Opening with a lonesome acoustic guitar, the electronics and wordless moans that follow are layered to a dizzying, almost industrial effect. This first song, however, merely hints at the hard-hitting, ferocious second track, "Murder," which reeks not only of Death in June, but also Godflesh and other '90s powerhouses like Swans, Cop Shoot Cop or even Pain Teens. There's a punk approach that permeates throughout with heavy percussion, and the sinister, contained energy is potent and passionate. Intruder is the type of project everyone hopes to discover: something that has a primal intensity, hasn't overtly aligned itself with a hip scene, and is home-recorded with an extremely personal aesthetic. A major debut! [RN]

$4.99 CASS

Giddy Boys
(Katorga Works)

Institute arrives at full blast in the form of this excellent 7" that is truly all killer, no filler. Three songs in about as many minutes splay out the Austin band's obvious influences and musical trajectory which harken back to the first wave of anarcho and peace punk via an updated aesthetic boost -- think Flux of Pink Indians on Iceage, or Crisis by way of Slug Guts and you catch the drift. Total bare-boned, minimal guitar lines are met with driving drums and off-the-cuff vocals that are equal parts Rozz Williams and John Lydon. A messy DIY recording aids in the band's ability to draw you into their truly timeless sound and approach. For fans of all things post-punk and underground, also be on the lookout for a new 12" forthcoming on Sacred Bones. [RN]

$5.99 7"

Accordion & Voice

Accordion & Voice and The Wanderer, two essential, life-affirming Pauline Oliveros reissues by Important Records from 2007, get a re-release. When Accordion & Voice originally came out in 1981, it presented the very first occasion to experience Oliveros as a soloist on record and, more importantly, strictly working within an acoustic context. A pioneer of tape and electronic music, Oliveros' musical merits should be positioned alongside the groundbreaking achievements of Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, even though she was initially rarely considered their peer. Recently, however, there has been a serious reevaluation of her innovative body of work, not in the least in the shape of a monumental 12-disk box set of early, unreleased material issued by Important two years ago, as well as a number of seemingly endless quality releases by the same label. Despite persisting gendered perceptions of female composers, Pauline Oliveros' output is every inch as exciting, and often way more revolutionary, than that of her male counterparts, something these two records forcefully confirm.

Accordion & Voice delivers exactly what its title promises: using her favorite instrument, the composer creates a mind-bending, seemingly never-ending series of drones, her soft, ethereal vocals often floating on top. Especially on "Horse Sings from Cloud," which is perhaps her best-known composition, the effects are nothing less than transformative. Even though she only theorized her concept of "deep listening" a few years after this recording, we can already hear all of its ingredients in full bloom, as the piece presents a suggestive, therapeutic ritual that offers an occasion for personal, as well as social change. For Oliveros, the act of listening is a foremost political one that fosters "sonic awareness," to use the composer's own words, an opening up of one's consciousness towards environmental, psychological, and feminist concerns. For listeners less inclined to engage with such socio-cultural concerns, her music primarily offers the pure joy of listening, something beautifully confirmed with this disc as well. On its second track, "Rattlesnake Mountain," we hear her accordion in constant motion, full of grace and with astonishing rapid figures, showing an incredible skill and mastering of her instrument. This is essentially an indispensable release for any lover of experimental and avant-garde music. [NVT]

$15.99 CD

The Wanderer

1984's The Wanderer has possibly the most wonderful Pauline Oliveros cover art thus far, as we find the composer graciously sitting atop an elephant that is about to get up and start walking. This visual representation of flux and movement is importantly incorporated into the music as well.

A decidedly more ambitious record than Accordion & Voice, The Wanderer is Oliveros' first full-orchestral release. On the title track, which was created for the Springfield Accordion Orchestra under the guidance of conductor Sam Falcetti, Oliveros leads an astonishing composition in two movements. Whereas its first part is an exploration of long, extended tones, in line with the composer's habitual style, the second part opens up into wild, celebratory territory with astonishing rhythmic and melodic changes and a truly astounding musical finesse.

This record's version of "Horse Sings from Cloud," which is performed by an ensemble, emphasizes complex microtonal textures and a distinct juxtaposition of the explored instruments: bandoneon, harmonium, accordion, and concertina, producing a truly impressive overall sound. Featuring the great David Tudor alongside Oliveros, "Duo for Accordion and Bandoneon" offers an exercise in restraint, with the musicians carefully balancing off ideas of sound and silence, often dropping off into sheer nothingness. Complemented with the sounds of musicians shuffling in their chairs and fingers pressing the keys of their instruments, it's a visceral, satisfying listening experience. As should be clear by now, this is simply incredible stuff: get it while you can! [NVT]

$15.99 CD

Structures from Silence

On this 30th anniversary 3-CD edition, ambient guru Steve Roach gives his indispensable masterpiece Structures from Silence the lush, luxurious treatment it fully deserves. The record is a bit of an odd creature in the experimental music canon, as it has been included in both Yoga Journal's Top Ten of All Time Releases for Yoga and hipster outlet Fact Magazine's Top Ten of 100 Best Albums of the 1980s. This rare quality to simultaneously appeal to a spiritual, meditative audience and electronic music aficionados is what makes Roach's achievement stand out amongst his peers.

Structures from Silence graciously circumvents the usual aesthetic pitfalls of its era, even though its delicate, vintage synth tones clearly refer to the times in which it was made. Most importantly, the intricately built structure of its three long, meandering tracks make the record truly unforgettable: each of them start off from silence, followed by repeated motifs and suggestive, cyclic melodies, after which they subdue in silence again. There is a natural flair emanating from its warm, drifting sounds, whose melancholic nature feels utterly genuine. As Roach states in the original liner notes, they emanate from "that expansive place where you breathe out and then you breathe back in."

The first disc presents a remastered version of the original record, which has never sounded as deep and luscious as it does here, its impressive textural details aiming for full emotional effect. The other two discs contain new material recorded in 2013 following the same compositional principals as the original and are every bit as sophisticated and majestic as the former one. This basically is as essential as it gets -- lovers of subtle, slowly moving electronic music: You know what to do! [NVT]

$21.99 3CD

also available

In the Wild
(Ninja Tune)

NYC producer FaltyDL returns with a new album for Ninja Tune that finds Drew Lustman experimenting with a number of different styles, from footwork and breakcore jungle to more jazz-influenced downtempo numbers and a bit of throbbing house flavors. In the Wild is a highly schizophrenic listen, but one whose charms wear well; longtime fans will find much to love, while neophytes can easily get on board here. Recommended.

$14.99 CD
$29.99 2LP+MP3

Paperback Ghosts
(Fortuna Pop)

British indie stalwarts Comet Gain return with Paperback Ghosts, their seventh album and one which sees the group swapping out much of their raucous rock mentality for more melancholic, introspective balladry. All the same, it's clear that even after 22 years on the scene, Comet Gain still deliver the goods.

$14.99 CD
$22.99 LP+MP3

Frozen Letter

With their fourth album, North Carolina's Spider Bags solidifies a once-revolving lineup and tightens their sound in the process. Filled with loud, buzzing guitar chords, jangling melodies, and some driving rhythms, Frozen Letter (their first album for Merge Records) occupies a beloved corner of sullen but raucous underground rock once populated by bands like Dinosaur Jr, Meat Puppets, and even Dead Moon.

$11.99 ON SALE
$18.99 LP+MP3

Wild Onion
(Grand Jury)

Wild Onion, the second album from Chicago rockers Twin Peaks, blends some gnarled and distorted power-pop crunchers with more sprawling and subdued psychedelic pop numbers. The resulting record offers an entertaining feast of power chords, hornets-nest fuzz, and laconic lyricism that explores similar territory to artists like Kurt Vile, Tame Impala, and War on Drugs. No sophomore slump here; on the contrary, Wild Onion shows plenty of promise for these upstarts.

$11.99 CD
$15.99 LP+MP3

available on vinyl

I Never Learn

Over the last few years, Lykke Li has been slowly formulating an image for herself through her bleak and minimalist fashion sense, her somber cameos on Swedish TV, and her sporadic tours and publicity. She has always been the gloomy, hermitic it-girl of indie pop who withheld some serious resentment and sadness. However, her songs pretty consistently failed to evoke the same level of intensity as her persona. Breathing woes like "all my love is unrequited" and "everybody's dancing, everybody but me" just never matched the powerful misery on which Li has appeared to thrive. That is, until now.

Lykke Li's third album, I Never Learn, finally abandons the weakness that she has too frequently confused with sadness; ironically, it seems as though Li has learned from her past by toughening her sorrow with confidence. I Never Learn seethes with an authentic pain that results from having suffered real loss rather than having merely yearned for more. Perhaps we can account this to Li's recent breakup that she has described as "really killing me." But calling I Never Learn a breakup album would be mitigating its value completely. Whether the record is a direct result of the split doesn't matter when you start to feel how genuinely the tracks wail. Though there are only nine songs to work with, each hits so strongly after the next that there's no time to be bored. After the sharp agony of "Gunshot" comes the tear-jerking ballad "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone," proof that nearly each track supersedes its predecessor.

In a sea of cheesy phrases that you have heard thousands of times in your life, Lykke Li can say "I'm alone tonight and I'm never gonna love again" and you will believe her. And even better, at the expense of incorporating such ardor into her album, she doesn't lose any of the songwriting ability that allowed her previous records to succeed; the melodies are as impressive as ever, stretching her range to new levels and proving her worth as a vocalist alone. No longer afraid to stick to one subject matter, Li fully devotes this album to a single theme of irretrievable love, perhaps a familiar notion, but one that is rarely approached this directly. Lykke Li has dug deep inside and finally come into her own on this very impressive work. [MM]

$11.99 CD
$22.99 2LP+MP3

just in

Lights Out
(Dead Oceans)

$11.99 CD ON SALE

In Decay
(Ghostly International)

$18.99 2LP

Murder by Guitar
(Superior Viaduct)

$19.99 LP

Kuang EP

$18.99 LP


$63.99 3LP

Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
(Superior Viaduct)

$19.99 LP

Electric Lucifer Book II
(Telephone Explosion)

$21.99 LP


(Secretly Canadian)

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$15.99 LP

Shotgun Wedding (1972)

$19.99 LP

Industriale Illuminato

$25.99 2LP

Live in Ravenna
(Sacred Bones)

$15.99 LP

Foundations of Burden
(Profound Lore)

$13.99 CD
$25.99 2LP

the big picture