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May 23, 2014

special announcement

OTHER MUSIC SUMMER MONDAYS AT ACE HOTEL

EVERY MONDAY IN JUNE, JULY & AUGUST

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

We are excited to announce that Other Music's Summer Monday residency returns to Ace Hotel New York! Kicking off June 2nd with DJ Chris Pappas, on each and every Monday through to the end of August you'll find one of our staff members behind the turntables playing their favorite songs in the gorgeous lobby bar. So mark your calendar and come wind down your work day with us, every Monday evening in June, July and August at Ace Hotel New York.
 

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Curtis Harding
The Soundcarriers
Cloaks
Traxman
Lewis
Larry Heard
Ingram Marshall
Arto Lindsay
Howard Nishioka
The Everymen
Modern Mayan: The Indian Music of Chiapas, Mexico (Various Artists)
 

ALSO AVAILABLE

copeland (a/k/a Inga Copeland)
Plaid
Trans Am
Conor Oberst
Chain & the Gang
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Bry Webb
Laraaji (Now on LP)
Ninos du Brasil (Now on CD)
Weevie (Back in Stock)
Vernon Wray (Back in Stock)
Steve Young (Back in Stock)


 

announcements

WIN TICKETS TO ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER & MATMOS

SATURDAY, MAY 24

Music Hall of Williamsburg: 66 N. 6th Street. Brooklyn, NY

As Oneohtrix Point Never, Daniel Lopatin has been at the forefront of the revival of synthesizer-centered, psychedelic-influenced electronica for a few years now, culminating in his latest album, R Plus Seven, which found a logical home on Warp Records. This Saturday, he'll be performing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, along with music ground breakers Matmos, and Other Music has a pair of tickets to give away. Email tickets@othermusic.com for your chance to win!


PUNK ROCK GIRLS FILM SERIES PASSES

MAY 29- JUNE 1

BAMcinématek: Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave. Brooklyn, NY

Marking the release of Lukas Moodysson's punk-rock valentine, We Are the Best!, BAMcinématek has been paying homage to the fearless, Mohawk-sporting, safety pin-wearing, guitar-wielding women who stick it to the Man. There are still some great, classic flicks to be seen during the last week of the Punk Rock Girls film series, including Liquid Sky, Jubilee, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, and more (full listing here). Other Music is giving away a pair of passes good for all of the remaining films in the series, and to enter for your chance to win, email contest@othermusic.com!


WIN VIP PASSES TO WARPAINT AT CELEBRATE BROOKLYN

THURSDAY, JUNE 26

Prospect Park Bandshell: 9th Street & Prospect Park West, Brooklyn NY

L.A.'s Warpaint make a triumphant return to New York next month, performing as headliners at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park on Thursday, June 26! While the show is free, Other Music is giving away two pairs of VIP passes which will allow you to bypass the line at the entrance, and will also give you access to the reserved area. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win a pair!  
 

this week's update

CURTIS HARDING
Soul Power
(Burger)

Burger Records is definitely riding a cultural wave right now -- see the New York Times feature from last weekend if you don't know what I'm talking about -- and while their SoCal bubblegum punk aesthetic manages to include a surprisingly diverse array of artists, Curtis Harding's incredible southern soul debut album has got to be one of their most unexpected releases to date. It also stands a good chance of being their breakout success story. This young Detroit-born but Atlanta-based talent spent some time singing backup and songwriting with Cee Lo Green, and also collaborated with everyone from OutKast to the Black Lips over the years; his garage-soul project with the Lips' Cole Alexander, Night Sun, is what first brought the singer into the Burger fold. And while all of that history surely plays some part in Soul Power beyond mere backstory, the sum is actually greater than its high-profile parts, as Harding seems to have arrived fully formed as the most compelling new soul singer I've heard since Charles Bradley -- and this time, it's a young dude who likes rock and roll, and looks good hanging around Saint Laurent with topless models, to boot.

There is more than a hint of Muscle Shoals in these tracks, built around a straight-shooting but soulful rhythm section and lots of guitars, fat organ and punchy horns. Yet despite the vintage soul strut, it stands apart from revivalists like the Daptone stable by relying far less stringently on classic sounds and arrangements; Soul Power is a modern record in the sway of classic soul rather than a retro barn-burner, and you can hear Mick Collins in these grooves as readily as Albert King. The 12 tracks included touch on everything from garage rock to disco, while still maintaining a consistent sound and attitude, and more than any allusions, the heart of this thing is Harding's powerful, smoky voice and classic heartbreak songwriting. The fact that this ended up on Burger also seems to say something about Harding's general MO, looking to find his own way rather than toe anybody's line, and with talent like his, I'm betting it's a gamble that will work. [JM]

$12.99 CD
$18.99 LP

THE SOUNDCARRIERS
Entropicalia
(Ghost Box)

The Ghost Box label returns with a stunning and perhaps surprising new album by Nottingham-based group, the Soundcarriers, one of my personal favorite contemporary pop bands who've managed to slip under the radar for far too long. Over the course of two prior full-lengths for the Melodic label, the Soundcarriers have crafted breathtaking vistas of lush, complex psychedelia that take myriad influences -- the grand, epic soul orchestrations of David Axelrod and Charles Stepney; the DIY bedsit sci-fi of Joe Meek and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop; light sprinkles of post-war exotica and bachelor-pad jazz; and the sun-soaked astral whimsy of 1960s California harmony pop -- and fuse it all into something that rings of familiarity, yet retains a wholly unique visage and sound.

What's most striking in the Soundcarriers' music, though, are the vocal harmonies, with male and female voices blending and swirling together beautifully as the music ebbs, flows, pulsates, and clatters. The singing often recalls the infamous Cali pop group the Free Design, whose leader Chris Dedrick actually penned liner notes to the Soundcarriers' debut album back in 2009. It's all filtered through the same sort of through-the-looking-glass sonic surrealism as bands like Broadcast, Tame Impala, Death and Vanilla, or the Sufis -- these are groups who have updated classic tropes of psychedelia for the omnivorous iPod set, showing that nothing is off-limits, while draping the proceedings in styles both comfortable and beguiling. With Entropicalia, the Soundcarriers have rightfully stepped forward as a group not to be ignored; this is perhaps the most confident, nuanced, and vivid album the band has yet produced, and that's really saying something, considering the excellence of their two prior records.

If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned groups, music, or concepts, grip this post-haste, as it is a dazzling soundtrack for the season, and like all Ghost Box product, not likely to stick around for long. Entropicalia is on my shortlist of 2014's best albums, and if you dig the magic conjured here, you're going to want to track down their previous two as well -- trust me. Spring has seldom sounded so delightfully chimerical. [IQ]

$17.99 CD

CLOAKS
Visible
(Sun Ark)

I hate to do this to you, but by a mile my favorite new music of the year thus far as been this cassette tape, issued in an edition of 100 copies, of which we have fewer than a handful, and which is already sold out at the source. Released by Cameron Stallones' Sun Ark Editions, Visible features the work of Portland, OR duo Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile, operating as Cloaks. Doran has put out several of my favorite mixes of the last several years, which limn a weird zone where corporate Japanese ambient music meets fourth world pop abstraction. It's a very compelling sensibility, and more than on display in the music these two are making here, which manages to be experimental while remaining completely, almost compulsively, listenable throughout.

Side A is probably the more experimental of the two sides, created in the studio and featuring what I imagine to be a battery of obscure early-'80s synths put to never-before-heard use. Side B, however, is where I really think it's at: a live performance recorded at the Mississippi Studios that is totally thrilling. What seems like shifting marimba patterns and padded keys collide with ethnic music samples to create a riveting forward velocity that I seriously cannot get enough of. It's super rare to find such completely new sounding music that takes very little adjustment to get used to, and I fervently hope these guys are being signed somewhere soon because this is music that desperately needs to be heard by more than a hundred people! [MK]

$9.99 CASSETTE


TRAXMAN
Da Mind of Traxman Vol 2
(Planet Mu)

Chicagoan footwork producer Cornelius Ferguson (a/k/a Traxman) made quite a splash around the store in 2012 with Da Mind of Traxman, his debut album for Planet Mu. Ferguson gained his stripes through the years producing ghetto house and juke for small local labels, as well as New York's Dance Mania, and with his more recent work in the footwork genre, Traxman has become a leader within the scene. For his newest installment, Da Mind of Traxman Vol. 2, Ferguson continues to mine the soul and jazz bins for tasty tidbits of vibey moments to deconstruct and reassemble into a fevered, loopy tapestry. Though his debut featured more samples derived from hip-hop, the source material here is more varied and overall a bit funkier. Throughout DMOTV2, snippets from Roy Ayers, James Brown, Kraftwerk, and many others are stretched into a variety of shapes and sizes. Yet his use of samples this time around is paired down, and utilizing only a few key pieces in each track, he keeps the focus tight and the abstracted rhythms in the pocket.

From the swirling, jazz tap-inspired vibraphones in opener "Time Slip" to the house a cappella chopping of "Can Nutin Hold Me Back," the soulful pleas of "Make Love to Me," or even the metal mangling "The Edge of Panic," all of Ferguson's tracks have a rhythmic pulse and elasticity to them that really make you feel like this is music made to be danced to. Rich, dense and layered, high-speed and thumping, this is high-octane music for those Red Bull-fueled nights, or equally the soundtrack to those smoky evenings at home, headphones deep in the bassbin. The footwork scene may have recently lost its golden child with the untimely death of DJ Rashad, but there are still many skilled producers from Chicago and beyond who continue to carry the torch. If you want to know what this footwork thing is all about, this is a fine place to start -- though there are many starting points to this vibrant scene. Recommended for the diehard and the cautious newbie alike. [DG]

$14.99 CD

LEWIS
L'Amour
(Light in the Attic)
 

By far one of the most enigmatic, puzzling and yet just absolutely enjoyable and addictive albums you'll hear all year is Light In the Attic's reissue of a privately released LP from 1983 called L'Amour, featuring a shirtless, handsomely coiffed man going by the nom de plume of Lewis, and whose record is dedicated to supermodel Christie Brinkely (!). I remember Weird Canada's Aaron Levin showing up with reasonably priced copies of this album at the WFMU Record Fair a few years ago, where he had a hard time getting anyone to take him seriously that an LP with a cover looking like that was a masterpiece. Yet here he is having the last laugh as some of the world's greatest collectors are presently kicking themselves for having judged this particular book by its cover. Since that fair, mp3s and word-of-mouth testimonials eventually began circulating and the cult of Lewis swiftly took on ever-greater proportions, culminating in this high-profile release. I, for one, tried to do my part, having played it for every friend I have over the last three of four years, and it's never once failed to resonate.

The story of Lewis is still shrouded in a great deal of mystery, but I'll save you the details of that fascinating rabbit hole for Jack D. Fleischer's excellent liner notes. Suffice to say that this music is diffuse in the extreme, with a vibe of romantic longing that always borders on the edge of melancholy and yet which remains weirdly uplifting. It's a music with almost no center, strangely ineffable and full of details you can never quite put your finger on, not least of which is what he's singing about. Actually, what he's doing is not so much singing as it is intimately mumbling in your ear while hazy, ill-defined washes of synth shroud gently finger-picked acoustic guitars and somnambulantly placed piano chords. Mark my words, this reissue is going to top just about every list there is this year, so improbable is its very existence, you'd do well to begin to attempt to penetrate its mystery immediately. [MK]

$16.99 CD

LARRY HEARD
Alien
(Alleviated)

By the time Larry "Mr. Fingers" Heard released Alien in 1996, the first album bearing his name, the legendary producer's reputation was already cemented as a true innovator of the original Chicago house revolution. His seminal 1985 dancefloor anthem "Can You Feel It" helped pave the way for deep house, pushing the genre away from posthuman machinations towards rhythmically advanced structures, while classics such as "Washing Machine" and "Beyond the Clouds," with their extraordinary, hybrid sensibilities that touch upon prog and jazz idioms, were pivotal in establishing influential genre-mutations such as tech and acid house. With the release of Fingers Inc.'s Another Side in 1988, the genre's very first full album and an essential, hopelessly out of print gem, he once again pulled house music into new, ever-evolving forms. Decisively moving away from dancefloor escapades, the record delivered a more floating approach in which direct, honest vocal deliveries were interspersed with slow, spacey soundscapes. It should come as little surprise, then, that on Alien he would fully embark on an extraterrestrial journey, merging a singular brand of subtly shifting rhythms and advanced harmonies with new age, kosmische electronic sounds, and jazz lite.

Opener "Faint Object Detection" starts off in true synth grandeur, merging Jean Michel Jarre's epic sense of melody with Tangerine Dream's infamous arpeggiated brilliance -- the flow is theatrical, slowly building and, most remarkably, without a single beat. It's not until we are well into the second track, the intergalactic "The Dance of Planet X," that Heard's distinctive rhythmic shuffle makes its self-assured entrance, the song's increasingly fluffy synth washes held together by a deeply moving bassline, another classic Heard feature. There are moments on the album where things seem to be getting out of hand, such as the saccharine jazz escapade "Flight of the Comet" and the somewhat dated flirt with hip-hop on the closer "The Beauty of Celeste." However, despite such minor flaws, Larry Heard confirms his reputation as an undeniable innovator. Tracks such as "Micro-Gravity," "Galactic Travels Suite," and "Two Journeys" fully merge rhythmic advancement with the complex melodic developments of prog rock and are testaments to Heard's incontestable search for ever new musical ventures. This simply is a record every house and progressive music head needs to own, and we truly hope its release will spark a new surge of classic Larry Heard reissues. [NVT]

$18.99 CD

INGRAM MARSHALL
Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem
(Arc Light Editions)

Following a stellar reissue of Arthur Russell's Another Thought comes the second release from this new label-to-watch, Arc Light Editions. Originally issued in the early '80s on New Albion Records, Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem is an intensely beautiful album of classic post-minimal music. "Fog Tropes" is arguably his most famous work, which combines field recordings of foghorns with a brass sextet put through tape delay, each unfolding in a slow, accumulative kind of counterpoint. I've probably used "mist enshrouded" as a descriptor in a few too many reviews for Other Music over the years, but if ever an album warranted that it's this one! This piece is truly all enveloping, deeply evocative, and one of the most successful attempts to render a landscape aural that I can think of.

"Gradual Requiem" was composed in 1980, and is perhaps more immediately placed in a continuum that includes Terry Riley's electric organ pieces (a la Persian Surgery Dervishes) or Alvin Curran's Songs and Views of the Magnetic Garden. It's a work for piano, synth, mandolin, voice, tape, and gambuh (a Balinese wind instrument) that is amongst the most heart renderingly beautiful music Marshall has ever written. Dedicated to his then recently deceased father, "Gradual Requiem" is gorgeously lyrical while being entirely devoid of clichés, as corporeal as it is anchored to the firmament. It's a piece I've listened to many dozens of times through the years, and which never fails to yield further discoveries. [MK]

$23.99 LP

ARTO LINDSAY
Encyclopedia of Arto
(Northern Spy)

Arto Lindsay's work as a singer, guitarist, producer, and songwriter has long been blanketed in enigma and a bit of mystery; as a part of epochal NYC no-wave art punks DNA and the new wave R&B of Ambitious Lovers, Lindsay influenced a great number of musicians into rethinking the basic structures of rock and pop music's power supply. His post-Lovers solo material, though, has never really been given the proper recognition it deserves; since the beginning of his career, Lindsay has continually spliced the fluidity of soul with the jagged angles of violence, and this poetic dance has only evolved and refined itself with each of his subsequent albums. Encyclopedia of Arto is the first attempt to properly address this stunning, visceral dichotomy, and in effect presents the closest Cliffs Notes summary of Linday's aesthetic modus as we're likely to see.

The set's first CD compiles material from each of his solo studio albums, beginning with 1995's O Corpo Sutil through to his last, 2004's Salt, and barring perhaps one or two examples, still sounds shockingly modern. He works towards fusing the sensualities present in multitudes of rhythm, be it the tender delicacy of bossa nova, the subtle shifts of pagode and samba, or the taut, angular gridwork of drum'n'bass and hardcore. His voice croons oblique groupings of poetry as collaborators like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Vinicius Cantuária, Blonde Redhead (who named their band after one of Lindsay's songs), and Brian Eno orchestrate subtle collusions of texture, rhythm, and harmony around his voice.

And then there's Linday's guitar, perhaps one of the last truly unique and innovative approaches to the instrument in the modern age (I say this without hyperbole; anyone who knows his sound is likely to recognize it instantly). His trademark is to play an electric 12-string with half of the strings detuned, treating the guitar more like a percussion instrument, like a 12-stringed berimbau -- his technique is all texture and rhythm, utilizing the electricity and power of feedback, timbre, and (dis)harmony. This singular approach is given the full spotlight on Encyclopedia's stunning second CD, a compilation of live soundboard recordings from various solo concerts documenting his more recent activities. Many of the first CD's songs are given stark and drastic reinterpretations on disc two, as well as a number of cover versions (Prince! Al Green! Chico Buarque!) and a few heretofore unreleased tracks as well. This disc contextually nods to Lindays's early no-wave period, while also displaying roots of the Ambitious Lovers and the solo albums; taken together, both discs document a serious chunk of Arto's activity, and provide solid perspective displaying him as a truly singular creative performer and producer.

I won't lie -- Arto Lindsay is a personal creative cornerstone, and as a longtime hardcore fan, I can say that while obviously not comprehensive (that would probably take about four or five CDs worth of material), Encyclopedia of Arto is perhaps the greatest introduction AND retrospective of Lindsay's vital creativity. [IQ]

$19.99 2CD

HOWARD NISHIOKA
Street Songs
(Big Pink)

I'm very stoked that we're able to carry one of the greatest and most out-there Hawaiian psych albums ever made: Howard Nishioka's Street Songs, from 1979. Nishioka was involved with Hawaii's most notorious punk band, the Fuckin' Flyin' A-Heads, but right before that venture he released this amazing, nearly art brut slab of deconstructed guitar music that at turns endlessly boogies, or alternately gets splayed out in the most lovely and lazy sounding fashion. Oftentimes there's a kernel of the mellowness you find in Hawaii's slack-key guitar music, but filtered and blown out through an almost Blue Cheer-like sensibility that renders the proceedings completely disorienting. Although I don't think there's really another record like it, being both homespun and yet totally epic, you can pretty much put this album on the same plane as Brazil's Satwa, late period Sandy Bull, or even Phil Pearlman's freak-rock masterpiece, Beat of the Earth. [MK]

$19.99 CD


THE EVERYMEN
Givin' Up On Free Jazz
(Ernest Jenning Recording Co.)

Without reducing this sweaty and vital rock act to a one-liner, I'm pretty comfortable in saying that much of what you need to know about these New Jersey bar rockers is encapsulated in this statement: the Everymen's two rough-voiced male/female singers walked away from great jobs at the biggest, coolest, most forward-thinking indie label group in the world to front a band that could reasonably be compared to Eddie & the Cruisers, or the Commitments. I'm not saying that Givin' Up On Free Jazz is some manufactured movie soundtrack -- anything but -- and I'm not exactly saying that this music should be viewed as a reaction to the Pitchfork-baiting strivers who are commonly seen as the vanguard of rock culture these days, but the Everymen rock out with no regard for current trends, and they clearly do it for the fun of it. Falling somewhere between the NJ tent poles of Bruce Springsteen and a much friendlier Misfits, this band's heritage runs deep, and is ultimately defining. But while they are not making any real attempt to push the ball forward, the Everymen succeed due to a few key elements we've all heard too many times, yet somehow it works -- meaty guitars, swirling organ, handclaps and horns, and none more important than the powerful voices of front-people Catherine Herrick and Mike V, who both deliver real emotion alongside their raw-throated abandon. Don't come here expecting to have your world changed, but I'm pretty sure it will be rocked. [JM]

$10.99 CD
$12.99 LP


VARIOUS ARTISTS
Modern Mayan: The Indian Music of Chiapas, Mexico
(Mississippi)

When the dense fog of the Aquarian days of self-discovery lifted, many travelers found themselves in faraway places, perhaps with an unopened yurt kit, much more kelp than needed, or nursing a yearlong ayahuasca hangover. Richard Alderson found himself in Chiapas, Mexico, newly emigrated, with a pair of Electro-Voice mics and an incredible knack for finding amazing indigenous music in the highlands. Alderson, an engineer for ESP-Disk, was behind the boards for many of the label's finest sessions, including Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, the Fugs, and the Holy Modal Rounders. He even served a stint as Dylan's sound guy. Here we find a newly released version of his virtually unheard Folkways release, Modern Mayan: The Indian Music of Chiapas, Mexico, originally issued in the mid' 70s.

There's a gripping lyrical quality to this music that's incessantly mystifying. Guitar and harp strokes entwine with primitivo violin sawing creating this fierce emotional tug. When the locals are in the full band fiesta set-up, lazy trombones sag with wasted horn bleats, all sounding very out and very wonderful. This is absolutely devastating stuff, where occasionally homemade rockets are audible passing from left to right channels, all just part of the festivities. [MK]

$18.99 LP

also available

COPELAND
Because I'm Worth It
(Self-Released)

Just in! Once half of the smoke-n-mirrors duo known as Hype Williams, Inga Copeland (now simply going by the name of copeland -- all lowercase) finally surfaces with a full-length of original material. She's delved even deeper into the electronic world since the duo split, collaborating with the likes of Martyn and the Bug, not to mention a few others, and here we find Actress joining her on two of Because I'm Worth It's tracks. As one might expect, this is mood music: dubby and intimate, urban and personal. A balanced listen between instrumentals and vocal pieces, these are heady songs made for and from the heart. Full review next week. (Also available: copeland's Smitten 7" featuring two non-album tracks.)

$25.99 LP


PLAID
Reachy Prints
(Warp)

Plaid's tenth full-length marks the duo's 25th year together, and finds the classic Warp band in fine form, hearkening back to their best albums of the late '90s and early 2000s. Bubbling, playful and warm, it's not clear if Plaid are still breaking new ground, but they are definitely still making offbeat and thoroughly enjoyable electronic music.

$14.99 CD
$22.99 2LP


TRANS AM
Volume X
(Thrill Jockey)

Another tenth album/25th band anniversary release, this time from Thrill Jockey's fun-loving post-rockers, Trans Am. Though it would be hard to say that the group has remained on the forefront of music culture, they still have the chops -- drummer Sebastian Thomson has been keeping in shape pounding the skins for Baroness, which truly does come through here, though Trans Am only nod to metal rather than embrace it. Add to those fierce rhythms some squelchy new-wave synths and weird Krautrock soundscapes, and you have a pretty good idea of where we are at: in Trans America, that's where.

$16.99 CD
$18.99 LP


CONOR OBERST
Upside Down Mountain
(Nonesuch)

Conor Oberst's major-label debut is also his first record in quite a while, billed as a proper solo release (no Bright Eyes, and also no Mystic Valley Band), and indeed, it's one of his most focused and direct sets. Produced with Jonathan Wilson, some of the hippie vibes the MVB truck in are scrubbed clean, with that quavering voice couched in lovely acoustic constructions and subtly complex arrangements. It's one of his best records in a long time, emotionally raw and yet still lovely and embracing.

$14.99 CD


CHAIN & THE GANG
Minimum Rock N Roll
(Radical Elite)

Ian Svenonius is back with the fourth album from Chain & the Gang. As its title suggests, Minimum Rock N Roll is a bare-boned affair, with stripped-down guitar/bass/drums arrangements and lo-fi production shaping a sound that borrows equally from garage, vintage R&B and early K Records. Svenonius and Katie Alice Greer take turns on the vocal mic, touching on consumerism, politics and feminism throughout this smart and soulful set, and of course, it's all delivered with a lil' rock 'n' roll swagger.

$10.99 CD


BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
Revelation
(A Recordings)

Recorded and produced at his recording studio in Berlin, Anton Newcombe has created another dense and hazy psychedelic masterpiece. Conjuring the spirit of Syd Barrett on dark, folk-tinged ballads like "Unknown" and "Second Sighting" and the droned-out bliss of Spacemen 3 on tracks like "Xibalba" and "What You Isn't," Revelation takes cues from all the right sources with added textures and flourishes as only Newcombe could come up with.

$14.99 CD


BRY WEBB
Free Will
(Idee Fixe)

For his second solo release, Constantines frontman Bry Webb worked alongside producer Jeff McMurrich (Constantines, Jennifer Castle, Owen Pallett) to create a dreamy, country-tinged album, incorporating both lap steel and pedal steel guitar into these dark and contemplative songs. Proclaimed to be "about responsibility, love, work, desire, art and above all, will," fans of the National, Walkmen, Wye Oak, Dawes, and, of course, Webb's main band will all want to check this out.

$15.99 CD
$19.99 LP

now on vinyl

LARAAJI
Celestial Music 1978-2011
(All Saints)

This career respective truly highlights New Age pioneer Laraaji's outstanding musical trajectory and achievements, which often branched out into ambient and more experimental contexts. Over the past three decades, Laraaji has created transcendent and gorgeous music with an electronically modified zither that combines a sense of gritty experimentation with an otherwise dream-like musical palette, at all times bypassing New Age clichés such as syrupy synth lines or cringe-worthy pan flute mumblings. His is a singular musical contribution, merging vital sound experiments with deep spiritual healing and a truly original artistic vision.

$26.99 3LP
$18.99 2CD

now on cd

NINOS DU BRASIL
Novos Misterios
(Hospital)

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

$15.99 CD
$26.99 LP

back in stock

WEEVIE
Nighty Night
(Stoic)

 

Wow, it's been a long, long while since this mind-blowing mix CD was on our shelves. Here's what we wrote when we first featured the disc back in 2003:

Weevie is a reclusive New York soul who meticulously seamed together this truly creative mix that is meant to rock you to sleep peacefully and soulfully. This album consists of Weevie's bedroom 4-track remix and dub reinterpretations of artists as diverse as James Brown, Donavan, Zap Mama, and Pharcyde. Using King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry dub technique as his model, Weevie slows the track waaay down leaving just traces of the bass and drums, brings in vocal phrases and echoes them into infinity. As an added touch, he uses home recordings of found sounds (cars beeping, cartoon and documentary snippets, kids whistling) as the sonic glue that binds all of the tunes together. The effect is not unlike a simultaneous sugar and codeine buzz. This is one of the more innovative approaches to a mix CD I've heard in a while and it's something that I wished more well known artists would try to do. Highly recommended! [DH]

$11.99 CD


VERNON WRAY
Wasted
(Big Pink)

We've sold literally hundreds of Link Wray's Three Track Shack recordings in the last few years, and it's a body of work that seems to still be gaining steady converts all the time as it's simply some of the most raw and soulful rock and roll put to tape in the early '70s. Truly can't recommend it enough, and I can't tell you how pleased we are to offer a missing piece of the three-track shack puzzle, Link's older brother Vernon's privately released album, Wasted, originally pressed in a miniscule edition and apparently only ever sold at gigs in and around Arizona. I despaired of ever hearing this record, but here we've got a pretty sweet little miniature-LP styled reissue, and I'm happy to report it doesn't disappoint one bit.

Vernon must have been the sensitive brother in the Wray family, as there isn't quite as much hellfire here as there is on Link's shack recordings, but it's more than made up for by a dusty forlornness that is every bit as compelling. A few of these tracks would fit right in on that recent Numero comp of loner folk, but just as often you've got some gloriously loose rock and roll, with Link on hand to provide some deliriously skewed guitar histrionics. Pretty bad-assed all around I've gotta say, from the black and white cover to the album title to the tunes, this is the real deal right here people. [MK]

$19.99 CD


STEVE YOUNG
Rock Salt & Nails
(Big Pink)

How to sum up the considerable talents of guitarist/songwriter Steve Young? Let's turn it over to Van Dyke Parks, who penned "The All Golden" (from Song Cycle) in homage to the man, far from his home of Georgia and amid the alien climes of Los Angeles. "He is not your run of the mill garden variety Alabama country fair," it goes, which is a fine assessment of Young. Parks wasn't his only fan, and his songs have been turned to gold by the likes of Waylon Jennings and the Eagles over the years, but this exquisite solo debut, released in 1969 and one of the finest country-rock-soul documents of that or any era, has remained out of print for decades, making this Korean reissue on CD a welcome sight indeed.

On Rock Salt & Nails, Young gets a bit of help from the likes of Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, and James Burton, but it's plain to see that the man's integration of seemingly-disparate strains of classic country music (with covers of Hank Williams and Flatt-Scruggs) and Memphis soul (a strong and assured take of Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is") into West Coast rock-influenced Clark and Parsons on their own efforts. And his gorgeous song "7 Bridges Road" crops up here as well, covered by the Eagles a decade later to great success. Tackling folk, country, mountain music and boot cut rock, Rock Salt & Nails is a classic album front to back. [AB]

$19.99 CD

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