JUNE 12, 2014

in this week's update


Inigo Kennedy
Ben Frost
Lust for Youth
Moon B
Craft Spells
Palo Alto Soundtrack
Chimurenga Renaissance
Sleaford Mods
Alice Coltrane
Jon Hassell
Mike Weis
Bok Bok
Ben Watt
First Aid Kit
Lee Fields
Walter Martin
Il Balletto Di Bronzo


Jack White
Dub Thompson
Tomas Barfod
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires


Ursula Bogner


Sonic Youth (Daydream Nation)




Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: 6 Cannery Village Center, Milton, DE

Other Music's own Josh Madell and Amanda Colbenson will are heading down to Delaware this weekend to participate in Dogfish Head 's fourth Analog-A-Go Go. The OM duo will be selling records Saturday afternoon at the annual event and presenting OM Recording Co. artist Mutual Benefit Saturday night at the Brewpub. In addition to the double OM events on Saturday, the one and only Bob Mould will be performing an intimate set at the Dogfish Brewpub Friday night! For a full listing of Go-Go vendors, you can click here. Tickets for both of Saturday's events are available here.



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 this year with Union Pool, which takes place every Saturday afternoon through August 30th in the iconic Brooklyn bar's big backyard. The line-up of bands and DJs is killer, and this Saturday will feature Latin soul legend Joe Bataan and 178 Improvisation Product (members of Liquid Liquid, Les Savy Fav, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Superhuman Happiness & more) along with Other Music's Mikey IQ Jones DJing. Upcoming Saturdays include: Ex-CultLiquor Store and Call of the Wild (6/21), IIII (featuring Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Hisham Akira Bharoocha (Soft Circle / Boredoms), Ryan Sawyer (Lonewolf) and Ben Vida) along with Highlife and DJ Brian Degraw (6/28), Widowspeak (7/5), The Men, Survival, and Mercury Rising (7/12), Obits (7/19), and Jonathan Toubin & Special Guests (7/28). As usual, every party 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 acts will be announced soon, so mark you calendars and see you at Summer Thunder 2014!!



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

Other Music's summer Monday residency returns to New York City's Ace Hotel and goes through to the end of August! During those months, you'll find a different member of our staff DJing their favorite records and countless varieties of music inside the gorgeous lobby bar every Monday evening from 8 p.m. to midnight, and we hope you'll come and join us as we shake off these dog days that are finally here. So mark your calendar: Other Music's Summer DJ Residency at Ace Hotel, every Monday in June, July and August. Here's the schedule for the rest of June:

June 16th – Daniel Givens
June 23rd – Gerald Hammill
June 30th – Amanda Colbenson  


this week's update


Many electronic producers these days are called "prolific," but Inigo Kennedy is a musician who can truly stand up to the phrase. I can't think of many other producers who have over 100 releases to their name, and even fewer with the consistency of quality that Kennedy has become known for over the last two decades. The majority of those releases were singles and EPs published by his Asymmetric imprint, but after a short hiatus Kennedy has returned to the techno world on the renowned Belgian label Token. History and resumés aside though, what makes Kennedy's music special is this supremely musical and emotional take on contemporary techno.

Vaudeville (and Kennedy's music in general) harkens back to the melodicism of "Artificial Intelligence"-era IDM, while keeping one foot strongly planted in today's rhythmic drive and sound design. From the ambient opener "Narrative" to the melancholy pads of "Plative," Kennedy skirts around a very recognizable sonic base, but never falls victim to the generic ideas all too common in much of today's techno. These are huge dance floor tracks that still have enough emotional content to keep a couch listener satisfied. Through the last half of the album the energy continues to pick up, but so does the lyricism and atmosphere. Vaudeville's closer, "NGC5128," has to be one of the most driving tracks this year, and comes paired with some of the most epic and expansive string swells I've heard in ages. In my mind, this has got to be the most concise and well executed release Kennedy has given us yet, showing that even after 20 years there's still much more development and quality to come from this UK vet. [CW]

$17.99 CD
$29.99 2LP

What's Between
(Tri Angle)

Though highly acclaimed Irish metal group Altar of Plagues' unexpected terminus last year came as a shock to many, the consequent birth of frontman James Kelly's solo project WIFE has legitimized the unexpected dispersion. While Kelly heavily veers off from his doom backgrounds in his transformation, the product is just as (if not more) effective as his previous work. A few months back, Kelly graced us all with his presence through a debut EP that reflected his longtime love for electronica, a subtler approach to his pain that he has always injected into his work. Chock full of diverse influences, Stoic marked his progression from torture to strife, emphasizing constraint in terms of song length, vocal power, and volume. With What's Between, he builds on this concept, forming something round and well-polished.

Unlike most of his Tri Angle label mates, WIFE's darkwave electronica features identifiable orchestration and lyrics, characteristics that seem rare in a world where the industrial is even beginning to infiltrate the radio (see Yeezus). The post-rock and post-dubstep fusion is refreshing, and while it's clear Mr. Kelly is drawing influence from projects like the Haxan Cloak (who helped with this album's production along with Roly Porter) and oOoOO, there's a strong element of novelty in play. There are hooks on the more accessible tracks like "Living Joy" and "Further Not Better," and even large portions of synth-pop and vocal R&B (a la How to Dress Well) infused into the mix. It would be hard to believe that this album was the product of the same man who consistently released 15-minute doom tracks, so don't come to WIFE expecting any sort of continuation of Altar of will be thrown a curveball, but I for one was pleasantly surprised with the new approach. An absolute knockout, and very immersive listen, this record is not to be missed.  [MM]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$19.99 LP


Ben Frost is the kind of electronic musician that haters of electronic music can get behind. No bleeps, blips, or drones here. Dislike loops and repetition? You'll find little of that on A U R O R A, Frost's newest full-length and one that should land him a much-deserved wider audience. His fifth release and first on the legendary Mute label, A U R O R A is thrilling, alive, dynamic -- as good as electronic music gets these days. Now working with members of Swans and Liturgy, the Australian-born Icelandic musician goes for a heavier sound here to great effect -- it's like metal electronica. The album ingeniously alternates between shorter tracks and longer ones, with moments of eerie quiet building up to finales of epic fury. With its pounding drums and screeching snyths, the seven-minute "Nolan" (tribute to Christopher? Frost does soundtrack work) throbs menacingly before reaching an exhilarating climax. The pulsating "Ventner" beautifully mixes church bells, Giorgio Moroder-like keys and layers of polyrhythms, while the sublime "Sola Fide" combines jarring noise and feedback with heavy beats and '80s-inspired synth riffs. Dark and menacing, A U R O R A is all about mood and texture, like a lost sci-fi film noir soundtrack. Easily one of the best electronic albums of 2014, if not the best (we still have half a year to go). Highly recommended for fans of Tim Hecker, Oneohtrix Point Never, Fuck Buttons, and, oh yeah, people who hate electronic music. [JBr]

$14.99 CD

(Sacred Bones)

International, the newest album from Swedish producer Hannes Norrvide's Lust for Youth project, sees him taking larger strides away from the project's roots as a DIY, bedroom-oriented ambient/drone-infused solo project than ever before. On his fourth album, he's graduated the Lust for Youth lineup into a trio, and pushes his songs into a brighter, cleaner, yet still shadowed place; there's perhaps the greatest emphasis on the pop DNA his music has always possessed, yet where past efforts slowly eked towards the same smoky, neon-illuminated nightlife as groups like Glass Candy, Cold Cave, or M83, International leaps straight through the fog machine and into unabashed gothic pop territory.

These songs have a definite throwback nod towards the early crossover sounds that vintage '80s synth technicians like Depeche Mode, New Order, and Human League offered in spades, yet still clings to darker fringes via Norrvide's lyrics. These aren't anthemic club bangers, but rather the cuts that speak to the shy misanthropes lurking against the perimeter walls, waiting for a voice to beckon in a dialect they understand. While not entirely unexpected, International is nevertheless a lovely evolution for Norrvide, and perhaps the new best entryway into his brand of moody synth wave. [IQ]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$16.99 LP+MP3

(Peoples Potential Unlimited)

Atlanta-based producer and hardware geek Wes Grey, a/k/a Moon B, returns to D.C. label People's Potential Unlimited (or PPU for those in the know) for his newest full-length. Picking up where his debut left us, II travels even further down the electro-funk/soul road. Using a mixture of hardware, crate-digging samples, and drum machines, MB creates a sound that feels both vintage and new. Based in 1980s electronic boogie (a la Dam-Funk without the vocals, or G-funk), these vibey and groove-based tracks are delivered with a laidback yet soulful stride, and often come across like forgotten B-side instrumentals from an R&B singer. Though Moon B is a new artist he fits right in with PPU's usual roster of obscure or unearthed DIY soul and funk. As with most releases on this label, the pressings are small and availability is limited. Fans of Virgo 4, Larry Heard, Kraftwerk, or the Personal Space comp, don't wait. [DG]

$19.99 LP

(Megaphone/Knock 'Em Dead)

A lot of people cringe when they hear about RIO -- Rock in Opposition, a name given to a certain set of anachronistic, mostly European art-rock bands of the '80s and beyond -- and there are those who don't know the name but still go running for the exits at the thought of something weird blemishing their good time. If you're not that sensitive, and can enjoy the strange wonders of bands like Matching Mole, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, or the Red Crayola (Art & Language era) but with 100% more fun, please, rediscover Officer! -- right away. Formed in the early '80s around Mick Hobbs (the Work, Family Fodder, Half Japanese) and a roving cadre of guest musicians (Henry Cow's Tim Hodgkinson, cellist Tom Cora, harpist Zeena Parkins, recordings done at This Heat's Cold Storage studio with the production support of those folks), now is the moment for Officer!, as both this, their debut album from 1984, and an unreleased work, Dead Unique (mothballed for 19 years and just now surfaced on Blackest Ever Black). What's great about Ossification, for how oddball some of the moments are (and really, if you're even the slightest bit schooled on art rock, nothing here should shock you, apart from the vibe of general accessibility), is how every gangly leg or protruding elbow is met by a moment of pure pop joy, the likes of which I haven't experienced in some time. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to "Air" off this record about 50 more times. Maybe you should too. [DM]

$14.99 CD

(Captured Tracks)

In the several years since John Paul Vallesteros recorded Craft Spells' 2011 debut alone in his Stockton, California, bedroom, the wistful dream-pop singer has taken the obvious steps forward in his life and his art: moved to San Francisco, put together a band, hit the road, and tried to make a career out of his musical passion. Nausea mines similar territory to Idle Labor, a washed-out indie approach to '80s synth-pop, but does so with a more refined delivery, using a live rhythm section, more varied instrumental coloring, and demonstrably higher production values. As you might expect, there are both plusses and minuses to this expansion, being that it's a more lush sound palette, but Craft Spells loses some of the intimacy of their early stuff. And where Vallestros used to be the lonely poet singing about the ups and downs of young love, the new album covers darker fare; it's both more open and isolated at the same time. In the end, it's hard to know where exactly Craft Spells leaves us, but if you are a fan of the sound -- and indeed, a lot of you are these days -- give it a listen and decide for yourself! [JM]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$14.99 LP+MP3

Palo Alto Soundtrack

Palo Alto, this year's indie sweeper amongst film festivals worldwide, puts a dark and offbeat spin on the coming-of-age tale. Like its self-titled locale, the film is sophisticated and relaxed, employing its stars' (James Franco, Emma Roberts) angstiest acting to sprinkle some reality on the often-synthetic story of young romance. Blood Orange's Devonté "Dev" Hynes scores the film, paralleling and even bolstering the balmy chemistry between characters. The official soundtrack, compiled by Hynes and Robert Schwartzman (cousin of the film's director, Gia Coppola), serves the same purpose, and even out of the context of the film itself, it very much succeeds.

Highlights include Blood Orange's sultry classics "You're Not Good Enough" and "Champagne Coast," along with two new Hynes tracks, "Palo Alto" and "April's Daydream." The former is a faint serenade, something you would have expected to hear on the calmer side of Cupid Deluxe, but that still maintains its distinctly West Coast repose; the latter, a brief and atmospheric track on which Hynes' warped vocals layer atop his dreamy synths quite well. Schwartzman's inputs are equally ethereal, but less electronic, drawing on the moodier aspects of dream pop. With the help of indie rockers and poppers like Mac DeMarco and Coconut Records (the solo project of actor Jason Schwartzman -- Robert Schwartzman's brother), the mood of the film is set quite accurately in the fourteen songs that comprise the soundtrack. The artsy collection will not disappoint fans of mellow pop or R&B, of course especially the Blood Orange enthusiasts out there. [MM]

$13.99 CD
$21.99 LP

Rize Vadzimu Rize
(Brick Lane)

Hailing from Seattle and part of the same crew that gave us Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction comes another offering in African-infused, electronic-enabled grassroots hip-hop. Chimurenga Renaissance is a new project from Tendai "Baba" Maraire, who as half of the Shabazz duo contributes hand drums, kalimba, electronics, shakers, and vocals, among other things. Along with Hussein Kalonji, they create songs with dense layers that blend all the ethnic instruments with artificial sounds into an Afro-futuristic vision of the boom-bap formula. With lots of African, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern elements woven into the mix, they effectively offer a cross-cultural aesthetic that brings to mind DJ/Rupture, M.I.A., or Young Fathers. With a rough yet easy flowing presence, the MCs bring tales of inner cities and outer boroughs, rough outback and resilient inner determination and antiestablishment/anti-corporation motifs.

Oddly, conscious rap has always had a bad reputation for being preachy and not very "street," yet the Seattle scene seems to offer a new vision, presenting more of a world vision in a still post 9/11 society. riZe vadZimu riZe is filled with scratchy synths, distorted drums, eerie sounds, glitchy scrapes, and woozy timing with a delivery driven by the same energy than propels gangsta rap. Guest include: Ishmael Butler (Palaceer Lazaro, the other half of Shabazz), THEESatisfaction, Dead Prez, and Militia Mali Mob (a Seattle rap group fronted by two Somalian-born emcees). Fans of Death Grips, Killer Mike, El-P, or any of the above will understand the sound and approach at hand. The album is vinyl only, or available in a limited stash pack, an elaborately packaged custom wood USB stick. [DG]

$19.99 LP

Divide and Exit
(Harbinger Sound)

If the '70s and '80s gave us the witty disenchantments of Mark E. Smith and John Cooper Clarke, the '90s gave us the Gallagher brothers to show us what our mates really mean to us (and Jarvis Cocker to tell us what all that is really like), and the '00s brought us Mike Skinner of the Streets with his matter-of-fact delivery on his own fame, then it's fitting that we now have Jason Williamson of Nottingham post-punk rap duo Sleaford Mods, since the world is falling apart before our eyes. Following a slew of CD-Rs and a full-length (2013's Austerity Dogs, featuring the duo standing next to a clothing donation bin on the cover) that put them in some manner of spotlight amidst those who knew, here comes the next effort. Divide and Exit is the sound of a man who cannot sleep. Overworked, overdriven, this is the sound of working too hard and never getting ahead, of exploitation, degradation, vulgarity and destruction of the social contract -- the sound of collapse from inside the structure. Upbeat drum patterns and bass lines roll behind Williamson's onslaught, and nothing is safe -- even him. Even if you hate this record (and you might), it is hard to deny its importance in the moment, definitely the most powerful piece of music in the first half of 2014 for myriad reasons. Are you gonna figure this out now, or will you wait for someone to tell you? [DM]

$17.99 CD
$24.99 LP

A Monastic Trio
(Superior Viaduct)

Though Alice Coltrane has a wealth of quality material within her sacred and spiritual musical catalogue, A Monastic Trio is a true classic. Originally released on Impulse! in 1968, this was the first recording by Coltrane after her husband, John, passed away the previous year. It's often said that Alice gave John the spiritual grounding that enabled his music to soar into the cosmos, as her music has always been firmly planted in the fields of faith and devotion. Choosing piano and harp as her tools for worship, her playing always possessed a rich beauty and ethereal, passionate air.

This recording utilizes a few main collaborators of her husband's -- Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones, and Rashied Ali -- along with Ben Riley and Jimmy Garrison. She directs the two groups that split the record through a series of modal blues, interplanetary exploration, and deeply spiritual jamming. Through her lifetime she moved more and more into the world of the sacred, using her skills to accompany Buddhist chants, reinterpret the classic music of Stravinsky, and give herself over purely to the spirit. Here, however, she's in fine form exploring the connections between avant-garde/improvised jazz and spirituality. If you know the later work of John Coltrane, Alice's work is a wonderful extension and continuation of where the couple was taking their music. The CD was reissued several years ago (and is still available), and this beautiful LP reissue is a treasure. I recommend Alice Coltrane to anyone looking for the soul of spiritual jazz as her music really is the perfect place to start. [DG]

$22.99 LP

City: Works of Fiction
(All Saints)

When composer and trumpeter Jon Hassell originally released City: Works of Fiction in 1990, it was the culmination of a more than 20-year-long relentless musical quest that led him from encounters with diverse and fascinating artists from Stockhausen to Terry Riley, and from Pandit Pran Nath to Brian Eno. After being immersed in world music throughout the 1970s, Hassell steadily forged his own musical aesthetic, which he famously dubbed Fourth World, a simultaneously primitive and futuristic sensibility combining elements of "world ethnic styles" with advanced electronic innovation. Hassell forged an entirely unique strand of hi-tech funk exotica, which is always forward looking, giving his music a mutating, ever-evolving energy.

City: Works of Fiction was produced using advanced digital editing techniques, creating an imaginary interpretation of urban life continuously transforming into new forms. Successfully merging (at the time recent) Bomb Squad hip-hop influences with On the Corner-era Miles Davis and a whole array of deranged, highly idiosyncratic references, the explored sounds are at times jarring, synthetic, and decisively detached. This was studio wizardry shaped for the next century -- bodily, machine-like, global, intimate -- sounding equally captivating today as when it originally came out in 1990, all of its visionary, commanding glory remaining forcefully intact. Disc two of this newly expanded edition contains a magnificent 1989 live recording of the same band with Brian Eno behind the knobs, which in itself should justify owning this release. Here, the musicians convincingly stretch out, creating a meticulously crafted sound spectacle that is equally relaxed as it is intense, with Hassell exploring a whole range of experimental approaches to the trumpet and Eno mixing in ethnic field recordings and other ethereal sounds. The third disc, newly compiled by Jon Hassell, offers a more fragmentary approach, but is equally inspired, combining outtakes and edited sequences, as well as re-interpretations by the likes of Bass Clef, Patten, and No UFOs. Needless to say, City: Works of Fiction is a quintessential milestone of future-oriented music, which, as is all too often the case nowadays, arrives with the reissue of a record from the past. [NVT]

$19.99 3CD
$24.99 2LP

Don't Know, Just Walk

The best artists can create effective and beautiful works with very little gear. I have a feeling if Mike Weis were left alone in the desert with nothing resembling a musical instrument, his creative mind would still find a way to express something quite profound. On his second solo LP, and first for Type, the Zelienople percussionist creates a devotional environment using minimal tools. A rising drone begins the album, but soon gives way to a creaky metallic landscape, probably including bowed cymbals and gongs. Adding a slowly pulsing bass drum to this assortment gives the proceedings a spiritual feel. Weis' palette evokes an ancient Buddhist setting more than his Chicago home. Unlike his drumming in Zelienople, the program here focuses more on the atmospheric and only falls into tribal tom patterns for short passages. These rhythmic sections contrast nicely with the sparseness of the cymbal and gong work. Field recordings of birds and general outdoor ambience open the second side and start to blend perfectly with what sounds like gong tones and piercing bowed cymbal swipes. Though Weis is quite a talented drummer, by pulling back he presents a work that is greater than the sum of his talents. Like the best music, his takes us out of whatever daily grind we subscribe to, and allows us into a world outside of time. [NN]

$21.99 LP

Your Charizmatic Self
(Night Slugs)

This new EP comes from one of the Night Slug crew's key figures, Alex "Bok Bok" Sushon, who offers his first solo release since 2012's Southside 12". Taking some time between releases seems to have given the producer mental space to re-up his sound banks and update his signature "rhythm & grime" formula, and the results are excellent. In fact, this EP may be the funkiest record so far from the label, in an almost crossover type of way.

Your Charizmatic Self finds Bok Bok in '80s boogie wonderland, blending his spacious and chunky rhythm patterns with sounds more associated with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-era electronic soul. From the funky synth stabs, LinnDrum beats, punchy bass, and reverb hand claps and kicks, all the elements are in place, yet Bok Bok updates it all with the melody and vibrancy of Patrice Rushen, Lisa Lisa, and the like. To further cement his connection to the soulful sound of the '80s, lead single "Melba's Call" features in-house vocalist Kelela, who calls to mind the ladies of that decade effortlessly, and the track proves to be a nice follow-up to labelmate Kingdom's "Bank Head." The Night Slugs/Fade to Mind collective seems to be tightening the reigns, still offering vibrant and magnetic electronic music from the edges of the underground, but now merging their influences into original material that deserves the simple yet appropriate tag of 21st century funk. [DG]

$21.99 2LP


It's been a staggering 31 years since Ben Watt, formerly of Everything but the Girl, Buzzin Fly, et al., has released a solo album, but here is Hendra, a gorgeous slice of downcast English folk balladry infused with a subtle dose of the gauzy electronics with which he's long flirted throughout his tenure with latter-period ETBG. This is a stunning nod to the quiet, moodiness of his earliest solo works for a then fledgling Cherry Red label, yet with a more confident and assured resign that only comes with age and experience. It also features guest appearances by the likes of Bernard Butler and David Gilmour, yet the vibe remains intimate and modest throughout, with no one grandstanding or phoning it in. ETBG fans are most likely already on this like pollen to a bee, but anyone down with the English folk lamentations of John Martyn, Nick Drake, and Kevin Coyne would be wise to give this a spin -- every time I play it in the shop, we sell nearly every copy we've got on hand. I can't give a better recommendation than that! [IQ]

$11.99 CD
$18.99 LP

Stay Gold

First Aid Kit, the Swedish folk-pop sister-duo with the abiding Americana fixation, are back again with a special collection of heartbreaking and inspiring tunes to add to your repertoire of rainy day ballads. With a twangy slide guitar and harmonies about heartache, these sisters might be destined to fall into cliché, but they do not, once again leading the pack of Swedish exports by successfully pouring their souls into bittersweet, poetic gold. The Söderberg sisters' resounding voices that belt out such artwork are bound to cast a spell on any listener. There's no way for me to pick a single standout track on Stay Gold. It's impossible to compare the complex orchestration and feelings of apprehension on the album's single "My Silver Lining" to, say, the nearly a cappella optimistic hope tied so tightly on "Shattered & Hollow." Within these mere ten songs, there is a diversity of elements that justify each individual track as a possible favorite. The sisters are setting the bar higher by the year, now creating seamless and unparalleled folk-pop that can strike a nerve in any listener. It's fair to say that they're not breaking any boundaries; the magic here is in the perfection rather than the novelty. But their voices are stronger, their melodies more infectious, and their harmonies more ornate. It is certainly a step up from the duo's already impressive 2012 record, The Lion's Roar. Not to be missed. [MM]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$24.99 LP

Emma Jean
(Truth & Soul)

Fifty years into a career that began with the teenaged Lee Fields belting out James Brown-influenced hard-driving soul in the juke joints of Tulsa, OK, and found new life in the recent Brooklyn retro-soul scene, Fields sounds as good, or maybe better, than he ever did. There is not a lot left to say about Lee Fields that has not been said before, and really, what could there be left for Fields to say himself, after scores of horn-driven R&B records that generally tread the same ground? But that's missing the point, as classic American soul is one of the most vibrant and essential pop forms in the DNA of modern music, and Fields, even more so in his later years, embodies the pain, heartache, joy and raw passion of this music like almost nobody still singing. The band is amazing, the songs are deeply felt and soulful (including a great cover of J.J. Cale's "Magnolia"), and Fields' voice is more powerful and expressive than ever. If you are a fan of the genre, don't miss out on Emma Jean. [JM]

$14.99 CD
$18.99 LP+MP3

We're All Young Together
(Family Jukebox)

Walter Martin's We're All Young Together is the first of three solo records by members of the Walkmen that we'll see this year (at least those that we know of -- singer Hamilton Leithauser's Black Hours is also out now, while bassist Peter Matthew Bauer's Liberation! comes out next week). In somewhat of a clean break from anything we'd recognize from Martin's previous outfit, Young works as a children's album (written for his small one at home) and as an endless font of low-key, late-night whimsy, played for fun and smiles. Featuring guest contributions by Karen O and Nik Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Alec Ounsworth from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and some of Martin's old bandmates as well as his family members, Young is as charming a debut as you could ever want to find, filled with gentle, tuneful moments for you and the little people in your life. [DM]

$13.99 CD

Sirio 2222
(Lion Productions)

Italian heavy prog outfit Il Balletto Di Bronzo only released two albums in its initial run (1970's Sirio 2222 and 1972's Ys), but what a pair these turned out to be -- some of the most intense examples of life-or-death progressive rock, dovetailing into pure doom, the world had known to that point. Both of these records still hold up as classics on the underside of rock history, but it's the first one here that makes for the easier point of entry, the group still strongly indebted to hard rock and electric blues of the day, and going down a storm in that regard. There's still room for foofy flourishes (the harpsichord break and string quartet in "Meditazione," for example) but any wackiness resolves itself quickly in a blinding clash of electric guitars and downer sentiments. Two years later, they would attach a set of cojones to the concept of the concept album so big and hairy the band might've had trouble walking, but on Sirio they let it all hang out, playing tough and somewhat groovy rock music for the times. Hell, "Ma Ti Aspettero," with its swinging rhythm section and foreign laissez-faire, predates the sound pursued by OM faves Toncho Pilatos by a couple of years. Fans of the South African band Freedom's Children, or even Sir Lord Baltimore, would do well to check out what's going on here. [DM]

$15.99 CD

Bodies and Control and Money and Power
(Don Giovanni)

Bodies and Control and Money and Power is Priests' debut, and they couldn't have titled their work more aptly. These four topics seem to encompass each corner of this post-punk outfit's record, and there is not an ounce of subtlety in their discussions. Frontwoman Katie Alice Greer roars through seven brief tirades (few of which break three minutes), most notably shouting, "You are going to die!" repeatedly on the album's opener. A slightly more intelligible Perfect Pussy, Priests are a force to be reckoned with. It's most obvious on tracks like "Modern Love/No Weapon," with two minutes of Greer's violent attack on government agencies, gentrification and the like -- their D.C. nativity proves quite inspirational to much of the album. But even on more introspective songs like "Right Wing," where Greer declares the simple fact "I'm not trying to be anything," she remains assertive, and is the furthest thing from defensive. What makes Priests' debut special, though, is how catchy and infectious these tracks are, what with their rage-filled hooks, riffs, and bass, something that doesn't occur too frequently in the realm of heavy punkers. Somewhere between metal and rock, Priests bellow their politically charged claims and solidify their positions as vengeful songstresses, and while it's not really anything new, it's pretty great stuff nonetheless. [MM]

$8.99 CD
$11.99 LP

also available


New solo album from Jack White! Collectors are not going to want to miss this special LP version, as not only is it pressed on 180 gram vinyl, it also includes two vinyl-only bonus tracks (both of these songs are hidden beneath the center labels -- one plays at 45 RPM, the other at 78 RPM). Add to this: Side A plays from the outside in and contains a first-of-its kind, hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke; "Just One Drink" utilizes dual-groove technology, in which the song starts with either an electric or acoustic intro depending on where the needle is dropped; Side B has a matte finish which gives the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record; both sides end in locked grooves; the LP is in a different running order than the CD and digital versions; and it's pressed in a seldom-used flat-edged format.

$12.99 ON SALE
$31.99 ULTRA LP+MP3

9 Songs
(Dead Oceans)

Hailing from just outside of Los Angeles, Dub Thompson is the duo of guitarist Matt Pulos and drummer Evan Laffer, whose love of groups like Can, This Heat, the Fall and Big Black go back to their high school days. Recorded with Foxygen's Jonathan Rado, 9 Songs (there's really only eight tracks on the album) boils all of these influences and more into an original, simmering stew of noisy (post) punky art rock with, as the name hints, some dubby detours. Great stuff!

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$14.99 LP+MP3

Love Me
(Secretly Canadian)

Love Mie is the sophomore solo album from producer Tomas Barfod, also a founding member/drummer of WhoMadWho. Unlike the funky disco-punk of that trio, Barfod's solo music is more electronic-tinged and textured, while being equally accessible. He offers a nice diverse range of songs and atmospheres here that still effortlessly work together to form a cohesive album, from the gentle electro-pop of "Pulsing" (featuring vocalist Nina K.) to the introspective opener "Bell House" (with Here We Go Magic's Luke Temple guesting on vocals) to the mid-tempo nu-disco of "Mandalay."

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$16.99 2LP+MP3

(Sub Pop)

More southern-fried rock from Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, who are pushing the VU needles into the red with this set. It's a lot more raucous than 2012's There Is a Bomb in Gilead, with hot-as-ember guitars and a fiery rhythm section burning underneath Lee's soulful, spirited melodies.

$15.99 LP+MP3

back in print

Recordings 1969-1988

I've no reason to doubt Jan Jelinek's sincerity, so let's just assume this remarkable story is true. A couple of years back, Jelinek was flying to Vienna and got into a conversation with the passenger seated next to him, whereupon it was revealed that this passenger's mother had been a dedicated electronic music enthusiast for over thirty years, recording hundreds of hours of four-track tapes in a mini studio set up in the family's den room. Her name was Ursula Bogner, and she had had a long, professional career in the pharmaceutical industry before passing away in 1994. Her son, Sebastien, recounted how despite the outwardly ordinary trappings of her life, she was possessed of a general inquisitiveness, as well as a great curiosity towards so-called "new age" belief systems, and was a proponent of the theories of Wilhelm Reich, going so far even as to construct an Orgone Accumulator for the family's back-yard!

Sebastien Bogner gave Jelinek a crack at the hours of accumulated reels, and he was enthused enough to launch a brand new label to bring this unheard music to the world. He states that the tracks he selected for this initial release were those most closely allied with his own aesthetics, and one can definitely see how Jelinek would feel an affinity for Ursula Bogner's rubbery and elastic vintage synth exercises. (In fact, a reviewer more suspicious than myself might swear to hearing Jelinek's own indelible mark on these recordings, and wonder if perhaps the stated origin of these excellent tracks is somewhat suspect.) It's easy enough to sense her amateur enthusiasm, and it's probably for the best that she stayed clear of the academy as not a single track here has that stale, dry, and musty odor one associates with institutions. They're generally jaunty and percolating little explorations of her gear's possibilities that almost sound like cells reproducing in a Petri dish, while at other times they bring to mind someone's idea of techno with a head cold, enveloped in a fog of Robitussin. A totally engaging and fascinating discovery, and such a fortunate coincidence that brought these little pieces to light. [MK]

$17.99 CD

vinyl back in stock

Daydream Nation

Sonic Youth's vast and varied catalog has countless fan favorites, but 1988's Daydream Nation is arguably one of (if not) the band's most lauded and loved. And rightfully so, as its merger of the group's no wave roots and experimentalism with more song-oriented forays is fully realized and nothing short of stunning -- and a game changer. The band would soon sign to Geffen's DGC imprint and the rest is alt-rock history. This classic is finally back in print on vinyl in its original form, and now includes a digital download card.

$23.99 2LP+MP3
$14.99 CD

the big picture