Copy
september 11, 2014

special announcement

THE BROOKLYN FLEA RECORD FAIR

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

East River State Park: 90 Kent Ave @ N. 7th St.  Williamsburg, Brooklyn
11am-6pm | Facebook Event Invite

We can't believe it's already time again but the next Brooklyn Flea Record Fair is just around the corner on Saturday, September 27th from 11am-6pm! Once again held inside the beautifully (and newly restored!) East River State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn right by the Flea's Smorgasburg food market, there will be 50+ vendors at the fair, including record labels, stores and collectors. (View a full listing here.)

We are also very pleased to be offering a couple of special albums from Other Music Recording Co. ahead of their official release dates. Both Xylouris White's debut Goats (out October 14th) and Wyatt Cenac's Brooklyn (out October 21st), will be available for sale that day exclusively at the fair. Also, Wyatt Cenac will be making an appearance in person to sign copies of his new album! So save the date and see you at the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair!


WIN MUTUAL BENEFIT TICKETS

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Bowery Ballroom: 6 Delancey St. NYC

Last week, Other Music Recording Co. re-released Mutual Benefit's The Cowboy's Prayer EP (originally self-released in 2011 as a Bandcamp download) for the first time ever on CD and stunning one-sided 12" vinyl with a beautiful etching on the flip. An alluring introduction to Jordan Lee's music and a precursor to the band's acclaimed Love's Crushing Diamond from last year, this EP gives a window into the moment when Mutual Benefit's sound really came together, with Lee's introspective songwriting and his fragile voice combined with lovely orchestrated folk-pop and a loose-limbed incorporation of found sounds, odd loops, worldly percussion and more. Coinciding with the re-release of The Cowboy's Prayer, Mutual Benefit have embarked on an epic North American tour and this Saturday, September 13, the band will be playing their biggest headlining show in NYC at the Bowery Ballroom. We have a pair of tickets to give away to this great night and to enter for your chance to win, email giveaway@othermusic.com!

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Jenny Hval and Susanna Wallumrød
Deaf Center
Cocteau Twins (LP Back in Print)
Les Ambassadeurs
Aby Ngana Diop
Jamie xx 12"
Black Rain
Tricky
 

Interpol
Karen O
The Good Ms. Padgett
Blonde Redhead
Can (4LP Reissues)
Heldon
Kevin Drumm & Jason Lescalleet
Game Theory
Tennis (Webster Hall tickets w/purchase)

announcements

WIN BEAR IN HEAVEN TICKETS

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 & WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

Bowery Ballroom / Music Hall of Williamsburg

Supporting their latest album, Time Is Over One Day Old, arty synth-poppers Bear in Heaven are performing two nights in New York City along with Young Magic and WIFE: Tuesday, September 16 at the Bowery Ballroom and Wednesday, September 17 in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to each of the nights. To enter for your chance to win, email tickets@othermusic.com and make sure to list the date you'd like to see.


THERE WILL BE BLOOD: SCREENING & LIVE FILM SCORE WITH ORCHESTRA

FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 19 & SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

United Palace: 4140 Broadway, NYC

Next week, the Wordless Music Orchestra will once again collaborate with Jonny Greenwood for the U.S. premiere of There Will Be Blood Live: a full screening and live film score to Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 masterpiece, which will be projected onto a massive 50-foot movie screen at the historic United Palace Theatre. For these shows, the film's original score -- comprising music by Jonny Greenwood, Arvo Pärt, and Brahms -- will be conducted by Ryan McAdams, and performed by 50+ members of the Wordless Music Orchestra, including Jonny Greenwood, who will play the ondes martenot part in both performances of his own film score. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to each of the screenings; email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win!


WIN JENNY LEWIS TICKETS

WEDNESDAY,  NOVEMBER 5

TERMINAL 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC

With her third solo album, The Voyager, under her belt, Jenny Lewis is out on tour and will be returning to New York City with her band in tow on November 5, performing at Terminal 5. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to catch the show, and to enter for your chance to win, just email giveaway@othermusic.com.
 

this week's update

JENNY HVAL AND SUSANNA
Meshes of Voice
(Susannasonata)

Both Jenny Hval and Susanna Wallumrød have proven themselves two of the strongest, most passionate voices in contemporary Scandinavian song, and on their first album-length collaboration, they prove to be a hypnotically symbiotic creative force. Drawing inspiration from filmmaker Maya Deren, Meshes of Voice, sees these songwriters and performers both channeling their strengths and taking surprising risks, as though each is pushing the other into somewhat uncomfortable yet endorphin-surging corners of their psyches. The bulk of Meshes travels through dusky, barren, yet sensuous landscapes, their voices beautifully intertwining and contrasting one another while the music -- often stripped down mutations of gothic chamber folk and gutbucket noise rock alike -- both blankets and weathers the women's vocals.

What's most pleasantly surprising about the album is that it doesn't really hang on to the hallmarks of either performer's trademark sounds, but rather fuses them together to create a unique work that shows the true benefits of an inspired collaboration. In other words, you don't necessarily have to be afraid if you aren't a fan of one of the artists involved, as contrasting as their creative personalities can be, but rather embrace this as a singular piece all its own. Meshes of Voice is fast becoming a strong personal contender to soundtrack the coming autumnal chill, and if you like your records a bit dark, a bit despondent, and quite haunting, this is essential listening for the coming season. It's absolutely stunning. [IQ]

$17.99 CD

DEAF CENTER
Recount
(Sonic Pieces)

On Recount, the evocative new EP of Deaf Center, things emerge from within a foggy, shadowy terrain, and like on their acclaimed full-length albums, the elusive Norwegian duo of Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland don't disappoint. The inaugural release in the Pattern series by Berlin-based "boutique" label Sonic Pieces, Recount consists of two extended, solemn movements that, taken together, occupy little less than thirty minutes. The first piece recorded in Berlin in 2012, the second one in Oslo in 2008, at first there appears little aesthetic variation between these improvised recordings in which electric guitar, piano, organ, and strings are at the core. Upon close listen, however, the varying processing techniques explored, as well as the openness and density of its sound palettes differentiates the two works significantly. The results are an absorbing and at times peculiar reflection on ideas of temporality and duality, producing a series of ghostly sounds that drift within a fragile, longing interval across time and space. Sonic Pieces houses Recount in an attractive, laser-cut jacket and, as always, exquisite packaging, which makes this a near perfect release, albeit a short one. [NVT]

$23.99 CD
$27.99 LP


COCTEAU TWINS
Heaven or Las Vegas
(4AD)

Their last LP for 4AD is also one of the strongest in Cocteau Twins' sterling catalog, and this new remaster sounds better than ever. Though 1990's Heaven or Las Vegas does see the trio expanding on the brightness of 1988's Blue Bell Knoll, evidenced in the pop perfection of "Iceblink Luck" and the title track, moody atmospherics still abound. As with many of their albums, they close with one of the record's strongest numbers. "Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires" is that highlight this time, taking its place in a list that includes "Donimo" from Treasure, "Musette and Drums" from Head Over Heels and "Ella Megalast Burls Forever" from Blue Bell Knoll. The way the song is structured, with a plaintive intro giving way to a cathartic and almost anthemic release, demonstrates Cocteau Twins' singular knack for making the listener feel like they've just experienced an epic, only to realize that the track was just five minutes long. Magical from the sleeve art to the masterful music contained within, it's a real delight to have this triumphant album back in print on vinyl. [NN]

$19.99 LP

LES AMBASSADEURS
Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako
(Sterns Africa)

Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako featured some of the most innovative, eclectic, and highly skilled musicians of the 1970s Malian danceband circuit. While many African music enthusiasts in the Western world are familiar with the likes of the Rail Band, few have heard the absolutely heart-wrenching beauty and kinetic romance of Les Ambassadeurs. Sterns Music hopes to change that with this stellar two-CD overview of the group's music; filled with gently spiraling guitar work, percolating percussion, buzzing organ melodies, and robust horns, the band counted amongst its ranks a number of musicians and singers who would later go on to dominate the African music scene in later years -- among the participants are guitarists Amadou Bagayoko (later of Amadou & Miriam) and Keletigui Diabaté, and vocalists Ousmane Dia (of the Star Band de Dakar) and Salif Keita, who had left the Rail Band to join forces with Les Ambassadeurs' powerful, elemental all-star group.

The sound of Les Ambassadeurs is a rich collusion of highlife and soukous guitars, Afro-Cuban rhythms, Asian and Arabic harmonics, and even nods to Western pop and soul of the era. The musicians involved are all at the top of their game here, having supreme chops and considerable passion throughout; there's a bright sunshine washing over the proceedings, but it's all underpinned by a heartbreaking melancholy and a longing in the vocals that kicks it all up just a little higher and a bit deeper than the average danceband record.

CD1 focuses on Keita's dramatic vocal leads, while CD2 shines brighter light upon the group's other vocalists; where the first disc is all slow-burning, impassioned cries of passion, CD2 moves into more kinetic, shuffling grooves, offering up call-and-response chants, fiery solos, and a more vivid representation of the band's true chameleonic eclecticism. It's wonderful to hear both sides of the group's sound so vividly represented, and overall, this makes for one of the most beautiful, soulful African music reissues we've stocked in quite some time. Absolute highest recommendation on this one, folks -- it's the Afro-Jam of the Week. [IQ]

$18.99 2CD ON SALE


ABY NGANA DIOP
Liital
(Awesome Tapes from Africa)

Originally released on tape in 1994 by Senegalese griot singer Aby Ngana Diop, Liital is an intense affair, combining the traditional, indigenous taasu singing style of rhythmic declaration with mbalax dance music elements. Opening impressively with a floating synthesizer melody accompanied by intricately built drum patterns and synthetic marimba phrases, "Dieuleul-Dieuleul" introduces the female storyteller's heightened, rhythmic singing in call and response with a small choir of women as a continuous whistle recalls early hip-hop agitprop strategies. Although this first track seems musically more aligned with the Senegalese pop music of its time, the majority of the other songs take on a more dense structure. There's little breathing space on tracks like "Ndame" and "Yage Penda Mbaye," which combine rapidly moving talking drums, tambourines, and bass drum with more static musical elements and disorienting echo effects. "Liital," opening with a sample of a train coming full-blown at you, might reference a suitable attitude for listening to this undeniably overwhelming music: sit back in awe as a density of sounds is channeled towards you.

There's little context given on this beautiful release by Awesome Tapes from Africa, and to be honest the music might have benefitted from a broader sociocultural framework. While informative, the brief liner notes by ethnomusicologist Patricia Tang only hint at the richness of references present in the music, which leaves us for the most part with purely sonic impulses that raise a set of intricate questions. How much knowledge is actually needed to fully enjoy and appreciate this music? Is it historically justified to consider taasu as a predecessor of rap, as is suggested by some sources, and, if so, what is the relationship between this music recorded in Senegal in 1994 and the hip-hop that was fully blossoming in the US around the same time? Much to the praise of the above-mentioned label, which has consistently done an excellent job unearthing pearls from the African cassette underground, it's actually okay to leave such demanding questions unanswered. While it's simply impossible to truly understand this music and the rich social and cultural contexts inscribed in it without an in-depth study of the continuously evolving histories and cultures of West Africa, this beautiful music can stand on its own. [NVT]

$11.99 CD ON SALE
$15.99 LP

JAMIE XX
All Under One Roof Raving
(Young Turks)

Jamie xx has been releasing solo tracks pretty frequently since his band, the xx, shattered the indie world back in 2009, but never has the producer been this simultaneously precise and complex. Drawing connections to '90s rave and British hardcore, Jamie samples more heavily and obviously than ever, while maintaining his signature framework. "All Under One Roof Raving" is very him: the warm steel drums, the unadorned beats, the colorful (yet ominous) dancefloor rhythms. But there is a conspicuous sense of nostalgia that sews the track fluidly together, calling upon the very voices that shaped the era and sound during the late 20th century. You'll hear bits of Mark Leckey's film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore along other soundbites that speak of staying true to the UK and the spirit of hardcore culture. It's Jamie's longest production since 2011's "Far Nearer," and it's now fair to say that he thrives best with tracks that allow time to grow and evolve. Like the best DJs, he avoids any typical structure, but instead allows the percussion to organically envelop, fortify, and isolate the bass line, all while layering snippets of sounds, films and songs, giving an unnerving touch of humanity. Specificity aside, "All Under One Roof Raving" is one of Young Turks' best 12"s in a long time. A subtle, club-ready, nostalgia-infused rave track that Jamie masterfully makes his own. [MM]

$13.99 12"


BLACK RAIN
Dark Pool
(Blackest Ever Black)

Stuart Argabright has been a busy man as of recent, from revisiting his classic synth-tech minimalist Ike Yard material via a series of reissues and remixes, to unleashing a brand new, excellent album of dystopian hip-hop and electro-funk with Death Comet Crew (featuring legendary MC and graffiti futurist Rammellzee's last recordings), or slipping a few o13 recordings of bleak, postmodern cyber theatrics out in the world. And now he lets loose with yet another dispatch, this time from Black Rain, perhaps his least known but most perfectly encapsulated project.

Dark Pool combines elements of nearly every facet of Argabright's musical history and aesthetic inspiration: the domination of technological omnipotence and man's struggle against it, the oppressions of ever-evolving urbanity, and the bright, stroboscopic flashes of unrelenting sensory media. He and Black Rain co-conspirator Shin Shimokawa have really outdone themselves here, drafting a dark, damp, rigid, and neon-lit urban metropolis straight out of Blade Runner or Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. Cyberpunk author William Gibson has long been an inspiration as well, and while the group's early works were staggeringly ahead of their time, now is as good a time as ever to revisit the project for new perspectives.

Technology has caught up with the collective hive mind, but from a cultural perspective, things have recently shifted into a staggering array of both highly shadowed bass outbursts and flashes of fluorescent synthetic color. All of this is utilized throughout Dark Pool, fusing minimal machine-drum polyrhythms with whirring electronic outbursts, cool, detached vocal deliveries, and pulsating industrial abrasions. Fans of contemporary fare like the Bug, Shackleton, Sandwell District, Regis, et al. should grip this album post-haste, as Argabright and Black Rain specifically have long been a key aesthetic blueprint for those fellow travelers' sonic dystopias. We need Black Rain now more than ever, and we're fortunate to have this Dark Pool into which we can fully submerge. Absolutely beautiful and harrowing work. [IQ]

$17.99 CD
$26.99 LP


TRICKY
Adrian Thaws
(False Idols)

Since breaking away from Massive Attack in the mid-'90s and releasing his now-classic solo debut, Maxinquaye, vocalist/producer Tricky's trademark sound has been a potent, smoke-filled mix of soul, hip-hop, dub reggae, blues, and electronica, with bits of rock thrown in for an added edge. Now even though his latest album is titled after his proper birth name, leading one to perhaps expect a soul-searching personal exploration, every song on Adrian Thaws instead sees Tricky working in collaboration, and as hazy as ever. Four tracks feature Irish vocalist Francesca Belmonte (probably the best stand-in he has found yet for longtime collaborator Martina Topley-Bird), alongside Nneka, Bella Gotti, Tirzah, Oh Land, Mykki Blanco, and a great pairing with similarly shady producer Blue Daisy.

Though the press release may call this outing Tricky's 'dance' album, Adrian Thaws really finds its home in a downtempo fusion of blues-n-beats and trip-hop refreshers, with a few uptempo hip-hop songs mixed in. Lead single "Nicotine Love," with its electroclash synths and throbbing bass, is the only one you might expect to hear on an actual dancefloor. The album is a mixed bag of Tricky-ness, ultimately checking all the places he's gone before while updating the sounds and voices. With all of his collaborators through the years, he seems to have the unflinching ability to bring them into his often bleak and somber world, no matter how odd the lyrics, backing track, or pairing may be. Tricky's always been a singular artist, and continues to stay true to his music, self-described as "brown punk." It doesn't always gel and that seems to be the state of where his recent albums settle in. Yet when he gets it right, he still can create some beautiful moments of sensuality and vibe, groove and mood, and here sprinkled thoughout Adrian Thaws, you'll discover some gems of late-period(?) Tricky. It's definitely not the place to start, but not a bad addition to his still-growing catalogue. (Deluxe CD includes two bonus tracks and photo album booklet.)  [DG]

$15.99 CD
$18.99 DELUXE CD
$25.99 2LP+CD


INTERPOL
El Pintor
(Matador)

Limited white vinyl while supplies last!

Although Interpol's influences are deeply rooted in the brood of British post-punk bands like the Chameleons, Comsat Angels and Joy Division, for most, the group is distinctly New York. Longtime fans, especially those who lived in the city, remember their ascent during the early 2000s like it was yesterday. Alongside bands like the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol helped make guitar music exciting and even fashionable again to the world over, at a time when boundary-pushing electronica had turned to wallpaper and the airwaves were cluttered with cookie-cutter frat-rock. Of course, Interpol represented the darker side of the spectrum, their breakthrough debut album, 2002's Turn on the Bright Lights, being one of the strongest entries into the mope-rock canon since the Cure's Disintegration.

It goes without saying that the culturescape is not the same as it was in 2002, with electronic music stepping back to the fore now and most of the biggest "rock stars" coming from the hip-hop world. Interpol, however, continue to be Interpol, and even with the departure of bassist Carlos D, not too much has changed in the four years since we last heard from them, let alone since Turn On. Yet El Pintor is different, with the band rediscovering the song craft that seemed muted on their last record, and sounding energized with all of their signature elements in place -- from Paul Banks' cold baritone (he's also taken over bass duties) to the chiming reverbed leads of Daniel Kessler's guitar to the tight, urgent drumming of Sam Fogarino. Alan Moulder is in the mixing chair again as well, and even with the washes of synths and icy production polish he captures the sound of a live band that's as dark and brooding as ever. Album highlights like the chilly hypnotic lament of "My Blue Supreme," the powerful "Ancient Ways" (which begins with Banks proclaiming, "Fuck the ancient ways") and the goth-rocking swoosh of "Tidal Wave" are all sure to join "Obstacle 1," "PDA" and "Slow Hands" as new favorites.

Listening to El Pintor will probably bring a sense of nostalgia for many New York fans; close your eyes and the music takes you back to a not-so-distant memory of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, before the shiny new high-rise condos and corporate chains grazed over artist lofts and mom-and-pops. For a few moments at least, the subway is a porno...pavements, they are a mess. [GH]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$17.99 LP


KAREN O
Crush Songs
(Cult)

Crush Songs is not Karen O's inevitable play for solo stardom that all frontmen and women make at some point in their careers. By any account, the quirky art-punk and her long-running band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have become mainstream stars over the last decade, earning gold records and filling arenas; Karen Orzolek is both a rock and fashion icon around the world, and nobody would be surprised if she delivered a major label pop opus under her own name. It's plain that her ambitions extend beyond the confines of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and while bandmate Brian Chase fills out his downtime playing experimental music in remote Bushwick locations, Karen O can't escape the spotlight -- she's had some quirky side-projects over the years, yet she also recently won an Oscar nomination and red carpet strut for her high-profile soundtrack collaboration with Spike Jonze. But while Crush Songs shares a childlike spirit and folky simplicity with her soundtrack work, it is something different, a fragile, intimate and decidedly lo-fi folk album that Ms. O made alone in her room seven years ago, more Elliott Smith than arena rock, a set of hushed demos rather than a polished product.

Recorded soon after the band released their second full-length, the chart-topping Show Your Bones, this reveals a different side of the insanely confident and sexy pop singer; it's a personal album about love and loneliness, Karen O stepping away from the clamor of her day job to explore her inability to find love amidst a flurry of crushes. There are a bunch of great songs here, or at least sketches of great songs, and Orzolek's voice shines in the intimate environs, her occasional snarl or scream cutting through the (digital?) tape hiss and it's that much more engaging in the context of such quiet and emotional music. But it's clearly not a record of singles, instead painting a truly intriguing picture of Karen O off stage and away from her powerful ambition, writing songs by herself, for and about herself. It's a fairly minor album in the wider progression of culture, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable and beguiling listen from front to back, and any fan of YYYs as well as DIY indie-folk fanatics should give this a listen. [JM]

$13.99 CD
$21.99 LP+MP3


THE GOOD MS. PADGETT
If We Must We Must
(Everything OK)

Jeez, have we never reviewed a kid's record? If we have I can't remember, but if any parent out there has ever felt the urge to murder the Fresh Beat Band (I know I have) then we've got just the album for you. Now, I've got two kids and our philosophy has always been they just listen to whatever their parents happen to be playing, but you start to wonder what kind of insufferable person you're turning your six-year-old into when he's yelling at you from the back of the car to make the Patrick Cowley gay porn soundtrack you're listening to LOUDER!!! Enter the Good Ms. Padgett, the lovely new album from the great Anna Padgett's family and friends (which includes members of Ida, Naysayer, Blood on the Wall, Elizabeth Mitchell, and even Tara Jane O'neil on ecstatic tambourine!).

If ever there was a kid's record I could get behind, this is it. If We Must We Must features covers of tunes by Michael Hurley, Jonathan Richman, and a great version of the Vaselines' classic "Molly's Lips" (here re-jigged as "Mommy's Lips"), as well as super-sweet originals that are rocking with the spazzy nonsensical energy of childhood ("Lolllipop Nightmare," "Dance Party Pizza Party") or which contain a child's clear-eyed sense of wistfulness and wonder ("Black & Yellow Bee," "Beach House"). It's a great album, with arrangements that are stripped down and which never bludgeon you like a lot of the kid's music that I regularly get subjected to on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network. It's also never didactic or condescending and is just a nice experience that both kids and the most gimlet-eyed adults can get with. [MK]

$9.99 CD


BLONDE REDHEAD
Barragan
(Asawa Kuru)

For more than 20 years, across nine albums, Blonde Redhead have managed to both regularly reinvent themselves, and still never fail to sound just like Blonde Redhead. Beginning as a Sonic Youthian noise-pop band, Blonde Redhead have continually added and subtracted rhythm, noise and orchestration from their formula, to keep things fresh and challenge both their fans, and presumably, themselves. Barragán follows a general softening of their sound that began with 2010's Penny Sparkle, but pushes the impulse further, rarely rising above a whisper, drawing out the trio's longstanding affection for the artier side of '70s international orch-pop more than any post-punk predilections. Whether or not this is going to work for you seems to be largely a matter of personal taste -- I've seen the record lauded and trashed equally in the press over the last couple of weeks, and this is one argument Other Music is officially staying out of. Barragán is not Blonde Redhead's most immediate album, but it's full of nuance and subtle beauty, and while it's probably not the first record by them you should own, if you have stuck with them this long, you will find plenty to enjoy. [JM]

$13.99 CD
$26.99 LP


CAN
Monster Movie
(Mute)

Originally credited to The Can, this 1969 debut album sets the pace for all subsequent, classic Can LPs that would soon follow. Not so much a band as a powerful collective force, Can should be considered an "abstract-machine," a continuous, ever-evolving system of interruptions and breaks, whose merits are not only musical but also political. Rejecting the personality fetish of most Anglo-American rock of its time, as well as Germany's tumultuous political past and dangerous flirt with ego cult, Can personifies a tabula rasa for German rock. A horizontally structured mechanism in which elements of rock & roll and avant-garde, as well as all aspects of experimental music, could be absorbed in a fluid, organic entity, their albums came to represent stepping stones to ever-new, unexplored musical territory.

Monster Movie is the only full album (until the band's unexpected reunion on 1989's Rite Time) featuring the highly idiosyncratic American vocalist Malcolm Mooney, whose cryptic, free-form raving brings a decisively raw and aggressive element to the fore. Track titles have never sounded better, with "Father Cannot Yell" and "Mary, Mary So Contrary" as notable highlights, but it's the more than twenty minutes long "Yoo Doo Right," which was paired down and edited from six hours of taping, which demonstrates the kind of unrivaled motifs and minimal rhythms that would quickly become Can trademarks. [NVT]

$21.99 LP+MP3


CAN
Soundtracks
(Mute)

Soundtracks from 1970 encompasses a compilation rather than a coherent album, required to fulfill the record label's demand for new material and its need to capitalize on Monster Movie's success. Nevertheless, it offers an insightful view on Can's intermediary state, with the eccentric, choked singing style of Damo Suzuki resolutely replacing Mooney's vocal acrobatics on most of the tracks, while stylistically moving towards the classic trio of albums consisting of Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days. A collection of music produced for films, the material luckily doesn't include any throwaways or outtakes. As a matter of fact, the brilliantly sprawling "Mother Sky" has an intensity that matches any of the best Can work, featuring a tranced-out state of collective musicianship that becomes radiantly emphasized by Suzuki's half-gone vocal delivery. While it's worth purchasing the entire album just for "Mother Sky," the other tracks are fine as well, even if they are sometimes cut short by almost sacrilegious fade-outs. [NVT]

$21.99 LP+MP3


CAN
Tago Mago
(Mute)

From the very first moments of this trance-inducing 1971 masterpiece, which steers deep into the beyond as Damo Suzuki's clogged vocals merge completely with the instrumentation, Tago Mago embodies Can's ascent as a fully formed collective agency. It's difficult to describe the multiplicity of ideas on this album, its dazzling musicality emerging in truly synchronous fashion. "Aumgn" and "Peking O" are experimental highlights, perhaps closer in spirit to Stockhausen and Pierre Henry than anything related to the rock canon, whereas the multi-rhythmic grooves of the more "traditional" tracks are the ones that remain forever engraved in your soul.

"Halleluhwah" starts with a sincerely irresistible Jaki Liebezeit monster beat, after which it navigates towards the most impressive fills and leads. Comprised of those essential, minimal funk drones that are an ever so delightful Can attribute, Suzuki slowly builds his intense, frenetic ranting towards a state of transcendence. Of course, summing up the album's highlights ("Mushroom"! "Oh Yeah"!) won't do justice to its intricately built overall structure, which truly is a work of unparalleled genius. Is there anything out there coming closer to perfection than Can's Tago Mago? [NVT]

$26.99 2LP+MP3


CAN
Ege Bamyasi
(Mute)

An in-between album leading up to the ambient, inverted rock restraint of follow-up Future Days (which is not included in this first batch of vinyl reissues), 1972's Ege Bamyasi is classic, booty-shaking Can in a concise, but nevertheless drifting edition. Perhaps a bit too short in duration to make it a truly pivotal statement, the interplay between the musicians is dazzling, and its sense of focus ever perplexing. "Pinch" unwraps Miles Davis' much celebrated angular On the Corner abstractions towards space rock, its groove and dissonant musicianship achieving cosmic excellence, whereas "One More Night" relates minimal motifs to murky funk nightclub experimentation. Ege Bamyasi also features some of the best Can songs ever set to record, such as the defining "Vitamin C," whose enticing vocal delivery and wobbly melodies will preoccupy your mind forever, and "Spoon," which would become an unexpected hit for the band and a template for much of the electro pop that followed later in the decade.

To conclude, it's simply impossible to put the singularity of Can's inimitable experimentation with noise, electronic, non-traditional, and cut-and-paste elements into sharp focus, but of course this richness is by all means their most essential legacy. If you don't own these beauties already, or you urgently need to replace those worn out records from long ago, this presents a unique occasion, as Can has rarely sounded better than on these newly remastered vinyl editions. [NVT]

$21.99 LP+MP3


HELDON
Allez-Teia
(Superior Viaduct)

Never let it be said that guitarist Richard Pinhas does not give credit where credit is due. The opening track on his band Heldon's 1974 LP, freshly reissued on wax by Superior Viaduct, is called "In the Wake of King Fripp." And indeed, the song (and much of the music that follows) is deeply indebted to Robert Fripp's mid-1970s work with both King Crimson and Brian Eno. The serpentine guitar playing, hypnotic melodies and haunting Mellotron lines are all trademark Fripp, though there are also hints of Germany's then-burgeoning Kosmiche movement wafting in and out of the mix as well. So Pinhas, at this stage in his career, wasn't exactly an innovator -- but so what? Allez-Téia is a masterful, absorbing work, chock full of dark, dense passages that give way to wide-open pastoral beauty. And the heady, 12-minute trip, "Fluence," goes places that might even have King Fripp himself bowing at Pinhas' feet. [TW]

$22.99 LP


KEVIN DRUMM/JASON LESCALLEET
The Abyss
(Erstwhile)

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

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

$23.99 2CD


GAME THEORY
Blaze of Glory
(Omnivore)

Excellent early '80s jangle pop moves from California group Game Theory. Blaze of Glory was their debut album and showcased the burgeoning genius of songwriter Scott Miller. Like kindred spirits Wreckless Eric, Dwight Twilley, and the Three O'Clock, Game Theory brought plenty of sass and spirit to a post-garage sphere, but while they came to life on the fringes of the Paisley Underground, Miller's personal and hyper-intelligent lyrics served as a blueprint for the "College Rock" era, and much of indie that came in the two decades to follow. With tons of raw synth, shiny guitars and tight playing, Blaze of Glory still retained a home-recorded edge and a razor-sharp wit. Omnivore's reissue boasts plenty of bonus material and an excellent remastering job. A must for all fans of DIY messthetics, earnest power pop and wimpy, introverted lyrics. True forgotten classic! [RN]

$15.99 CD
$21.99 LP+MP3

tickets with album purchase

TENNIS
Ritual in Repeat - With Webster Hall Tickets
(Communion)

Husband/wife indie-pop duo Tennis returns with a great new full-length, Ritual in Repeat, which is out now. If you purchase their new album from Other Music, you'll also get a pair of tickets to see the band live at New York City's Webster Hall on September 26, while supplies last!! ONLY ONE PAIR OF TICKETS PER PERSON. (Offer good for purchases made in person at the shop and on our mail order website. For web orders, you will need to enter your full name, email address and phone number in the mail order check-out page. This information will be passed along to the label for ticket pick-up at the will call box, day of the show.)

$9.99 CD ON SALE
$18.99 LP

the big picture

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