Listening Notes, Ultra-Brief


Lee Perry / Bill Laswell, Rise Again

Two visionaries with uneven outputs – uneven largely because they so often serve as their own producers. In this meeting of minds, Laswell tempers Perry’s tendency to ramble, while Perry forces Laswell to lay off the effects. Result – a true collaboration, with bass in your face. Plus, Perry still manages to slip in one song about space aliens.

Mountain Goats, All Eternals Deck

Whatever John Darnielle might otherwise suggest, the concept here isn’t Tarot cards, but ghosts – literal and metaphorical. How much this concept intrigues you may depend on your tolerance for vague imagery rather than sharp detail, plus your tolerance for Darnielle’s previous output. But press in, and the details do emerge. Jokes, too.


Gil Scott-Heron / Jamie xx, We’re New Here

Remix of last year’s I’m New Here, which it improves upon simply by casting a wider sonic net. Also gives us “I’ll Take Care Of You,” which does honor to Gil’s memory while making me ansty for that new xx album.


 Elbow, Build A Rocket, Boys!

Too close to Coldplay for comfort. But Guy Garvey’s Manchester childhood is remembered with a delicacy and skill that has so far escaped Chris Martin. And the children’s choir is at least deployed sparingly.



New Boyz, Too Cool To Care

The sort of autotune vapidity one would expect from a duo forming around a dance craze involving tight pants. Includes dick jokes. So how come the front cover doesn’t show off their crotch bulges? Might they be pulling one over on us?


Chad VanGaalen, Diaper Island

Indie singer-songster attempts to enter the mind of Woman on this modest offering’s final track. “Shave My Pussy,” it’s called, and, yes, it’s as clumsy as you suspect. If VanGaalen really feels the need to share his personal hobbies with the outside world, he might look into home brewing.