» Contact Us
» Advertise With Us
» Newspaper Ads
The Listening Room: Peter Gabriel, Stephen Malkmus and more...
"And I'll Scratch Yours"
If "Scratch My Back," the first part of Peter Gabriel's ambitious song-swap with other artists, was underwhelming, its companion album is a more satisfactory endeavor. This time out it's the artists who Gabriel covered so sleepily on "Scratch My Back" taking on his work, mostly to good and occasionally to fascinating result. David Byrne certainly gets things off to a funky start with his grooving, club-ready rendition of "I Don't Remember," while Bon Iver's airy, keening tones are well fit for "Come Talk to Me" and Regina Spektor sinks into the melodic beauty of "Blood of Eden." Randy Newman reinvents "Big Time" in characteristic cabaret fashion, Arcade Fire amplifies the electronic flavor of "Games Without Frontiers" and Feist duets with Timber Timbre on a relatively faithful version of "Don't Give Up." Brian Eno's experimental "Mother of Violence" is messy but original -- and certainly better than Joseph Arthur's lethargic take on "Shock the Monkey" and Lou Reed's abrasive, guitar-drenched slog through "Solsbury Hill." "And I'll Scratch Yours" ends on a winning note, at least, with Paul Simon offering up a warm, acoustic treatment of the protest anthem "Biko" that's nearly as effective as the ambient hymnal of Gabriel's original. Consider this itch well-scratched.
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, "Wig Out at Jagbags" (Matador) ***
The broad-reaching sixth album by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks was inspired by his recent live in Berlin and recorded in Amsterdam, but there's no mistaking it as an American rock album. The 12-songs set makes its nods to punk ("Rumble at the Rainbo"), grunge ("Scattegories") and prototypical indie rock of the Weezer/Wilco variety throughout, but with onetime Pavement cohort Remko Schouten co-porducing, "Jagbags" finds its heart in jammy psychedelia, bookended by the staccato artiness of the opening "Planetary Motion" and the trippy expanse of "Surreal Teenagers," while "Cinnamon and Lesbians" sounds like a compact Grateful Dead. Malkmus and company just keep getting better, to the point where we're barely entertaining thoughts of a Pavement reunion anymore.
New & Noteworthy:
Kid Ink, "My Own Lane" (Tha Alumnia Music Group/88 Classic/RCA): The Los Angeles rapper teams up with Chris Brown, Tyga, Pusha T and others on his sophomore album.
Lecrae, "Church Clothes 2" (Reach): The Christian rapper's second mixtape follows the Grammy Award-winning "Gravity" album and features guest appearances by B.o.B., Bun B and more.
Legion of the Damned, "Ravenous Plague" (Napalm): The Dutch thrash metal group gets the year off to a cheerful start on its seventh studio album.
John Newman, "Tribute" (Universal Republic): The British singer brings his debut album Stateside after a No. 1 debut in his homeland and hit singles such as "Lose Me Again" and "Cheating."
Self Defense Family, "Try Me" (Deathwish): The New York state punk group switches its name (from End of the Year) for its fourth studio album.
Toy, "Join the Dots" (Heavenly): The psychedelic rock outfit from Britain reunite with producer Dan Carey for their second album, which came out last month in the U.K.
From The Vaults: Blood, Sweat & Tears, "The Complete Columbia Singles" (Real Gone); Kutless, "Icon" (BEC/Universal)
Soundtracks: Gustavo Santaolalla, "August: Osage County" (Sony Classics); Various Artists, "The Wolf of Wall Street" (Virgin)
Send your thoughts and comments to