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Listen to this

A look at some new music.

Published April 1, 2007


Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Heptones, Desmond Dekker

Album: Jonny Greenwood Is the Controller Trojan

In stores: Now

Why we care: Radiohead guitarist Greenwood scavenges through the deep, dusty Trojan Records vaults searching for lost riddims and trippy grooves. Greenwood doesn't play a lick, mind you. He's merely the DJ here, choosing the label's best reggae cuts from the '70s.

Why we like it: As Greenwood writes in the liner notes, "I don't think it's fanciful to compare Lee 'Scratch' Perry's work with the Beatles experimental music, or even composers like Stockhausen." Indeed, this reggae has nothing to do with steel drum ho-hum you hear at Frenchy's. The dub effects are spacey, the vocals wild, the lyrics passionate.

Reminds us of: That one time in Montego Bay when a swarm of cockroaches exploded from our grimy case of Red Stripe. (We drank the beer anyway. It was delicious.)

Download these: Let Me Down Easy and A Ruffer Version

Grade: A


Neil Sedaka

Album: Neil Sedaka: The Definitive Collection (Razor & Tie)

In stores: April 24

Why we care: As much as we enjoy mocking Mom and Dad for raising us on such lame music - when Helen Reddy played, no one could hear you scream - we always had preteen appreciation for Sedaka. The Brill Building singer-songwriter, still touring today at 68, had a knack for sugary hooks and high notes.

Why we like it: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Calendar Girl, Solitaire, Love Will Keep Us Together, Bad Blood, The Hungry Years - this is the first time all of Sedaka's masterworks have been remastered and available on one record. (That's right, I said masterworks. You got a problem with that?)

Reminds us of: How we should call our mother more.

Download these: Bad Blood, The Hungry Years and Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (the slow version)

Grade: A


Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Ray Price

Album: Last of the Breed (Lost Highway)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Ponytailed pot advocate Nelson is a national treasure, but the man releases a new album every week, often to tired results. Surround him with crusty cowboy pals Haggard and Price, however, and the Red-Headed Stranger sounds downright frisky over the course of 22 songs and two CDs.

Why we like it: Backed by the harmonizing Jordanaires and an army of honky-tonk fiddlers, Willie (73), Merle (69) and Ray (81) ride along with cool grace and timeless style, honoring such songwriting legends as Harland Howard, Lefty Frizzell and Gene Autry.

Reminds us of: Slow dancing, slow drinking, slow nights.

Download these: Why Me and That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine

Grade: A-



Rufus Wainwright

Song: Another Believer

Album: Meet the Robinsons (Walt Disney)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Son of singers Loudon Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle, the 33-year-old Rufus is an old pop soul, with equal interests in opera and Judy Garland. Unabashedly open about his sexuality and a former drug addiction, Wainwright was a curious choice to soundtrack a Disney cartoon.

Why we like it: Bless the Mouse House for being brave enough to pull the trigger on this one. Wainwright's Another Believer is honest but hopeful, with the singer reinforcing his bittersweet croon with music fit for calliope.

Reminds us of: Cabaret meets Monsters Inc.

Song grade: A

Sean Daly can be reached at or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at

[Last modified March 29, 2007, 13:01:23]

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