This is how I imagine Push The Sky Away came to be: Nick Cave sat alone in a gynecologist's lobby, stroking his sophisticate's ape drape as he waited for his wife to emerge. He stared out a window at teenage floozies shakin' it on the street. Lustful yet bored, he flipped through magazines: Smithsonian, Popular Science, People. Finally, he browsed random Wikipedia topics on his iPhone. That night, he drank a pot of opium tea—his mind aflutter with images of Mississippi blues men, the Large Hadron Collider, mermaids and “Hannah Montana.” The next morning, Cave discovered a notebook filled with song lyrics. He and the band—sans departed founding member Mick Harvey—traipsed off to record at La Fabrique in the south of France, and voila: Nine familiar-sounding tracks of eloquent hallucinatory prattle (11 if you go deluxe). (M. Brianna Stallings)
Experimental, avant-garage outfit Pere Ubu—named for a theatrical protagonist birthed by surrealist forerunner Alfred Jarry—began cutting an influential swath through the global weird in 1975. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the group’s membership has proved a veritable carousel, but inimitable vocalist David Thomas serves as a constant hallmark of the Pere Ubu sound. Thomas’ existential drone won’t thrill everyone, but if you adore his pipes, it’s a smorgasbord of banshee-voiced cyborg disco/mutant rock. Standout tracks include “Musicians are Scum” and “Free White.” (Samantha Anne Carrillo)
Hearing Petra Haden’s name, I smirk. Violinist and vocalist Haden is known for powerful a capella renditions of popular music. Here, she takes on notable filmic tracks. Drawn in by the eek-eek-eeking “Psycho Main Title,” I found myself falling equally in love with “God’s Lonely Man” (Taxi Driver). This outing—and much of her work—will drive some people absolutely mad, but it may also leave vox fanatics slack-jawed at Haden’s psychic compass for pinpointing and ruthlessly exploiting our desires. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)
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