Music Reviews: Glass Animals, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, James
Dan Loughry

Glass Animals
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Since I’ve been banging on against the increasing homogeny of contemporary indie electro (frankly, it’s boring), it’s a pleasure to hear a debut that’s as engaging and imaginative as Oxford quartet Glass AnimalsZaba. Vocalist/songwriter Dave Bailey, who’s studied both medicine and neuroscience by the ripe old age of 23, invests his sonic explorations with infinite variety. Mid-tempo soul numbers such as “Gooey” and the trippy opener “Flip” are built on basic ingredients—strokes of electronics, sequenced rhythms, Bailey’s high tenor/falsetto fillips—that the band then invests with a concentrated attention to subtle details that continue to reveal themselves with repeated listens. Surprises rise from the electro morass, song by song, making Glass Animals the most exciting new band to come out of the U.K. since Alt-J. Prime Cuts: “Flip,” “Hazey,” “Pools” —Dan Loughry

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Original Broadway Cast Recording 
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I was admittedly skeptical upon hearing that Neil Patrick Harris would be starring in the theatrical revival of Hedwig. I knew he could sing and act like a champ, but could this “nice guy” inhabit the queer, grit ‘n’ spittle essence of a transgender German glam rocker? As everyone witnessed during his show-stopping performance of “Sugar Daddy” during the Tonys, all doubt has been erased like a drag queen’s eyebrows. Granted, Stephen Trask’s original songs are so strong to begin with, but Harris has truly immersed himself in not only the character but all the musical reference points Hedwig was built upon. The beauty of this recording is that it was essentially rushed to see the light of day, so it was assembled in a very DIY setting with little production or polish. Harris and company truly nail the glitter-smeared, pithy nuance needed for these now-iconic songs. Prime Cuts: “Tear Me Down,” “Angry Inch,” “Wicked Little Town.” —Paul V.


Le Petit Mort
(BMG/Chrysalis/Cooking Vinyl)
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This is James’ 13th album in nearly 30 years, and it seems as though the Manchester septet is preoccupied with the concept of aging. All the way from choice of producer (the young and edgy Max Dingel) to the lyrics, Le Petit Mort is designed not to sound like an album made by seven guys in their 50s, and it succeeds. The lyrics are, as always, smart and hilarious. (Rhyming “love love love” with “blah blah blah” doesn’t sound as ingenious on paper as it really is.) Album opener “Walk Like You” calls to mind several of James’ classic singles while sounding wholly unique and important. In fact, there’s not one song on Le Petit Mort that doesn’t have at least two spectacular moments. The album ends with the gorgeous “All I’m Saying,” where Tim Booth promises he’ll see us next time. I, for one, can’t wait. Prime Cuts: “All I’m Saying,” “Walk Like You,” “Curse Curse” —Dominik Rothbard

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