Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jesca Hoop, Chuck Mead with the new and noteworthy 


Lee “Scratch” Perry, Rainford (On U-Sound) – Legendary Jamaican reggae producer Perry has spent the past few years on collaboratives with The Orb and Subatomic Sound System, so when engineer Adrian Sherwood sequestered him in London and Kingston studios, it was easy to guess the resultant nine tracks would feature the kind of craziness often achieved by Sun Ra or Prince. For Perry, however, Rainford (his given first name) is business as usual — or unusual.


Jesca Hoop, Stonechild (Memphis Industries) – Three years after a stunning duo album with Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop releases a fifth solo work that is easily the best of her career. P.J. Harvey collaborator John Parish helps Hoop craft a quiet, intense “bitter Zen” sound, while pop duo Lucius adds vocal backups for a Roches feel. Each of the 11 tracks combines simplicity and wisdom, suggesting the best of Laura Marling’s work.


Chuck Mead, Close to Home (Plowboy Records) – As much as Mead may be known for honky-tonk country bands like BR549, this album is a tight rockabilly session as memorable as Robert Gordon’s and Link Wray’s collaborations. Occasional pedal steel and piano prove a broader country agenda, but the first few tracks are juke-joint howler material.


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