I just returned from a rousing and refreshing vacation to various parts of Utah. One stop took us to a Trappist Monastery in Huntsville, where we had the chance to catch the resident monks chant their songs of praise. As we walked up to the chapel, my 7-year-old son, who apparently misheard us, said, “I don’t want to listen to the chimps sing.” Silly kid: monks sound nothing like chimps, and chimps sound nothing like monks. And Part Chimp sound nothing like monks or chimps (unless they’d developed an affinity for Sonic Youth and Mogwai) — but what they do is rock hard. For the record, my son likes Part Chimp’s music better than the monks’ chanting but prefers the monks’ artisan honey to, well, just about anything.
I’ve been waiting for some MP3 newness from Cass McCombs (so I’d have an excuse to post something) ever since I first downloaded the blissfully doped-up “I Went to the Hospital” close to a year ago. But “Sacred Heart,” with its beautiful depiction of British middle-class existence as a tragically poetic way to go — yes, in the tradition of His Majesty Morrissey — is good enough to stand on its own. “Hospital” and “Not the Way” give you something to fill your headphones with lovely sounds for another few minutes.