Imagine the horror for singer-songwriter Greg Laswell, who retreated to an old church in rural Maine to record his new album — only to find there was no cell phone reception. Forced into a virtual stone-age existence, he actually had to rely on a phone plugged into the wall! So he cleverly dubbed his new disc Landline (Vanguard), which he uses to dial in a new set of melancholy contemplations of persistent angst couched in nagging minor-key melodies — just ripe enough for the TV and movie soundtracks that have largely become his stock in trade. Laswell's moody fretting about missing signals and disappearing lovers may sometimes inspire listeners to scream, "Just get over it!" And he has, sort of. "All of your wallowing is unbecoming/You gotta take it on your own from here/It's getting pathetic," he tells himself while duetting with Sara Bareilles on the opening pop epic "Come Back Down." Laswell is, in fact, less morose on Landline than on his last outing, Take a Bow. But it takes the contrasting textures of his four female collaborators — Bareilles, Sia, Elizabeth Ziman, and Ingrid Michaelson — to shake Laswell of his torpor and ensure he's not totally disconnected. Ziman, of Elizabeth and the Catapult, opens. 18+
Fri., June 8, 9 p.m., 2012
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