“Why don’t you get in line with all those others whose lives I have ruined?” Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas sings in “Musicians Are Scum”—a spicy standout on Lady from Shanghai, the 15th studio album from the most mutable band in avant-punk (a label Thomas gleefully despises). Since 1975, the Ubu starting lineup has gone through more changes than the New York Knicks, with Thomas the stalwart eye of the hurricane. While “Musicians Are Scum” could be mistaken for an ironic jab at that turbulent history, it’s more likely a take on today’s idol-obsessed assembly line.
The disc is the second Ubu outing to feature British players Keith Moliné and Graham Dowdall (a.k.a. Gagarin), on guitar and electronics, respectively. Neither is scheduled to make this much-anticipated Bowery Ballroom gig, thanks to a visa snafu. Cleveland guitarist Dave Cintron (Terminal Lovers) will fill in, and Thomas hopes to link remotely with Moliné and Dowdall for at least one song. Another thing to expect: a tribute to original Ubu bassist and all-around good guy Tim Wright, who passed away last month.—Bill Murphy
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