For some reason or another, the most recent album (The Spell) by the Black Heart Procession didn't really capture my ear. I enjoyed some of their early work and especially their dark and adventurous Amore Del Tropico release, as well as their tag team with Solbakken on In The Fishtank 11. Although Mr. Tube And The Flying Objects has only a cursory relation to the group (it features singer Paulo Zappoli), it's a release that fans of that group will definitely want to seek out.
In addition to the above connection, the story (if it can be believed) behind Listen Up! is a rather interesting one. A couple years back, Zappoli was having trouble with his TV, and after taking it to a weird little repair shop, he befriended the man behind the counter (Freddie Dillinger), who was not only an owner of lots of electronic gadgetry, but the former singer of several bands who had done everything but actually record their work during the past thirty years. Mr. Tube (aka Dillinger) agreed to produce some of these songs, with Zappoli and a lot of his friends providing the instrumentation.
The setup might very well be a steaming load, but it sets the stage for Zappoli to completely break form and basically create a bunch of horn and buzz-laced pieces that wouldn't quite fit within the context of his own group. Oh yeah, and rock out with a bunch of friends, which is always a good thing. "Brothers In A Bind" is the second track on the disc, but the first real rumbler as heavy sax blasts mix with some rough-edged jangling guitars and huge drums while dual vocal parts (including a delicious bass) provide some great harmonies. Fans of the late, great Morphine will find their ears tickled for sure.
"Tryin'" again brings the horns, but is much more peculiar, mixing in some weird spacey electronics and bizarre vocal filters alongside more big drums for something slightly dub-influenced. Even when Listen Up! is more straightforward (as on the radio-rock ready "Todos Los Noches"), it provides plenty of hooks to hang your hat on, but it's best when it's dropping off into slightly trippy land, which it does often. "Long Night Review" is downright dancey as more romping percussion mixes with lots of bleeps and bloops. With ten songs clocking in at under forty minutes, it never gets stuck in one place for too long and like most great side projects seems to be a good place for a little experimentation.