John Cale is as cool as ice.

John Cale

It's pretty routine for aging rockers to name-check hip young bands as influences. And though the thought of John Cale air-guitaring to Bloc Party is kind of gross, his newfound interest in everything from dance-punk to hip-hop carries some weight. For forty years, ever since he forsook classical music in the '60s to slum it with Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground, this innovative songwriter has applied sincere intellectual curiosity to pop music. BlackAcetate, his new full-length, is yet another intriguing tangent in a career riddled with abrupt about-faces. Citing as inspiration Pharrell, Doves and Gorillaz, the disc has a funkier, more organic edge than its predecessor, 2003's ProTools-crafted HoboSapiens. But the element common to all of Cale's music is intact -- a human, emotional core that fleshes out his brainier abstraction. Besides plying his rarified art-rock at the Bluebird, the legend will do a free in-store performance at Twist and Shout Records at 4 p.m. on October 30 -- look for the dignified Welsh gentleman with his head buried in the Dr. Dre section.


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