David Rubin Secret Agent

Sometimes outsider musicians live so outside any conception of what’s going on in music’s evolution they can’t help but make astoundingly innocent sounds. Take Montreal’s David Rubin, for instance: Rubin grew up in the entertainment industry, appearing regularly on the Jack Barry-hosted Little People, before stepping out of the "spotlight” (as he calls it) to attend high school. Now well into his 30s, Rubin has dedicated the last four years of his life to writing music, the best of which is undoubtedly collected on his sixth album, Secret Agent. Doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary, until you listen to this wonder of an album: most of the songs are written from the point of view of a — you guessed it — secret agent, and like most great outsider music, this stuff walks the line between terrible and astounding with oblivious grace. Rubin is accompanied by Laurie Gordon and Krassy Halatchev on drum machines, keyboards and guitars, as he sings songs about "Fighting With a Mad Man On Top of a Train,” a girl in a "Black Miniskirt,” an "Archaeologist Woman” and "A Warm Kind of Love” he’s offering with his awkward phrasing and Roy Orbison-esque voice. Imagine if Gary Wilson wasn’t so hard up and had illusions of intrigue. Head-spinning stuff. (Independent)