I’m fairly certain that Antony and Johnsons — and Antony Hegarty in particular — will never need to worry about becoming pop superstars. Hegarty’s voice sounds something like a vibrating viola, intense and strange. He’s an occasional cross-dresser whose songs opine melancholy without the slightest hint of popish hooks. But he’s also completely unforgettable, if not brilliant. In recent years, Hegarty had been cultivating a partnership with Bjork. His cameo appearance on “Dull Flame of Desire” from her last album Volta saved the CD from sinking further into the Bjork-gets-weirder bin. Now, in 2010, Johnson highlights his rising cache in the art music world with a fantastic new release called Swanlights. Is it a reference to Bjork’s famed Oscar Swan outfit? Doubtful, but the reigning Diva of Iceland returns the favor with another duet. NPR is hosting a free preview of the CD in its entirety for the next few weeks.

First Listen: Antony And The Johnsons, ‘Swanlights’

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