BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


January 12, 2009

Things I admire #1: Lambchop

(Since we are all in a period of coming down and picking up again after the holiday season I thought it would be a good opportunity to offer up some posts which diverge somewhat from the usual content.)

I love Lambchop - I'm not big on the meat variant or the puppet, but rather a band led by Kurt Wagner from Nashville. Formally a weird acid-country-folk trio Posterchild, they later became Lambchop in the 90's recruiting a turnstile roster of musicians, with regulars settling in to provide a backing to Wagner's strange beautiful songs and husky vocals. From 1994 to 2000 they released a string of critically praised albums ranging from avante-alt. country (I Hope You're Sitting Down (1994), How I Quit Smoking (1996), chamber pop and soul (What Another Man Spills (1998), Nixon (2000)) and the droney and murky (Thriller (1997)). Since 2000 to the present, their music has become more consistent and understated - from the ambient twitchiness of Is A Woman (2002), the string laden double release Aw C'mon/No You C'mon (2004), the mortal revalations that haunt Damaged (2006) and the lovely most recent OH (ohio) (2008).

I've now been listening to Lambchop compulsively for the past three months. That's weird, because usually if I thrash an artist or band to death over the period I'll get tired of them and won't listen to them for the rest of the year. So why the exception of Lambchop? One explanation is that I reconnected with their music whilst I was overseas last year in Germany, their latest album providing a hushed backing to the romantic connotes of travel - be it sitting on a balcony on a rainy evening or watching the landscape blur from a train window. I hadn't been that engaged with them prior to this - in fact the only album I possesed was a copy of Is A Woman which I liked to throw into the background to colour the room whilst I was writing or something. Occassionally, a few tracks would pique my interest again, discovering them on compilation discs with music magazines or a stray download - I recall everytime being charmed to the degree that I would listen to a given track incessantly until I got distrated by something else. I think it obviously sank in whilst I was travelling though - the songs of OH (ohio) got into my blood, stuck in my head, twitched my synapses and got me humming on the way to buy a carton of milk. This effect is kind of like a revalation when you realise you've finally made sense of something or figured something out, realised you've fallen in love, you get resonated and can't vibrating (three months and counting.)

Now I own their entire back catalouge - bootlegs, b-sides, pratically everything. I'm attempting to convert friends, family whilst transcribing some songs to fit my vox. I highly reccomend these guys. Start with How I Quit Smoking, then Nixon, Is A Woman, Damaged and OH (ohio), then work backwards. I will happily direct you (discreetly) to the bootlegs if your interest permits.

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