Posts Tagged ‘City Slang’

Lambchop

Kurt Wagner, and his rotating cast of musicians who’ve make up Lambchop at one point or another have been making music since the mid-1980’s and have tried their hand at pretty much every style going. Back in the autumn of 2019, Kurt had an idea, instead of heading out on a financially unviable tour, he would instead invite his current band into the studio to make a covers record. Each member would bring a track of their choosing and in a single day, take control over recording their chosen song. The result is the upcoming album, “Trip”, out in November, and previewed this week in the shape of the band’s take on the Wilco-classic, “Reservations”. Lambchop announced a new covers record. Titled Trip, the album includes six cover songs, each selected by a different member of the band.

In addition to songs popularized by the Supremes, George Jones, and Stevie Wonder, Trip includes “Weather Blues,” a previously unreleased song written by Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew.

Reservations” was picked by Matthew McCaughan, after much stressing about his choice, “I decided I would pick a song that, while I love it, and know it, it wasn’t one that had been on repeat for months at some point in my life, nor was it one that is permanently tied to some memory of my own“. Part of the thinking behind the choice was not so much about the original, but instead what Lambchop could make of it, here Kurt’s vocal is pushed up in the mix, with the fizz and the hum of the original chorus replaced by cooed vocal harmonies and dancing woodwind melodies. What Lambchop’s version hangs onto is the beautiful simplicity of Jeff Tweedy’s lyrics, the line, “I’ve got reservations about so many things, but not about you”, still every bit as wonderful as the first time you heard it. As Kurt says of the project, and his career as a whole, “it’s been a trip”, if they also sound this enticing it’s a journey we’re going to want to make many more times.

Taken from Trip, out November 13th, 2020 on Merge and City Slang.

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Quiet Signs sounds like a lost Paisley Underground classic. The delicate piano, flute, organ and string arrangements for “Fare Thee Well” and “Poly Blue” have a lush, chamber pop vim that work wonders around Jessica Pratt’s enchanting voice. The record’s B-side glows with an arresting late-night clarity – especially “This Time Around.” A perfect late night soundtrack.

The singer/songwriter somehow brings a maximalist energy to a record so subdued you’ll refrain from speaking during its quivering 27 minutes, for fear of disturbing the peace. Quiet Signs is a convincing argument for simplicity. Jessica Pratt has a very, very restrained way of supplying strength and relief during our hectic moment. Her songs are so quiet they almost don’t even exist, but maybe that’s how we need to feel for just a moment—like we’re just air. These tracks aren’t immediately satisfactory. They emit tranquility only if you’re willing to devote your full attention—and perhaps repeated listens. In under 30 minutes and in just nine songs, Pratt produces a warm, bewitching alternate dimension—but not the kind you fall into in a nightmare or thriller. The universe she’s fashioned for herself is more paradisal.

Taken from the new album ‘Quiet Signs’ Out Now on Vinyl / CD / Digital via City Slang and Mexican Summer