Friday, May 25, 2012

"Friday Night Frolic" — Pretty Little Lamb(chop)

Look, with an album named Mr. M, cryptic lyrics hidden therein, boys slinking about their own island, scratching and whispering, mocking emotion, well, it seems this evening calls for the proper attire—though, the Suburban Soliloquist is having difficulty locating her black Ray-Bans. (Maybe that's because she doesn't own black Ray-Bans.)

But she's got the T-shirt and she's guessing the geeky Kurt Wagner wouldn't mind her slipping it on. Not at all. Especially if she were pouring him a glass of white. Which she is. He will arrive, Wagner, yes, this very night (tell her traveling hubby and she will deny it), but she can't tell you when or how, or else...

And because the Suburban Soliloquist is in the midst of packing (of which she can't, or won't?, again elaborate), and feels at this moment that she can say it no better, she will permit the Village Voice—which does not hide, scratch or whisper—to speak for her. But first, she'll tell you this: Lambchop is a band. True. Lambchop is  also a...
...vanishingly rare band allowed to exist over several geologic eras of pop-culture time, pursuing a singular, demented muse. Lambchop is an island, removed from the squalor of everyday world, so terrifically inscrutable that you even start looking for significance in their name: not pork chop, but lamb chop. Surely that must mean something. 
Mr. M is, at once, one of the band’s most open-hearted and acidic records. It opens with a flourish of strings that invoke memories of Frank Sinatra’s great, gloomy indigo-jazz records with string arranger Nelson Riddle. The clothes are old ones, slightly threadbare, and they are ones Lambchop have a winking relationship with, dating back at least to 2001′sNixon. You can smell the used-record-sleeve on them. And so, apparently, can Wagner, something he’s quick to draw your attention to. When he enters the song, he appears to be both commenting ironically on its motion and somehow directing its action: “Grandpa’s coughing in the kitchen/ But the strings sound good/ Maybe add some flutes/ And how do get the cups out from over there?”

*   *   * 
And now, she's pouring him that glass of white...

  Lambchop - Gone Tomorrow by City Slang

The wine tasted like sunshine in the basement.  (For some peculiar reason, this little nugget nudges the Suburban Soliloquist to reach for her 1960s flashcards.)

What were they doing in the basement? Hmm...

Wagner, and his pretty, pretty Lambchop. How they do it they'll never tell.

Listen to more Lambchop here. Lambchop visits Jimmy Fallon, late night, tonight.

(To be honest, er, um, the Suburban Soliloquist has no secret information, she's not even sure who wrote this post.)

(But, the wine did taste like sunshine in the basement.)


  1. ahh jayne, the way you write about music is like how dan writes about makes me happy to read whether i know who you speak of or not.

    may the packing take you in the direction you desire, it's all we can ask.

    happy, happy weekend!

    1. I'm trying this reply again--my last one seemed to have gotten eaten up. In any event, I'm glad to hear this little piece on Lambchop made you happy, ecogrrl. The band has become one of my favorites over the years. And they've been around a long time, but they're finally getting the recognition they deserve.

      The weekend's direction, though not what I'd have planned out, was nevertheless a nice time. Three days of soccer in central CT. Hot, hot, long days. But all worth it as Max's team ended up grabbing the the invitational championship. Finally. And they worked hard for it! ;)

  2. Jayne, two things -- the irksome one first -- I'm not seeing these posts come up on my dashboard! Or they're there one minute, gone the next. I am popping in from my blogroll because at least there, I do see you. But now I've added so many blogs to that, sheer volume -- however worthwhile -- works against us, too. :(

    Now, onto your post. You are an interesting specimen of writer in that your singular voice emerges not only from your words but from structure, parenthetical asides, visuals and an at-once delicate and strong energy. Ductile. Yes, I think that must be it. Flexible like gold, capable of carrying great weight and not straining under the pressure of it.

    Your content is substantive, but your execution is like a glass of white.

    Ha! I'm so glad I was able to string some words together to properly respond to the emotions your own words have evoked. Yay.

    (Listening to 'Gone Tomorrow' as I wrote this. Ah, irony.)

    Love and more love,
    Your Suze

    If that's you in that first photo -- I LOVE IT.

    1. Suze - Yes, it's me modeling the T-shirt! I picked up that shirt when we were in Washington, D.C. in April. Got it at the Spy Museum. I had more fun there than my kids did!

      Odd that my posts are absent from your dashboard. Had the same thing going on with AB, but now I've got you in a subscriptions, so I can see your new posts on Google Reader. Blogger seems to have many glitches, and it could be just that it's acting up lately.

      You know what, Suze, one of my writing professors did not like the way I went about structuring my writing. She also absolutely hated the parenthetical. Something about it needing more attention. Or maybe it made all to clear my little issue w/ADD. I think she may have said something about "intractable." IDK, but wouldn't I love to flap your response in front of her face.

      And the execution part, well, maybe that's because I was sipping on a glass of white when I wrote it! Oh, you are a master stringer, dear Suze. :)

  3. You know i saw them about a month or so ago, tiny room, started in on the Tullamore Dew and was half blind by the time the show ended, as i said to my compadre, this is whiskey sippin' music, only i forgot and sorta drank it... did get to say hi to Kurt though.

    1. Hi to Kurt?! You dog. (As I remember I missed my opportunity to see him here at the Paradise, as we were in DC at the time--dang school vacation!.) Well, I'll find a way. Until then, I'll fantasize. With white or whisky. Whichever KW prefers. ;)

      The Boston Globe gave him a nice review--citing his Wagnerian wordplay. Part of it:

      "And from the marvelous dolefulness of “Mr. Met’’ to the typical Wagnerian wordplay of the opening “If Not I’ll Just Die’’ (which somehow merges an account of a family gathering with asides about constructing the very song being sung - “the strings sound good/ maybe add some flute’’), the songs stood tall in that reductive state. That had something to do with the articulate, lispy, now-deadpan, now-animated, velvet croak of Wagner’s singing, a thing of idiosyncratic wonder.

      But these renditions also served to emphasize the sort of studied limpidity and spaciousness that is at the heart of much of the band’s music. There is nothing rushed, nothing busy in Lambchop’s world, and in performance, as on record, it retains a sound like no other."

      I'm glad they're finally getting their due. ;)

  4. Jayne: I love checking out new music, and live music is great--a very enthusiastic crowd here! Long hot days there, I'm sure. Are you checking out The Beach Boys tour when they swing up your way?

    1. How can one not be enthusiastic about this band, Michael?! Oh yes, I need to check out the BBs schedule. My summer calendar is filling quickly! :)

  5. Wow,this is great J..i do like the double barreled approach to this one using both your own and a truly good snippet of music journalism...
    that is weird..i was going through some old cd's the other day and found 'nixon'...i remember trying NOT to like this album, but dang, it is a pearler! ;)

    1. Dan- I'm finding the "truly good snippet of music journalism" is time saving and much more effective than my own review. And ya know, no need to reinvent the wheel. Nixon is a great album. Silky smooth songs. Pearler is right! ;)