In today’s Mundo Musique, I take a look at one of my favorite live artists, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper who has a show coming up in Montreal, the fantastic Americana band The Black Lillies, and Ummagma, a Canadian-Ukrainian power dreampop duo.
LADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, she was opening for another favorite of mine, Kaki King, and blew me away from the moment she started singing her opening acapella, “Up In The Rafters”, silencing the 300 people there with only her voice. Since that night last November, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper released her first proper album, Ripely Pine, and has toured extensively.
Lady Lamb The Beekeeper is the project of Aly Spaltro, currently based out of Brooklyn, the 24 year-old songwriter started her music career by recording music in the DVD rental store she worked at when she lived in Brunswick, Maine. Those recordings were mostly just Spaltro and a guitar, with a little percussion here and there. Ripely Pine was released in February, and the songs that she recorded in that DVD store were brought to life, featuring full orchestration, guitar, bass, and drums. Lady Lamb’s approach to songwriting is unabashed, her lyrics can be confessional, and they also have a bit of a surreal layer to them. The song themselves range from acoustic tracks to hard rockers, and some transition between the two, multiple times. One of my favorite tracks of the year is “You Are The Apple” off of Ripely Pine, it’s just an incredible piece of music, featuring strings, guitar, and some of Spaltro’s best lyrics. Ripely Pine has been a standout in a year full of great records, and this is only the beginning for Aly Spaltro, and I am looking forward to what she does next.
If you’re in Montreal, I highly suggest you check her out on December 1st at Divan Orange. Tickets are available here.
Here is Bird Baloons, one of the rockers off of Ripely Pine:
Here is the music video for “The Nothing Part II”
THE BLACK LILLIES
The Knoxville, TN based band The Black Lilles have been impressing me since the first time I saw them at Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2009. Their music can be described as Americana, and is a perfect blend of country and folk. The Black Lillies released their debut album, Whiskey Angel in 2009, and followed it up with 100 Miles Of Wreckage in 2011, and are back with Runaway Freeway Blues in 2013. Runaway Freeway Blues is a fantastic country record. The band’s lineup has changed a bit since 2009, but the current lineup of lead singer Cruz Contreras, guitarist Tom Pryor, singer Trisha Gene Brady, bassist Robert Richards and percussionist Bowman Townsend, sound as good as ever. Contreras’ voice handles these country and rock and roll songs which also show the versatility of guitarist Tom Pryor who plays electric rock and roll on tracks like “Smokestack Lady” and plays some gorgeous pedal steel on the closing song, “Glow”. If you like country-leaning Americana acts like Justin Townes Earle or Hayes Carll, check out The Black Lillies.
Here is the opening track, “The Fall” off of Runaway Freeway Blues:
Here’s a live performance of “Ruby” off of Runaway Freeway Blues:
Ummagma is a Canadian-Ukrainian dreampop duo, they released their first two records in 2012, and on December 9th, Ummagma is releasing their latest two-song single, “Rotation / Live and Let Die” on German label Emerald and Doreen. These two tracks serve as a preview for what Ummagma has in store for 2014. “Rotation” is a hypnotic track at the start, Shauna McLarnon’s voice soaks through cutting synth and guitar supplied by multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kretov. After the intro, it evolves into a huge wall of sound that keeps building and building until Kretov disassembles it. The other track on the two-track single, “Live and Let Die” is a great shoegaze influenced track, with a lot of distortion on the instrumentation and reverb laced vocals . These two tracks really grabbed my interest and if these two tracks are a sign of things to come, I suggest keeping your eyes and ears open for Ummagma in 2014. While you wait, Ummagma has released two LP’s independently, their self-titled Ummagma and Antigravity, both are fantastic records. Ummagma has drawn some comparisons to to bands like Cocteau Twins, Stereolab, Curve, Blonde Redhead and Lush, and Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins has even remixed a song for their upcoming LP. If you like any of those bands I suggest you check out Ummagma.
Check out “Rotation” which will officially be released as a single on December 9th
Here is a video for “Live and Let Die” which will also be released December 9th
Photo of Lady Lamb The Beekeeper by Shervin Lainez, from ladylambthebeekeeper.com
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