June 17, 2013

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper at the Crocodile Tuesday Night

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::: Lady Lamb The Beekeeper ::: Photo by Shervin Lainez

  The journey that we call life. It’s anti-climatic maddening, joyful, painful, obvious yet unexpected…that is if you’re doing it right. You have no control of your own life. It’s really just a series of events that you experience or witness poured into the manmade linear caster of “time.”  

And then there’s the pacing. Oh, the pacing.

What may take you an entire lifetime to build, may take someone else a television commercial break. You have problems therefore you want answers. Your methodology of going into the woods with a book and a flashlight for a couple of weeks, won’t serve as the catalyst for inspiration for that foreign soul that follows in your footsteps.

Life. It works, then it doesn’t. It never works.

This all brings me to Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and her outstanding album Ripely Pine. If you listen to this album and were completely unaware of Aly Spaltro’s musical background, what do you anticipate that your first thoughts would be? I’m guessing it would something similar to, “How many records has she made in the past? What other musical projects has she been involved in? Did she go to school for music?” Etc.

Do you know what your first thoughts wouldn’t be? “Did you ever see that movie Be Kind, Rewind?” “I bet Aly Spaltro found inspiration in her songwriting while working at a secondhand DVD store in Maine.” “It’s obvious she honed her craft writing these songs after hours adjacent to the Horror and Drama sections of the video store.” “This is definitely her first studio album.”

Artistically speaking, Lady Lamb is in her musical infancy. She’s been mining hard hours for these musical diamonds since 2007.  However, Ripely Pine consistently expresses a depth, creativity and understanding that is not only impressive, more importantly it’s exciting. Practically every song has a sound or rhythm that is completely unexpected. In case you missed the memo, this is a great fucking album. To paraphrase the philosopher Kool Keith, this lady is a master of the game. As a result, we are left with an album of note. It would have taken others several albums to arrive at a similar conclusion, if they were to arrive at all.

Gentle readers, I can not overstate the importance of being unique entity in the singer/songwriter genre. There’s only so many notes a human play. There’s only so many notes a human can sing. Your offerings only differ presentation, instrumentation and arrangement. For all intents and purposes, music is music. If you have any idea what you’re doing, you can make Akimbo sound like Arcade Fire. A musical alchemist can turn Frank Zappa into Jay-Z. These aren’t hidden secrets we’re talking about here.

If you’re still reading and desperately searching for the expected, somewhat mundane, journalistic musical comparisons to/for Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, look no further. Lady Lamb vocally reminds of Feist on The Reminder. In terms of songwriting, if Kelli Schaefer moved to Washington, D.C. and listened almost exclusively to Wolf Parade’s “You Are A Runner and I Am My Father’s Son”, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. However, I want to be perfectly clear that Lady Lamb is like neither one of those mentioned contemporaries. I would have even avoided the dreaded and borderline sexist “female artist comparison” thing if I had a better grasp of this genre. Ignorance isn’t bliss, they just told you that to make you feel better.

Tomorrow night (or tonight if you’re late to the game). Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is playing the Crocodile in support of Torres. Doors are at 7pm. Tickets are $8 in advance. All-Ages.

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