On 4 November 2016, Lambchop return with For Love Often Turns Us Still—officially titled FLOTUS. Inspired as always to make art from the unusual sounds and scenes of his South Nashville neighbourhood, Kurt Wagner set aside what he has learned over the last 30 years and embarked on a musical adventure to bring us this album that sounds like no one else — or, completely, unmistakably, like himself.
Wanting to make an album that his neighbours and wife would listen to – though a version of that garbled through grocery store speakers and tiny cell phones - Kurt became inspired by, though not tethered to, a plethora of modern day musical voices across modern R&B, soul and hip-hop amongst other genres. “Overall, artists like myself have been using the same production techniques forever, letting technology enhance and further a sound but not really taking it to a new place. Technology bending to the will of the creator became playful, complex, and exciting to hear on repeat with a structure still open to interpretation.”
Start to finish, FLOTUS is imbued with that magic energy that comes when an artist stumbles upon the thrill of the new — something that makes them brave enough to want to start the whole process over again. The album is bookended by two long-form pieces: the first, ‘In Care of 8675309’, is most reminiscent of where Lambchop have been, while the second, the sprawling and hypnotic ‘The Hustle’, suggests where they might still be headed. Taken as a whole, FLOTUS is anchored by previous album sensibilities and is brimming with the many hallmarks of Lambchop’s catalogue: the same beautifully nuanced arrangements and the same unparalleled ability to capture the eternal in life’s quotidian struggles.
The first introduction to FLOTUS comes in the form of final track ‘The Hustle’, which seamlessly shifts between movements - a foundation suggestive of krautrock and early electronic music, gorgeously ornamented with perfectly placed piano and horns. Drawing upon a diverse palate of influences and transcending each one, it’s a stunning piece of work—certainly one of the most impressive achievements of Lambchop’s career.
Kurt has also shared the story behind ‘The Hustle’, another unabashedly romantic Lambchop song:
My wife and I attended this wedding of one her college friends in the countryside outside of Nashville. Weddings are a heady mix of emotions, memories, and events that can be quite rich in imagery. With this being a Quaker wedding, there was a lack of “officiating” in that the bride and groom addressed each other directly the entire time. This was something that I found to be most touching. Beyond that, as with much of my writing, I tend to describe experiences in an almost journalistic fashion and then strip things down till there is barely a thread to hold them together—in this case, starting with the vows and then moving on from there. The entire wedding party was doing this great synchronized dance step that I hadn’t seen before. I asked my wife what dance it was, and she told me it was the Hustle. She suggested I join them. I respectfully declined.
Listen to and share ‘The Hustle’ via YouTube and all of your favourite digital outlets: https://youtu.be/Cf9wz5esgAo
Watch the album trailer by Elise Tyler: https://youtu.be/NRCRlp8YIMs
FLOTUS is available for pre-order now on CD, 2LP and also as a special limited edition Box in collaboration with Austrian winery “Gut Oggau" in the City Slang store.
Tuesday 8th August 2017
Price: £22.50 advance (+stbf)