Release Date: Mar 3, 2015
Record label: Mom + Pop Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Indie Folk
Aly Spaltro is well-versed in the best kind of honesty: sweet and tempered when you need it, but an unapologetic gut punch when it counts. On her sophomore release as Lady Lamb, Spaltro kicks her candid brand of lyrical prowess into high gear, pairing imagery-rich observations on mortality, family and UFOs with bold, bright arrangements of jangly guitars, jubilant horns and vintage synths. On Ripley Pine, her debut studio album as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Spaltro gave her growing fan base something to swoon about.
For those who have seen Lady Lamb live, After comes as no surprise. The solo project-turned-band of Maine native Aly Spaltro has been rearing with passionate fervor ever since she released her first homemade CD in 2007. Her powerhouse voice, structural defiance, and, most notably, dialectic penmanship were impossible to ignore. The combination gave her early home recordings the ability to win over audiences, her debut studio album, Ripely Pine, the ability to reorganize with a backing band, and now it gives her sophomore effort, After, the ability to tidy it all up with a primeval self-assurance.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Despite the flowing, stream-of-consciousness style she sings in, Ally Spaltro, or Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, has remained resolutely quiet when it comes to any press interaction around her new album After. It's as if the uncompromising honesty displayed on record has left no room for the kind of arbitrary, arm's length conversations that come with interviews.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, AKA Aly Spaltro, is not flashy. She could be any other person wandering down the street or hanging out in a video store. But put a guitar in her hand and she turns into one of the most inventive new artists of recent years. Her second album, After, is a tight affair that mixes solid songwriting with tracks that refuse to adhere to the same tempo or chord progression.
“I’M ALIVE!!”. That’s what Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s splendid second set After has stamped through its core. Just like a stick of rock. In bright red ink. In capitals. Ooh and with at least two exclamation marks. It positively radiates with all the conflicting intensities that walking the ….
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (known to her parents as Aly Spaltro) sounds like the arty young woman you knew in college who would jam with her friends in the basement of a video store after hours and sell CD-R's of her songs in homemade packages on consignment at the local record shop. And seeing as all of that happens to come from Lady Lamb's biography, it stands to reason, but while there are hundreds of artists with similar résumés whose music is barely tolerated by their closest friends, Spaltro is that rarity, a semi-hippie artist-slash-musician with real talent and the will to do something with it. While there are plenty of drums and electric guitars at work on After, Lady Lamb's second proper album, the core of her sound is rooted in folk, and there's an unforced sunniness and sweet soulfulness in Spaltro's vocals and an elemental force in her melodies that sound like they could have come from a guitar pull around a bonfire.
Aly Spaltro isn't a teenager anymore, but she was when she wrote much of her Lady Lamb the Beekeeper debut, 2013's Ripely Pine. That album didn't sound like the emergence of a college-aged songwriter so much as it played like an experiment from someone who had already gotten good at putting music together. Full of nerves and breath and blood, Ripely Pine whipped folk tropes into rock'n'roll rambunctiousness, giving her plenty of space to sound precocious.
As Lady Lamb, 25-year-old Maine native Aly Spaltro spins heavy psychedelic tales that blur the borders between reality, dream and nightmare. "Dear Arkansas Daughter" compares heartbreak to sinking to the bottom of the ocean floor over gloomy, Crazy Horse-style guitar chug. On the dark prayer "Spat Out Spit," Spaltro wonders, "Will I awake to find that I'm deep in the woods and I'm snarling on all fours?" "Ten" is a whirlwind diary about spending time in Arizona as a child, driving through the Vermont snow with her best friend long ago and more.
Lady Lamb isn’t keeping bees any more. She’s shed the loose, outdoorsy feel of her first album, and pushed firmly towards rock and roll, showing us far more punch and snarl, while keeping the same freewheeling feel to the song writing itself. Aly Spaltro – the multi-instrumentalist at the heart of Lady Lamb – has a sharp knack for crafting lengthy knotty, winding songs which feel shorter than their running time.
Sometimes it's easy to tell that a musician came to songwriting in her own untrained and instinctive way. That's how it is with Lady Lamb, formerly Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, born Aly Spaltro in Maine. Many of her songs have clearly divided parts, often sounding terrifically different from each other. Take Heretic, with its shoegazey intro bars, minimal verses and lush jangle pop choruses, all with lyrics about black holes and TV sets.
Lady Lamb takes a step forward from her 2013 debut, growing into her talents with confidence on her often enchanting sophomore record. Lamb (real name Aly Spaltro) has opened up her approach for these 12 nuanced songs, which balance intimacy and openness with a searching mind and vibrant spirit. The 25-year-old Maine native’s gift of melody remains assured, but unlike her rawer debut, “Ripely Pine,” or 2010’s demo-ish basement tapes, “Mammoth Swoon,” the sound here is bright, with restless guitars, horns, and roiling rhythms.
You know about the big releases each week, but what about the smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar? We’ve rounded up nine of the best new album releases from this week, from Ocar’s lo-fi pop to the glitchy electronica of Son Lux: don’t miss out..