Lately, I've been traipsing my way through the back-catalogue of the Nashville collective LAMBCHOP. ALL MUSIC GUIDE begins its overview thusly:
"Touted as 'Nashville's most f*cked-up country band' by their label Merge Records, LAMBCHOP was arguably the most consistently brilliant and unique American group to emerge during the 1990s. Their unclassifiable hybrid of country, soul, jazz, and avant-garde noise seemed at one time or another to drink from every conceivable tributary of contemporary music, its baroque beauty all held together by the surreal lyrical wit and droll vocal presence of frontman KURT WAGNER."
For me, Lambchop misplaced much of its mojo after 2000's NIXON. Wagner's twisted tales became less... well... twisted. Less funny, in a nutshell. Not that the man had to continue to write songs with titles like "Soaky in the Pooper," "Your Fucking Sunny Day," "My Face Your Ass," or "I Sucked My Boss's Dick," but hey, that was certainly part of the charm. Even more troubling, though, is the fact that the musical backdrops have gradually become more stagnant & stale. Long, dark dirges bleed into still more long, dark dirges. I guess I miss those cosmopolitan country '60s strings. I guess I miss that electric transition when Wagner ratcheted his rusty croak into full-fledged falsetto. It all seemed vaguely insane. Sure, the train was always on the verge of jumping the tracks, but that was exactly what made it such a thrilling, invigorating ride.
Anyway... the songs below are meant to be of-a-piece -- an EP with song-to-song flow, as opposed to individual tracks all alone by their lonesome. Ultimately, this collection does not serve as a particularly useful career-spanning sampler (there are four songs from 1998's WHAT ANOTHER MAN SPILLS alone), but I like the general ebb and flow, and I think it works as a reasonable introduction to the highly peculiar charms of Kurt Wagner & Co.
LAMBCHOP on MySPACE.
[MP3] "Give Me Your Love (Love Song)" 
[MP3] "Low Ambition" 
[MP3] "It's Not Alright" 
[MP3] "N.O." 
[MP3] "King of Nothing Never" 
[MP3] "Theone" 
[MP3] "Again"