Top 10 of 2011 (So Far) #2

the Ladybug Transistor
Clutching Stems

From the second you first lay the needle to this record, you know you’re in for a treat. The opening track and title track, which has become something of a staple on our podcasts, is the kind that turns your soul to mush, the kind that makes you wonder what the hell you’ve been listening to that isn’t this. From there, it only gets better. Even despite its lush appearance and clean execution, it still holds true in composition to the band’s lo fi pop beginnings. It has shades of the early years of their career, but filtered through much more lavish production and slightly more refined sensibilities, and in that way Clutching Stems manages to lend itself to the pop sounds of the day without losing the band’s uniqueness in the fold or compromising their artistic integrity. Frontman Gary Olson continues to mature as a writer and to emerge as a force to be reckoned with as a performer. Perhaps the best example of this is “Oh Cristina”, which features his forward and brilliant vocals portraying a simple but haunting tale of a love long lost. Every single song has its own individual charm, but the way it all comes together as the record progresses is what is truly endearing and gives it its classic feel and memorable nature.

Favorite Tracks:
“Clutching Stems”
“Light on the Narrow Gauge”
“Oh Cristina”
“Hey Jack I’m on Fire”

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