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The Love Language / Moon Racer
Atwood's Tavern
Cambridge, MA
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The Love Language / Moon Racer
Based originally in North Carolina and now in Los Angeles, The Love Language was formed in Raleigh in 2008 by singer-songwriter Stuart McLamb. The band features a rotating cast of talented musicians who never fail to impress. McLamb has established his band as an extroverted community art project made by responsible citizens of a loosely packed scene who know that he will match whatever they contribute.

You may not be able to see the gorgeous landscapes behind Baby Grand, Stuart McLambs fourth record as The Love Language, but theyre so essential to the picture youll feel them in every note. Started in, of all places, a cavernous Virginia hammock factory, fragmentary demos came alive when splashed by sunshine during a move across the country to California, where the album was completed. It was something just about being in a new city, and a new light, McLamb says, and reopening the sessions, and this demo that I thought was a throwaway, suddenly Im really feeling it. You can hear the freedom kick in when the backwoods country shuffle of Castle in the Sky explodes into a full-on aughts anthem, equal parts outstretched arms and pumped fists.

Yet so much lies in the shadows behind these tracks: other states, other lives, other dreams, other relationshipsfogged over, perhaps, but there nonetheless. Yes, Baby Grand has its share of breakup songsnobody writes those better than McLambbut this time, even as something is being mourned, something else is being worked through; as lovers have been left behind, so have places and a time in life. Listen as the heartbreak and yearningof New Amsterdam come crashing down into the beautiful stasis of Southern Doldrums (the former was inspired by Cyndi Lauper and Joy Division, McLamb claims, while the latter draws upon John Cales meditative solo records), or as the beautiful lift of the startling sequence of songs that make up Baby Grands propulsive midsection gives way to a moody instrumental called Rain/Delay, a collection of distant plinks and plonks struggling to assemble themselves into melody. Ive embraced the idea that getting murky is what the band is, says McLamb of the various assemblies of players and the various genre in uences that have fueled The Love Language at different points in time. I love bands like the Ramones that have one thing that really works, and I love a good restaurant that serves one really good dish. But I get bored I want this album to showcase different types of pop songwriting and structures. The song Juiceboxx is what youd get if Mick Jagger crooned his Emotional Rescue falsetto over a backing track by the Style Council, and Let Your Hair Down impressively suggests what Caroline, No might have sounded like if only it had been written by George Michael.

But its the finale that sends Baby Grand into the stratosphere. With Raleigh in his rearview, McLamb dusts off the 60s throwback sounds of The Love Languages 2009 self-titled debut, which are all over the flat-out-perfect Independence Day. And somewhere around New Orleans, he resuscitates those irresistible singalong melodies from 2010s Libraries on Paraty, the lovely paean to a South American town he never managed to visit. Maybe its Austin, or Phoenix, that finds him slipping into the sleek suit of 80s synths that underlay 2013s Ruby RedShared Spaces should be listened to on a boat while wearing a skinny tie and shoes without socksbut then the wide-open vista of the California desert opens up before him, sunny and flat and full of promise, and thats Glassy. Its gotta be close to the best thing McLamb has ever written, and it culminates this alternately ruminative and riotous record on, fittingly, a note of re ection: Well be riding out this losing streak, he sings, and they say the tides are rising / It took
a long time to get us where we cant come back You cant leave something behind without starting something new, and the inverse of that proposition is just as true: when you stand on the Pacific coast, squinting into the sunset, theres an entire country at your back, unseen but ever-present, and it stays with you forever.

Moon Racer takes their name from the winged lion who rules over an island haven for misfit toys in the 1964 stop-animation film, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. With the same loyal commitment to the weird and sentimental, Autumn E. creates fuzzy keyboard pop songs in her bedroom in Durham, North Carolina, leaning heavily on vintage Casios and Tascam 4-track cassette recorder.

Is it Really a Secret? is a hazy, lo-fi spell of distorted beats, warm synths & melodically melancholic vocals. It is a diary, written from one January to the following October, narrating the frenzy of new love, its confusing dissolution, and finally, tender consignment to the past.


21+ / POS. I.D. REQ


Atwood's Tavern (View)
877 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
United States


Music > Indie
Music > Rock

Minimum Age: 21
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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