Recently, Lambchop (AKA Kurt Wagner AKA an impressive cast of rotating musicians) posted a massive amount of their catalog over on Bandcamp that encompasses almost everything they’ve ever released. If you’re a Wikipedia hound, you’ll note that it’s not absolutely everything but it’s a damn impressive amount.
I’m not sure how long all this has been on Spotify or any other streaming service but it serves as a nice reminder to familiarize yourself with the Lambchop catalog if it’s a journey you’ve never partaken.
It’s unclear why Lambchop took on the moniker “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band” when they started out in the early 90’s because from the first notes of the first song of the first release, there’s clearly nothing country about it. Sure, there’s a mild twang to Wagner’s voice and there’s flourishes of mandolin and steel guitar but all those elements could easily describe an R.E.M. song from the same era. Whatever inspired the moniker may remain a mystery in 2018 but it’s an amusing (and memorable) title to claim nonetheless.
Encapsulating an entire body of work spanning a quarter century is not a task that I’d be foolish enough to embark on but I’d be remiss not to recommend a light sampling of tracks from each album, as the sound tends to shift and evolve quite impressively through the years. Compare “Begin” with “Garf” with “The Gusher” with “Nine” with “The Hustle” (tracks I picked at random) and try to imagine another band that covers as much stylistic ground while still feeling definitively like themselves.
These shifts in style and sound are likely due to the hive mind of contributions from a cast of musicians too massive to try and cherry pick the notables. All that is to say, it’s time we all spent some time with Lambchop.