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How I Quit Smoking

Lambchop

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Album Review

Lambchop hails from Nashville and claims to play a "refined, and redefined" style of country music, but the songs the band creates on its second album, How I Quit Smoking, have more in common with Brit crooners the Tindersticks than Chet Atkins and Billy Sherrill (whom the Lambchop members claim as heroes). Boasting 13 players on this album, Lambchop feels more like an art collective on a mission of enlightenment than a country band bent on AM airplay. Still, with subtlely threads of clarinet, sax, organ, and even a full string section integrated into the mix alongside a double-necked lap steel and an impressive lineup of vintage guitars, the music is so lush, lovely, and thoroughly hypnotic you can see their point. The country element lies buried in the subtle rhythms and melodies, surfacing in the quiet moan of the lap steel or the melancholic flutter of the strings. Spooky as often as it is soothing, Lambchop's music may not be the fireside countrypolitan of Atkins or Sherrill — I don't think either would put up with the babbling rhymes of "Smuckers," the sinister guitars that mark "The Militant," or the existential undercurrents of "The Scary Caroler." But this is music that will lull you to sleep like a cup of Sleepytime tea as much as it will give you dreams to remember.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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. Although Lambchop's ever-rotating...
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How I Quit Smoking, Lambchop
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