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Lights from the Wheelhouse - EP

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Album Review

Based on their debut mini-album, Lights from the Wheelhouse, the Late Cord may be one of the most quintessentially 4AD-sounding new artists that the label has signed in the 2000s. The duo (John Mark Lapham and Micah P. Hinson, who also make up the American half of the Earlies) crafts music that manages to be evocative without suggesting anything in particular — it's often dark and brooding, yet not goth — it also has a rustic warmth, but isn't explicitly folk or alt-country. As melancholy as Lights from the Wheelhouse can be, it's also oddly inviting. "Lila Blue"'s far-off vocals give the song that 4AD ethereality, but its radiant organs and accordions suggest flickering candlelight. "My Most Meaningful Relationships Are with Dead People," the most traditionally structured song here, is another standout, with a late-night intimacy that recalls Tindersticks' heyday. "Chains/Strings" and "Hung on the Cemetery Gates" explore the Late Cord's more experimental side, with the latter track's harmonicas and urgent but indecipherable vocals giving it the feel of a spectral work song. It's a fittingly haunting end to this small but lovely set, which serves as a fine introduction to the Late Cord's unique sound.


Formed: Abilene, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Though both grew up near each other in Abilene, TX, it wasn't until 1999 that John Mark Lapham and Micah P. Hinson first met through mutual friend Brandon Carr. After the initial introduction, Lapham, a member of the experimental indie rock outfit the Earlies, and Hinson, a burgeoning singer/songwriter, began jamming together and producing fragmentary tracks. In between sessions with the Earlies, Lapham would work on these pieces further for what the two would eventually christen the Late Cord. He...
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Lights from the Wheelhouse - EP, The Late Cord
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