Eighteen years and eleven albums ago Lambchop’s label billed the group as “Nashville’s most fucked up country band” but that wouldn’t be a description that comes to mind if you heard them for the first time on Mr. M, which came out earlier this spring. This time around the ever-expanding and contracting Lambchop find itself at it’s most leisurely and confident since How I Quit Smoking, their second album from 1996.
Mr. M is surprisingly unexperimental for a Lambchop record, which usually have at least one track that stands out like a swollen thumb. When you get down to it the only real Lambchop – the only true Lambchop – is the track that makes you get up and walk across the room just to stop it.
We thought why not put them all together…?
You really have to start any collection – regardless of the ultimate ranking – with “What was he Wearing?” from I Hope You’re Sitting Down – Aka, Jack’s Tulips, the first Lambchop album. Coming near the end of an album that’s already featured lush, dreamlike reminiscences of a bad trip (“Soaky in the Pooper”) and the guy who collects air fresheners (“Breathe Deep”), a song would have to be pretty strange to stand out. And it is.
#5 – “What was he Wearing?”
(“What was he Wearing?”)
Most bands would probably put a track like “What was he Wearing?” on the B-side of a single (We loooove B-sides!). Lambchop didn’t release a lot of 7″ singles, and most of them have pretty straightforward tracks on the flip – their early single for Sunday Driver has two songs (“Loretta Lung” and “My Cliche”) that are so good we can’t even tell what’s supposed to the be the A-side.
#4 – “Two Kittens Don’t Make a Puppy”
Merge Records issued “Soaky in the Pooper” as a single from their first album, already a strange choice. What was stranger was the other side of the record.
(“Two Kittens Don’t Make A Puppy”)
#3 – “I Sucked My Boss’ Dick”
This next track is from the 10″ EP Hank, which we described yesterday as Lambchop’s most “country” record. The last song is short and weird.
(“I Sucked My Boss’s Dick”)
#2 – “Thriller”
Of course, we in the Twin Cities are no strangers to audacious album titles (considering the Replacements’ seminal Let It Be and, more recently, the Fuck Knights’ Let It Bleed). Thriller is a great album title, although it didn’t appear on the cover of the disc (my copy has a sticker that says “Thriller”). It’s also a great album, taking Lambchop in new directions with their first use of horns and three covers of FM Corndog songs (all originally recorded by East River Pipe, Corndog’s one-man-band). The title track falls a good deal short of the Michael Jackson epic to which it must invariably be compared. It’s sort of Lambchop’s Metal Machine Music, but at least it’s mercifully brief.
#1 – “The Decline of Country & Western Civilization”
“The Decline of Country & Western Civilization” is my least favorite song by Lambchop. I’m not even sure why I’m posting it here. We think this playlist is entirely an excuse to post “Two Kittens Don’t Make a Puppy”, which we’ve always sort of enjoyed.
(“The Decline of Country and Western Civilization”)