When we asked Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner for a sentence about the first single off his new album, he replied in typical enigmatic fashion: “Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies… This is not that.”
“The December-ish You” is from Lambchop’s disarming but intimate confessional called This (is what I wanted to tell you), due March 22, 2019. (By the way, it’s the fourteenth Lambchop album because, like all the other tallest buildings in the world, Lambchop skips No. 13.) Pre-order it today on CD, LP, and clear Peak Vinyl in the Merge store, or wherever you buy music. The band has also announced spring UK/Europe tour dates, listed below.
As with 2012’s engrossing Mr. M and 2016’s staggering FLOTUS, Wagner’s openness to unexpected collaborators to give his thoughts and feelings the shape they need was central to the creation of This (is what I wanted to tell you). In the summer of 2017, Wagner left Nashville and crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains into North Carolina, where he attended the 50th birthday party of longtime friend and Merge co-founder Mac McCaughan, who has released Lambchop records for a quarter-century now. That night, Wagner re-met Mac’s younger brother, Matt McCaughan, who has spent the last decade drumming for the likes of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger. McCaughan told Wagner he had been adventuring inside the world of rack-mounted analogue synthesizers and asked if Wagner might send some vocals to which he could compose.
They became instant musical pen pals, with Wagner sending him a cappella takes of new song ideas and McCaughan dispatching long-form synthesizer pieces for inspiration. McCaughan eventually headed to Nashville, where, together, they put a band behind the songs, using pedal steel and piano and the harmonica of Nashville legend Charlie McCoy to color in the spaces of these black-and-white sketches. That unexpected human connection—that is, rekindling an old friendship to make music in a way you never imagined—is a happy answer to the worries of This (is what I wanted to tell you), an album whose honesty pulls on your heart with the weight of absolute empathy. Stunning, beautiful, and surprising, This (is what I wanted to tell you) is a record you just need to hear.
Lambchop on tour:
Apr 12 Nijmegen, NL – Doornroosje
Apr 13 Copenhagen, DK – DR Koncerthuset, Studie 2
Apr 14 Oslo, NO – Röverstaden
Apr 15 Gothenburg, NO – Pustervik
Apr 17 Leipzig, DE – Felsenkeller
Apr 18 Munich, DE – Muffathalle
Apr 19 Vienna, AT – WUK
Apr 20 Darmstadt, DE – Centralstation
Apr 21 London, UK – Hackney Arts Centre
Apr 23 Paris, FR – Maroquinerie
Apr 24 Bern, CH – Dachstock
Apr 25 Zurich, CH – Rote Fabrik
Apr 26 Berlin, DE – Funkhaus
Apr 27 Cologne, DE – Gloria
Apr 28 Brussels, DE – Nuits Botanique Festival
Apr 29 Hamburg, DE – Elbphilharmonie
Apr 30 Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso Noord