Lambchop Announces New LP ‘The Bible’, Shares Video for “Police Dog Blues”

Photo credit: Mickie Winters

Kurt Wagner has announced a new Lambchop record called The Bible, out September 30 on Merge in North America (City Slang for rest of world). Pre-order the album on CD or 2-LP with etching (available on both limited-edition yellow & black marble Peak Vinyl or standard black) in the Merge store and participating independent record stores. In addition, Grimey’s in Nashville and Electric Fetus in Minneapolis will have an exclusive vinyl pressing on “smog” (gray & white marble).

The Bible’s first single, the six-minute bible-thumping funk exploration “Police Dog Blues,” arrives today with a music video generated on the Unreal 3D graphics engine and directed by Isaac Gale.

Isaac Gale on the video:

White privilege and apathy in the face of disastrous reality. I don’t think it’s stretching it to compare the police in Minneapolis—where myself and the producers of the record, Ryan Olson and Andrew Broder, all live—to a human-made catastrophic disaster.

We took the police dog from the song title literally and imagined a city, post cop-apocalypse, overrun by German Shepherds just kinda doing their thing. The process of directing this video for me was similar to watching a friend playing video games and chiming in with ideas that might help get them where they need to go. We needed to produce this in a virtual reality as opposed to live-action to achieve the most grotesque imagery possible from these ideas. Using 3D models and software made it possible to visualize the cold, horrible, detached-from-reality feeling that we wanted from the empty city and suburbs. Joe Midthun used Unreal Engine and Visions of Chaos to set up events like dogs just hanging around or a tidal wave of police flowing into a suburb, and we’d hope for happy accidents from the AI.

Kurt Wagner on the song:

During the unrest surrounding the horrific injustice in Minneapolis in 2020, I had been re-listening to a song by Blind Blake, “Police Dog Blues.” Of note, it was originally recorded in 1929, the year my father was born, and it seems John Peel played it on his show on Sept. 11, 1968. It was deceptively upbeat musically and not what I remembered at all. Then I remembered a police dog is a Shepherd.

And so it was that Wagner found himself in Minneapolis in the sweltering summer of 2021, in a decommissioned paint factory turned practice space, when everybody was still kind of looking at everybody else as a potential source of disease. He entrusted himself to this piano player, Andrew Broder, and his mad genius of a production partner, Ryan Olson. “Ryan and Andrew, they’re like two sides of my personality,” Wagner says. “And if you put them together as a team, they represent me.” This would be the first time Wagner let somebody else—not to mention somebody else without any sort of a connection to holy, old Nashville—produce a Lambchop record.

It was in that decommissioned paint factory in Minneapolis, watching a bunch of burnout freaks play their instruments, that Wagner found his way to writing The Bible. The sessions reminded him of those long-ago days at the Springwater Supper Club in Nashville, when he first brought the afterparty back to his house. But maybe because he wasn’t the one making the afterparty rules this time, the music on The Bible is more unpredictable than it’s ever been on a Lambchop record. Jazz careening into country, into disco, into funk, and back to country. This is Lambchop’s new album—born in a new place, but out of a process that he first discovered back home in Nashville, the one that helped him find his own voice in the first place. Amen. This is The Bible.

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