Kurt Wagner’s signature brittle baritone is back, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to get a nostalgic Alt Country album. Showtunes is a continuation of Lambchop’s explorations of new sound worlds and opens up another chapter. Each track is an exciting journey with an uncertain destination.
With Showtunes, as he has done so many times throughout his varied and fascinating career, Kurt in late 2019 was experimenting with something new. He took simple guitar tracks and converted them into midi piano tracks. It was a revelation that from those conversions he was able to manipulate each note and add, subtract, arrange the chords and melody into a form that didn’t have any of the limitations he had with his previous methods of writing with a guitar.
Removing these limitations led to a surprising new sound, something akin to showtunes but with edges sanded down and viewed through Kurt’s own specific lens. it’s a genre he was none too fond of with the exceptions of a few Great American Songbook type of stuff or some of the works of artists like Tom Waits, early Randy Newman or even Gershwin or Carmichael. “I’d always wanted to make songs with a similar feel but my skills were limited until now” says Wagner.
“Anyone can be in Lambchop (so long as they behave themselves)” – Kurt Wagner
“There’s a good reason why Wagner and his iterations of Lambchop have stood the test of years, while remaining below the radar for some. Wagner’s artistic visions aren’t for everyone, but they’re well constructed enough to demand respect.” – the Independent
“For an artist who came to electronic music so late in life, it’s remarkable how astute his impulses are—and even more impressive still considering Wagner’s background in alt-country, a genre that is rarely prone to innovation.” – Pitchfork
A1. A Chef’s Kiss
A2. Drop C
A3. Papa Was a Rolling Stone Journalist
B5. Unknown Man
B6. Blue Leo
B7. Impossible Meatballs
B8. The Last Benedict