Genre-defying Little Red Lung came to us not through Zoë-Ruth Erwin, front and center of the project, but because of drummer Nathan Kondor who also plays with RFSL faves George Glass. George Glass is dyed-in-the-wool boy rock—the pleasure in the music is in seeing how far down and around the block a guy can take a guitar line. It’s like trading baseball cards, beauty in the detail and knowledge of minutiae, which on its own terms is an excellent, but quite distinct flavor.
Little Red Lung, who release their self-titled EP at The Satellite tonight, is something else entirely. It’s about the broad epic sweep of sound, aural space not as a small soundproofed practice space, but a sweeping cloud-churned landscape that requires a wide horizontal expanse. The self-titled EP is dramatic and orchestral in its breadth and ambitious in its construction. Credits include strings, brass and a percussion section of marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone and woodblocks in addition to drums. These arrangements evoke a deep dark velvety chocolate night, a gypsy feel with a nod to Devotchka, the 7”, 45 rpm operas of Roy Orbison, and the windblown moors of Kate Bush.
You’d swear that Erwin has the kind of voice you’d have if yours would only cooperate. Her vocals play as an instrument, their power to convey emotion in restraint--to connect with the listener by holding back, rather than through a struggle against the body to get a sound and a feeling out. On songs like “Ink Blot” and “Into a Landfill” lyrics are ambiguous, yet rich with imagery that suggests misinterpretations, miscommunication and love gone wrong, and in “Into a Landfill” a wish that the narrator could have identified deal breaking flaws a bit earlier in the story. This is an outstanding record from a band that is not afraid to be itself, ambitious and unreserved.
Little Red Lung plays a record release show tonight, Thursday May 10 at The Satellite, 1717 Silverlake Blvd, LA, 90026, presented by LA Underground. New self-titled EP available at: iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and littleredlung.com. Seasons, Dorian Wood, and San Francesca open. Doors at 8:30 pm, show: 9:00 pm $8.00, 21+.