Courtesy of Sherman Lainez
As the story goes, Lady Lamb
, aka Aly Spaltros — and formerly Lady Lamb the Beekeeper — got her start writing and recording music as a teenager working at a video store in her hometown of Brunswick, Maine. Spaltros holed up in the store basement after hours crafting idiosyncratic pop nuggets, often until the wee hours of the morning — and sometimes ditching school in the process.
Some eight years later, and now based in Brooklyn, Lady Lamb is coming into her own. Her new record, After
, released on noted indie imprint Mom & Pop Records, is her most mature and fully formed work to date, combining rich orchestration with moody, introspective songcraft. For example, the song "Milk Duds," which uses a smooshed box of the titular candies as a relationship metaphor.
Touring in support of that album, Lady Lamb plays Signal Kitchen in Burlington on Monday, April 6. Seven Days
recently caught up with her via email.
SEVEN DAYS: What prompted you to drop “the Beekeeper” from your stage name? (My hunch is that it was concern over declining bee populations, and maybe you ran out of bees to keep? But I realize that’s probably not it at all.)
LADY LAMB: 'Lady Lamb the Beekeeper' was something I dreamt up when I was 18 years old and just starting out writing music. It was originally intended as a moniker to release music anonymously in my small town. Over time and as I grew older, I felt less and less connected to 'the beekeeper' part, but, fortunately, still very much connected to the 'lady lamb' part! Now, nearly eight years later, I'm happy that I can continue to express myself creatively with the half of the moniker that I still find relevant to the project.
SD: I dig your Maine tattoo. How long have you had it and what made you decide to get it?
LL: Thank you! I got my Maine tattoo in October of 2009, a couple months before moving to New York from my hometown of Brunswick, Maine. I have pride in where I'm from, and a sincere love for Maine, and wanted to pay homage to home before leaving it. I even placed the tattoo specifically so that a lone freckle on my arm could mark my hometown on the map!
SD: You’ve come a long way from crafting songs after hours in a Brunswick video store. How would you say your approach to music-making has changed or evolved since then?
LL: The way that I enjoy approaching music hasn't changed much since starting out in 2007. Back then, I would work alone meticulously for hours, writing the guitar part and layering instruments from there. I found my way back to this process in writing 'After,' arranging it in my apartment in headphones and then recreating it in the studio from the ground up. I think the music has become more concise and evolved as I've gotten older, and I'm at a point now where I challenge myself to arrange the drums and write choruses — two things that don't come very naturally.
SD: After is said to be a more personal record for you than was your last record, Ripely Pine. And the songwriting does feel more confessional and introspective. But the music surrounding it is really bright and dynamic, which creates an intriguing contrast. Was that distinction something you intentionally set out to do, or was it more of a happy accident?
LL: I think it was a little of both! I had more confidence and clarity going into this record. I worked everything out before going into the studio and so was very prepared and eager to rebuild my demos with energy and heart. I knew that I wanted to make a record with a brighter mix, a record that was a little bit accessible, but with dark lyrical themes.
SD: I love your Kurt Vile cover, “Girl Called Alex." There’s no real question here, I guess. Kurt Vile is awesome.
LL: Thank you. I love Kurt Vile!
SD: What’s the coolest record you’ve heard recently? (And why, if you don’t mind sharing.)
LL: I'm sort of bad at hearing music when it's new. Sometimes I stumble upon a release from a year or two ago that I end up playing obsessively. The newest thing I've heard and loved is the new Sufjan Stevens record, Carrie & Lowell
. Two records that I've come across a little late that I love are Jessica Lea Mayfield's Make My Head Sing
and Ty Segall's Melted
SD: Most people who work in video stores tend to be film buffs themselves. So what are a few of your favorite movies?
LL: A few of my favorite films are Paris, Texas
, In July
, In the Realms of the Unreal
, Mulholland Drive
and Harold & Maude