In 2013 I was excited by no other artist more than Brooklyn-based Aly Spaltro, AKA Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, more recently known as simply Lady Lamb. The singer/songwriter was preparing the release of her debut LP, Ripely Pine, which hit shelves in February of ’13, which I described as having, “Some kind of appeal to those with both popular and pretentious tastes… fans of both Florence and the Machine and Townes Van Zandt,” and citing, “At her core is a folk aesthetic,but a folk aesthetic that easily lets itself get whisked away into epic theatre, sunshine balladry, and frantic, un-orchestrated bursts of soulful passion.” At the time she was currently preparing an opening slot for PHILTHY-loved Frontier Ruckus at Johnny Brenda’s, which didn’t happen due to snow storms, but she has since played a headlining date upstairs at World Café Live.
Lady Lamb/Aly Spaltro is currently on a headlining tour that will have her once again headlining upstairs at World Café Live this coming Wednesday, April 8th. Spaltro is supporting her latest LP, After, released last month on Mom+Pop. Although embracing the same beauty that has always been found in Spaltro — an admirably introspective singer/songwriter that is able to pen tunes that are popularly uplifting and, at their most agreeable, down-right danceable… despite their quite cool existentialism — After is arguably the most sing-along-able and personal work ever produced by the songstress. (Some of it resembles some of Isobel Campbell’s most yé-yé-inspired work in Belle & Sebastian.) It also represents a new era in Spaltro’s creative process. Although the songs found on Ripley Pine weren’t made official until 2013, the majority of them were conceived of in the previous five years by Aly, as she composed in the afterhours of the independent video rental store where she worked in her home state of Maine.
Aly Spaltro and I recently got a chance to chat and she tells me that her past two years have been spent much like you would expect any of your favorite indie musicians, balancing creating with performing: “Well, the last we spoke I was about to start touring behind my first record and then there was eight or nine months touring that album and then I wrapped up this album in October, so everything’s been kind of steady: writing, touring, writing, touring…” However, she also tells me that the process behind creating After is significantly different from Ripely Pine: “For the first record there were a lot of solo, electric guitar songs so there was lots of time in the studio, arranging for a full band, but for this record I was arranging all of the songs in my apartment, on my own, and I went into the studio with very clear ideas of what I wanted them to sound like.”
And when we discuss her current mindset and musicianship, Spaltro tells me that the artist behind After is quite a bit different from the artist found on Ripely Pine.
“I challenged myself with this record to be a little more direct. I always want to be direct, but I wanted to include some poppier elements, like choruses and things. And, thematically, it’s more mature. There was a lot of time between writing the songs of the first album and writing these songs. This album is a little more about me, things I love and things I’m fearful of. I wanted to be a little more vulnerable.”
While Aly Spaltro’s track record for live performances in Philadelphia in recent years isn’t great (a major support gig cancelled by a snowstorm and a headlining gig plagued by illness), she tells me that she’s very, very excited to give her 215 fanbase a proper show next week: “For one, I will be much healthier [laughs]. The last time I played World Café Live I was pretty sick [laughs] so it’ll be tighter than the last time, but also because I’ve learned that much more as a musician. The show’s gonna be really upbeat, energetic, and fun, with a full-band arrangement.”