In a town unfamed for indie outfits, Nashville’s Lambchop have always been a lulu. Leader Kurt Wagner’s ensemble, only sporadically compelled by noise and/or bad playing, are revered overseas yet doubted when they aren’t ignored at home. “Band nerds,” a friend of mine once snorted, thinking of high school uncool yet also referencing Lambchop’s occasional clarinets. “Not really for the U.S.,” someone else recently opined. “They present American music in that cutely boxed-up way for Europeans.”
Awcmon and Noyoucmon continue the curious Lambchop saga, if for no other reason than because Wagner insists that these two simultaneously releases are the band’s new album. They contain lustrous movie-style symphonics and ripe melodies, a basement version of Van Dyke Parks and the classic Disney composers. The collections arose after Wagner was asked to write and perform a score for a film festival showing of F.W. Murnau’s 1927 silent classic Sunrise and because Wagner set himself the task of writing, for a year, one song per day. As a release, this is a lot. But colorful black-and-white splurges such as “Something’s Going On” and “I Hate Candy” catch the ear, even though Wagner sings in a sleepy garble. From the land of Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith—from anywhere—more perfect cult material you’ll never find.