Little Red Lung is a Rare Bird

9 Nov


I’m not sure I can sufficiently write words that can compete with the press photo above. Generally, any combination of soldier with an alligator head on his shoulder, braided and bucolic headdress, and suited recreations of the Pale Man, take the perennial eclectic cake and leave me speechless. But that would do Little Red Lung a major disservice, as there is much to talk about concerning this Los Angeles Indie band.

Modern music reviewers – and I’m one of the greatest offenders – often bandy around the genre Indie when describing current bands. We do this because the genre is low-hanging fruit; so many bands fit the encompassing description that it is easy to attach the title to several musicians. The genre itself has been perverted through the years, initially only serving to describe bands who abided by a do-it-yourself approach without the aegis of labels. So, when I describe Little Red Lung as a quintessential example of true Indie music, you must bear with me.

Little Red Lung is everything you want in an Indie band. As the photo above suggests (and the music will suggest when I post it), the band is eccentric and attractive. Each tune is a diverse sampling of innovative instrumentation and esoteric organization. Indie music at its purest is like a Dali, a delicate smattering of surrealism mixed with distorted shapes and emotions. Little Red Lung’s music is art, and it’s absolutely delightful to listen to it.

Little Red Lung grew out of a solo project by singer/keyboardist Zoe-Ruth Erwin, a musical free spirit, who, after a sabbatical in East Tennessee, returned to LA and gathered a trio of local music veterans (Ali Nikou – guitar, Rob Hume – bass, and John Broeckel – drums). Together, this unconventional quartet formed Little Red Lung. In 2012, the band released its self-titled debut and received overnight success. A U.S. Tour, features in Deli Magazine, and a performance at Bonnaroo in 2013 have cemented this band among burgeoning Indie superstars.

“Rare Bird” is a perfect depiction of Little Red Lung’s talent. Erwin’s vocal is flawless; it features a Florence-like passion that projects over the abstruse instrumentation to form a perfect complement. Everything from the unconventional percussion to the eerie marimba to lyrics like “a hairline fracture in the wind” build this song into an odd, tender track, which makes the depressed, grungy drop-down even cooler. The song falls like Alice down the rabbit hole. It’s unsettling and frankly really cool.

“Fangs” is different. An acoustic guitar lets Erwin’s tender vocal harmonies shine. The vocal is a huge strength of Little Red Lung, and I’m glad it is emphasized in the track. The song also features well-placed strings that help create a contradictory warmth, considering the lyric (“I knew you were waiting to die the whole time”).

Conclusion? Get on the Little Red Lung train. More great music to come.

You can check out the Full EP at Bandcamp. Track the band on Facebook or Twitter.


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