This feature appeared in Amplifier Magazine, May 2007
“I still haven’t given it a proper listen from start to finish” reveals Ladybug Transistor mastermind Gary Olson from his Flatbush, New York headquarters with a hearty laugh. “One of these days I’ll get around to hearing it.”
Olson’s exasperation is understandable. From demos to rehearsals to inviting guest musicians to recording sessions to overdubs to the final mix, the singer and chief songwriter was present every step of the way. “By the time we finished, I didn’t know what we had at all. Was it good? Everything became a blur.”
Can’t Wait Another Day is Ladybug Transistor’s seventh release. Along with Olson and the official band: bassist Julia Rydholm, guitarists Jeff Baron and Ben Crum, keyboardist Kyle Forester, and drummer San Fadyl - Ladybug’s roster of friends for this outing includes stellar contributions from various members of Aislers Set, Architecture in Helsinki, The Clientele, Jens Leckman, Kevin Barker (Currituck Co., Vetiver), Heather McIntosh (Circulatory System, Instruments), and Roy Nathanson (Lounge Lizards/Jazz Passengers) among others.
Since their 1995 debut Marlborough Farms – which takes its name from the band’s enchanted Victorian Flatbush hangout and studio, Olson’s collective has refined their idiosyncratic brand of lounge pop to a higher level of sophistication akin to the finer works of The Polyphonic Spree and Of Montreal as influenced by Burt Bacharach and The Left Banke. However, Can’t Wait… offers a few notable twists and turns.
“I purposely positioned ‘Always On The Telephone’ as the first cut because it’s very different than what we’ve done in the past” quips Olson. “I’m hoping that Roy’s (Nathanson) saxophone solo break might divide some of our old fans!”
Olson credits his work ethos with Forester and co-producer Bill Wells as to why Can’t Wait… displays more of lively feel than the band’s previous releases. “Bill, who is a couple of generations older than I am, taught me everything I know. He was a tech engineer at a radio station where I did a high-school internship. Bill has always been there for me, from setting up microphones to giving me advice and providing a good set of ears.”
Forester is responsible for the seductive string arrangements that afford Can’t Wait… a timeless elegance. “Kyle was very eager and quick when we started work together about a year and a half ago” says Olson. “He helped put the songs together when I just had sketches of ideas. Kyle would blow through the studio for an hour or so and by the end we’d have another song ready to go.”
No Ladybug release would be complete without memorable cover art. Can’t Wait… with its image of Olson and a female companion seated face to face in a elegant 1917 New York City subway car is no exception. “We snuck into the Transit museum” recalls Olson. “It’s located in a station sealed off from the rest of the New York subway system. You’re not allowed to take photographs down there, but I hid a tri-pod in a trumpet case. Everything was shot in about five minutes, we heard footsteps coming just as we were finishing up.”
However one uninvited guest crashed the photo shoot. “That furry thing to my left is a cat. Apparently it lives underground and somehow snuck into the picture. We loved the look.”
Ladybug Transistor’s Can’t Wait Another Day will be released on June 7, 2007 on Merge Records