Saturday 12 Jul

Next big thing

As far as songs go, few prove as challenging to sing as our national anthem.

It’s a technically demanding tune from first note to last, to be sure, beginning with a low bellow that quickly soars toward star-punching high notes, eventually swelling to a show-stopping crescendo that even the most seasoned performer can have trouble mastering.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Sheriff Woody

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival featuring Jimmy LaFave, Arlo Guthrie and more

Wednesday through Sunday



07/09/2014 | Comments 0

California dreamin’

Modern Pantheist with The Wurly Birds and Larry Chin

9 p.m. Sunday

Blue Note Lounge 

2408 N. Robinson Ave.



07/02/2014 | Comments 0

Major League tunes

Chipper Jones with The Hitt Boyz, Foxburrows and Milk Jr

8 p.m. Saturday

VZD’s Restaurant & Club

4200 N. Western Ave.


07/02/2014 | Comments 0

Neon colors

Utah-based rockers Neon Trees spent a hot summer night setting fire to Tulsa’s legendary Cain’s Ballroom on June 19. Rounding out the aural palette were Smallpools, a lively L.A. powerhouse, and Nightmare and the Cat, a cadre of black-clad Brit/American alt-rockers. Neon Trees’ latest record, Pop Psychology, was the night’s flux capacitor, transporting all who were willing to a neon-soaked parallel universe.
06/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Indie · The Ladybug Transistor —...

The Ladybug Transistor — Clutching Stems

It's all about the tunes, man

Stephen Carradini July 7th, 2011

The Ladybug Transistor’s pop songs are elegant constructions.


They adhere closely to what the band’s press dubs “formalist” structures, which is to say that the verse/chorus/verse format isn’t just used, but praised. The songs aren’t gimmicky, nor are they hip. They’re just really solid, enjoyable tunes.

In that way, they’re pretty much the quintessential Merge band at the moment: Been around since the ’90s without a real breakup, putting out music that stands the test of time, and doing their thing without a care for what everyone else is doing.

Comparing “Clutching Stems” to The Beatles, Paul Simon and even The Eagles isn’t wrong (although The Ladybug Transistor doesn’t trump up the rock aspects of its sound). But where each of those has its own specific time and place, this collection of tunes lacks a tether to any certain era.

Despite this unmoored, free-of-context feeling, the songs remain grounded and relatable. The beautiful, keys-driven title track sets the stage for the whole album, as Gary Olson’s pleasant baritone fits easily over the perky (but not precocious) song.

“Oh Cristina” takes a break from mid-tempo pop tunes to introduce some found sound over a chilled-out acoustic track. The bulk of the song, however, jumps back up to walking pace. If there’s one argument that resists parrying about “Clutching Stems,” it’s that many of these tracks can mesh together in the brain due to similarities in tempo, instrumentation and tone.

Lovers of perfect pop songs will be enamored with The Ladybug Transistor’s latest. It may get a bit tiring for those who aren’t fans of Belle and Sebastian, Fountains of Wayne (minus “Stacy’s Mom”) and Sondre Lerche. —Stephen Carradini
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5