Saturday, June 25, 2016

Death Valley | LP

bandwagoner (noun) a person who takes part in or becomes enthusiastic about something only when it is popular or fashionable

It's inevitable at some point in an artist's career: the influx of bandwagoners, usually triggered by an overnight radio remix success or the usage of somewhat unknown material in a show with a cult following. So when I heard the deep hums of an unfamiliar track accompany a dramatic still of a freshly killed-off character on the season finale of Orange is the New Black and immediately launched a Google investigation to find it, I knew I wasn't alone in flocking to singer-songwriter LP.

Listeners of Christina Aguilera, Ella Henderson, Rihanna, and Cher should be somewhat familiar with a bit of LP's work, probably without even knowing it; she's written songs for all of them and more. But all-out powerhouse pop really isn't where she resides: she's really a singer-songwriter with pop smarts and a rock 'n roll spirit. From the perspective of a college-aged music listener, her new extended play, Death Valley, takes the best of Alabama Shakes and Zella Day to create Western-tinged soundscapes that fit the title. And her shrill voice, most evidently comparable to the pipes of Gwen Stefani and Bebe Rexha with some grit on takes like "Lost on You" and the title track, cuts through the dry heat of these tracks with distinction.

Liking tweets mentioning her song in the show and discounting it to 69 cents on iTunes, she doesn't seem bothered by the flood of people who will listen only to "Muddy Waters" alone. But even one listen to Death Valley proves she's a force not to be defined by one track -- not when she delivered an extended play that is this solid. Do yourself a favor here, folks: dry the last of your tears after the death of you-know-which-character on OITNB, play you-know-which-track on repeat until you've finally tired yourself out, and then see what else LP has to offer. You won't be disappointed.

Death Valley is available through digital retailers under Vagrant Records.

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