It’s a bittersweet moment when you find a new band, only to discover they’ve been around forever and you’re the idiot who just didn’t know. Bands like this provoke a crisis in the listener: if you’ve been missing a band this good for about twenty years, then who else is out there? What other great bands are making music like the proverbial tree in the forest? Will you ever be as Indie as you think you are? (I call this the Indie Existential Crisis.)

Enter Lambchop. In 1986 when they formed, I was twelve and had heard of a Lambchop, but she was a little sheep puppet who sang songs and stuff. She definitely didn’t sound like alt-country’s answer to The Good Life. Reading Merge’s bio, I see that Lambchop has between five and seventeen band members, which means seeing them live must be an awfully good time. Like a big party where most people are playing the music, but one person’s back there playing Super Mario, but it still seems to mesh with the music.

Lambchop’s newest album, “Damaged,” requires your attention. It doesn’t do the expected, and it isn’t smooth, and it isn’t happy. “I would Have Waited Here All Day” is a theme song for defeat, and “The Decline Of Country And Western Civilization” sounds desperate, like a man singing in a burning house. But like Frou Frou says, there’s beauty in the breakdown.

Lambchop – Site | Myspace | Label (Merge)

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

Lambchop – I Would Have Waited Here All Day
Lambchop – The Rise & Fall of the Letter P
Lambchop – The Decline Of Country And Western Civilization