The Love Language

The Love Language – Ruby Red {Album Review}

by That Guy on July 23, 2013

The Love Language Ruby Red

Hell. Yes.

That’s what I emailed to a friend of mine in reply to the announcement he forwarded me saying The Love Language’s long-awaited album, Ruby Red, would be released in July. I immediately went to Merge Record’s website and pre-ordered the album. You don’t dick around when buying TLL albums, plus I wanted to be one of the first 250 preorders to get the 11-song cassette of demos.

So when Woody sent me a link last week with an advance release of the album, to say I was eager would be the understatement of the year. I was more eager than people on Twitter announcing Ray Manzarek’s (or any other musician we haven’t thought about for 20+ years) death. I ran to the fridge and opened a Great Lakes Rye of the Tiger IPA, put it in my beer koozie, clicked Woody’s link, and stared at the progress bar for 10 consecutive minutes while the file downloaded. I was so excited I couldn’t move. I looked like Napoleon Dynamite sitting in the van before prom waiting for Uncle Rico to finish selling a 32-piece set so he could pick up his date. My mouth was open a little bit. I was breathing hard through my mouth. I was ready.

Finally, I clicked play. And it felt good. It felt real good. The first track, “Calm Down”, is one of the best songs I’ve heard so far this year. Other standouts include “Kids”, “Faithbreaker”, and the album’s closer, “Pilot Light”. It’s a step forward for The Love Language, with more instrumentation and a more aggressive sound. I’m already looking forward to seeing the songs come alive on stage.

I’ve gotta say The Love Language and Stu McLamb, the real driving force behind the music’s moniker, have got to be one of the most under-appreciated independent acts over the last 4 years. I’d put the catalog of their 2009 S/T debut, 2010’s Libraries, and this year’s Ruby Red up against any other band’s catalog over the same time frame. Seriously, who has been better?

Get a taste of “Calm Down” below, buy any album from their catalog, and look for them on tour.

HearYa Live Sessions here and here.



HearYa has been waiting on this day for quite some time – new music from The Love Language. Shirk has become good friends with Stu McLamb over the years. They’ve been trading texts regarding the status of their 3rd LP. With every update Shirk gave me, I became more and more anxious to hear it. Based on the first single, Calm Down, it is going to be well worth the wait. The fine folks at Merge had this to say:

Gone are the days of a Love Language as a selfish salve for perpetual heartbreak. Ruby Red produces new standards for the Carolina pop songbook, finding The Love Language as an extroverted community art project made by responsible citizens of a loosely packed scene who know that Stuart McLamb will match whatever they contribute.

We have done two sessions with them. The video below is from the second effort. Check them out via the links below. Some of the best shit we’ve ever done.

Session One

Session Two


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You will be hard pressed to find a blog, website, quorum of people who like The Love Language more than the fine folks at HearYa. We’ve been lucky enough to do not one, but two sessions with them.

Today Merge announced that The Love Language would be releasing their third LP, Ruby Red, in August. That seems apt as I tried to wash away a hangover yesterday by mixing some vodka with some Ruby Red. Alas, no luck. Anyhoo, here’s what the fine folks at Merge have to say about this:

Friends and fans of The Love Language songwriter and frontman Stuart McLamb have learned to expect a lot, but rarely in a timely manner. Completing a triumvirate of spiritual transmissions spent lost (2009’s The Love Language) and found (2010’s Libraries), 2013’s Ruby Red exorcises the transient brilliance fostered by McLamb within the sheetrock walls of the album’s namesake artist space.

Featuring over twenty musicians and straddling several time zones, The Love Language’s lone puppeteer borrowed heavier equipment, and held on to it longer. Initiated in a windowless unit at the fabled Ruby Red, several failed attempts and false starts at a songwriting spree landed McLamb and his engineer/case worker/boxing coach BJ Burton in Black Mountain, North Carolina, consuming every square inch of a carpeted bungalow located a few acres too close to their skittish neighbors. Soon after, Burton’s relocation to Minneapolis effectively thrust McLamb from their shared nest, helping Ruby Red discover its inherent propensity for flight.

Ruby Red produces new standards for the Carolina pop songbook, finding The Love Language as an extroverted community art project made by responsible citizens of a loosely packed scene who know that McLamb will match whatever they contribute. The heartbreak is over. Now we’re getting somewhere.



The Love Language at Schubas [Concert Review]

by That Guy on March 7, 2011

Sellout. It’s been a big topic of discussion lately on HearYa about bands like The Black Keys, but last night it took on a different meaning. The Love Language took the stage to a sold-out audience at Schubas along with Telekenesis. The wife and I had a burger at Pint in Wicker Park, a quick beer at Estelle’s, and then made our way up to Schubas in time to say hi to the band before they took the stage. (Side note: they’re easily one of the most personable bands I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with.)

The Love Language recorded a second live session at Shirk Music & Sound earlier in the day (find their first HearYa Live Session here), so they were good and warmed up by the time they hit the stage. I’ve seen The Love Language play quite a few shows over the last few years, but I’ve got to say their performance last night at Schubas was the best I’ve seen them. The songs were tight, Stuart’s voice not only sounded great but so was his stage presence, drummer Jordan McLamb was playing with some serious authority, new bassist Nick seems to be a great addition, Missy brings so much fun and energy, and BJ Burton has added some real juice to the live songs.

They cranked through a set with barely a pause between most songs, and looked like they were having a great time. Stuart knocked back a shot on-stage early in the set, new bassist Nick was smiling ear-to-ear for 90% of the show, and drummer Jordan was hitting the drums so hard he literally shredded one of his cymbals.

There were a couple other highlights during the show. The first was a great version of “Manteo” with the entire band singing the first few bars a capella before ripping into it for the rest of the song. The other was more of an inside joke between BJ and Stuart. Earlier in the day at the HearYa session, BJ was joking about how he was slightly ‘over-served’ during one of their recent shows. He couldn’t figure out how to tune his guitar in the middle of the set, which led to him kicking Stu on stage as hard as he could for no reason. The two joked about it at Shirk’s studio, and in the middle of the set last night Stu tried to get BJ back. They looked like a couple of rams up there plowing into each other during Blue Angel. It was indicative of the entire set – just great energy on stage and a great vibe overall. The most fun I’ve had at a show in a while.

Aside from a great show, Shirk captured some really cool live tracks in the studio earlier in the day – I can’t wait for everyone to hear them. Stuart did a solo acoustic version of “Brittany’s Back” that had a cool Bruce Springsteen Nebraska-ish vibe to it.

The Love Language – Heart To Tell

The Love Language – Lalita

In the meantime, here’s a fan video of “Lalita” from the Schubas show.


The Love Language – Libraries [Album Review]

July 13, 2010

It’s finally here. And it’s phenomenal. The Love Language release their second album, Libraries, on Merge Records today. Honestly, you really don’t need to read any further. Just go out and buy it – it’s that good. I haven’t been this excited about something since the 1991 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out. Stu McLamb, […]

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New Love Language Album, Libraries, Available for Streaming

June 7, 2010

The new Love Language album, Libraries (out July 13 on Merge Records), is easily one of HearYa’s most anticipated albums of the year. Now you can stream it in its entirety here. After one listen, I’ll say it’s better than I could have imagined. Dear heavens. And of course be sure to check out our […]

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The Love Language Announces New Lineup, New Album (Libraries)

April 1, 2010

The Love Language, who were the final act playing at the SXSW 2010 day party, have recently wrapped up the recording of their latest album for Merge Records (one of the best labels out there right now). The new album is tentatively entitled Libraries, and will be available July 6th. In other news, leader […]

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The Love Language sign with Merge Records

December 7, 2009

Congratulations to a HearYa favorite, The Love Language, for recently inking a deal with Merge Records (also home to The Arcade Fire). Look for big things out of them next year when they release their first album on the new label. If you thought the self-titled release (which was recorded on a $300 device bought […]

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The Love Langugage and The Rural Alberta Advantage, Schubas 9/26/09 [Concert Review]

October 1, 2009

Last Saturday night reinforced the reason that I enjoy catching new bands on the way up. In the last twelve months, both the The Love Language and The Rural Alberta Advantage have released phenomenal debuts that continue to gain momentum and it was a special night catching them on the same Schubas bill. The Love […]

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The Love Language – Manteo, unreleased live session video.

July 6, 2009

The Love Language stopped in the studio for a live session back in April. We posted the video of “Blue Angel,” but neglected to mention the footage for the song “Manteo.” Here it is along with the track from that session. Shirk (our live session producer) has been in Asia for a few weeks, but […]

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