The Love Language

Photo Credit – Marci Hohner

Our little website has an irrational love affair with Stu McLamb and The Love Language. When Stu started dropping hints about a new album, I was stalking Merge’s PR team like Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female. Finally, they relented and gave me a sneak peak. It is fabulous. I fucking love it. Here’s some more words from Merge.

You may not be able to see the gorgeous landscapes behind Baby Grand, but they’re so essential to the picture you’ll feel them in every note. Started in, of all places, a cavernous Virginia hammock factory, fragmentary demos came alive when splashed by sunshine during a move across the country to California, where the album was completed. “It was something just about being in a new city, and a new light,” McLamb says, “and reopening the sessions, and this demo that I thought was a throwaway, suddenly I’m really feeling it….” You can hear the freedom kick in when the backwoods country shuffle of “Castle in the Sky” explodes into a full-on anthem, equal parts outstretched arms and pumped fists.

Yet so much lies in the shadows behind these tracks: other states, other lives, other dreams, other relationships—fogged over, perhaps, but there nonetheless. Yes, Baby Grand has its share of breakup songs—nobody writes those better than McLamb—but this time, even as something is being mourned, something else is being worked through; as lovers have been left behind, so have places and a time in life. Listen as the heartbreak and yearning of “New Amsterdam” come crashing down into the beautiful stasis of “Southern Doldrums” (the former was inspired by Cyndi Lauper and Joy Division, McLamb claims, while the latter draws upon John Cale’s meditative solo records).

HearYa sessions: 2009 & 2011

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The Love Language are here


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]

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 […]

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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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