LADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER
Anyone who has ever seen and heard Aly Spaltro on a stage can testify to her powers as a live performer. As Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, she is the unsettling combination of ferocious and tender, the kind of singer who veers from serene to unhinged within a turn of phrase. She’s the car that hums along the highway before careening off a cliff just for the hell of it.
“Ripely Pine” is exactly the debut studio record you had hoped she would make. After years of self-releasing a handful of albums as handmade CD-Rs she would sell at her shows, Spaltro signed to Ba Da Bing Records, which released “Ripely Pine.”
It was inevitable that she would end up on a label. Spaltro, who grew up in Maine, had slowly amassed a cult following, particularly in Boston, where she was championed by the likes of Amanda Palmer, Mary Lou Lord, and the late Billy Ruane. Spaltro now lives in Brooklyn. There was a charm to the rawness of Lady Lamb’s early work, but the myth about lo-fi recordings is that the artist has chosen that aesthetic. Sometimes it’s just a matter of logistics and technical limitations. Maybe that’s why it’s so heartening to hear Spaltro at the height of her talent on “Ripely Pine.” Several songs existed in earlier forms, but their revamped versions pop with a clarity that had been missing.
Spaltro makes her electric guitar sound like the loneliest instrument ever, matched by the wounded vulnerability of her voice. The opening “Hair to the Ferris Wheel” is the album in miniature. Over the slack strum of guitar, Spaltro tells a spectral tale that feels like a hazy dream until a violent outburst yanks you elsewhere. That’s precisely where Spaltro likes to keep you: on edge.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is at T.T. the Bear’s Friday at 9 p.m. Tickets: $12. 617-492-2327, www.ticketweb.com