I've got a whole city to hold down

January 12, 2005

Volume 2 slated for release in 96 years

"Eric Haugen and Ryan Bassler, the Evanston, Ill., duo who call themselves LMP (for La Musique Populaire) had a huge, clever idea in 1999," Douglas Wolk writes in the Seattle Weekly. "[I]t took them five years to pull it off, but they've finally done it. A Century of Song (on their own Polyholiday Records) presents their covers of songs written every year between 1900 and 2001, in a homemade six-CD box set."

It's "an amateur project all the way, in the best sense," Wolk says. "LMP recorded most of it in a basement studio, on the cheap, with some instruments they could play and others they could . . . sort of play. What they don't have in slickness and grace, they make up for with inventive, complicated arrangements that make the most of whatever they've got on hand—especially their voices. (Their backing vocals suggest classic pop-radio splendor whether or not they hit the notes.) And one of the joys of Century is that so much of it involves guest singers and musicians, most of whom are as intently casual about their performances as Bassler and Haugen. It sounds like everyone's having a great time. How many box sets can you say that about?"