When: Sat., Sept. 15, 10 p.m. 2012
On 2010's The Trip, her first album under her own name, former Stereolab singer Laetitia Sadier dove into her private life in her lyrics for the first time—she addressed several forms of leave-taking, including her sister's suicide. Her excellent new album, Silencio (Drag City), returns to this personal territory: on "Silent Spot," for instance, she seems to have reached a sort of peace with her sibling's death, singing, "She was ready, chose to go / Had done it all, that met her strength." At the same time, other songs echo her old band's Marxist critiques. The lyrics to "Auscultation to the Nation" are an English translation of a caller to a French radio show, who railed against the way international political leaders have fallen under the thrall of the financial sector rather than serving their citizenry—and Sadier's coo brings disarming warmth even to the clunky lines "Rating agencies, financial markets, and the G20 / Were not elected by the people." Three of the tunes were recorded with a French band in Toulouse, but the rest were cut in Chicago with multi-instrumentalist Jim Elkington and bassist Nick Macri (and Sam Prekop of the Sea and Cake drops in some appropriately corrosive modular-synth noise in the outro to "Auscultation"). Occasionally Silencio abandons the motorik feel of Stereolab for something softer, lusher, and poppier, and given that Sadier was the voice of that band it's impossible to avoid such comparisons—but she's never sounded stronger or more assured than she does here. —Peter Margasak Orca Team opens.