LMP (La Musique Populaire) can rightly be described as "legendary," because popular myths have sprang up about them.
Originally based in Champaign and Evanston, Illinois, LMP attracted particular attention for the 2004 release A Century of Song—a 6-disc box set on which they recorded a song from each year of the 20th century. Many of the songs that represented each year were unlikely choices, to say the least. The song that cemented my resolve to purchase the set was their choice of Hayley Mills' "Cranberry Bog" for 1962.
Even though the box set was released in a hand-numbered limited edition of only 100, the scope and craziness of the set captured the imagination of millions. Or of more than 100 people, in any case. I'm the proud owner of #84. I bought it because Jeff Weiss, the former owner of Muncie's celebrated punk club, No Bar & Grill, recommended it to me.
In addition to LMPs engrossing and inexplicable Century of Song project, the group has released two albums of original material: Aunt Canada and Love Conquers Alda. The latter, in particular, is a wildly entertaining synthesis of pop music clichés, pop music references, and radio-friendly melodies.
There are so many bands that I love for various reasons and love to obsess over in one way or another, or that I want to see live or whatever. But LMP is a band that I want to be in. Guys, seriously—if you need a bass player or second guitarist....
LMP is Ryan Bassler and Eric Haugen. Music Weird interviewed LMP on March 13, 2014.
The most pressing question on everyone's mind is: What's going on with the new album? What can you tell us about it?
After your mammoth Century of Song project, rumors circulated about other similar LMP initiatives. Like, I remember hearing that you were going to record the entire Beatles catalog in chronological order. Were any of these rumors true? Did you work on anything like that?
Your last album of original material came out 10 years ago. It followed your debut by 7 or 8 years? That's a relaxed pace, so how prolific are you? Do you write a lot of material that never gets out?
You guys seem like gearheads. What are the most interesting instruments in your arsenal?
Ryan: The last time we really ever shopped ourselves around was circa '96, the Aunt Canada period. There was virtually zero interest, so we said the hell with it, let's just keep doing it ourselves. Probably the closest thing we've gotten to major label attention was a cease-and-desist from a certain major right as the Century box was about to sell out. We responded to them by sending a demo cassette with a letter asking for a record deal. Never heard back, so apparently that's a good trick to stop the lawyerbirds in their tracks.
Eric: We both have a huge respect for pop songcraft, and while it's not fashionable to say so, we're not snobs about Top 40 music at all. Top 40 pop is our shared musical DNA. But we also always bring this self-aware "meta" mentality that quickly becomes "Archies-like duet between Katy Perry and Ron Dante." In which case, if that's what you're after, we're your guys.