Lampland is a place where the only lighting is low-lighting. It’s a crater on the moon. It’s a furniture store in your hometown strip mall. It’s the music of Tommy Bazarian, who is about to release his debut album, No Mood.
Bazarian wrote and recorded the songs while working his day job as a radio producer. The fragments of stories he heard during the day seeped into the lyrics he wrote at night: a patchwork of memories, movie scenes, and overheard conversations. A former child, Bazarian can’t get over the intensity of being a kid — the moods and emotions that could quickly overwhelm your tiny world. “Sometimes I feel like a stack of two kids in a trenchcoat,” he sings, “guessing where I’m going.” The album opens with a scene of him standing in his girlfriend’s apartment, watching as it slowly fills up with water from a broken pipe. It closes with him walking around his own house, “carefully deflating the balloons and closing the windows,” at last having found some sort of peace.
No Mood is an album that features exactly one (1) guitar solo. Bazarian worked and reworked the colorful arrangements — distorted pianos, Halloween-y synths, and chopped-up drum loops — that decorate his fragmented storytelling like carefully draped Christmas lights. Sometimes, he would forget whether he was working on a radio piece or a music arrangement, so the album ended up dotted with found sounds and field recordings: from AM radio snippets to the whistling radiator in his bedroom.
In the spirit of Paul Simon’s solo albums, No Mood features almost as many genres as tracks. Alt-country rockers sit next to Elliott Smith four-track recordings, followed by dramatic full band arrangements.
It’s all held together by Bazarian’s distinctive voice, by his vivid lyrics, and by his restless energy. Which, by the end of the album, he’s come to accept. “I know that you don’t blink insanely”, he sings. “Well, I do.”