The Ladybug Transistor may no longer name albums after Ditmas Park streets, but it’s still very much a Brooklyn band.
Since releasing its first album, “Marlborough Farms,” in 1995, the band’s been anchored in Flatbush — specifically, lead singer Gary Olson’s house on Marlborough Street, which features a basement recording studio and is fondly nicknamed after that first album.
“When I first moved to the area, I liked the idea of a more communal living situation,” explained the Midwood native about that curious name. “I would just read about hippy commune working farms. I wanted to start my own cult out here in Brooklyn.”
Olson may not have started a hippy cult per se, but he has achieved a nice following for the band’s New Wave-inspired pop rock, established in “Marlborough Farms” and the follow-ups, “Beverley Atonale,” “The Albemarle Sound” and “Argyle Heir” — whose titles are a who’s who of Ditmas Park blocks.
On the band’s seventh album, “Clutching Stems,” romantic flourishes make for some of the best moments, particularly on the standout track, “Oh Christina.” It begins optimistically enough with the sounds of seagulls and train announcements, recorded on a band field trip out to Brighton Beach, before Olson’s Morrissey-esque baritone references other heartbreak songs with such lyrics as “love would tear us apart.”
“That song is about getting a crush on the subway, which is easy to do,” said Olson. “It happens to everyone.”
The album has a heavy heart, but it’s due in large part to the death of the band’s drummer, San Fadyl, four years ago to an asthma attack, rather than failed relationships.
“Sadness runs through there a lot,” said Olson. “It’s hard to be specific, but San’s influence is there and a lot of his heart is in there. We carry a lot of him around.”
On July 6, the band will sing about subway dalliances, break-ups and loss with a show at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg.
“We haven’t done like a proper local show in a long time,” said Olson. “We’re really looking forward to that one.”
The Ladybug Transistor at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemayer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], July 6 at 8:30 pm. Tickets $12. For info, visit bk.knittin
Yes, you’re in the right place — Brooklyn Paper is the new online home of BrooklynDaily.com.
So bookmark this page, and remember check it throughout the day for the latest stories from your neighborhood — and across this great borough of ours.