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Argyle Heir

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Audio CD, May 22, 2001
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$9.97 $2.48

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Fires On The Ocean 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Echoes 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Perfect For Shattering 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Going Up North (Icicles) 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Wooden Bars 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Catherine Elizabeth 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Nico Norte 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Words Hang In The Air 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Fjords Of Winter 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. In A Certain Place 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Brighton Bound 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. The Reclusive Hero 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. The Glass Pane 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Caton Gardens 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 

Amazon's Ladybug Transistor Store


Image of album by Ladybug Transistor


Image of Ladybug Transistor


The Ladybug Transistor story begins in Brooklyn, NY during the mid-1990s. Their debut album, Marlborough Farms (1995 – Sit N Spin), named after the band's fabled Victorian Flatbush headquarters and studio, was a recording project based around founding member Gary Olson's collaborations with friends. They soon caught the attention of Merge Records who released Beverley Atonale in ... Read more in Amazon's Ladybug Transistor Store

Visit Amazon's Ladybug Transistor Store
for 19 albums, 3 photos, videos, and 1 full streaming song.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B00005B7IC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,017 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


At first listen, the Ladybug Transistor resemble the better-crafted Britpop groups of the 1980s. Gary Olson's deep, carefully enunciated vocals bring to mind Echo & the Bunnymen and Lowlife-era New Order, especially on "Echoes" and "Wooden Bars," tracks from Argyle Heir, the Ladybug Transistor's fourth release. But a closer focus unveils a deeper surprise--gentle hook-laden pop songs augmented by perfectly placed layers of woodwinds and brass. "Nico Norte" could easily be an updated outtake from the Mamas and the Papas' Deliver album, while "Brighton Bound" features harmonies that would make a barbershop quartet proud. Only the faux-renaissance "Catherine Elizabeth" seems out of place, but even that delicate tapestry of a tune works on repeated listens. Argyle Heir? The Ladybug Transistor? What do they mean? It doesn't really matter. The Brooklyn-based sextet, Anglophiles every one, have cornered the market on breezy, well-orchestrated arrangements. Fans of melodic and meticulously arranged pop suites--à la the Elephant Six style of indie rock--will embrace this latest addition to the genre. --Andria Lisle

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Greg Cleary on March 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"Argyle Heir" does not offer nearly as many pop hooks as its predecessor, "The Albemarle Sound," but it is still a fine album by almost any standard. Here's the way I think of it: If "The Albemarle Sound" is a sweet roll, "Argyle Heir" is more like a scone or an English muffin. I should mention that I like sweet rolls (and their musical equivalents) better than scones or English muffins. However, that does not mean that I would like to eat a sweet roll for breakfast every single morning.
The only truly great pop song on "Argyle Heir" is "Perfect for Shattering"--an incredibly catchy yet evocative song along the lines of the previous album's "Meadowport Arch," but with a steadier backbeat.
There are plenty of subtler pleasures awaiting the patient listener, however. "Echoes" is a dreamy tune that utilizes a bent guitar note in the chorus, just before Gary Olson sings, "The fields are perfectly sown." It's a quintessential Ladybug moment. This is a band that often sees beauty in the way that humans alter the landscape--a rare sentiment in modern music. They sing not of forests, but of gardens and beautiful old houses.
Other standout tracks are "Wooden Bars" (I am intrigued yet ultimately mystified by this notion of "counting the feathers on every bird," which is mentioned in this song and one other) and "The Reclusive Hero." The latter is built around a herky-jerky riff that is played on some sort of keyboard instrument, maybe an electric piano, with violin and flute adding countermelodies.
It is the arrangements, after all, that make "Argyle Heir" hold up so well to repeated listens.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John C. Hornbostel on May 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Fourth record in, and the LT just keeps getting better. I though BEVERLY ATONALE was okay; ALBEMARLE SOUND had five or six absolutely great songs, and made my personal top 25 of 1999. ARGYLE just continues to build on the foundations laid with the previous release. It shows the band to have so utterly absorbed their influences in the intervening years that they no longer can be dismissed as hollowed-out ironic retro-pop imitators, but rather iconoclastic, truly original composers of their own right.
First off, if you have two working ears, you'd never in a gadjillion years compare ARGYLE HEIR to anything in the Echo and the Bunnymen catalog...(still don't get that reference in the Amazon.com review, but whatever). This is clearly influenced by SMILE-era Beach Boys, with dollops of Left Banke, Zombies, Bacharach/David, and even some Byrdsian Cali-western moves. For those frightened by Scott Walker imitation rumors, Gary Olson happily drops any trace of basso profundo after the first track, settling into a much more comfortable, easygoing boyish delivery after that.
The songwriting is well done and original, although you'll hear echoes of tunes like "Sloop John B", "Downtown", and "Pretty Ballerina" peppered throughout. The LT is smart enough to not stick with an appropriated riff too long before twisting the whole thing around and heading for a completely different melody line. My favorite thing about the songs are the plentiful music passages that just seem to appear out of leftfield and smack you upside the head with their lovely, winsome beauty.
What an interesting disc to listen to, as well! Harpsichords, strings, mellotrons, trumpets, etc. are used tastefully throughout to add to a sonic whole that is quite simply charming. This is a fun record to listen to, and rewards repeat and attentive listens. The best retro-sounding pop album I've heard since the Olivia Tremor Control debut.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eliot Wilder on October 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Take the less easy elements of easy listening, siphon off the kitsch factor, sprinkle in strings, woodwinds and brass and what you end up with is the soft but not shallow sounds of the Ladybug Transistor. This six-piece mini orchestra hails from Brooklyn but its musical recipe has more in common with overseas counterparts Belle & Sebastian, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and the Apartments than what usually gets cooked up in the States. Bright and bouncy melodies are undercut by sardonic lyrics and Gary Olson's warm, deadpan voice, which is both charming and mysterious. This is progressive music as it was meant to be - incorporating the beauty and sweep of the classics into the popular form, but managing to steer clear of the overly arch pretentiousness that has kept so much of "prog rock" from being truly engaging. Strange, ambitious and remarkable, "Argyle Heir" will fill the space between your ears with technicolor air.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Paul on May 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
their dreamy orchestral sound does borrow heavily from loungy 60s greats, especially Burt Bacharach. but it's beautiful stuff. deliberate, but not ironic in a scare-quotes way, and retro, but not in a packaged, band-wagon way. they are sincere with a smile and it sounds good. I only just got this album, but already it is reanking with their previous two efforts. perfect for (easy) summer listening. oh, by the way, this Brooklyn-based band did the music for an Errol Morris-directed Citibank television commercial, so hopefully they'll get more mainstream recognition soon. this band is doing their own good thing and I like it.
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