After nearly a year of being Exiled In Limboville, Liz Phair is back at work on
her next album with R.E.M. producer Scott Litt. The duo spent four days in an
L. A. studio last week.
She is expected back on the coast in a few weeks
for more work on the still-untitled album. The notoriously stage-shy artist
road-tested a few of her new songs at last year's SXSW festival, including "Oh
My God," "Ride," "Kiss the Buddha" and "Rocket Boy," a song she co-wrote and
recorded with Material Issue's Jim Ellison (who committed suicide last June)
which appeared on the soundtrack to Bernardo Bertolucci's coming-of-sexual-age
film Stealing Beauty. None of the other songs have been released yet.
Phair began work on the album at the beginning of '96, tracking a dozen
songs with Litt in L. A. over the course of a month of 16-hour days. But as she
told ATN last year, she wasn't sure about the results. She said it was because
she and Litt both wanted to find a new sound for her music, but that they just
"couldn't find it together.
"Everyone is trying to make their vision
happen and I'm trying to get to the point where I can do that," Phair said. " I
desperately want to do something new that sounds different for me, and so does
Scott. We just couldn't agree on what that was."
She returned to Chicago
last year with the intention of re-working the tracks in her then-new apartment
by herself, hoping for a late fall '96 release. Phair told ATN that Litt had
boiled the songs down to one track, on top of which she planned to "add the
experimental stuff on the other seven tracks," never quite articulating what
that "experimental" factor she was looking for would sound like.
closest Phair came was to explain that the songs went "from rough and sloppy to
too clean and now I'm going to try and rough it up again and then clean it up
after that. I'm not re-recording the whole thing, just building new layers on
top, because, in a way, I always thought that what would be really good for my
music would be a very structured bed, which Scott is good at creating, overlaid
with my more sloppy tendencies."
A lot has happened since then, not the
least of which was the arrival of Phair's first child--a son--this past
According to Matador Records, the album is slated for a September