Episode 122: The Lightning Bug Situation
July 8, 2008
Written by The Bay Bridged
Stream the episode:
This week’s featured band is The Lightning Bug Situation, the solo project of San Francisco’s Brian Miller, who you might also know as one-half of local rock duo The Speakers. Miller’s latest Lightning Bug Situation album, A Leaf; A Stream, rightly found a place on many critics’ best-of-2007 lists, with a hushed, skillfully-layered mix of folk-rock, melodic indie pop and compositional instrumental music. Like many great albums, it’s a mesmerizing long-player, as songs frequently bleed into instrumentals and back again. It’s also an album of intense lyrical themes both macro and micro, with Brian confronting the war in Iraq and becoming a new father, as filtered through the lens of family relationships.
In dissecting the meaning of family, Brian conducted interviews with his family members about their thoughts and memories on a variety of personal subjects. Inspired by long drives spent listening to episodes of This American Life, the artist layered portions of these interviews on top of music for a powerful, emotional effect. There’s a startling honesty to these interviews, so it seemed natural that Miller spoke with a sincere honesty when we sat down with him a few weeks ago in our studio. From our conversation, it’s clear that his skills as lyricist and interviewer are both inspired by and the result of a thoughtful process of self-examination. It’s also a process that’s clearly still ongoing, as Brian offered new reflections on the album’s lyrics and themes about a year after its release.
In addition to portions of that interview, we’ve also included three songs from A Leaf; A Stream in this episode. We’re also pleased to debut an exclusive unreleased song written by a unique lyricist; you’ll have to listen to the episode for the details.
- View a Take-Away Show featuring The Lightning Bug Situation at La Blogotheque
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