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Indie darling Lætitia Tamko is back with her first LP since 2017’s Infinite Worlds. The album, titled All The Women In Me, is set for release Sept. 27 via Nonesuch Records, but fans can get a taste of what’s to come with the chilled-out lead single “Flood Hands.”
“Flood Hands” starts with the breathy, hypnotic dreaminess we’re used to seeing from Vagabon until the echoing drumbeat swells and production ebbs forward, illustrating growth.
“I know,” she sings, with calm resignation, and her powerful and booming, yet delicate tenor voice. “Even if I run from it, I’m still in it.”
With upped production from her simple, barebones tracks in Infinite Worlds, “Flood Hands” leaves us with lingering lines of pop alchemy that fade to silence.
”’Flood Hands’ is a track I originally produced and arranged for a well-known pop-duo to have on their album. Knowing I was writing this song for musicians I admire, allowed me this relief from my writer’s block,” Tamko explains in a statement. “I used this assignment as a chance to flex my production muscles and write something I wouldn’t have written as a ‘Vagabon’ song a couple years ago. The result felt like a triumph for me in my progression as an artist and I just couldn’t stand to part with the song by the time I was finished.”
Vagabon’s goal with her new music was to “break the rules you think you are bound by,” per her new bio, after she felt stagnant and petrified by fear after being thrust into the indie limelight in 2017.
But that anxiety has thawed and been replaced with a new freedom found in focusing on herself over the industry.
“With this album, I wanted to impress myself,” Tamko, who wrote and produced every track, said in a statement. “I wanted to be curious and I wanted to make big leaps as a producer.”
With her new album, the Cameroon-born, New York-reared musician promises to introduce us to songs buoyed by hybridized analog and heavily digital arrangements, rather than the loose, guitar-driven melodies that permeate her past work.
Flitting between genres, All The Women In Me is expected to venture out of the realm of “indie rock” that Vagabon excavated in her previous LP. But her characteristic, quietly strong, subtly revolutionary voice and funky punk tones live on.
“The drums and vocal forward approach I took on All The Women In Me is drawn from my love for rap and hip-hop production as well as R&B and folk storytelling,” Tamko explains. “That’s the music that got me excited about writing again.”
Stacked on top of these influences are West African rhythms that seeped in from Tamko’s childhood.
These beats can especially be heard in the fingerpicked melodies of “In A Bind.” Drawing inspiration from Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, Tamko sings to someone who remains just out of reach.
“I know that I was gone a lot last year,” her lyrics read. “But I hoped you’d still be here.”
Without a singular lyrical theme, All The Women In Me serves up a wide spectrum of moods, from the opening “Full Moon in Gemini” to the thumping dance track “Water Me Down.”
The album’s title track, “All The Women,” requires special attention.
An anthem for the marginalized even beyond the gendered term, “women,” “All the Women” is the full-length’s thesis statement and inspired by a Nayyirah Waheed poem.
“The song is also a thank-you letter to the women who raised me, the women who look like me, the women who work in all of the genres of music that guided this album, the women who run with the wolves,” Tamko said.
The theme of marginalization also runs through “Wits About You,” in which Tamko creates a safe space for those branded as “The Other.”
“I was invited to the party,” she sings. “They won’t let my people in. Well then never mind, never mind, never mind.”
The LP makes a hopeful shift with the slow burn “Home Soon,” in which Tamko explores how it feels to belong to a place and a community.
“Home has always been a major theme in my music,” she said. “And when I say I make music for outcasts, I am also talking about those who feel far from home or uncomfortable where they’re at.”
Rising out of the underbelly New York’s underground rock scene, Vagabon broke through the indie scene with Infinite Worlds, quitting her electrical and computer engineering gig to pursue music full-time.
Now, Vagabon is stepping onto a stage of creative expansion, emphatically grabbing onto the experimentation she flirted with on her last LP.
“This time around, she’s throwing genre to the wind,” her bio explains. “‘All The Women In Me’ is a vibrant culmination of influences, emotional landscapes and moods; a colorful and masterful statement by an artist and producer stepping into her own.”
All The Women In Me Album Art:
Vagabon Tour Dates:
15 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ National Sawdust
17 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Pico Union Project
21 – London, U.K. @ St. Pancras Old Church
22 – Brussels, Belgium @ Autumn Falls @ Botanique – Brussels (B)
23 – Berlin, Germany @ Kantine am Berghain
24 – Paris, France @ Hasard Ludique
30 – Asbury Park, N.J. @ Asbury Lanes *
31 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Franklin Music Hall *
01 – Washington, D.C. @ Lincoln Theatre *
04 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Variety Playhouse *
05 – New Orleans, La. @ Civic Theatre *
07 – Austin, Texas @ Stubb’s (Levitation) *
08 – Dallas, Texas @ Granada Theater *
09 – Oklahoma City, Okla. @ The Criterion *
10 – Lawrence, Kan. @ The Granada *
12 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue *
13 – Madison, Wis. @ The Sylvee *
14 – Chicago, Ill. @ The Riviera Theatre *
15 – Detroit, Mich. @ Royal Oak Music Theatre *
16 – Toronto, Ont. @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre *
18 – Montreal, Que. @ mTelus *
19 – Boston, Mass. @ Royale *
22 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Brooklyn Steel *
02 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ The Van Buren *
03 – San Diego, Calif. @ The Observatory North Park *
05 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Palace Theater *
07 – Oakland, Calif. @ Fox Theater *
09 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland *
10 – Vancouver, B.C. @ The Orpheum Theatre *
11 – Seattle, Wash. @ Moore Theatre *
13 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Depot *
14 – Denver, Colo. @ The Gothic Theatre *
15 – Denver, Colo. @ The Gothic Theatre *
(* – w/ Angel Olsen)