Liz Lamere is a New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, who has had a lengthy career playing drums in several local punk bands — and famously for collaborating with her late partner, the legendary Alan Vega on his solo work for the better part of three decades.
Lamere finally steps out into the spotlight as a solo artist with her solo debut Keep It Alive. Written and performed entirely by Lamere, Keep It Alive was recorded in the Lower Manhattan apartment she shared with Vega during pandemic-related lockdowns — in the same space where the Suicide frontman constructed his light sculptures. Keeping it a family affair, the album was engineered by Vega and Lamere’s son, Dante Vega Lamere. Keep It Alive was co-produced by Lamere and The Vacant Lots‘ Jared Artaud.
“There’s something very magical about creating music in the same environment where Alan created his visual art,” Liz Lamere says in press notes. “His energy is pervasive and is inevitably infused in the recordings.” She continues “ We were living through unprecedented times and Keep It Alive took adversity and uncertainty and turned it into a message of resilience and empowerment.”
The album’s material reportedly courses with the bold and defiant energy that motivated a young Lamere through her early double life as a Wall Street lawyer by day and a downtown New York musician, before she met and fell in love with Vega. Her relationship with Vega led to her becoming his manager, creative foil and keyboardist on his solo work including albums like Deuce Avenue, Power On To Zero Hour, New Raceion, Dugong Prang, 2007, Station and IT, as well as the posthumously released, lost album Mutator, which led to the Vega Vault, which she curates with Jared Artaud.
After Vega’s death in July 2016, Lamere found it cathartic to write down thoughts and observations in notebooks. Simultaneously, she and Artaud had started working together on overseeing the mastering of IT and the production and mixing of Mutator. During this very busy period, the pair discussed working together on her own solo material.
Keep It Alive is a homage to a song on her late husband’s New Raceion that has a deep and significant meaning for her. It was one of the key lines she would chant on stage, becoming a staple of their live performances together. The main theme and vision of the album is preserving your own inner fire. “Alan always encouraged me to make my own music, and I’ve waited until the time was right as I’ve been dedicated to preserving Alan’s vision and building his legacy,” Lamere says.
Last month, I wrote about Keep It Alive‘s first single, “Lights Out,” a swaggering banger featuring tweeter and woofer rattling 808s, glistening and melodic synth washes paired with Lamere’s coolly delivered boxing and fighting metaphors. While centered around a gritty and familiar, in-your-face, New York aggression, “Lights Out” is an upbeat, life-affirming song that will give you the energy to keep on fighting the necessary and good fight.
“’Lights Out’ was the very first track I wrote,” Lamere says in press notes. “You write about what you know. It’s boxing themed. When you step in the ring your life is literally on the line. ‘Let your hands go’ is a boxing term and my mantra for going full tilt in whatever I’ve set out to do.”
Keep It Alive‘s second and latest single “Freedom’s Last Call” is a brooding and cinematic track centered around thumping industrial beats, jagged and ominous synth arpeggios and a menacing bass line paired with Lamere’s icy delivery. Sonically, “Freedom’s Last Call” sounds as though it could have been part of the Blade Runner soundtrack — or the soundtrack of almost any John Carpenter film.
“This track emerged from the post-apocalyptic vibe around all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the political, social and media-driven upheaval and divisiveness,” Lamere explains. “Uncertainty of certainty. Freedom is the most elemental part of the human condition, which is now being assaulted from so many directions. The song is a call for unity and redemption, and about having one shot to keep hope, humanity and free will alive.”
Keep It Alive is slated for May 20, 2022 release through In The Red.