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.
Over the past month or so I’ve written about two of Keep It Alive‘s released singles:
- “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.
- “Freedom’s Last Call” 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.
“Sin” Keep It Alive‘s third and latest single is centered around glistening and oscillating synths, a sinuous bass line and tweeter and woofer rattling beats paired with Lamere’s sultry and plaintive delivery and her uncanny ability to craft an infectious, razor sharp hook. While, “Sin” sonically bears a resemblance to a slick synthesis of Depeche Mode and New Order, the song’s narrator has a unique, non-moralistic, non-Christian view of sin — one that seems to say that sin is just one part of the human experience.
“‘Sin’ is loosely inspired by Dante’s Inferno and the search for meaning in the journey of life,” Lamere explains. “The message is one of redemption, as sin is not always evil, but rather offers a glimpse into the dark side of the human condition. For me the song is more about not letting the judgment of others, of good and evil, hold you back from fully experiencing life. Ultimately, I hope the listener will interpret the song and find meaning in their own way.”
Keep It Alive is slated for May 20, 2022 release through In The Red.