Love Beam (Joyful Noise Recordings)

Typical Sisters

Released July 9, 2021

AllMusic Favorite Jazz Albums 2021




Following the release of their second record, Hungry Ghost (praised by NY Times for having “something increasingly rare today: group exploration with little flexing or hurry”, and Pop Matters calling their compositions “memorable to the point where they can often sound like long-lost standards”), Typical Sisters return with their ambitious new album, Love Beam. Their third release presents a kaleidoscope of glitchy acoustic timbres, warbly guitar melodies, and crunchy drum loops merging the worlds of improvised jazz and lo-fi bedroom production.
Guitarist Gregory Uhlmann (Perfume Genius, Fell Runner, Josh Johnson), bassist Clark Sommers (Kurt Elling, Ba(SH), Lens), and drummer Matt Carroll (Ohmme, V.V. Lightbody, Rooms) have spent over the last decade nurturing their initial affinity towards one another. Conceptually and emotionally, Love Beam is a celebration of the nourishment they receive from each other in both collaboration and friendship. The title evokes an atmospheric, metaphorical space they inhabit whenever they’re able to play music together, which is rare enough considering the distance between them: Uhlmann in Los Angeles, Sommers living in Chicago, and Carroll in Copenhagen.
The songs on Love Beam were composed individually and later developed with an openness to collaboration. Once in the studio with co-producer Tim Carr, the songs began to take shape as Carr and the band bounced ideas off each other. While the initial tracking only took a week, the post-production process went on for several months with the band and Carr collaborating over long distance. Furthermore, the album wouldn’t be complete without the expert ears of the Grammy-Award-winning producer Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann / Jeff Parker), who mixed the album, or Dave Cooley (J Dilla / Madvillain), who added the finishing touches with mastering. 
The band started at Sommer’s house in 2009, where the trio gelled over Joni Mitchell tunes and jazz standards. In those few hours of effortless improvisation, the three immediately knew that the chemistry of the group was worth fostering and developing. Love Beam is the result of a group of lifelong friends taking a leap of faith into unfamiliar territory, and coming out on the other side not only unscathed, but feeling even more fulfilled.  

Track Listing:

1. Water Plants 01:28

2. Well Done 03:38

3. OEO 02:10

4. Owl 03:05

5. Recurring Memory 02:45

6. King Flipper 03:15

7. Clairvoyant 00:32

8. No Evil 02:18

9. Oregano 01:13

10. Uni Lunch 00:23

11. Clamata 02:13

12. Grains 03:09

13. Ephemeral 04:02


Clark Sommers: bass
Matt Carroll: drums
Gregory Uhlmann: guitar

Produced by Tim Carr and Typical Sisters
Mixed by Paul Bryan
Mastered by Dave Cooley
Cover Art by Sam Kaufman


Experimental Chicago trio Typical Sisters further expand their sound on their unpredictable third album, 2021’s Love Beam. On past albums, Typical Sisters played a far-reaching brand of instrumental jazz and post-rock that straddled the line between the fractured lyricism of Bill Frisell and the mathematical grooves of Tortoise. And while the group’s core sound remains, with Love Beam they push this genre-bending approach even further, incorporating an array of digital recording tools and post-production elements from voice recordings made on their phone to drum loops. Once again, the record is a collaboration between guitarist Gregory Uhlmann, bassist Clark Sommers, and drummer Matt Carroll. Together they tracked the album in a week with co-producer Tim Carr and then spent several months re-working the tracks in post-production, eventually handing them over to producer Paul Bryan for mixing and Dave Cooley for mastering. The result is easily Typical Sisters’ most adventurous outing to date, with songs that range from lo-fi and glitchy, like “Water Plants” with its captured spoken word conversation and Hawaiian space guitar accents, and infectiously funky, like “Clamata” with its Meters-esque rubberband groove. Equally textural tracks follow including “Owl,” in which Uhlmann drops a shimmer of brittle, broken glass chords over a dusky, sand-dune bass and drum rhythm. They split the difference on “Recurring Memory,” bringing together a hooky ’80s Krautrock beat with fuzztone doom bass and tropical guitar flourishes. More esoteric cuts follow, including “Oregano,” which sounds like a mad scientist lab track off a ’60s Halloween-themed album. It shouldn’t be a surprise if other cinematic conceptual ideas pop into your head while listening to Love Beam, a testament to Typical Sisters’ broad, dream-like creativity.

Matt Collar (AllMusic)