KCRW’s Private Playlist: Walt McClements

KCRW’s Private Playlist is a listening session with Southern California’s most notable musical figures in their private creative environments. Quite often, when an artist reverts to using their government name, it comes with speeches about going “back to basics” and “rediscovering” oneself. That is, unless you ask Walt McClements. Prior to decamping from New Orleans to LA, he held court as a multi-instrumentalist in larger ensembles like Dark Dark Dark, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship?. In 2012, McClements branched off into a scaled-down project under the name Lonesome Leash and issued his first cassette, “I Am No Captain.” Having established his own creative base of operations, McClements then returned to collaborating with Weyes Blood, Tara Jane O’Neil, and Mirah, among others. After nearly a decade of Lonesome Leash’s idiosyncratic, song-driven avant-pop, McClements is releasing “A Hole in the Fence,” his first solo album under his own name. Rather than a reclamation of some idealized purity, the album pushes him further into unexplored terrain. The project shares sonic forms with drone, ambient, and contemporary classical music, amounting to what feels like a gently autobiographical tone poem. McClements paints an emotional map of marginalized lives and spaces, performed entirely on solo accordion (with a single dab of organ). It also represents his first purely instrumental work. Perhaps the closer one gets to the truth, the less there is to say.