Lil Bub: Science and Magic: A Soundtrack To The Universe

Occasionally a record comes along that reminds us that there is beauty in the world that only the pure of heart can make us see. This is that record, a perfect capsule of hope for the young and old.

Lil Bub

Science and Magic: A Soundtrack to the Universe

Label: Joyful Noise
US Release Date: 2015-12-04
UK Release Date: 2015-12-18

The Education of Lil Bub: Space Cat Gives Earthlings a Dose of Truth on Debut

Lil Bub. She is tiny. She is perfect. She is a girl. And she uses science and magic to communicate her special message of peace and love to the universe. With those two utterly important tools at her disposal she has communicated with her dude and his close friend Matt to create her first full-length album. Oh, sure, Bub has been to the studio before: She made a single with Kim Deal, appeared on Run the Jewels’ Meow the Jewels but this is all hers, her Plastic Ono Band, her Face Value, her The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

How is it? Well, in the word of Lil Bub herself: Yes.

Surprisingly or not she’s shed many of her obvious influences. She’s gone public with her affinity for Rush and her friendship with Steve Albini and David Yow might suggest that she’s into the heavier side of things. One might even think that her close proximity to fellow Hoosiers Murder By Death might have rubbed off. But instead this girl has given us something that is uniquely her own, a trip through times of wonder.

There are few vocal turns on the record, a move that owes a little something to Bub’s predilection for the enigmatic but what few utterances are there are pure treasures, such as the opening “Hello Earth” which calls to mind a space jam held at Brian Wilson’s pad with gorgeous orbs of love and light streaming around everyone’s head. The tune’s buoyant melody and rhythms are impossible to forget and Bub’s dude and his pal do her proud as they flawlessly execute her beautiful vision. Of course no one can forget that this is a girl who paid her dues in the space rock scene at one time and so “New Gravity” is an appropriately extraterrestrial jam, the kind of thing Kraftwerk might have imagined were they sent into the tiny portal of perfection that is Bub.

“Assimilation” is the record’s most infectious tune and, clocking in at a little over one minute, also the shortest. It’s an excellent bridge between the record’s earliest moments “A Friend”, featuring our heroine’s alien purrs and a warm blanket of keyboards that absolutely sings, reminding us of her boundless imagination and ability to heal with a simple melody line. Of course we also know by now of Bub’s love of a good dance groove and on this joint it’s “Another Voyage”, which will have dance floor junkies doing a step known as the Bub by the time the winter holidays are over.

Elsewhere, gorgeous title track and the cosmic suite of “Space Sister” (something Bub considers Whoopi Goldberg) and "Earth Sister” further solidify Bub’s reputation as one of our planet’s greatest composers. The closing “Rebirth” is as moving as anything in recent memory and it proves that Bub’s close pal Andrew WK’s assertion that listening to this record is both “a soundtrack to the universe itself” and “the sonic equivalent of holding Lil Bub in your arms” (we’ll have to take your word, Andrew) is also true and true.

Thank you, Bub. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, your special brand of science and magic with us.





12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.


Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.


Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."


David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.


On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.


Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.


Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.


Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."


How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.