This covers EP from Gary Olson’s Brooklyn-based consortium is a jump-off for Can’t Wait Another Day, the band’s forthcoming full-length set to be released in June via Merge. For Here Comes the Rain, Ladybug Transistor turns to disparate songwriters for inspiration — former ’60s rocker turned Irish folk guitarist Jackie McAuley; proto-prog rock pioneer Kevin Ayers; the peerless John Cale; wunderkind Nils Lofgren — but selects only the most appropriate and earthy material from these iconoclasts. The song selection is just as important as the band’s interpretations of those songs, because it allows the band to bop and skip in a familiar manner to someone else’s tune. In this sense, McAuley’s “Here Comes the Rain” retains much of the original’s pop and folk tapestry and is modernized solely by Olson’s thoroughly modern (and un-dramatic) monotone/baritone.
The group pulls back to give sparer readings of Ayers’s “Girl on a Swing” (even in comparison to his relatively milquetoast post-Soft Machines recording) and Cale’s “Empty Bottles,” but it finishes strong with a cheerful version of Lofgren’s Grin-era song “Everybody’s Missing the Sun” that emphasizes brass bluster over cowpoke strolls. With all the group’s flowery touches intact, Ladybug’s summer return promises to be well-received.