V.V. Lightbody ‘Horse On Fire’ : Stewards kind vibes with unadulterated exhibitions of life-observation.

V.V. Lightbody / Photo: Rachel Winslow

V.V. Lightbody (Vivian McConnell from Chicago bands Santah/Grandkids) is playing music that is self-described as nap-rock. Flutes, horns, trinkets, knick-knacks – all seem to materialize from thin air as this project stewards kind vibes with unadulterated exhibitions of life-observation.

Chicago’s V.V. Lightbody following her 2018 debut ‘Bathing Peach’ brings more of the sentimental odd-ball beauty in the sophomore LP ‘Make a Shrine or Burn It’.

“I wasn’t necessarily trying to be comedic, but more direct…and being direct can highlight the funny bits of life in a way,” she says of her new album. “I was tired of writing in metaphors and wanted to be more blunt, and people seem to be connecting to the lyrics more. This also fell in line with not taking myself so seriously all the time. ‘Car Alarm’ is on the extreme side of that where I’m almost making fun of myself.”

Collecting songs that McConnell felt were too delicate to be played by her other bands, LP ‘Bathing Peach’ began in 2015 as a living room recording project with pianist and producer Daniel Pierson. Each song began with a simple guitar and vocal arrangement, but as Pierson’s home studio grew, the duo invited local musicians to flesh out the tracks.

The new album ‘Make a Shrine or Burn It’ is an album of lingering farewells and cautiously optimistic beginnings punctuated by a deceptive wit.

Recorded at noted Chicago recording studios including Decade Studios, Public House and Pallet Sound, as well as in her own bedroom (extremely true to form), McConnell produced the album herself and teamed up with the city’s go-to engineer Dave Vettraino (Lala Lala, Makaya McCraven, Deeper, Melkbelly). Building upon lush harmonies and textured rhythms – featuring Ohmme’s Sima Cunningham on vocals and Macie Stewart on violin, and saxman Wills Mckenna among others – “Make a Shrine or Burn It” is an adventurous uptick in the dreamy, signature V.V. Lightbody soundscape.

(Indie) Star studded excellence in music, to say the least.


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