May 7th, 2007Lavender Diamond release their debut album ‘Imagine Our Love’ in the UK on Rough Trade Records on May 7th – an album comprised of pristine pocket symphonies that combine the best of the early ‘70s Brit-folk boom with gorgeous arrangements and an overwhelming sense of sheer heartbroken wonder. The album’s release is preceded by a single, ‘Open Your Heart’ which will be released on April 23rd. ‘Open Your Heart’ will be backed by a version of lead album track ‘Oh No’, performed by Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, a huge fan of the band. On the CD format the extra track is a startling cover of the Abba song ‘Chiquitita’.Lavender Diamond is Becky Stark and her band. A one time flatmate of Jenny Lewis and long time friend of Devendra Banhart, with whom she’s shared a couple of split vinyl singles in the US. Becky grew up in rural Maryland and first experienced music at church. But for the Starks, music was a religion of it’s own too. “My mum had a lot of old ‘45s and on Sunday mornings instead of going to church we would all sit round and she’d make us learn all the lyrics to the songs”. Inspired as a teenager by the nearby Washington DC punk community, Becky realised that she could make music for herself. She also began to get involved in performing in musical theatre round this time too. Then she moved to Rhode Island to study, hanging out at Fort Thunder, a communal space that hosted shows from the city’s burgeoning noise scene, including the legendary Lightning Bolt. This was a significant catalyst in the development of what was to become Lavender Diamond. “There was just such a utopian anarchic feeling at Fort Thunder,” says Becky. “There was no sense that anybody could not make their own sound. No such thing as good or bad – everybody was just making crazy noises. And that’s when I started writing music. I used to write these crazy musicals, do collaborations with artists, do these wild art projects. It was total energy.” Becky eventually set up her own theatre company, the Bird Family Baby Bird. “I started making plays and writing operettas,” she laughs. “We had plays and crazy costumes and I would sing opera and we would have marionettes and elaborate painted sets. That’s when I invented the character of Lavender Diamond.”According to Becky, Lavender Diamond is a bird, an emissary from the bird world - half bird, half human. The character in these plays would explain to the audience that she was there to help them understand the natural world, bringing joy and peace at the same time. “After that there evolved a mythology of who Lavender Diamond actually was” she explains. “Lavender Diamond became an embodiment of the sound of love, the sound of joy and healing.”Following her studies Becky moved west to LA, It was there that she hooked up with Jeff Rosenberg, a friend from Rhode Island and enlisted Ron Rege, noted illustrator and author of the classic graphic novel ‘Skibber Bee-Bye’ and classical composer Steve Gregoropoulos, Becky decided to use Lavender Diamond as the name of a new band.

The album was recorded at Stag Street Studio in Los Angeles, although, typically It doesn’t sound as though the band stuck to established recording procedures. “When we’re in the studio I do magic spells” laughs Becky. “They’re spells to bring our love of our music into the world and in turn bring happiness and joy into the world. We like to imagine the sound of the music covering the world with love. Lavender Diamond is about believing in the practical power of love.” Lavender Diamond