Whistle solos. Check. Violin. Check. Intimate and mellow orchestration. Check. Andrew Bird has an unmistakable and consistent aesthetic. And, despite my love of novelty and artists exploring new terrain, I revel in each new Andrew Bird release because there is a familiarity to his unique and pleasant form of baroque indie-pop – it’s like the aural equivalent of “comfort food”. But to be fair, it’s not as though the whole record is a rehash of what’s come before, there are some wonderful variations on Bird’s signature sound like “Danse Caribe” incorporating both Spanish guitar and steel drums or the aptly titled “Things Behind the Barn” which sounds like a bluegrass-y hoedown. To me, an Andrew Bird record is a little trip to Where the Wild Things Are, a topsy-turvy timeless placed filled with mirth, mayhem, and sounds from a distant yet recognizable world of imagination. Enjoy! Also Andrew Bird is on tour this winter/spring and his live shows are truly exquisite, check out his tour dates and locations here.
Now, Now’s “Prehistoric”
Perhaps it’s the eerie familiarity to Death Cab For Cutie’s opening tracks to The Photo Album, “Steadier Footing” and “A Movie Script Ending”, but this song evokes the sensation of an early morning drive through New England at the cusp of spring with patches of snow on the ground. Be warned, the song starts slow but much like the DCFC opening tracks it builds to a magnificent pop crescendo. Instead of Ben Gibbard’s choir boy vocals insert a female voice reminiscent of Denali or Rainer Maria. Yes, this song definitely has a nostalgic strain to it. If you like what you hear, a new album is on the horizon but in the meantime you can check this Minnesota trio’s previous EP on this playlist.
Other Cool Things:
- Jeff Tweedy has some interesting things to say about growing up, songwriting, musical diversity (“I don’t get the goal of having things narrowed down. I don’t want to come up with a coherent philosophy of the world or music. I want to learn to like more . . . ”), the curious state of rock criticism, and how to keep it together for 18 years on the Nerdist podcast (download to iTunes for free here). (Oh and he also agrees that the Aragon stinks: “Aragon in Chicago is the same thing . . . a big old dance hall that sounds like ass”.)
- This week’s All Songs Considered podcast has some new M. Ward and he sounds happy.
- The new Magnetic Field’s Love at the Bottom of the Sea is also streaming on First Listen check it out here. I adore the first single, “Andrew in Drag”, which appears on the current 2012 playlist, and he video is available here.
- Experimental music from L.A.
- Indie rockers from CoMo (Columbia, Missouri), and
- Some additional thoughts on Frankie Rose’s stellar Interstellar and my obsession with Cloud Nothings.