Let’s hear it for the Birds

Gotta love a dapper man in a vest.

Has anyone noticed the amazing amount of artists with “bird” or “birds” in their name? And that they’re all pretty darn good? Bowerbirds.  Brown bird. Birds of Chicago. Futurebirds. Mynabirds. Release the Sunbird. And that doesn’t even take into account the best bird of them all, Andrew Bird (the vest-donning devil). It makes me think that I could just pick a name at random, use the word bird somewhere in there, and I’d have a gold record overnight. Or maybe some marketing exec decided that birds are the next big thing, and I’ve just been duped by it all. (Nah, I have more faith in humanity than that. Most of the time).

Anyway, here’s a selection of new-to-me tunes that I like a lot.

Bowerbirds – “Teeth” from Upper Air (2009). I love the accordion and the fact that the harmonies remain throughout the song, not just in the chorus. I think that’s unique.

Brown bird – “Nothing Left” – from Salt for Salt (2011). Kinda sounds like a pirate drinking song. Like they should be singing about grog and mermaids. I dig that. And I like the grittiness of the vocals paired with the elegant cello. This selection is live in Eugene.

. Birds of Chicago – Cannonball – Birds of Chicago (2012). Mmm mmm mmm. This cut is just dripping with soul and passion.SO nice. And props for figuring out the simple song while twining together some pretty complex duets.

Futurebirds – “Sam Jones” from Hampton’s Lullaby (2010) – Whimsical yet rooted.  Kind of like techified country. Like if the Flaming Lips met Robert Earl Keen. They also do a very faithful cover of Chris Isaak’s classic “Wicked Game” which is not an easy feat.

Mynabirds. “Mightier than the Sword” Generals (2012)Totally sounds like Jewel, the Cranberries, Polyphonic Spree, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir  ALL got together and had a love baby with Brian Eno.  And it actually didn’t turn out that bad.

***And now, a pause, while we all try rid ourselves of that mental picture***

Release the Sunbird – “On your Own” – I had higher hopes for these guys the first time I heard them, but this song still comes up pretty often and I don’t hate it. I think as a group their sound lacks a strong low-end presence, and the vocals are generally a bit too thin, but they do pretty good island-y max-y relax-y songs. And it’s hard to do that wrong.



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