By

Free at Noon Flashback: Boogarins bring psychedelic rock to World Cafe Live

Boogarins | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Boogarins | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

Brazilian rock outfit Boogarins kicked off the Friday afternoon by bringing their psychedelic rock sound into World Cafe Live for this week’s Free at Noon concert. The band made an appearance in Philadelphia not too long ago during their tour with Andrew Bird, and they decided to make one more stop before heading up to Brooklyn. Their tour is in support of their second and most recent album Manual, which was released back in October 2015. Continue reading →

By

Seriously: Andrew Bird soars at the Electric Factory

Andrew Bird | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Andrew Bird | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

The title to Andrew Bird‘s newest record is as much a challenge to entry as it is a question — Are You Serious omits the question mark when written in order to ask an even larger question: Are you ready to face the whimsical whistler’s most intensive release yet? On Monday night at the Electric Factory, Bird asked the tough questions of both himself and the assembled audience, and perhaps the answers won’t be easily forthcoming.

Playing a setlist primarily composed of Serious material, he wowed fans one slowly swelling song after another through the night. Bird got the night started in the same way that Serious does—the rollicking, guitar-led noir of “Capsized,” a great introduction to the new cuts. As more of a casual fan, it’s been hard to decypher what of Bird’s discography is necessary listening, but after seeing most of Serious performed before me on Monday night, it’s apparent even to me that these are home runs, instant classics amidst a career already filled with those. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Andrew Bird at Electric Factory, Wild Jim Banfill and His Rolling Rocks at Bourbon and Branch

Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird | Photo by Reuben Cox | courtesy of the artist

Andrew Bird brings his newly-released LP Are You Serious to the Electric Factory tonight. In an interview with The Key last week, Bird discussed the personal outlook of the new work, as well as his prolific output. Watch the video for “Capsized” below and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

By

Wither Not: A conversation with Andrew Bird ahead of his Electric Factory gig

Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird | Photo by Reuben Cox | courtesy of the artist

“Get out your dictionaries,” Andrew Bird instructs us on the title track of Are You Serious, the debonair multi-instrumentalist’s thirteenth-or-so album (it’s difficult to know what counts). It arrives tomorrow, on April Fools Day – yes, seriously – in advance of his appearance at the Electric Factory on Monday.  Perhaps a sly callback to a similar line on “Measuring Cups” (from 2005’s landmark The Mysterious Production of Eggs), it’s also just sound advice when dealing this guy, as avid Bird-ers know well; as he muses self-reflexively earlier in the song: “[I] used to be so willfully obtuse – or is the word abstruse?”  

On Serious, though, without fully laying off the brainy science references and polysyllabic repartee – check his discursive, meta-romantic exchange with Fiona Apple on the bluesy “Left-Handed Kisses” – Bird offers some of his most plainspoken, disarmingly personal lyrics to date. Significantly, the album comes in the wake of both marriage and the birth of his now four-year-old son.  It also features some of his most driving, immediate music in ages, encompassing tense, meaty funk (“Capsized”), Afrobeat inflections (“The New Saint Jude”) and bright, punchy power-pop (the atom-smashing “Puma”) alongside his more typical rustic fiddlings and gypsy-jazz balladry.

Even at its peppiest, Bird’s brand of thoughtful, folksy indie rock isn’t typically the sort of thing that packs venues like the Electric Factory.  Performing solo and (as he does on this tour) with a band, he’s made his name with dazzling violin-work, live looping and uncanny whistling; it’s a subtly spectacular performance style that, for better or worse, benefits greatly from an intimate setting. When Key editor John Vettese caught up with him on the phone from a Nashville tour stop this week, Bird discussed the contrast of performing in big rooms versus small spaces, feelings of being on display in performance and writing, and how a virtuosic output keeps his chops from withering. He also reflected on his beginnings with the Music of Hair LP, which turns 20 this year.

Read the interview below and listen to Are You Serious in full via NPR Music. -K. Ross Hoffman Continue reading →

By

XPN MusicNotes: Listen to Fiona Apple sing w/ Andrew Bird on “Left Hand Kisses,” & Jack White to perform w/ “The Muppets”

Andrew Bird sings with Fiona Apple on “Left Hand Kisses,” the 2nd song Andrew shared from his upcoming album “Are You Serious?” which comes out April 1st. Listen to the song. Continue reading →

By

Listen to Matt Berninger and Andrew Bird’s rendition of “A Lyke Wake Dirge”

Photo via
Photo via Consequence of Sound

Matt Berninger, of The National, has been doing a lot of collaborations lately. In April, he sang with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth on “Coming Down” off of CYPH’s Only Run. He also appeared on Walter Martin’s “We Like the Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)” from We’re All Young Together and “I’ll See You In My Dreams” with Vince Giordano and the Night Hawks on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire Volume 2. Last but not least, The National did a cover of “The Rains of Castamere” from HBO’s Game of Thrones late last year.

More recently, Berninger paired up with Andrew Bird to sing “A Lyke Wake Dirge” for AMC’s Revolutionary War drama Turn. In a manner befitting a Puritan dirge about the travel of a soul to purgatory, Bird layers on his signature heavy strings. The vocals starts off with Berninger’s low voice, joined later by Bird’s, and then accompanied by a choir. The song is driven by a percussive acoustic guitar. The overall combination is unsettling, which suits the subject matter perfectly. The song is the second song that Berninger did for Turn. Earlier this year, he released “Hush“, the theme song featuring Joy Williams.

Catch the National August 30th as a part of Made in America. Get more information at the XPN Concert Calender. Listen to “A Lyke Wake Dirge” below.

By

Andrew Bird announces new album and tour (playing Union Transfer in May)

Cameron Wittig

Andrew Bird has a new album called Break It Yourself coming out on March 6th. A North American tour begins mid-March with a stop at Union Transfer on Thursday, May 3rd. Go here for tickets and more information. Bird’s last studio album, Noble Beast, was released in 2009. Listen to a World Cafe session he did with David Dye here from March, 2009. Bird recently contributed the song “Bein’ Green” to the Muppets: The Green Album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oFRWp7ZhuY

By

Weekend Picks: BITBY showcase at Little Bar, Andrew Bird at The Grand Opera House, Dum Dum Girls at Union Transfer

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
Tonight at Little Bar, the folks from Bands In The Backyard will premiere the series’ third episode, featuring Arc In Round. (Previous episodes have featured Faux Slang and Streetwalkers.) The screening will include live performances by Ages, Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs. Ages and Not Fur Longs—along with Psychic Teens (who opened for Zola Jesus last night at First Unitarian Church—have each been highlighted in BITBY’s bkstg sessions, which features one-camera shoots of bands performing stripped-down versions of their songs at local venues prior to playing on stage. Ages performs with Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs (with DJ sets by members of Faux Slang and Arc In Round) at 8 p.m. at Little Bar; tickets to the show are $6.

Also playing: CSS + MEN, EMA at Union Transfer (8 p.m., all ages, $15);

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
Writing the score for a darkly humorous indie film is no easy task; the composer must detail every strained emotion and hint of action through a series of scales and cadences. For Andrew Bird, however, this style of writing seems as simple as blinking. Norman (out in select theaters Oct. 21st) is a coming-of-age film about a boy, a love interest, and routine family issues—and Bird’s soundtrack depicts just that. The classically trained violinist abandoned his experimental and sometimes ostentatious arranging for a more minimalistic instrumental approach. Bird’s orchestral roots are exposed in pieces like “3:36” and “Medicine Chest,” which incorporate somber violin solos over longing instrumental backdrops. He paints a musical tale that is as comprehensive and aesthetic as its visual representation. Andrew Bird performs with Martin Dosh at 8 p.m. at The Grand Opera House; tickets for the all ages event are $29.50. —Caitlyn Grabenstein

Also Playing: Odd Future at Union Transfer (8 p.m., SOLD OUT); The Wombats + The Postelles, The Static Jacks at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $15); Buried Beds + Dignan, Geology at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $8); XPN Welcomes The Jayhawks at Keswick Theatre (8 p.m., $34.50–$45); Small Houses + Hezekiah Jones, Chris Bathgate at Studio 34 (7:30 p.m., all ages, $10); Suzie Brown + Carsie Blanton at Tin Angel (7:30 p.m., 21+, $12); The Smashing Pumpkins + Fancy Space People, Light FM at Tower Theatre (7 p.m., $52–$79.75)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23
The members of Dum Dum Girls have always dressed to impress. Since hitting the scene with its debut album, I Will Be, last year, the ’60s-inspired quartet is almost always found clad in matching black nylons, red lipstick, and heavy eye makeup, hiding behind a veil of thick, glossy bangs. Though the ladies have always looked quite mature, their second album, Only In Dreams, carries a sound that has finally caught up with the group’s aesthetic. Though still creating a nice balance between beachy grooves and low-fi subtleties, the group’s latest batch of songs sounds less like adolescent heart doodles and more like someone who’s mastered the complexities of The Bell Jar. Born in the wake of lead singer Dee Dee’s mother’s lost battle to cancer, Only In Dreams strays from the typical boy-crazy narratives and instead acts as a cathartic confession of insomnia, restlessness, and change. Dum Dum Girls performs with Crocodiles and Royal Baths at 8:00 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $15. —Marielle Mondon

Also Playing: Rumer + Bill Ricchini (of Summer Fiction) at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $18); Fierce Bad Rabbit + Oh! Pears, Dad Rocks, Attia Taylor at The M Room (8 p.m., 21+, $7); Portugal. The Man + Alberta Cross at Theatre Of Living Arts (7 p.m., $25)