Categories
Band/Artist Profile

Hopscotch Artist Spotlight: Andrew Bird

(source: https://folkontheroad.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/andrew-bird2.jpg)

Folks, this year during Hopscotch you’re in for a real treat. Andrew (gosh-dang) Bird is graciously making his presence in the Memorial Auditorium on Saturday at 11pm. 

Mr. Bird is ridiculously talented, having been formally trained in Violin starting at the age of FOUR but not limited to the violin as he is an expert vocalist, whistler, and guitarist.  He unsurprisingly has a long discography, with his first album dropping in ‘96 and his most recent album “Are You Serious” came out last April 2016. His music is best described as being intricate, deeply emotional with piercing vocals and dreamy whistling. Make sure to catch him when he makes an appearance this Saturday. In the meantime, check out his most recent Tiny Desk Concert linked below! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGAzPtwUJJU

-DJ sPaRr0vV

Categories
Concert Review

Mavis Staples and Andrew Bird: A Wonderfully Rainy Night at NCMA

Rhythm and blues singer Mavis Staples joined indie rocker Andrew Bird as part of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s summer concert series Tuesday night.

Mavis celebrated her 73rd birthday at the Museum Park, and one fan even brought her a bouquet of flowers as a gift. She has one of the most powerful female voice I’ve heard, filled with raw soul and confidence. There were bluesy guitar solos and impressive drumming as Mavis tried to mimic with her voice what each instrument was doing.

As a North Carolina native, I understand that summer storms are unavoidable, which usually is unfortunate when paired with summer concerts. Tuesday night it actually worked in the crowd’s favor. About mid-way through Mavis’ set, the sky opened. The crowd immediately shuffled for their ponchos and umbrellas, but there was a group of us that  rushed to the front of the stage to “take advantage of the overhang to stay dry” – in other words, we’d finally found a legit excuse to get right in front of the stage. The NCMA folks were very cool about this and didn’t try to make us move. The show instantly became more intimate. We all sat down, singing and clapping along to the songs knee-to-knee with our neighbors.

Then, Mr. Andrew Bird. Coming out on stage initially by himself with his violin, he began his show with “Why,” from his 2011 album “The Swimming Hour.” This was an absolutely beautiful intro to his show, especially with the steady rain as background noise. Seeing how the music was performed live made me appreciate him as a musician even more. He and his band used loop pedals flawlessly to switch back and forth between instruments and play multiple layers at once. Andrew rotated between violin (which was played traditionally and ukulele-style), guitar, glockenspiel and of course his famous whistling. Some of my favorites of the night included “Orpheo Looks Back,” “Eyeoneye,” “Bein’ Green,” A Nervous Tic Head Motion of the Head to the Left,“ and "Fake Palindromes.”

Categories
New Album Review

Andrew Bird’s “Break it Yourself”

While performing an incomplete version of what would become “Eyeoneye,” Andrew Bird remarked to the TED audience, “Songwriters can sort of get away with murder. You can throw out crazy theories and not have to back it up with data or graphs or research.” Although Bird only occasionally touches in the theories of the absurd, he would not need an alibi to get away with his sixth studio album Break it Yourself.

In the TED speech and in music as well Bird has become a master of addressing his audience.  Much of the power within Break it Yourself is based on how he speaks to the listener, and the message that he delivers is made all the more significant because he knows how to take the listener wherever he would like.

What makes Break it Yourself so powerful is the strength in making music that feels personal. This is not simply an interaction between the musician and some far off idea or some other individual; throughout the album, you feel as if you are the agent around which his songs revolve. Through making an album that feels to its very core personal, Bird can make the most relatable of human emotions more significant and engaging for the listener.

The agent of the nostalgia that Bird will reflect on in songs like “Danse Caribe” exemplifies how he can turn the metaphorical camera on the audience away from him. When singing, “You were a shameless child…” he clearly focuses on the listener as the agent, not himself. In doing this early in the album there is always this feeling of intimacy in the songs. Although he does not intend to tell the story of the listener, it is hard to come away from the song without having recalled your own childhood.

This is accompanied by the fact that Bird has become an expert at the craft of conveying emotion through instrumentals. Controlling tones, pace, and precise layers of construction, Bird is able to guide the song exactly where he always intended. This on top of his prowess as a personal yet fictional storyteller makes the message of the songs take on more meaning.

It is the realm of relationships where this craft of making songs feel personal and sincere shines the brightest. In “Eyeoneye” Bird says that when we try to get back to the realm of fixation on oneself we become the agents of our own destruction. And although this does seem a bit hokey in many respects, Bird makes it feel natural. He takes the listener through this journey that describes “you” as someone who has become intensely fixated on attempting to fix “yourself” that it took “you” way too long to eventually recognize that “you” need help. It is the most personal of relationships: the relationship we have with ourselves.

Bird moves this focus onto the relationships people have with one another, onto the “you and I” aspect. This makes you feel as if you are the agent in the song with Bird and reemphasizes the personal nature of the entire album.

In “Lazy Projector” Bird shows how this feeling can be grounded in the reality of relationships, particularly their sometimes-ugly aftermath. The theme of the song revolving around how we become the editors of our own stories, especially in hindsight of what happened. As a coping mechanism we skew the sense of what actually happened with our own story, and in frustration Bird sings, “I can’t see the sense in us breaking up at all.”

“Sifters” provides one of the most powerful moments in the entire album when Bird takes this personal interaction between two individuals and speculates, “What if?” Bird sings, “What if we hadn’t been born at the same time? Would you tell me all the stories from when you were young and in your prime?” This scratches the surface of what becomes a beautiful and touching moment in the record and certainly not one to be forgotten.

The album finishes with that feeling left over. This is simply not an album that will be forgotten. Its personal and relatable nature, masterful instruments, paces, and imagery makes Break it Yourself one of the best albums of the year.

Categories
Music News and Interviews

DJ Ones Five Music Facts from the past week

1. The super-group Them Crooked Vultures have announced their self-titled, debut album will be released next month. The group which features David Grohl (The Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and John Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) are scheduled to tour the UK in December after their album releases.  (via NME)

2. Just six months after the release of its last album, Eels has announced that its follow up to “Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire” entitled “End Times” will be released January 19 of next year.  (via Pitchfork)

3. The London based ensemble The Rakes has split up and canceled their upcoming tour or the UK and the United States. In a statement released by the band, it explained, “If we can’t give it everything then we won’t do it. That was the rule we set ourselves from day one. After much deliberation we have come to the shared conclusion that we can’t give it 100 per cent any more and regret to announce that The Rakes are calling it a day.” In the same statement it concluded, “We feel privileged to have had the opportunity to write music together and perform around the world. Genuinely, thanks for the good times… that was one hell of a party! But now, we really must get some sleep.” Fans who have purchased tickets will be fully refunded. (via NME)

4. After the bassist and drummer of Jay Reatard’s band quit earlier this month, it has been announced that Jay Reatard has already lined up drummer Jacob Elving and bassist Anders Thode (both of which are from the punk band Cola Freaks. Reatard is planning to follow up with a European tour and a North American tour. They will be playing in Chapel Hill at the Local 506 on December 1. (via Matador Records)

5. Singer/songwriter Andrew Bird has announced he will be playing five acoustic shows set in various churches this December. The artist, who is currently touring in support of his most recent album “Noble Beast”. When asked about the church based shows Bird responded,“What I hope to do with these shows is adapt my music completely to the atmosphere of the space and the season.” (via NME)

Categories
Festival Coverage

Bonnaroo –> Hey Listeners It’s Just Around the Corner!!!

That’s right guys Bonnaroo is THIS WEEK!!  June 11th- June 14th!  Check out the Bonnaroo website because tickets are still on sale and the website has tons of cool stuff to help you prepare for a great Bonnaroo time like the Artist Lineup and Activities and Attractions!!

So, I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see Phish, Wilco, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, Grizzly Bear, White Rabbits, Andrew Bird, TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, MGMT, and Girl Talk.

Bad news is it may be impossible to catch all the acts you are dying to see.  But, don’t worry it is pretty much going to be a blast either way.

Ok, first step to go to Bonnaroo –> get a ticket somehow someway!

Next –> Look at the lineup and stages and make an estimated list of MUST SEEs.

Then –> Well get together with your Bonna Buds and make a Bonna Checklist.

HERE are some of the things I plan on taking! If you have any MUST SEE or Checklist Suggestions make sure to leave it in comment style on the blog!

*Tent and other camping equipment

*Hat/Bandanna

*Non-perishable food

*Water

*Cooler

*SunScreen

*Deodorant

*Baby Wipes

*Money

*Camping Chair

*Walking Shoes

*Nalgene Bottle

*Rain Gear

*Bug Spray

*Portable Lantern

*Batteries

*Sunglasses

*Something to Shade the Campsite

*Toilet Paper

*Alcohol

*And Whatever Else Will Make the Trip Complete

The Bonnaroo Website also has great lists to check out before you  make your trip!

The count down to Bonnaroo is ON! SO great ready everyone it’s gonna be a crazy ride!!!!

–Liztopia