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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Andrew Bird
The Mysterious Production of Eggs
Righteous Babe Records

Rating: 9/10 ?


March 11, 2005
Whistling.

I've always been sort of 'whelmed' by whistling when it comes to putting it in pop music. Tom Waits has used it on occasion. It works in certain areas (The Andy Griffith Show theme song, for instance), but overall its use has never really made or broke a song for me; however, with this particular album I have become a fan of the sound.

Andrew Bird fleshes out his albums with his unique whistling - and as queer as that sounds, you really have to listen to it to believe how much it adds. It's nothing like the Seven Dwarves marching off to work, more like some experimental horn section backing the Magnetic Fields if they were fronted by Rufus Wainwright. This is the music of beauty, full and lush, mysterious and enchanting. It's better than those old Disney movie soundtracks. It's chamber pop for the sweet little devil in all of us.

Outside of his whistling (which isn't used to excess by any means) Andrew Bird has a soothing and beautiful singing voice. I can't help but hear Rufus Wainwright with better enunciation. Being signed to Ani DiFranco's label, and currently opening for her on the first part of her North American tour, Mr. Bird seems to be prepared for the big top in 2005 and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't happen. I think he's been in the sideshow for too long. It's time to see his name in bright lights.

Speaking of the sideshow, I never got into the Squirrel Nut Zippers (one of Andrew Bird's previous bands), but I did catch him with the Bowl of Fire a few times in the past few years because I heard he put on one heck of a great live show. He, in fact, did, but I never found myself seeking out his albums. I blame the fact that he was opening for a band that blew me away… which is no excuse, I know - especially now after listening to this beautiful album. Seems I've got some catching up to do.

From the opening instrumental track (which is then revisited toward the end of the album - both tracks having a flag symbol as a name) through the final track, "The Happy Birthday Song", these are 14 solid takes on beautiful chamber pop. "Sovay" is a haunting love song; a great introduction to Mr. Bird's singing style. "Banking on a Myth" has an almost calypso feel to it, complete with handclaps and plucked violin. There's so much here to enjoy.

The soft singing voice and clever lyrics pull you in by the strings around your heart and warm your cold blood while the art and packaging give you something inspiring to look at. Illustrator Jay Ryan drew up some great pieces for the CD booklet that look fantastic. Check out some of his work here: www.thebirdmachine.com

This album has broken my routine of listening to my top 5 albums released in 2004, on repeat every single day. Thank you Andrew Bird, my ears have opened and the bar has been raised for 2005.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig

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