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   Monday, May 02, 2005  
Probably everyone has bought an album on the strength of just one track, the only one you've heard. reallyrather set a personal precedent not long ago having been seduced into buying a record purely by the title of one of it's tracks, not having heard a note. And hey, sometimes you just get lucky.
Morning kills the dark by Biirdie is shaping as this blog's Spring-into-Summer soundtrack. Track one, Open letter to Jenny, was the song in question - basically a we-are-not-worthy paean to Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, wholly understandable and fitting. The lyric actually drops quotes from RK's Bulletproof while the next, You've got darkness flaunts a musical, er, 'quote' from My slumbering heart. So Rilo fans will be happy here but anyone else? How about The Mendoza Line, Brian Wilson, Flaming Lips, Bright Eyes, Eels...
Biirdie are a Floridian trio relocated to Los Angeles and the record appears to document a personal and musical pilgimage to the wellspring of their favourite kinds of music. They set off to the land of Rilo Kiley and the Beach Boys, of Elliott Smith, Phil Spector and Mark Everett, stopping off en route in Oklahoma to tip the hat at Wayne Coyne and maybe shooting up to Omaha to high-five Conor. And when they finally arrive it's straight off to Silverlake/Echo Park to imbibe and commune, that the tunes might flow. And lo, they do!
Jared Flamm is Biirdie's prime mover and his is (naturally enough) the only voice you really hear on Open letter to Jenny. And it's an OK, archetypal indie-boy croak but the band's trump card is played in the bouncing You've got darkness when - ooooee! - Kala appears. That's Kala Savage whose blissful (and artfully arranged) vocals truly elevate the record.. and this listener to a state of mild delerium.

On the other side of Sunset there's a house where the music never dies..that's where the dreamers go

Phil's place having fallen into baleful disrepute, perhaps it's Brian's house which inspired the gorgeous swirl of The Other side of Sunset. Chamber pop is probably what we're talking about here and in the next, the medium-slow piano pop of Kala Lynne. These are good good tunes with dynamic (but not overblown) arrangements building to terrific climaxes. A minute or so of experimental noise interjects midway through Hotel Piano but the song comes back all the stronger as if asserting the power of melody. Fake static and strings cloak the staccato piano of I got you (on my mind), picking up some glockenspiel twinkle as it goes on it's sweet way. And To know that you need me's simple initial strum quickly becomes a pure Lips-ian boy/girl bliss fest.
Biirdie are following some pretty big footsteps in their seeming Grail-like quest for alt-pop classicism. OK, the relatively stripped-down last track California is waiting sounds just like Conor and Maria, it just does, but ultimately their own prints are distinctive enough. Recommended, basically. Take it away, Biirdie...
Biirdie / at MySpace / Pop Up Records

Ah yes, that Audible debut. 'Sky signal is the real thing.. there is something incredibly special going on here and it's only the first album,' gushes PopMatters. Meanwhile, over at TinyMixTapes: 'This unassuming little package is the most thoroughly mediocre release I have heard in quite some time.' The truth, of course, lies somewhere inbetween...

The sun comes out..
Rumble with the gang, Debs / Tullycraft [mp3]
-twindie-pop from Disenchanted hearts reunite out May 3 [buy]
Tullycraft / Magic Marker Records

..and the sun goes in..
We'll dance / Annelies Monsere [mp3]
-sparse, pensive piano & vocal from this Belgian's latest, Helder
Annelies Monsere / BlueSanct records

Quite, quite marvellously, Norfolk & Western are coming over to back M. Ward on a few regional UK dates:
02 June Bristol, Bonaventure
04 June Reading, South Street
05 June Nottingham, Social
06 June Manchester, Late Room
If you have to, travel...

Who is Sara Culler? Absolutely no idea except that she's an American living in Sweden and has a song out. Just the one. And it's great...
   posted by SMc at 3:33 AM |