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Ambient/New Age - Released October 30, 2020 | Loma Vista Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

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It wasn’t so long ago that Andrew Bird was recording his music onsite for his Echolocations series, but it seems since then he has had a change of heart. With the series still unfinished, he has released the bold new album My Finest Work Yet whose cover was inspired by the famous 1793 painting La Mort de Marat by Jacques-Louis David. This time, the album was recorded live in studio and produced by Paul Butler, the champion of retro sounds who now brings us folk-rock road-trip tunes like Sispyphus with its 60’s vibe. The album’s lyrics are overtly political and make an appeal against Trump’s America as Bird started writing it after the elections had taken place. Upon listening to the music, it soon becomes clear that the title of the album is more of a humble truth than an attempt to brag as Bird is truly at the top of his game. Plush, sophisticated melodies are enhanced by vocals, whistling, strings and piano which all come together to produce a delightful sound. Although it may be America’s favourite instrument, in all but the folk ballad Bellevue Bridge Club the album favours a greater instrumental variety than just the violin. Well-produced and rich yet still light, we would have to agree with Bird – this is his finest work yet. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz  
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 8, 2005 | Wegawam Music Co.

It seems there is always a sort of acceptance of an artist's stability when the fifth album is displayed for the public, oftentimes displaying that artist's graduation from an extended flash-in-the-pan to a full-fledged institution, but when this time came with Chicago-based violinist Andrew Bird's Mysterious Production of Eggs, it was difficult to apply these adjectives to his career. It was not because Bird hadn't staked out his territory and proved his resilience in an industry that so quickly disposes and wears out its work force, but because over five albums, Andrew Bird has frantically, and capably, tackled different genres, giving his career over five albums the illusion of three careers. Andrew Bird established himself as an expert within the retro-swing movement in the mid- to late-'90s with both his debut album, Thrills, and its follow-up, Oh! The Grandeur but when he released Swimming Hour, it was almost to say, "Oh what a fool I've been, backing myself into this retro-swing corner." That album mixed Memphis soul and lush pop with hints of radiating progressive folk and straight-up rock & roll, and likely destroyed, or at least completely boggled, much of the fan base he had built up, but a new direction, filled with open opportunity was set. It was as if Bird gave himself a "do-over" and debuted all over again. When he dropped both his band and his label for the introspective and beautiful Weather Systems, it was hard not to think of the album as something of an experiment. Not only did he turn away from all the new possibilities to which he had hinted with Swimming Hour, but he uncovered even more new possibilities for his musical path by truly making an album that sounded like nothing else. It was yet another kind of debut, one that truly excited fans and critics, but one that made Thrills and Oh! The Grandeur feel as ancient as the time period they mimicked, and Swimming Hour feel like an abandoned island rich with forgotten fruit, waiting to fall and rot. It was with all of this in mind that made the coming release of Mysterious Production of Eggs both exciting and terrifying. It is an album which mines similar veins as the deepest self-exploration of Weather Systems, even making references to that album. Most obvious is the fleshed-out version of "Skin," this time with vocals and retitled "Skin Is, My." It is an album which takes some of the lush-pop, full-band feel from Swimming Hour and expands on that. Even more so, as damning as this may be to write, it is on this album that Bird seems to have found his comfort zone, his first fully realized album in concept and sound and even in the remarkably well-conceived artwork by Jay Ryan. It is his first album which sounds completely like an unfettered, consistent, and unforced journey, or rather his first album that displays these amenities so well that it enables the listener to hear his previous albums with a newer, higher standard, bringing out the previously unnoticeable, though minute, flaws of those albums. As always, Bird has enlisted the help of drummer Kevin O'Donnell and vocalist Nora O'Connor (the remnants of Bird's backing band Bowl of Fire) throughout, as well as a few guests here and there, but as stated, Mysterious Production of Eggs does reinstate some of the full-band feel showcased on Swimming Hour. The majority of this comes from Bird's exploration of the guitar, an instrument until now he had yet to record himself playing. The most noticeable influence of this is the opening vocal track, "Sovay," which contains almost no violin adornment at all in exchange for a pair of finger-picked acoustic guitars, Rhodes, vibraphone, and drums. For the most part Mysterious Production of Eggs remains as a very laid-back affair, save the few explosive moments of tracks like "Fake Palindromes" and "Opposite Day," both ultra-compressed and urgent numbers alluding to something the Flaming Lips could have stumbled across at a practice session. Also exciting about Mysterious Production of Eggs is Bird's first hearty employ of vocal multi-tracking, an unsurprising update considering Bird's and O'Connor's amazing vocal abilities and instinctive interplay. The result is an utterly mesmerizing and magnetic album, almost unfair in how incredibly ambitious and impressively pulled off the whole thing is. Of course, the release of Mysterious Production of Eggs brings to mind the unfair question, "What could possibly come next?" before the album has had the chance to even completely sink into its own place in Andrew Bird's baffling catalog. © Gregory McIntosh /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 1, 2016 | Concord Loma Vista

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Marriage, fatherhood, and California are on the mind of Andrew Bird, whose tenth LP, Are You Serious, offers a rare glimpse into the enigmatic artist's personal life. Prior to this release, Bird's vast and perpetually inventive body of work has generally eschewed confessional songwriter fare, opting instead for the clever wordplay of a worldly observer who sets the scene but rarely lives in it. A lifelong troubadour whose wandering ways have seemingly found some respite as a Los Angeles family man, the native Chicagoan cracks open the door and reveals himself in a way that manages to strike an elegant balance with his more cryptic tendencies. One of the most dramatic of these revelations is "Valley of the Young," a track whose sweeping rock crescendos punctuate its coming-of-middle-age take on becoming a parent "where your friends will become strange to you, just as you will become strange to them." The lovely "Bellevue" offers a heartfelt paean to his wife as he sings "Now I found someone who can slake my thirst in a land beset by drought" while on the title cut, Bird takes aim at his own verbosity, wryly crooning "Used to be so willfully obtuse, or is the word abstruse? Semantics like a noose, get out your dictionaries." Still, this subtle shift inward hasn't dampened his poetic flair and musically he manages to distill his creative hallmarks into a set that beautifully melds the stripped down tone of later works like 2012's Break It Yourself with the lushly appointed folk-pop orchestrations of his mid-2000s output. Reuniting with producer Tony Berg, who helmed his 2005 tour de force The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Bird is also joined by multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills and L.A. favorite Fiona Apple, who duets with him on the quirky acoustic "Left Hand Kisses." The veteran presence of keyboardist Patrick Warren (Michael Penn, Aimee Mann) and legendary mixing engineer Tchad Blake (Los Lobos, Richard Thompson) also lend a bit of West Coast polish to the proceedings. Soulful offerings like "Capsized" and "Truth Lies Low" color the record's first half while the strange, dub-flavored pop of "Puma" makes for one of his catchiest tracks in years. The eerie magic of "Saints Preservus" into the sunny "The New Saint Jude" sets off a marvelous four-song run that closes out what is some of Andrew Bird's best work in nearly a decade. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 1, 2016 | Concord Loma Vista

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Marriage, fatherhood, and California are on the mind of Andrew Bird, whose tenth LP, Are You Serious, offers a rare glimpse into the enigmatic artist's personal life. Prior to this release, Bird's vast and perpetually inventive body of work has generally eschewed confessional songwriter fare, opting instead for the clever wordplay of a worldly observer who sets the scene but rarely lives in it. A lifelong troubadour whose wandering ways have seemingly found some respite as a Los Angeles family man, the native Chicagoan cracks open the door and reveals himself in a way that manages to strike an elegant balance with his more cryptic tendencies. One of the most dramatic of these revelations is "Valley of the Young," a track whose sweeping rock crescendos punctuate its coming-of-middle-age take on becoming a parent "where your friends will become strange to you, just as you will become strange to them." The lovely "Bellevue" offers a heartfelt paean to his wife as he sings "Now I found someone who can slake my thirst in a land beset by drought" while on the title cut, Bird takes aim at his own verbosity, wryly crooning "Used to be so willfully obtuse, or is the word abstruse? Semantics like a noose, get out your dictionaries." Still, this subtle shift inward hasn't dampened his poetic flair and musically he manages to distill his creative hallmarks into a set that beautifully melds the stripped down tone of later works like 2012's Break It Yourself with the lushly appointed folk-pop orchestrations of his mid-2000s output. Reuniting with producer Tony Berg, who helmed his 2005 tour de force The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Bird is also joined by multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills and L.A. favorite Fiona Apple, who duets with him on the quirky acoustic "Left Hand Kisses." The veteran presence of keyboardist Patrick Warren (Michael Penn, Aimee Mann) and legendary mixing engineer Tchad Blake (Los Lobos, Richard Thompson) also lend a bit of West Coast polish to the proceedings. Soulful offerings like "Capsized" and "Truth Lies Low" color the record's first half while the strange, dub-flavored pop of "Puma" makes for one of his catchiest tracks in years. The eerie magic of "Saints Preservus" into the sunny "The New Saint Jude" sets off a marvelous four-song run that closes out what is some of Andrew Bird's best work in nearly a decade. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 2, 2009 | Bella Union

Released in 2007, Armchair Apocrypha proved that hyper-literate singer/songwriter, genre-bending violin player, and peerless whistler Andrew Bird had found the perfect middle ground between his increasingly austere solo sets and the full-band grandeur of his days with the Bowl of Fire, a strategy he repeats with similar results on Noble Beast, his fifth full-length solo offering and second collection for the Mississippi-based Fat Possum label. Bird, a classically trained violinist since the age of four, has skillfully integrated nearly everything with strings on it into his repertoire since his conversion from the Weill and Brecht-heavy days of Music of Hair, Thrills, and Oh! The Grandeur to the semi-mainstream indie pop of The Swimming Hour, but it's his seemingly limitless capacity for manipulation of the violin that dominates Noble Beast. Opening cut "Oh No," a track that Bird began releasing sketches of months before the album's street date, may be his most successful foray into the murky world of the potentially commercial pop song yet, boasting a chorus that points directly at the Shins while maintaining the artistic integrity of the loop-happy, meticulous craftsman who fans have been watching evolve since 2003's Weather Systems. What follows is a typically eclectic batch of material that reflect Bird's own musical time line. Tracks like "Masterswarm" and "Not a Robot, But a Ghost" are proof positive that he hasn't completely abandoned his swing jazz roots, "Fitz and the Dizzyspells" could very well provide audiences with their first opportunity to "bust a move" at a show, while "Nomenclature"'s easy country-folk front half dissolves into a rear end that wouldn't seem out of place on a late-'90s Radiohead album. Throughout it all Bird rhymes -- sometimes to a fault -- like a history or biology professor ("From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to porto-centric Lisboans"), rendering many of the songs clever as opposed to emotionally resonant, but whatever romance he lacks in the textual medium he more than makes up for in melody. [The deluxe version of the album includes an impressive bonus disc of instrumental works, cleverly titled Useless Creatures, which features collaborations with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and jazz bassist Todd Sickafoose.] © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Folk - Released February 26, 2016 | Fat Possum

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Pop - Released June 3, 2014 | Wegawam Music Co.

Continuing with the easy tone set by 2012's Break It Yourself and its stripped-down companion piece Hands of Glory, Andrew Bird retreats even further from the elegant pop orchestrations and looping of the decade prior, turning in his most ardently rural album to date. Things Are Great Here, Sort Of... marks yet another era of Bird's prolific and ever-evolving career. For one, it's an album of songs by long-tenured Chicago duo the Handsome Family, making this the first of his releases not to contain a single Andrew Bird song. Additionally, it marks a dedicated return to the live, single-mike recording technique he championed on his first two albums with the Bowl of Fire in the late '90s. Over the years, he has proven himself an inventive, boundary-pushing artist, but as a performer, his musicianship is truly something to behold and the performances he and his new band deliver here are strong and wonderfully nuanced. As a longtime friend, admirer, and occasional collaborator, Bird first tackled the Handsome Family's song "Don't Be Scared" (which receives an updated arrangement here as well) on 2003's Weather Systems, an album that marked his sea change into the mysterious, whistling pop maestro that would go on to international acclaim in the years to follow. The dark undercurrents and gothic beauty of Rennie and Brett Sparks' country and folk songs dovetail neatly with Bird's own darker leanings and his interpretations of their catalog are sparse and haunting, aided richly by his Hands of Glory band, which includes fellow songwriter Tift Merritt on guitar and vocals, double bassist Alan Hampton, pedal steel player Eric Heywood, and former Bowl of Fire drummer Kevin O'Donnell. Tracks like "Cathedral in the Dell" and "Tin Foiled" show a kind of laid-back warmth in their delivery, giving the effect of sitting inside the room with the band during a dress rehearsal. The lonesome "Giant of Illinois" and particularly "My Sister's Tiny Hands" offer a close-up look at Andrew Bird as a true folksinger, interpreting a type of Americana far less wordy and more deliberate than much of his own material, and he rises to the challenge. There is no studio manipulation, nor was there even a soundboard. Recorded with a single mike running into a tape machine in Bird's Los Angeles living room, the ten songs were knocked out in three days' time, apparently after the album's press release and album cover had already been made public. Whether this ultra-organic approach carries into future releases or is just a sort of mid-career palate cleanser, Things Are Great Here is a lovely collection and another unique release by one of the era's most distinctive artists. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 19, 2013 | Wegawam Music Co.

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Folk - Released February 26, 2016 | Fat Possum

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Rock - Released June 10, 2003 | Wegawam Music Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 5, 2012 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2013 | Wegawam Music Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

It wasn’t so long ago that Andrew Bird was recording his music onsite for his Echolocations series, but it seems since then he has had a change of heart. With the series still unfinished, he has released the bold new album My Finest Work Yet whose cover was inspired by the famous 1793 painting La Mort de Marat by Jacques-Louis David. This time, the album was recorded live in studio and produced by Paul Butler, the champion of retro sounds who now brings us folk-rock road-trip tunes like Sispyphus with its 60’s vibe. The album’s lyrics are overtly political and make an appeal against Trump’s America as Bird started writing it after the elections had taken place. Upon listening to the music, it soon becomes clear that the title of the album is more of a humble truth than an attempt to brag as Bird is truly at the top of his game. Plush, sophisticated melodies are enhanced by vocals, whistling, strings and piano which all come together to produce a delightful sound. Although it may be America’s favourite instrument, in all but the folk ballad Bellevue Bridge Club the album favours a greater instrumental variety than just the violin. Well-produced and rich yet still light, we would have to agree with Bird – this is his finest work yet. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz  
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 2, 2020 | Loma Vista Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 6, 2017 | Wegawam Music Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2012 | Wegawam Music Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2015 | Wegawam Music Co.

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 21, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 19, 2013 | Wegawam Music Co.