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I'm a bit late on this week's post but, anyway, I thought I'd stick with the recent releases theme. I was first turned on to Bowerbirds when I saw them open for Joanna Newsom back in 2010 (has it really been two years already?!?). They put on a fantastic show, which prompted me to pick up their then latest album, Upper Air, afterwards. Though I liked a few songs, I never truly got into the album as a whole until recently, but now I think it's absolutely gorgeous and its just released follow-up, The Clearing, might be even more so. It doesn't exactly veer far off-course in terms of the sound Bowerbirds has established with their first two albums: organic, mainly acoustic folk-rock anchored by Phil Moore's Andrew Bird-esque warble and his heavily nature-influenced lyrics and Beth Tacular's airy harmonies and warmly playful accordion accompaniment. However, it's difficult to fault the band for sticking to what they do best when they do it so damn well. The Clearing contains some of their finest songs yet; in fact, the first half of the album is rather close to flawless, from sprawling opener "Tuck the Darkness In" to the quirky, Tacular-led "In the Yard" to the trifecta of perfection that begins with the track featured here, "Stitch the Hem." The best thing about the song is how it both packs an immediate punch with its catchy chorus and simmers slowly in the back of your mind, listen by listen coaxing you into believing it may in fact be one of the best things you've ever heard. If anything, it will certainly be one of the most beautiful. If Moore and Tacular's impossibly smooth harmonizing, better here than ever, fails to win you over, well, then, I think you should probably have your ears checked immediately.
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Song of the Day



Bowerbirds - Teeth

These guys opened for Joanna Newsom but I figured that post was already massive enough as it was and they probably deserved something a bit more than a passing mention. They're one of those bands whose name has come up a few times for me and I've thought about checking them out but never really got that final push to actually do so. I also get the feeling that this ended up being a good thing because I doubt I would have given them a second listen without seeing them perform live first. Their certain brand of mellow folk-y pop is the kind of music I have a love-hate relationship with precisely because it's so mellow; there's really nothing to grab me and make me want to hear more after only one listen so I disregard it instead of giving it any more of my time. And also, everything sounds better live, right? I purchased their latest album, Upper Air, after the show and have listened to it a few times now. I can't say I completely love it yet but there are a handful of songs I can't get enough of. This one in particular I'm completely obsessed with. What causes them to stand out for me from the dozens of other bands doing the same type of music is the vocals; the male and female vocals just fit together so perfectly and this song is one of the best examples of that. Phil Moore's voice has kind of an Andrew Bird vibe to my ears and Beth Tacular's background vocals remind me of someone else too but I can't think who at the moment - together, they make beautiful musical magic. Also, Beth plays a mean accordion which I think is pretty bad ass.


Also, I know it's lame of me to be so invested in these videos but the music is amazing, especially in this latest one, and I want a whole album of it right now, damn it! It's so beautiful and eerie and atmospheric. And I've actually listened to an mp3 rip of it about twenty times since late last night. I'm that desperate. So if this ends up going nowhere or being distorted beyond recognition so that the actual music sounds far more ordinary, I'm not going to be a happy camper. (Oh, I should probably put a warning here that if you're a massive scaredy-cat you might find the following video a bit creepy... Personally, I don't think any of them are scary or creepy (and I thought I had a low tolerance for all things in those categories) but I guess a lot of people do. So, yeah.)

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Shannon

April 2012

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