Friday Recommends, music

Friday Recommends: Hearing Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast Now

Hat tips to both Mark Hoobler and Scott Guldin for pointing out that you can hear all of Andrew Bird’s new album Noble Beast here on NPR’s site. Much more gushing about Mr. Bird to follow soon, probably shortly after the album officially releases on January 20. For now we’ll just say that the single “Oh No” (track one) is growing on us, and that in typical Andrew Bird fashion he has managed to match the absurd vocabulary of the first six lines (below) with a musically compelling arrangement. In anyone else’s hands, these verses would be a joke:

In the salsify mains of what was thought but unsaid
All the calcified arithmatists were doing the math
It would take a calculated blow to the head
To light the eyes of all the harmless sociopaths
Oh arm and arm we are (with all) the harmless sociopaths (2x)
Calcium mines were buried deep in your chest (2x)


And yes, “salsify” is actually a word.

You can also listen to a live chat with Mr. Bird here.

In other indie rock news, Sasha Frere-Jones adds a postscript to his New Yorker profile of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) by noting that his new EP Blood Bank (also out Jan. 20) can be heard on the band’s MySpace page.


3 thoughts on “Friday Recommends: Hearing Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast Now

  1. I need to listen to it about 8000 more times, but right now I think Armchair might remain my favorite. I like “Oh No” a lot, but so far there isn’t anything that is worming under my skin and into my blood the way “Imitosis” or “Sovay” did. The balance of the album seems to be lower tempo, which surprises me given the “polished pop” and “radio ready” slant of the NYT article. Just my first impressions.

  2. chk out this cool blog Bird does for the NYTimes as well:

    it was in blogs past that AB gave us some insight into his lyrical imagination:

    “Lyrically, I decided to go with “calcified arhythmatist” rather than “unemployed ex-physicist.” It also sounds like arithmatist, as in one who does arithmetic, which makes just as much sense. I’m not sure if this is correct but don’t really care. I enjoy misunderstanding other people’s lyrics and take pleasure in others misunderstanding mine. I’m not suggesting that meaning is unimportant, but words like these on the fringe of meaning can spark the imagination.”

  3. Scott —
    As they like to say in the corporate world, “That’s fair.” We were underwhelmed with “Oh No” the first 5 listens. 5-10 were better, and 10 on has been very good. But we second the lack of worming going on after the first couple listens to the album.

    The charm of Mr. Bird, of course, is that the more listens, the better. So we’ll give it time.

    Mark —
    As always, thank you for steering us further into all things AB.

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