Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Idiot Savant in Desperate Need of a Good Meal

Let me start off by saying, MY GOD, THE EARLY SEVENTIES WERE SOME GOOD YEARS. I have no idea if it's just a coincidence, but there are many "desirable males" that were born in '72, '73, and '74. That's not to say that there aren't a whole host of men that were born before or after who aren't just dandy, or that there weren't a whole host of jerk-offs that were born those same years, but in my own skewed mind, those years keep cropping up as the birth dates for some dudes I have lady boners for. It isn't relevant to anything, but I just thought I'd mention it.

There are only a handful of musical artists who's entire catalogue I can listen to and go, "Oh man, this is pretty much all so good, not even a strategically placed chocolate truffle could distract me from listening to these rockin' beats." One of the precious few happens to be this lovely young man, Andrew Bird. Even his name has a lyrical quality, it rolls off the tongue, and you hear a twittering in the distance when you say it. And yes, he whistles. Much better than you or I.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Bird twice in concert; take my advice, listen very closely, in fact, push your face right up to your screen and concentrate very hard: THE SOONER YOU ATTEND ONE OF HIS CONCERTS THE MORE COMPLETE YOUR LIFE JOURNEY WILL BE. At the latest show at the Orange Peel he had a pretty nasty cold, but played and sang like he had just awoken from the most restful and peaceful of naps and had sipped the nectar of the local honeysuckle. He plays multiple instruments (violin, guitar, xylophone, piano, etc.) and uses looping technology to turn himself and two or three other musicians into a full-fledged orchestra.

Know what else I love? He bridges the generational gaps brilliantly, marrying classical music with folk with a quirkiness that appeals to the most snooty of hipsters. I went with my mother and a co-worker some years my junior; we were joined by beret-ed fifty-something intellectuals, twenty-something hipsters in striped shirts and Converse hightops, braced and gawky teenagers with black X's on the backs of their hands, and a few gray-haired ladies waaaaaaaay in the back, as far from the speakers as they could get. It was a veritable melting pot, old and young coming together to fawn over the anemic maestro.

If you need a bit more convincing, that's fine. You apparently don't appreciate my expertise, and need a rough shove into the right direction.

One of my favorite records is Thrills, a stylized concept album that throws back all the way to the twenties and thirties, with a touch of ol' country standards, and is an excellent demonstration of Bird's flexibility and range.

Minor Stab


Nuthinduan Waltz

The influence of Thrills is echoed on Oh! The Grandeur, but it swells larger and more grandiose than its predecessor, hence the self-mocking title.

Vidalia, a song about his grandfather

Tea and Thorazine, a song about his autistic brother

The Idiot's Genius

My other two favorite albums are a little more "contemporary," if you could call them that. They also have some of my absolute favorite songs and are a good place to start if the folksy rag-time is going to take you a bit of getting used to.

The Mysterious Production of Eggs


Fake Palindromes

Tables and Chairs

Armchair Apocrypha

Dark Matter

Simple X

The Fiery Crash

You may be thinking, wow, that's a lot of albums for me to take in. Guess what? I've been kind, there are buttload more to listen to. You can go to Mr. Bird's website to take it all in, hop on iTunes and see if there's anything you like. I hope you do like, because he's a musician worth supporting, and my friend Megan will probably cry if you don't, and why would you make such an adorable girl cry, that's like making a kitten cry, you are the goddamn worst.

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