In House #1832: Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha; New Beirut
Not to gush, but this is getting ridiculous. Fresh off of setting the world a'fire (ours, anyway, we named The Mysterious Production of Eggs one of our top five releases of 2005), Andrew Bird returned this week with Armchair Apocrypha, an album that expands Bird's scope to include the odd electronic texture (thanks to collaborator Martin Dosh) and legendary blues label Fat Possum. "Simple X," is a rather astounding number included here, taking on a second life after originally appearing as a Dosh instrumental. It's notable for its drum loop, almost certainly a first in Bird's catalog, later to be joined by a bit of Hammond organ, theremin, and Bird's prodigious whistling talents. It's not the album's lead track, or even its lead single, but its haunting and rather unlikely combinations provide a nice summary of the new ground Bird covers. One other number enjoying a second life, and living it to its fullest, is the infectious "Imitosis," a revitalized take on the song, "I," from Bird's 2003 release Weather Systems. One of the rare head-bobbers in the collection, the song is built upon the vaguely eastern European folk rhythms recognizable in much of Bird's previous work-- though its dark theme ("we're all basically alone") is more than at home with the unsettled and unsettling subjects on the rest of this album. Armchair Apocrypha represents the next step up for Bird, whose ascension from Squirrel Nut Zippers sideman to revered musical swashbuckler has been nothing short of astounding. To paraphrase the Bird himself, thank god it's (not) fatal.
In House #1832.
Focus: New release from Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha, plus new music from Beirut, Winterpills, Bill Callahan, Arthur & Yu, and more.
Andrew Bird, from Armchair Apocrypha:
In House PODCAST #280