Bowerbirds ::: photo provided by Dead Oceans
As many of you know, once upon a time I grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s right, it’s a Commonwealth and not a state (How many “Commonwealths” are there in America? Pop quiz!) This may surprise many Americans on the West Coast but the state immediately to the south of Virginia is not Alabama. No my friends, that state would be called “North Carolina.”
You’ve heard of North Carolina, right? Merge Records. Superchunk. Weedeater. Ben Folds Five. Michael Jordan. Chapel Hill. North Carolina Tarheels Basketball. Dook. Dook. Duke Basketball. Tobacco Road. The Outer Banks. Hurricane warnings. Etc.
Right before I left Virginia on my quest for self-discovery in the Pacific Northwest in the middle of a mental breakdown that I was having trouble understanding, a band from North Carolina was starting make waves up and down the eastern coastline. That band I am referring to was Bowerbirds.
I remember hearing “Hooves” off of their debut album Hymns for a Dark Horse (on Burly Time Records) for the first time and feeling mostly unmoved thinking it was a pretty song. However, for the girl I was dating at the time, this was her jam. You know the story goes, by default Bowerbirds were my new favorite band and “Hooves” was adopted as my “jam” too. I can’t blame her for finding love in Bowerbirds first full length. I can’t blame Bowerbirds for being so good that news of their existence traveled and flourished in the punk dominated Virginia capital city of Richmond. I feel like every song on Hymns is a compelling, well-tailored composition.
Don’t believe me? Go ahead and pick a track at random. Better yet, I’ll pick a few tracks for you. “In Our Talons”? [Buzzer Sound] Wrong. “Ticonderoga“? [Buzzer sound] Guess again. Ticonderoga is an actual place you know. How many of you have been there? Go there in the summertime my friends. I’ll give you one more chance, how about “Crooked Lust“? Wrong for the last time.
One more question. What is lust if it isn’t crooked? I don’t know about you, but I hate wanting – I’m all about having. I get my Mitt Romney on.
People on the internet compare Bowerbirds to Devandra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and the very talented Andrew Bird. I’d love to say I agree, but I don’t actually listen to any of the artists in the previous sentence. (Admittedly, I feel badly for not listening to Andrew Bird. Every time I hear a song of his I think to myself, “Man, I need to get an Andrew Bird album…NOW!” and then I go right back to listening to Portrait or His Hero Is Gone. So sad.) I do know that this doesn’t sound like Fleet Foxes (Read some of those comparisons too. A parental wag of the finger at you, internet.).
Bowerbirds aren’t visiting our fair city solely on their past credentials and critical acclaim. They just released a new album called The Clearing on Dead Oceans. What’s the new record about? Reconciliation. Healing in both the literal and figurative sense. Starting over and building new things in both the literal and figurative sense. If you go to the Bowerbirds website (Which I have so craftily put as a html link in the first mention of their name.), you can see the short film which tells us about what the Bowerbirds have been up to, the inspiration behind the album and why members Philip Moore and Beth Tacular tend to cook in their coats during the winter months.
Check out their video for “Tuck the Darkness In.” It’s a tune that’s off their brand spankin’ new album, The Clearing. I’m pretty sure once you hear this track, you’re going to want that album. You can download it directly off the Dead Oceans website (along with another song by the name of “In The Yard”).
Show starts at 8pm. The opening act is Dry The River. Tickets are $12.