Thursday, March 12, 2009

While I wait for the snow to melt, I listen to Bird By Snow

I know February is the shortest month of the year, but this one really got away on me. Between suffering from strep throat and readying the baby room for the impending addition to the family I just never had a moment to post here. Which is not to say I haven't heard any blog-worthy music over the past month. Far from it. While painting the baby room I listened to a whole host of new albums including Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest, the Great Lake Swimmer's Lost Channels and The Boy Least Likely To's The Law Of The Playground. That Grizzly Bear record has been blogged to bits and if you aren't up on the Great Lake Swimmers after Bodies and Minds and Ongiara, well I can't help you. But You Ain't No Picasso can.

I may yet write about The Boy Least Likely To, whose follow-up to the sweetly winning The Best Party Ever merits its own post but the album I want to feature today is one that I became aware of thanks to my pal J-Rod and the blog bolachas grátis who put me on to Bird By Snow. It's an album I've been returning to repeatedly these last few weeks.

By turns hushed and clamorous, Bird By Snow's material is lovingly hand-crafted from field recordings, tape-collage, voice, guitar, cello and more. Fletcher Tucker (the steady hand behind BBS) has entitled the album Songbread/Another Ocean as he views each side of the LP as its own entity, deserving of its own nomenclature and "more mind-space to flourish and expand," though I have trouble drawing a distinction between the two halves - it's a uniformly captivating record.

There are squalls of white noise that drift in and out of the mix, and Tucker's use of silence lends it an instrumental quality. And while the songs don't quite fall under the 'freak folk' umbrella, I can imagine there is some overlap between audiences for Devendra Banhart, MV & EE and Bird By Snow. But where Banhart populates his song with characters, playing up the quirk, and MV & EE suffuse their folk with drone, Bird By Snow is intensely personal and the melodies are never lost amidst the surrounding noise. It's beautiful music, but the beauty is a fragile and awkward one.

Before I go, here's a selection from the the Songbread half of the release entitled "If You Wait."

You can order the album from Gnome Life Records, and be sure to visit Bird By Snow's Myspace page (the band's personal website appears to be down).

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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