Music Monday: Andrew Bird

photo via JimNewberry.com

Andrew Bird is a Chicago singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays primarily violin and guitar. Trained in the Suzuki method from the age of four, Bird steps up to many instruments (including piano, mandolin, and glockenspiel) with equal aplomb. He whistles like a bird in a Disney cartoon, and has a consistently smooth voice that often warbles up to falsetto without ever playing as parody. His lyrics are densely packed with allusions and alliteration, though the meaning is sometimes hard to muster. He initially gained commercial exposure playing the violin with jazzy swing band, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and then took on the role of ringleader of his own Bowl of Fire. When that band unnofficially disbanded in 2003, Bird continued to evolve as a solo artist, starting with the mellow and atmospheric album Weather Systems. Here’s a cool video for a song off of that album, called “Lull”:

The next album, The Mysterious Production of Eggs continued a progression to a more indie-folk sound, trading in lush arrangements played by a backup band for layered samples using a loop pedal. Here he plays a song off of that album called “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left”, and although you can’t see his foot on the pedal, he is looping each little riff he plays so it repeats under the next one:

His next album, Armchair Apocrypha, was recorded in collaboration with electronic musician Martin Dosh, and includes a track composed by Dosh (with lyrics by Bird) entitled “Simple X”. It was also for a song from this album that he has made his only official music video, for “Imitosis”:

The newest Andrew Bird album is called Noble Beast, and we think it’s awesome, particularly this song:

If you like Andrew Bird, check out his website here for more good stuff including a clip from an upcoming claymation music video!

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