Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
The Wooden Birds release second album, migrate across continent
Leslie SissonIt was a sad day in late 2005 when Austin’s American Analog Set called it a day, or it would have been if they had bothered to officially do so. They announced prior to touring their last (as in most recent, not final) record Set Free that it would be their final tour before a hiatus, and that while they didn’t have any plans to do anything else together, be it recording or playing or whatever, they weren’t ruling out the possibility. And they invoked the “not dead, only sleeping” clause at SXSW 2009 when they reconvened to mark the 10th anniversary of The Golden Band by playing the whole album at a day show I had the privilege of helping present.
But that special occasion aside, the band’s signature blend of shimmering vibraphone, humming Farfisa and dreamy guitarwork has been silent with frontman Andrew Kenny trading his Jazzmaster in for an acoustic guitar and lending his gentle vocals to a new band, The Wooden Birds. AmAnSet had been extremely consistent in sound and vision throughout their existence, so it’s not surprising that despite the change-up in instrumentation and addition of female vocals from sometime AmAnSet member Leslie Sisson, The Wooden Birds’ 2009 debut Magnolia could easily have passed as a new Analog Set record. It’s more earthy than ethereal, thanks to its simpler presentation, and less drifitly droning but if you were an AmAnSet fan, it’s hard to imagine not finding much to like about The Wooden Birds. Unless, of course, you were all about the vibes, in which case you may want to keep walking.
The Wooden Birds have set a June 7 release date for their second album Two Matchsticks and having passed us by on all tour dates in support of the debut, it’s exciting to see that the first North American dates finally include a Toronto date at The Drake Underground on July 10 – the first time back as bandleader for Kenny since November 2005 (he may well have been here as a member of Kevin Drew’s “Presents…” band). And while you might not guess it from listening to the records, The American Analog Set were always a fantastic live show thanks to the mesmerizing and hypnotic nature of their sound. I expect similar head trips from The Wooden Birds. Tickets for the show are just $12.00 in advance.
Samples from Two Matchsticks aren’t available yet, but there’s no reason to believe the new material strays too far from what surfaced on Magnolia. Update: One of the new songs is streaming at MTV Hive.
There’s been no word of a follow-up to last year’s Goodbye Killer nor would I expect one, given the pace at which Joe Pernice works, but he’s taking the time out of whatever it he’s doing to play a show at The Dakota on May 6, tickets $20.
That same evening, Peter Bjorn & John will warm up for their show at Lee’s Palace with an in-store at Sonic Boom at 7PM. Admission is free with the donation of canned goods.
With a new greatest hits compilation in Golden Greats, No. 1 just released, Sweden’s The Soundtrack Of Our Lives have made a date at Lee’s Palace for June 4. Tickets for the guaranteed rock spectacle are $18.50 in advance.
His show at Lee’s last month apparently a roaring (or dead silent) success, Mark Kozelek is coming back for a pair of even more intimate shows – he’s at The Drake Underground on July 8 and 9, tickets for each show $24.50 in advance.
Video: Red House Painters – “24”
Video: Wye Oak – “Fish”
Want to hear some of the new My Morning Jacket record, Circuital? You can download the title track below, hear it played live on VH1 Storytellers via Pitchfork and stream another new tune over at Antiquiet. The record is out May 31 and they play The Kool Haus on July 11.
NPR is streaming the whole of Steve Earle’s new album I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive a week ahead of its April 26 release. Earle plays The Molson Amphitheatre opening up for Blue Rodeo on August 20.
Tags: Antlers, Deerhunter, Explosions In The Sky, Jason Isbell, Joe Pernice, Liz Phair, Magnetic Fields, Mark Kozelek, Memory Tapes, Mountain Goats, My Morning Jacket, Old 97s, Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Peter Bjorn & John, Pixies, R.E.M., Sharon Van Etten, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Steve Earle, TV On The Radio, Warpaint, Wooden Birds, Wye Oak