Posts Tagged ‘Constantines’

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009


Ladytron and The Faint at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo ByFrank YangI’m all for the egalitarian spirit of alternating closing slots when it comes to co-headline tours, but even as someone who’s a fan of Ladytron and who hadn’t heard a note from The Faint before Monday’s show at the Phoenix, I’d have to say that the evening would have been better served if the Nebraskans had been last up.

Which isn’t a slight on the Liverpool outfit in the least – as their appearance at Harbourfront last July proved, they can put on a terrific show even without being especially animated but following a set as hyper-kinetic and anarchic as The Faint’s? That’s tough. As mentioned, they were an unknown quantity but made a hell of an impression, and quickly – their laser-guided light show and frontman Todd Fink’s manic antics made for a level of spectacle and showmanship that I’m not really used to seeing, and soundtracked by the band’s deep and thundering synth-dug grooves, it wasn’t a little gleefully apocalyptic. And helping that impression along were the audience – all I can say is that if you’re going to be standing in the all-ages portion of a Faint show, you’d best be prepared. Starting from a sway and quickly building to a near-riot, it became very clear that the front half of the Phoenix was no place for the faint of heart or aged of back. I can’t say that I’ll remember a single song The Faint played during that hour on Monday night, but I’ll certainly remember the effect it had on their fans. That shit was crazy.

And crazy is not what Ladytron are about – sleek, stylish and Euro-cool synth-pop is – so it seemed a bit unfair that they’d have to follow that up even if, by most measures, they’re the bigger band. The kids had some time to cool off as the roadies filled the stage with keyboards and it almost seemed as if they’d be sedate for the second half of the show. Almost. I’d gone into the show last year only knowing Ladytron’s latest record, Velocifero, and was inspired to pick up their equally if not more excellent previous release Witching Hour shortly thereafter and this would be about all the background I’d need to be familiar with their set. Like last time, frontwomen Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo remained mainly stationary behind their banks of keyboards, alternately stepping out to handle vocals, and bathed in dim, red backlighting. Except for the occasional flash of blinding stage light or strobe, these were the visuals for the evening – about as far removed from The Faint’s setup as you could get.

But all this proved was that it wasn’t the stage show that got the kids amped up. It didn’t take long before they got rowdy again, each fat square wave out of the PA seemingly resonating with the reptilian parts of their brains. Though I’d managed to mostly hold my ground during The Faint, self-preservation instincts sent me to the sidelines for most of Ladytron’s set, not that that proved effective – about midway through the show, someone came hurtling across the room and slammed into myself, a barrier fence and a very large, heavy and presumably expensive cabinet of PA/stage equipment, knocking all of the above over. Amazingly, nothing was hurt or broken (either myself or the gear) and the show went on.

But even without the incidents of sorta violence, there was a darker vibe to this show than the one on the waterfront last Summer. The mix in the house wasn’t as balanced, frequently overloud and muddy, and it didn’t seem to be much better onstage if the occasional looks on the band’s faces and even a few missed cues were any indication. Throw in the hepped up audience in an enclosed space and my own personal exhaustion and it all just felt kind of tense. And as much as I enjoy Ladytron’s stuff and mostly enjoyed the show, as soon as the final note of “Destroy Everything You Touch” in the encore rang out, I was out of there.

Photos: Ladytron, The Faint @ The Phoenix – April 6, 2009
MP3: Ladytron – “Black Cat”
MP3: Ladytron – “Tomorrow” (Vector Lovers Lucky Remix)
MP3: The Faint – “I Disappear”
MP3: The Faint – “Birth”
MP3: The Faint – “Agenda Sucide”
MP3: The Faint – “Call Call”
MP3: The Faint – “Worked Up So Sexual”
MP3: The Faint – “Some Incriminating Photographs”
Video: Ladytron – “Runaway”
Video: Ladytron – “Ghosts”
Video: Ladytron – “Destroy Everything You Touch”
Video: Ladytron – “Sugar”
Video: Ladytron – “Evil”
Video: Ladytron – “Blue Jeans”
Video: Ladytron – “Seventeen”
Video: Ladytron – “Play Girl”
Video: The Faint – “The Geeks Were Right”
Video: The Faint – “I Disappear”
Video: The Faint – “Agenda Suicide”
MySpace: Ladytron
MySpace: The Faint

If you were one of the people disappointed that Telepathe dropped off the Ladytron/Faint bill at the last minute, well, you’ve obviously never heard/seen them live. But if you actually like them and want to see them, they’ll be here on June 4 for their own show at the El Mocambo in support of their new record Dance Mother, out next week. Full tour dates at altsounds.

MP3: Telepathe – “So Fine” (Lauren Flax remix)
Video: Telepathe – “So Fine”

Southern rock-punks Cage The Elephant, who were a very pleasant surprise at NxNE 2007, have a date at the El Mocambo on April 26, tickets $8. Their self-titled debut did quite well when it was released in Europe last year, and is getting a domestic release on April 21.

Video: Cage The Elephant – “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”

Chart reports that Canada Day this year will be celebrated at Harbourfront by Constantines and Chad Van Gaalen. As with every year, this show will be a) free and b) awesome.

Coming just a day too late to be considered timely (by me), the self-titled debut album from La Roux has been given a release date of June 29.

The Music Slut asks eight questions of White Lies.

Maximo Park’s Paul Smith gives Drowned In Sound a track-by-track tour of their new album Quicken The Heart, out May 12.

Singing Lamb interviews Cut Off Your Hands.

Stereogum interviews Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Their new album The Eternal is out June 9.

Pitchfork tracks the musical development of Thermals frontman Hutch Harris and also premieres their new video. They’re at the Horseshoe on May 3.

Video: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

MTV and Spinner talk to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan. Her new record Two Suns came out yesterday and is streaming this week at Spinner. She’s at the Mod Club on April 25.

Stream: Bat For Lashes / Two Suns

Clash and Manchester Confidential interview Doves. Kingdom Of Rust is out now, streaming below, and they’re at the Kool Haus on June 1.

Stream: Doves / Kingdom of Rust

Paste plays catch up with Bob Mould. Life And Times came out yesterday – stream it below.

Stream: Bob Mould / Life and Times

Also out now and streaming for your consideration is The Hold Steady’s new live document A Positive Rage.

Stream: The Hold Steady / A Positive Rage

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Ah! Melody

Review of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson and giveaway

Photo via Cuaderno ContableCuaderno ContableThough Pitchfork’s double-whammy today of a perfect 10.0 score and “Best New Music” laurel certainly don’t hurt, the legend of Serge Gainsbourg’s 1971 album Le histoire de Melody Nelson was well-established. Tremendously influential and infamously lecherous, the musical tale of an affair between an older French gentleman and teenage girl is a notorious one – even if you haven’t heard the record, you’ve heard OF the record.

It’s difficult to come up with words to describe the album. The proper adjectives – seedy, creepy, sleazy, debauched – all seem like negative descriptors but in this context, they imply perfection. It’s all deliberate and perfectly arranged with the orchestral strings, greasy funk guitar and most importantly Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s voices – the embodiment of lech and ingenue respectively – bring their story vividly to life. Even if you don’t speak French, and I don’t think that they would have taught me the necessary vocabulary in my 9th grade class, the record gets the message across musically and by the end of its sub-30 minute running time, you’re left feeling not a little bit dirty. Which I suspect is entirely the point.

Though it’s been almost 40 years since the album’s release, it’s only just been released in North America for the first time in deluxe CD form, with extensive liner notes, and heavyweight vinyl. And, courtesy of Light In The Attic, I’ve got a prize pack consisting of both the digital and analog forms of the album, along with a limited-edition poster, to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “Je veux l’histoire de Melody Nelson” in the subject line and your full name and address in the body. Contest is open to residents of North America and notes that though the CD was released this week, the LP has been delayed till mid-May so if you win, that’ll come a bit later. But in the meantime, watch the video clips made for each song on the album by Jean-Christophe Averty. And then wash your hands.

Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Ballade de Melody Nelson”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Valse de Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Ah Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “L’Hotel particulier”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “En Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Cargo Culte”

There’s an MP3 from the new Grizzly Bear’s forthcoming album Veckatimest. It’s out May 26 and they’re at the Phoenix on June 5.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Cheerleader”

Kyle from Information Leafblower interviews Bloc Party for DCist. Express Night Out and Boston Music Spotlight also have interviews.

Explosions In The Sky give Filter their guide to Austin, Texas. Well that would have been handy… a week ago.

NPR profiles Elvis Perkins In Dearland, who will be at the Horseshoe on April 29.

Prefix has an interview with Marissa Nadler, who has a date at the El Mocambo on April 21 as support for The Handsome Family.

MP3: Marissa Nadler – “River Of Dirt”

The National Post interviews Decemberist Colin Meloy.

Thanks to a commenter yesterday for pointing out that the forthcoming Wilco live doc Ashes Of American Flags, out on DVD April 18, will be getting a couple theatrical screenings in Toronto in May as part of Hot Docs. The band have also posted a bit of a news update with regards to the new album, narrowing down the release date to “late June” (which I’m guessing means June 23) and a track listing, though not in sequence.

Bry Webb of Constantines discusses getting older with The Toronto Sun. Here’s hoping his old bones hold up over their three-night stand at the Phoenix on March 31, April 1 and April 2.

Sky Larkin’s The Golden Spike will be getting a North American release on April 14. They’re at the Opera House on April 1 as support for Los Campesinos!.

St Vincent’s Annie Clark discusses her forthcoming album Actor with Spinner. The record is out May 5.

The AV Club gets a Drive-By Truckers update from Patterson Hood, including a progress report on their new album(s).

The Toronto Star and Chart chat with Cut Off Your Hands, in town for a show at the Horseshoe this Monday night. interviews White Lies. They’re at Lee’s Palace on Tuesday night for a sold-out show.

Filter gets to know Love Is All.

Santigold is at the Phoenix with a full band on June 3.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Fourteen Hour Day

$100, Brides, Hooded Fang, The Luyas and The Element Choir at Wavelength 450

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo yes I’m a bad Torontopian. I know it’d been a while since I’d been to Wavelength, but a little archive digging revealed that it’d been almost four years since I last darkened Sneaky Dee’s doorway on a Sunday night. That’s a long time. And so with the local institution not only celebrating its ninth anniversary but its upcoming final year this past weekend, I got off my butt and headed out.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always loved and supported the idea and mission of Wavelength, but I’m a pop guy and in recent years their programming has gotten more eclectic and less personally interesting to me. And late Sunday nights are hard. So anyways, of the four nights of anniversary shows I opted for the one the Saturday night soiree at the Polish Combatants Hall (a community centre now hosting shows), which featured a few bands I wanted to see and was (therefore) the most “conventional” lineup of all the Wavelength parties.

Or so I’d thought – any notions that this was going to be an evening of just guitar rock were dispelled with the very first act, The Element Choir. An improvisational choir featuring a couple dozen members, they gathered in the centre of the hall’s floor and proceeded to create a downright mesmerizing sound sculpture constructed of just their voices. The troupe utilized yelps, hums, moans, animal noises and random chatter to create an ever-morphing soundscape that was hypnotic to listen to and also fascinating to watch, as they took direction from conductor Christine Duncan. Certainly not something I’d ever seen before.

Next up were The Luyas, who despite having been around for a while sounded like a work in progress – not incomplete but more in the process of deconstructing what they were and seeking to become something new. There were vestiges of the pop leanings from Jessie Stein’s last band, the SS Cardiacs and from what I’d heard from the Luyas before, but it seemed like they were trying to become something more oblique or inscrutable. Not the most enthralling performance, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and check back in if/when they get where they’re going.

Faring much better were pop collective Hooded Fang. I had figured that since I saw them just a month ago that they’d deliver much the same set, but in fact they were much more assured and polished yet managed to not sacrifice any of the playful whimsy they’d demonstrated before. Considering how much better they’d gotten in just a month and factoring in the fact that they’ve only been in existence for a year, it seems like a mathematical certainty that they’ll be the best band on the planet in another two years. Okay, probably not, but if being the next Los Campesinos! is something that anyone would aspire to, it could well be in their grasp.

Though you could accurately describe Guelph’s Brides as atonal, skronky, and not at all pop – generally things I don’t look for in music – they more than surprised by turning out to be the highlight of the night. I’m at a bit of a loss to articulate exactly what it was about their performance that I found so engrossing. Perhaps it was the way that they managed to be all the things mentioned above without being deliberately difficult and sacrificing some structure or even melody for the sake of exploration, and deliver it all with intensity. I don’t really know what it was, but I liked it.

The last act of the night was $100, and after the stylistic smorgasborg of the night leading up to their finale, their decidedly traditional country songs seemed almost out of place. But straightforward isn’t a slight when you’re talking about hurtin’ songs and the directness of their approach, in particular the raw, honest rasp and twang of singer Simone Schmidt, conveyed that emotion quite effectively. I’ve gotten so used having country used in a hybrid sense with other styles that hearing it in such a pure, undiluted form was pretty eye- and ear-opening. There’s good reason that people are talking about $100.

Though the Polish Combatants Hall is certainly not Sneaky Dee’s – there’s no way I’d have sat on the floor at Sneaks – the evening was a terrific reminder of what makes Wavelength great. You may not like everything you see, but it’ll almost never be uninteresting. Happy birthday to a great Toronto institution and hopefully it won’t be a year before I see you again. But no promises.

BlogTO also has a review of $100’s set if not the rest of the evening.

Photos: $100, Brides, Hooded Fang, The Luyas, The Element Choir @ The Polish Combatants Hall – February 14, 2009
MP3: $100 – “No Great Leap”
MP3: $100 – “Forest Of Tears”
MP3: $100 – “Nothing’s Alright”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Land Of Giants”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “The Pageant”
MP3: The Luyas – “Cats In A Bag”
MP3: The Luyas – “Tantamount”
MySpace: $100
MySpace: The Luyas

And speaking of the Polish Combatants Hall (a nice and large community centre-type building by the University, if you were wondering), if you didn’t have tickets for Bruce Peninsula’s record release show there next Sunday (still some left but not many) or just couldn’t make it, take heart because they’ve already announced another show for March 28 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $8. And I don’t recommend sitting on the floor there. The National Post has a video performance and interview with the band.

Making it a three-peat, the “Rolling Tundra Revue” featuring Constantines and Weakerthans has added a third and final show at the Phoenix for April 2. Tickets $25. If you manage to miss out on this one as well as the two previously announced ones for March 31 and April 1, then congratulations – you are the absolute worst procrastinator in the world.

Tricky, who was here for a show at the Phoenix last September, returns for a much more intimate performance at the Mod Club on April 2. Tickets $29.50.

It’ll be all about the UK dance-rock at the Kool Haus on April 10 when The Whip and Late Of The Pier roll into town. Both are touring behind their debut albums – X Marks The Spot (out March 3) and Fantasy Black Channel respectively. Please don’t ask me what the mash-up below is, I really don’t know. It’s just there.

MP3: The Whip – “Trash”
MP3: The Whip Vs. Britney Spears – “Trash Circus” (Ruben X Trashmash)

The polar opposite of the previous bill – Damien Jurado and Laura Gibson – will folk things up at the Drake Underground on April 14. Jurado released Caught In The Trees last year and Gibson’s Beasts Of Seasons is out next week, though you can stream it right now at NPR. The song below is an older one. The Daily Vanguard has an interview. Full dates at BrooklynVegan.

MP3: Damien Jurado – “Gillian Was A Horse”
MP3: Laura Gibson – “Hands In Pockets”
Stream: Laura Gibson / Beasts Of Season

The Dears have scheduled at date at the Mod Club for April 30, tickets $20. The Montreal Mirror talks to Murray Lightburn. and The News interviews White Lies, whose debut To Lose My Life is out Stateside March 17 and they play Lee’s Palace on March 31 with Friendly Fires and The Soft Pack.

MP3: White Lies – “Death”
Video: White Lies – “Farewell To The Fairground”

Paste declares Alela Diane their artists of the week. Her new record To Be Still came out yesterday and is streaming at Spinner. She plays an in-store at Soundscapes this Saturday at 6:30PM and at the Horseshoe that night with Blitzen Trapper. That’s sold out, if you were wondering. Billboard has an interview with Blitzen Trapper.

Stream: Alela Diane / To Be Still

Also new this week and streaming – M Ward’s Hold Time. He also gave a solo performance and interview you can stream at NPR.

Stream: M. Ward / Hold Time

And to wrap up this week’s other new release streams of interest – Asobi Seksu’s Hush – they’re at the ElMo on March 3 – and Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3’s Goodnight Oslo. They play the Mod Club on April 16.

Stream: Asobi Seksu / Hush
Stream: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 / Goodnight Oslo

Friday, February 6th, 2009


Bruce Peninsula at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPlease understand, as much as I like them, I have no desire to make write-ups on Bruce Peninsula a weekly feature. However, their in-store performance at Soundscapes on Wednesday night to mark the release of A Mountain Is A Mouth merited a little more than cursory, “hey Bruce Peninsula played an in-store it was great let’s see what else is going on”.

Typically, in-stores involve a minimal setup – say acoustic guitar and mic into a PA – and a handful of songs, hopefully just enough to entice folks to buy a CD or attend a concert. And Bruce Peninsula did indeed invite the packed store to buy their album – cannily, the band set up across the width of the entire store and thus prevented anyone from being able to buy a CD from any other local independent artist – or a ticket to their February 22 show at the Polish Combatants Hall, but as far as the performance went there were no half-measures. The full band was in attendance – 10 members strong, though some different faces from when I saw them last – and they came equipped with electric guitars and drums (though just individual drums rather than full kits), intent on delivering almost a complete and proper show and demonstrating for those who hadn’t seen them before, the full power of the Bruce Peninsula live experience.

Their set ran almost 40 minutes, culminating in a stunning double-take of “Weave Myself A Dress” – double because it was being filmed for the Camera Music series on – and to thank the audience for sitting through the same song twice (though really, we should have been thanking them) the band moved the drums into the middle of the audience for a rousing, pounding finale of “Crabapples”. A headshakingly good performance – isn’t it great/scary when bands you already expect the world from still manage to raise the bar? And I promise this’ll be the last BP-led post until their February 22 show. Unless it’s not. and Metro have brief interviews with members of the band.

Photos: Bruce Peninsula @ Soundscapes – February 4, 2009
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MySpace: Bruce Peninsula

Also at’s Camera Music – an episode with Ohbijou, who will release Beacons in April and play the Opera House on April 13.

And to finish off the live video component of the post, head over to Baeble Music to see footage from Constantines’ show in Brooklyn last December. They’re at the Phoenix on March 31 and April 1.

The Toronto Star, National Post and Exclaim talk to Jenn Grant, who just released her sophomore album Echoes this week and will play the Mod Club on next Thursday, February 12.

Glasswerk and Edinburgh News introduce The Coast to the UK, where the band are kicking off a tour this weekend. They’ll be back in town for a homecoming show at the Horseshoe on February 28 alongside The Diableros and Oh No Forest Fires.

PopMatters chats with AC Newman, booked in at Lee’s Palace for March 11.

Austin Town Hall talks to Brendan Canning and Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene, while The Georgia Straight talks to Spearin about his solo work with The Happiness Project, who have two dates at the Music Gallery on March 11 and 12.

The Vancouver Sun profiles Angela Desveaux, whose CMW showcase will find her at the Gladstone on Thursday, March 12.

Wireless Bollinger interviews Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers. Lost Channels is out March 31 and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 25.

Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon makes a playlist for taking the train around Europe for The Calgary Herald and are the subject of a feature at The Georgia Straight.

Paste has details on the John Doe/Sadies collaboration Country Club, due out April 14.

Collider has a video interview with Brandon Routh (aka evil ex-boyfriend #3 Todd Ingram) wherein he says that the film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim, set to begin filming here in Toronto next month, will be a combination of live-action and animation. The penultimate volume of the series – Scott Pilgrim Vs The Universe – came out yesterday and I expect the final book will be timed to come out at the same time as the film next year, whenever that’ll be. I think one of the (many) reasons I love the series is that it creates a mythological Toronto which for me, at least, has never existed in any medium. And the mythology around cities is one of the reasons I love places like New York and London so much. The fact that our developing mythology includes killer robots and subspace expressways is just so much the better. And anyone who wants to set up field trips to stalk the production crews around the city, get in touch. No, I’m not kidding.

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Watching The Streetlights Grow

Out Of This Spark turns two, throws a party

Photo By Joe FudaJoe FudaThis week’s eye has a feature piece on local label Out Of This Spark, whose second anniversary is the impetus for your best entertainment option this Saturday night as the label’s entire roster will take the stage at the Tranzac. That’s the lineup that includes a couple of personal faves and a couple others I’m just starting to make the acquaintance of.

In the former camp are post-punkers The D’Urbervilles, whose rather excellent full-length debut from last year, We Are The Hunters, is going to be getting a much-deserved US release, and Forest City Lovers (pictured), whose beautifully understated album Haunting Moon Sinking was one of the overlooked gems of 2008. It’s been a while – too long – since I’ve seen either act live, and I’m looking forward to rectifying that. In the “less known to me” department are Jenny Omnichord, whose special guest-laden Charlotte or Otis : Duets for Children, Their Parents and Other People Too is a sweetly odd and charming little childrens’ album and Timber Timbre, who are releasing their new self-titled album next week and whose amalgam of folk and blues is a bit unsettling, but also compelling. They’re also playing an in-store at Soundscapes next Thursday at 7PM.

Admission to the to-do is $10, $8 with a donation of canned food.

MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Hot Tips”
Videos: Forest City Lovers – “Pirates”
Videos: Forest City Lovers – “Please, Don’t Go”

Pitchfork has more tour dates for Human Highway, including a date and venue for their previously announced appearance at Canadian Musicfest – look for them March 13 at the Horseshoe.

MP3: Human Highway – “The Sound”

And speaking of Canadian Musicfest, the lineup has fleshed out a little more with some of the bigger-name additions including The Ting Tings and… well, that’s all I noticed that was new since last time. Precise date and venue for that one still forthcoming.

Rollo & Grady interview Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon and filch one of my photos in the process. This is me shaking my fist. Treasury Library Canada is out Februrary 3.

To the surprise of no one, a second date for the Constantines/Weakerthans “Rolling Tundra Revue” tour has been added – there’s now an April 1 date to go along with the previously-announced March 31 one at the Phoenix. No foolin’.

The Henry Clay People, whose For Cheap Or For Free was endorsed in November, will be joining The Airborne Toxic Event on their Spring tour which passes through the El Mocambo on March 4.

MP3: The Henry Clay People – “Something In The Water”
MP3: The Henry Clay People – “Working Part Time”

The Sydney Morning Herald gets an update on Nick Cave’s literary aspirations.

XLR8R talks to Ben Curtis of School Of Seven Bells.

Okkervil River were on Letterman last night. It looked (and sounded) a little like this:

Video: Okkervil River – “Pop Lie” (live on the Late Show with David Letterman)

The Georgia Straight interviews Glasvegas, in town at the Mod Club April 3.

Anathallo have a date at the El Mocambo on February 3, tickets $12. Their new album is Canopy Glow.

The New Year, who must feel tremendous pressure to be topical and interesting every January, oblige with a new video, a brief interview and free download at Stereogum and an interview at the Dallas Observer.

Video: The New Year – “Seven Days And Seven Nights”

Is this Frightened Rabbit video an official one? Not sure, but it is cool. And that’s good enough.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “I Feel Better”

The Daily Yomiuri amuse Stuart Braithwaite and Barry Burns of Mogwai by calling them a “shoegaze” band.

Wireless Bollinger talks to Andrew Bird, who is releasing Noble Beast on January 20 and playing the Queen Elizabeth Theater on April 3.