Things Are Pretty Great Here, Sort Of... by Andrew Bird is the Pick of the Week

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Oh, hello there.  You may have noticed that I've been absent from this column for a week, or two, or three (but whose counting?)  It seems I have moved once again which makes me very busy and without Internet and thus unable to keep up with (or write about) new music.  Every year or two my wife and I pack up all our stuff and move.  Sometimes its just across town, other times it half-way across the world and still others (including this last one) we move a few states over.  Its rather tiring, but never boring. We're not yet settled in completely but I hope that I'm back again (until I'm not.) 

Many moves ago we lived in a town with a really terrific public library.  They had recently bought out a video store and thus had a huge collection of very interesting DVDs to borrow.  They must have bought out a record store because their CD collection rivaled most for-profit businesses in the are.  They had lots of books too that I availed myself on but it was the multi-media collection that kept me coming back.  This was before you could so easily download everything so it was a lot of fun to browse through the music, find something interesting and give it a good listen before you through down any hard cash.

It was a college town and they had lots of college music.  My wife once borrowed a couple of Andrew Bird albums which brought big smiles to the clerk who checked her out, but - I must now admit with my head downtrodden - hardly a notice from me.  I'd not heard of Mr. Bird at the time and I'll sheepishly admit here again that even upon that initial spin I didn't give him much notice.  The wife liked him though and grabbed a few more of his albums and listened on her own time.  Then Noble Beast came out and I got it for her as a present.  This time I paid attention and I loved it.  Bird's an eccentric songwriter creating  rich, layered musical pieces with literate and esoteric lyrics.  And he's a hell of a whistler.  I have this theory that no ones ever made a bad whistling song and Andre Bird keeps proving me right over and over again.

We caught him live a couple of times and he's even better in that venue.  He's has one of those machines that lets you record bits of live music and loop them over and over so that after a few minutes he has the sound of a large band playing along with him though it is but his lonesome self on the stage.  Its quite astoundingly wonderful.

I've since listened to and enjoyed his other albums and always look forward to his new ones. This album was actually recorded just over a month ago and features his band The Hands of Glory (which itself features Tift Merritt.)  Its a covers album full of songs from The Handsome Family.  Sounds fun to me.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Lazaretto - Jack White:  When White's not making an ass of himself calling a wide range of folks names and feuding with The Black Keys he makes some pretty great music. 

Stockholm - Chrissie Hynde: The Pretenders lead singer new solo album features guest spots by Neil Young and John McEnroe.

Quadrophenia: Live in London - The Who:  For the 30th anniversary of their landmark rock oper The Who performed it in its entirety over several dates last year.  This is the complete London performance.