Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (2009)


As much as I support the hype around Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, I’m a bit surprised that more people haven’t been talking about Andrew Bird’s superb new album, Noble Beast.  It releases today, and is likely going to be my favorite of this year–Noble Beast displays Bird’s progression as a musician, both instrumentally and lyrically.

It’s hard to pick only a few favorites off the album,  but some tracks that I do find myself seeking out are “Oh No” “Masterswarm,” “Effigy,” “Not A Robot,” But A Ghost,””Anonanimal,” and “Natural Disaster.” Although I still think Mysterious Production of Eggs is Andrew’s best album to date, Noble Beast is definitely a close contender.

I find it really interesting that Bird maintains a column on New York Times’Measure by Measure” blog, where he writes extensively about his process, both in his head and the studio from before, during, and after the recording Noble Beast. For those who are interested in music, his posts are a must read. It feels like we sometimes take for granted the production side of things and only care about the finished product–whether it be a movie, album, book or any other form of art that stems from ones imagination. The inside access Bird provides on this album makes me appreciate his music on a whole new level.

Here is an except from one of his posts:

We [Martin Dosh] discuss a lot of things to help us get the songs just right — like not hitting cymbals because the crashes can be “cheap thrills.” Instead we favored the dark, walloping sound of the toms. Often times the choice becomes: Do you give the song what it wants? Or do you go against its demands? “Oh No” seemed to be asking for a 1970s Jackson Brown or Fleetwood Mac type of dead snare drum sound. That “everything’s gonna be just fine” sort of beat. The pitfall of approaching it like this is that your song can get hijacked by someone else’s record collection. I personally feel that the world has had its fill of 70s light rock. So we’re forced to be more creative. Not a bad alternative, though sometimes, you just say, “Why fight it? This just feels too good.”

Noble Beast (2009):

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Masterswarm

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Effigy

Useless Creatures (2009):

This is an instrumental record that Andrew worked on during the recording of Noble Beast. He calls it his “indulgent” record, and it comes with the deluxe edition of Noble Beast. He says in his latest post, “The piece on Useless Creatures I’m most excited about is called ‘The Barn Tapes.’ Three summers ago I had an engineer friend come out to my barn in western Illinois with an old quarter-inch tape machine. We opened all the doors and windows, hooked up my violin to six amps placed throughout the barn, put microphones inside and out and made four hours of ambient loops

(mp3) Andrew Bird – The Barn Tapes

Website | iTunes | Amazon (Useless Creatures) | Myspace (stream entire album)

Andrew is incredible live. See him if given the opportunity.

Jan 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of the Living Arts
Jan 28 – New York, NY – Carnegie Hall
Jan 30 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
Feb 3 – Washington, DC – 930 Club
Feb 4 – Atlanta, GA – The Variety Playhouse
Feb 6 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Theatre
Feb 7 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
Feb 12 – Austin, TX – The Paramount Theatre
Feb 13 – Albuquerque, NM – The El Rey Theater
Feb 14 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
Feb 15 – San Diego, CA – SOMA
Feb 18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Orpheum Theatre
Feb 19 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 20 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 21 – Portland, OR – The Roseland Theater
Feb 23 – Seattle, WA – The Moore Theater
Feb 24 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
Feb 25 – Murray, UT – The Murray Theater
Feb 26 – Denver, CO – The Ogden Theater
Feb 27 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Mar 15 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Mar 17 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
Mar 21 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
Mar 22 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
Mar 23 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford
Apr 3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Apr 4 – Montreal, QC – Le National
Apr 5 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
Apr 7 – Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall
Apr 10 – Chicago, IL – The Civic Opera House
Apr 11 – Minneapolis, MN – The State Theater

5 thoughts on “Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (2009)

  1. I agree! The more I listen to this album, the more I love it! Kudos to a refreshingly original work of art!

  2. I came across your blog on the google search engine and saw a few of your earlier posts that you did previously . I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work. i will Look forward to reading more from you again.

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