Too Drunk To Dream

…ain’t no drinking when the bottle’s dry…

Poised for a groundswell? Providence’s Brown Bird prep new album [mp3]

A few things have gone well for David Lamb recently.  His Providence-by-way-of-Maine-by-way-of-Seattle pet project Brown Bird seems to be hitting a lot of right notes of late. After releasing an impressive album last year (2008’s The Bottom Of The Sea), Brown Bird have been playing and touring relentlessly and solidifying their sound, developing into a miniature orchestra of harmonized voices and instruments.  In a music industry where americana music is groundswelling, Brown Bird might be poising themselves for a breakthrough. If timing and location have anything to do with it, then it appears that this might be a banner year for the group.

You see, 2009 has been a big year for Providence, RI.  Fellow Providence-based band The Low Anthem came out of the ether with a smoky, gutteral and downright beautiful album that gained instant praise and worldwide attention. Add to that the success of John McCauley’s Deer Tick, who scorched audiences across the country in 2009 with a fresh, aggressive bar-blues-and-whiskey sound and a monster new album. And in this climate, with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Phosporescent, Bowerbirds, Blind Pilot, Lucero, The Avetts, and The Felice Brothers all having big years, I can’t help but wonder, might it  be Brown Bird’s time?

The new Brown Bird album is set to be released on CD and LP in November.  “The Devil Dancing” is Brown Bird’s second full-length album on Peapod Recordings. It was recorded in two separate multi day sessions. The first session took place at Hogfarm Studios in Biddeford, ME and included the upright bass work of Micah Blue Smaldone (Death Vessel, Fire on Fire). The second session took place at the Peapod Recording Studio in Portland, ME.

Brown Bird – Danger and Dread [from the forthcoming LP, The Devil Dancing]

Brown Bird – Down To The River [from the forthcoming LP, The Devil Dancing]

Brown Bird – By The Reins [from the forthcoming LP, The Devil Dancing]

Band members:

David Lamb: vocals, guitar, banjo, percussion
MorganEve Swain: vocals, violin, viola, cello, ukelele
Mike Samos: dobro, lap steel, elec. guitar
Jeremy Robinson: vocals, accordion, banjo
Jerusha Robinson: vocals, cello

Buy their music, and see them live. Support local music.  Support GOOD music.

MYSPACE / FACEBOOK / iTunes / Emusic / Peapod Recordings

October 27, 2009 Posted by | toodrunktodream | Leave a comment

My Body Is, Indeed, A Zombie For You. Just thought I’d tell you that…

Now here’s something borderline kitchy that I can wrap my head around this time of year. I’d advise that you grab the nearest Butterfinger or “fun size” Snickers**, sit back and enjoy the show….

Everything I imagine writing further about Dead Man’s Bones can be said a bit more eloquently by Heather Phares @

It’s a blessing and a curse that one half of Dead Man’s Bones is Academy Award-nominated actor Ryan Gosling. It’s a blessing because Gosling and his partner, Zach Shields, undoubtedly got more attention for their self-titled debut album than they would have otherwise, and something of a curse because it may not be seen for as genuine a project as it is. Shields and Gosling originally conceived of Dead Man’s Bones as a horror-themed musical, but kept the songs they had written when they realized putting on a stage production would be too expensive. Despite the high concept, Dead Man’s Bones are pretty far from a vanity project — if anything, they’re the opposite, with Gosling and Shields stretching far from their comfort zones at almost every turn. They played instruments they’d never touched before making the album, and brought in the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir to add young voices to their virtually untrained ones. They also set rules for themselves while recording: no electric guitars or click tracks were allowed, and they could only do three takes for any given part. All of this gives Dead Man’s Bones the feeling — in the best possible way — of a bootleg recording of an elaborate grade-school Halloween pageant. By embracing their amateurism so completely, Gosling and Shields turn any weaknesses into strengths, and while influences ranging from the Arcade Fire and Beirut to Roy Orbison to the Langley Schools Music Project to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride can be heard, the way Dead Man’s Bones combine them is unique. Over the course of the album, the duo covers an array of moods and sounds that more experienced musicians would be glad to express. These songs range from gentle (“Dead Hearts”‘ spectral folk) to dark and driving (“Lose Your Soul”) to fiery (the Nick Cave-esque “Dead Man’s Bones”), and sometimes all at once. Some of the most striking tracks mix jubilant music with images of death — or undeath, in the case of “My Body’s a Zombie for You,” where the kids can’t help but shout out the chorus as Gosling croons like a zombie-fied ’50s teen idol. Dead Man’s Bones also do a fine job of balancing the campy and spiritual aspects of a concept album about love, death, and undeath. “In the Room Where You Sleep” is gleefully terrifying; “Young & Tragic,” the only song the Silverlake Conservatory kids sing on their own, uses their delicate, flawed voices to express something deeper. Throughout it all, there is a “hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” exuberance that makes the album all the more winning. Dead Man’s Bones isn’t perfect, but it’s often fascinating and nearly always charming — and Shields and Gosling wouldn’t have it any other way.

At any rate, I need to “embrace” my “amateurism” more and do something besides blogging around here! Check out a couple of my favorites from Dead Man’s Bones here:

My Body’s A Zombie For You

Lose Your Soul

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October 22, 2009 Posted by | toodrunktodream | , | Leave a comment