Pilgrim’s Playlist: Andrew Bird, Peter Wolf, Edward Bear

Recommended New Album

Andrew Bird – Are You Serious

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Listening to an Andrew Bird album, it always sounds like a gentle battle taking place between the highbrow and the mainstream. On the one hand you’ve got his virtuosic jazz-quality flights of fancy on the violin and guitar, and you’ve got lyrics containing several words you need to look up in the dictionary. On the other hand, you hear a guy with an obvious weakness for pop songs. The fun always comes hearing him reconcile his two natural tendencies.

His 2009 album Noble Beast/Useless Creatures had the good idea of separating his musical proclivities onto two separate discs, but that’s not always a practical solution. On this new album, I think he comes closer than ever before to synthesizing his talents into a complete entity. I don’t hear a battle anymore, I hear an artist comfortable in his own skin, forging a musical lexicon that’s all his own.

Are You Serious has Bird coming up with new templates and new sounds that give him enough space to fit his wide range of strengths. The opening track “Capsized” features a memorable guitar riff and chorus that frames a picture with several musical colors inside. “Left-Handed Kisses” is a fabulous call-and-response duet with Fiona Apple, mimicking a very literate couple’s tensions. “Truth Lies Low” is based on an R&B-type groove, while “Puma” brings a wall of voices Beach Boys-style in the chorus.

Bird recently married and fathered his first child, and the experience has clearly affected his music. He is bringing more to the table, both lyrically and musically, and there is a new confidence and warmth in place of the mad scientist feel of some of his earlier work. I think this may be his best album yet.


New Single

Peter Wolf – “Peace Of Mind”

This guy is a survivor who goes way back to the early days of Rock. Starting off his career as a blues DJ in Boston, Wolf first hooked up with the J. Geils Band way back in 1967. Jokester, hipster, lead singer and songwriter, Wolf led the band through some highs and lows before splitting in 1983. Since then, he’s remained on the fringes of stardom, releasing seven albums and collaborating with the likes of Mick and Keith, Springsteen, Aerosmith and Merle Haggard. This week he is releasing his eighth solo album, A Cure For Loneliness, and while it ain’t anything to write home about, this is a nice little song, and I find it kind of comforting that Peter Wolf is still going strong in 2016.


One From The Vaults

Edward Bear – “You, Me And Mexico” (1970)

Now that the Northeast has been bombarded with an ungodly April snow storm, who among us up here hasn’t had their thoughts drift longingly today towards the hot sun, warm breeze, and fragrant fields of green? Edward Bear was a Canadian band whose biggest hit Stateside was “Last Song” in 1973, but they were pretty big in the Great White North for several years. This one perfectly captures the wistful feelings that denizens of the cold feel on days like this.

2 comments to “Pilgrim’s Playlist: Andrew Bird, Peter Wolf, Edward Bear”
  1. Pingback: J. Geils Was A Rock Outlier | Rocknuts

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