Brad Meador
  
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Feb 20

Indescribable: Andrew Bird, M. Ward, Eleni Mandell

I am swamped, but there are several new albums from indescribably talented artists that are helping me get through it…

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

image I saw Andrew Bird last night at the Fillmore.  Like last time, GREAT show.  The stuff he does with looping and pitch modulation is cool.  In the past, I’ve been so impressed with his whistling and playing that I failed to notice what a great singer he is.  His new album, Noble Beast, is really starting to grow on me.  A couple of my favorites:

Not a Robot, But a Ghost
Effigy

New to Andrew Bird?  I’d probably still start with Armchair Apocrypha, but ask me again in a couple of weeks.

M. Ward – Hold Time

image Another singer-songwriter that defies explanation, M. Ward, just put out a new album.  I thought his last, Post-War was excellent and I’m digging Hold Time more and more.  Here are a couple of highlights:

One Hundred Million Years
Oh Lonesome Me

Lucinda Williams makes an appearance on the last one.  I really dig his slow take on the Don Gibson classic.  Also give his side project with Zooey Deschanel a listen, She & Him.

Eleni Mandell – Artificial Fire

image I read about Eleni Mandell on Songs:Illinois (a music blog right in my wheelhouse) and immediately took a liking to her stuff.  I gave Miracle of Five to my sister for Christmas and Afternoon to my mom for Valentine’s Day and I love her take on the classic country sound in Country for True Lovers.  As you can imagine, I took Artificial Fire for a spin as soon as it came out.  In reviews of Eleni’s first albums, folks compared her quirky, rocking sound to Tom Waits.  After a few listens, I think that the latest is a move back in that direction.  Very enjoyable and it reminds me a little bit of Shivaree.  Two examples:

Needle and Thread
Don’t Let It Happen

Which album would I but first?  Probably Miracle of Five or Afternoon, but it’s all good.

NPR and Neko

A final note – I have been listening to music online at NPR.org a LOT.  There are great interviews and performance from tons of artists.  They streamed the first two albums above in their entirety prior to release.  Neko Case’s new album, Middle Cyclone, will get the same treatment at midnight EST on the 23rd.  Guess what I’ll be doing Monday night?

  1. Hi Brad, I got “The Mysterious Production of Eggs” from the library today and am enjoying it very much!
    M. Ward was also on Fresh Air recently … I have it on my iPod but haven’t listed to it yet.

    Comment by Angie — February 28, 2009

  2. Sweet – I just love that album. I haven’t been able to stop streaming that Neko Case album since NPR put it out. Just gorgeous.

    Comment by brad — February 28, 2009