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Tag: Andrew Bird (1-6 of 6)

Andrew Bird on playing Jazz Fest, talking writer's block with Randy Newman

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird played an inspired set at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last weekend, full of both old-time charm and new-age sounds — and, of course, whistling. He played a show packed with songs from 2012’s Hands of Glory, as well as jam-heavy songs like “Imitosis” from 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha and the lighter “Eyeoneye” off Break it Yourself. EW caught up with Bird before his show at the legendary music hall Tipitina’s and talked about New Orleans, his ties to classical music, and how he connects to his growing worldwide fan base.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve spent a lot of time in New Orleans. What’s special about this city and playing here?
ANDREW BIRD: This is my first time at Jazz Fest. I never really lived here but I almost did. I spent a lot of time here in the late ’90s working at Kingsway [Studios]. It always felt like I got out just in time. It is just such a heavy place. Just touring in the south, you always have more stories to come back with.

I used to run around and play with a lot of street musicians. [New Orleans] attracts a lot of people from all over that have an ear for that old country blues, traditional music, and these guys just run around and play on street corners and at bars for tips, and I kind of fell into that scene a bit. That was when I was deeply into it; the guys here really knew the field.
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Album sales: Bruce Springsteen's 'Wrecking Ball' finally knocks Adele's '21' out of the top spot

The Boss scored his tenth No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 this week with his latest album, Wrecking Ball, selling an impressive 196,000 copies.

In doing so, Springsteen matched Elvis’ record of ten number ones, making them the only two male solo rock artists to ever achieve the feat. (Jay-Z, meanwhile, has had twelve No. 1 debuts, including collaboration albums.)

Chart queen Adele just barely missed the top spot for a 24th week. Her album 21 had to settle for a second-place finish, selling 195,000 and blazing past the 8 million mark in total sales. 21 is the first album to sell 8 million copies since Usher’s Confessions passed that plateau in January 2005.

Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night (+437 percent), Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto (+567 percent),  Drake’s Take Care (+97 percent), Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV (+173 percent), and Now 41 (+235 percent) all received major boosts thanks to special one-day 25 cent sales on Google Play last week, which were matched by AmazonMP3.

According to Billboard, none of these titles are affected by the rule change that went into effect in November after Lady Gaga’s Born This Way was sold for 99 cents in its first week. The magazine says that “only albums priced below $3.49 during their first four weeks of release will not be eligible for inclusion on the Billboard album charts,” and these have all been out for at least five frames.

Country star Luke Bryan’s annual springtime EP, Spring Break 4: Suntan City, sold 30,000 copies. His most recent album Tailgates and Tanlines, which debuted in August, sits at No. 18 and has sold 831,000 copies so far. In tenth, Andrew Bird’s Break It Yourself also moved 30,000 copies, his best sales week ever.

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Watch Andrew Bird's new video for 'Eyeoneye' -- EXCLUSIVE

Andrew-Bird

If you’re the type who writes letters to NYT puzzlemaster and NPR regular Will Shortz, or the type who calls Will Shortz a “puzzlemaster,” then you’re likely aware that literate indie-popster Andrew Bird is dropping his new album Break It Yourself today.

So what can fans expect? Well, the record — Bird’s first since 2009’s Noble Beast — finds the folk maestro clutching less tightly to his beloved violin. To wit: lead single “Eyeoneye,” a melodically straightforward rocker with a riff that will keep playing in your head long after the song’s over. Also: whistling!

And to help get you excited about this, the track now has an official video, which you can see exclusively here. The clip is an excerpt from Bird’s performance film Here’s What’s Happened, available for free on iTunes as of today. Check out the “Eyeoneye” video below:

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Newport Folk Festival 2010 lineup announced: Steve Martin, Swell Season, Jim James, Levon Helm, Brandi Carlile, Sharon Jones, and tons more

The lineup for the 51st annual Newport Folk Festival was just announced, and it’s a good one. Folk fans who head to Newport, R.I. this July 30-31 and Aug. 1 will get to see acts like Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin), playing banjo with bluegrass quintet the Steep Canyon Rangers; Once duo the Swell Season; the Band’s Levon Helm, bringing his legendary Midnight Ramble on the road; Yim Yames, a.k.a. frontman Jim James of My Morning Jacket; Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who killed it per usual at SXSW last week; alt-country wailer Brandi Carlile, who just released a cool new video; Richie Havens, who is as awesome today as he was at Woodstock 41 years ago; skilled whistler Andrew Bird; Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who is Pete Seeger’s grandson and a talented singer in his own right; and lots more folkies old and young.

Click through to the jump for all the performers who have been announced so far for George Wein’s Newport Folk Festival. Tickets go on sale at newportfolkfest.net this Friday, March 26. Will you be buying ‘em?
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New Andrew Bird video, 'Anonanimal': Neon claymation! Sea creatures! Possible penises!

“Anonanimal,” one of the highlights off of Andrew Bird‘s latest record Noble Beast, now boasts a sweet stop-motion animation video. This song about sea anemones (you knew Andrew Bird was going to write about them one day) involves some trademark Bird wordplay—”I see a sea anemone/The enemy/See a sea anemone”—and the accompanying video is similarly playful.

Neon-drenched claymation anemones, stalagmites and other oceanic Sesame Street-esque creatures perform synchronized acrobatics to Bird’s elegant baroque pop music. Bird himself even pops up for a few hot seconds to sing into the camera and play with some of the underwater critters. Watch it after the jump:

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Andrew Bird: Bionic man amazes at Radio City Music Hall

Andrew-bird_l Andrew Bird is a mad genius. After seeing him live last night at Radio City Music Hall, I realized watching him in-person is like watching a circus performer with a wonderfully weird case of ADD. He'll start on the violin. Thirty seconds later, he's on the guitar, or will have turned the violin on its side to play it like a mandolin. Then he'll start to sing. Mid-sentence, he'll stop to whistle for a spell. Then he'll quickly be back on the guitar, or perhaps go for a turn on the glockenspiel.

Throughout, he incorporates the help of his magical loop pedals, which make him sound like he's doing six million things at once. Seeing the intrepid multi-instrumentalist/multitasker perform is an incredible sight to be behold, especially given that his 2009 album Noble Beast sounds so fluid and well-produced, that you don't really stop to think about the technique behind it.

The dapper-looking whistle-blower played for the better part of 90 minutes, performing a number of Noble Beast's usual suspects: An amplified, sped-up version of "Oh No," and a spirited rendition of the tongue-twisty "Fitz and Dizzyspells."

The Beast stunner, though, was "Effigy": Bird prefaced the song with the night's only lengthy introduction, explaining the song spun-off from the chorus of "Oh No" and is about a sci-fi reading nerd whose forgotten how to interact with people. "I feel a kinship with this guy," he said, explaining that the imaginary social-awkward dude could easily be him. Then, he launched into a sleepy, romantic, largely loop-free take of the song that was simply gorgeous.

Of his older stuff, Bird sampled liberally from previous albums Armchair Apocrypha and The Mysterious Production of Eggs, with crowd-favorites like "Fiery Crash," and  the jovial "Opposite Day." In the encore, he reached back to 2003's Weather Systems to perform "Don't Be Scared," a heartbreaker that features some of his very best songwriting.

Mariachi-like desert rockers Calexico — whose opening set was lively and impressive, and included personal fave "The Crystal Frontier" — joined Bird on stage for three songs. Given that Bird has a band of his own, the number of musicians on stage ballooned to nearly a dozen, each with their various instruments of choice. The highlight of the mini-set was easily the bouncy "Scythian Empire," bolstered by the sheer power of Calexico's trumpeters.

But, of course, it was Bird's night. The whiz-kid made his intricately-layered brainiac rock look easy, when nothing could be further from the truth. He's essentially a massively-talented musical wind-up toy. Was anyone else at Radio City last night? Or have you seen Bird elsewhere and came away similarly impressed? And how on earth is he able to whistle so melodically (and powerfully)?

More from EW's Music Mix:
New David Gray album due in September; the Music Mix gets a first listen
Here We Go Magic: Grizzly Bear tour openers deserve their own spotlight
Animal Collective's new video: Awesome, but possibly requires Dramamine

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