Interview: Andrew Bird: “I hope to get some more chickens and this time keep them alive.”

Andrew Bird hatched onto the national stage as the violinist for Squirrel Nut Zippers during the short-lived 1990s swing trend, but as a solo artist, he’s revealed a rare, remarkable talent that goes far beyond retro kitsch. His 2003 album Weather Systems and last year’s superb The Mysterious Production Of Eggs combined Bird’s vibrant compositional skill with allusive, surreal lyrics and a formidable ability as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist—not to mention whistler. Live, he’s a veritable one-man orchestra, lacking only a drummer—and he found a great one last year in another polymathic talent, Minnesota-based Martin Dosh. Their instantaneous rapport quickly developed into a full-fledged collaboration and tour. The A.V. Club caught up with Bird recently by phone to talk about his music and what he would do if he got more chickens.

Originally published on Feb. 21, 2006. Read the complete article.

Interview: Brett and Rennie Sparks of The Handsome Family

Few alt-country bands have the haunted gravitas of The Handsome Family. On albums like Singing Bones, Through The Trees, In The Air, and Twilight, the Albuquerque-based husband-and-wife team of Brett and Rennie Sparks creates dark-humored songs that seem to conjure up the ghosts of old American folk music, with Brett’s deep baritone a perfect match for Rennie’s sardonic lyrics, which recall stories by Flannery O’Connor or Joyce Carol Oates. The duo is currently on tour with eccentric Southern writer and musician Jim White, who appears with them in the recent documentary Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus. The A.V. Club caught up with the Sparks recently by phone.

Originally published on Feb. 8, 2006. Read the complete article.

Review: P.O.S., Audition

P.O.S., AuditionDepending on his mood and the need of the moment, the initials in Stefon Alexander’s stage name can stand for Pissed Off Stef, Promise Of Skill, Promise Of Stress, or Piece Of Shit. The first two phrases are ones at work on Audition. (It’s his second album, but it’s bound to reach a wider audience than his self-released debut.) The leading light of the Twin Cities’ Doomtree rap collective (the up-and-coming younger cousin of Atmosphere’s Rhymesayers), P.O.S. first put down musical roots in punk, and his sensibility fuses punk’s painful sincerity and social consciousness with indie-rap’s self-awareness and musicality. The result falls between Slug’s disarmingly inward-looking honesty and Rage Against The Machine’s furious calls to action, and largely takes the best from both worlds.

Originally published on Feb 1, 2006. Read the complete article.

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