Bradley's Almanac

Show Preview (with live Mp3s): Wooden Birds @ TTs on 6/23

Posted on June 23, 2009 at 10:31 am | No Comments

Tonight Andrew Kenny returns to town with his Austin-based combo The Wooden Birds for their second area show at TT the Bear‘s in just three months. The TT’s stage is a very familiar one to Kenny, who played there many times with his former band, American Analog Set, and more recently as a touring member of Broken Social Scene. Had AmAnSet continued beyond the 2005 release of their last album, it’s possible that subsequent visits would have necessitated a larger venue, but with their break-up/hiatus, Kenny has essentially started over from scratch. Their April show was a bit underattended (at least relative to latter-day AAS appearances), although it did precede last month’s release of The Wooden Birds’ debut album, “Magnolia” (on Barsuk), and the publicity and praise that followed. Here’s hoping tonight sees a healthier crowd welcoming back the band with current tourmates Other Lives and the UK’s Hatcham Social.

My love for the songs of American Analog Set runs very, very deep, and it took me a little while to wrap my heart and head around the new direction Kenny has taken with his Wooden Birds songwriting. While the sonics still fall on the softer side, his compositions are far different animals – keyboards have been abandoned; the vibra-ma-phone is left at home; gorgeous harmonies have been added (thanks to Leslie Sisson); and on record, a standard drum kit is largely absent, the rhythms stripped down to bare essentials. In fact, were it not for his distinctive voice and the occasional trademark guitar line, you might be hard pressed to guess this was an AK creation.

It’s all extremely organic, and very precise, occasionally to a fault. In fact, it wasn’t until seeing the band in April that it all clicked together for me, that I finally fell for it. I was able to stop holding them up to AAS standards and judge the songs on their own, in their rawer, less sterile form. And with not just one drummer, but a percussionist as well to help flesh things out. The inclusion of a live rendition of AmAnSet fave “Kindness of Strangers“, done “Wooden Birds style” helped bridge a gap, and it all made a lot more sense. I’ve since come to appreciate “Magnolia” far more than on my initial listens.

With Kenny’s permission, here are a few songs from their April set at TTs, including my favorite WB track (“The Other One“), and their version of “Kindness of Strangers“. And don’t be surprised if you hear yet another American Analog Set song tonight…

The Wooden Birds

A few songs live at T.T. the Bears Place
in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, April 18th, 2009

01. Hailey
02. The Other One
03. The Kindness of Strangers (an AmAnSet song)

To get yourself ready for this evening, hop on over to the Ash Gray Proclamation, who have a brand new Andrew Kenny interview, and be sure to visit Luxury Wafers, who have just shared up a six-song live session, including video footage of “Sugar“. More audio-visual treats: The band performing “Seven Seventeen and Hometown Fantasy on a Valencian street earlier this month (via Au Agenda Urbana). Update: They Shoot Music Don’t They has a couple of wonderful clips of the band performing acoustic in a Vienna park.

Upcoming Wooden Birds tourdates (all with Other Lives):

Tuesday, 6/23: Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears
Wednesday, 6/24: Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House
Thursday, 6/25: Philadelphia, PA @ North Star
Friday, 6/26: Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Saturday, 6/27: Asheville, NC @ Rocket Club
Sunday, 6/28: Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight Bar & Club
Monday, 6/29: Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Tuesday, 6/30: Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree
Wednesday, 7/1: Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
Thursday, 7/2: Houston, TX @ Walters on Washington

Listen to any and all ‘Nac-hosted Mp3s at the Hype Machine.

the fine print… If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the ‘nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.


Leave a Reply

  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Saturday, December 16th
    Bent Shapes (farewell show),
    Laika's Orbit, & Beware the
    Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion
    @ Great Scott

    Monday, December 18th
    Big Brave
    Child Bite
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, December 21st
    @ Sonia

    Friday, December 22nd
    Love Love & Friends Xmas Show!
    with special guests Rick Berlin,
    Field Day, Bob Kendall,
    Anna Rae/Hemway, & Martha Marin
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Thursday, December 28th
    Cymbals Eat Guitars
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday & Sunday
    December 30th & 31st
    Deer Tick
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, December 31st
    Speedy Ortiz
    Wendy Eisenberg
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, January 6th
    Fur Purse (LP Release Party!)
    with Whore Paint,
    Shepherdess, and Sister
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Wednesday, January 10th
    Craig Finn & the
    Uptown Controllers
    with John K. Samson
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, January 12th
    Passion Pit
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, January 13th
    40 musicians form 8 new
    bands & perform that night
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, January 13th
    Lana Del Rey
    Jhene Aiko
    @ TD Garden

    Saturday, January 13th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Mini Dresses
    Strange Passage
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, January 13th
    Camper Van Beethoven
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Thursday, January 18th
    Family Planning
    Olivia Neutron-John
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, January 21st
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Mega Bog
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, January 26th
    The Posies
    @ City Winery Boston

    Wednesday, January 31st
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    Night Beats
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, February 3rd
    Steve Earle
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 9th
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, February 10th
    Weakened Friends
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday & Sunday
    February 10th & 11th
    Ian Hunter
    & the Rant Band
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 16th
    Steve Earle
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 16th
    Robert Plant
    @ the Orpheum

    Saturday, February 17th
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, February 17th
    Noel Gallagher’s
    High Flying Birds
    @ the Boston Opera House

    Sunday, February 18th
    X Ambassadors
    Now, Now
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, February 21st
    Frightened Rabbit
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 1st
    French Vanilla
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, March 6th
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, March 8th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 8th
    @ the Royale

    Friday, March 9th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ Sanders Theatre, Harvard

    Friday, March 9th
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, March 10th
    Nada Surf celebrating the 15th
    anniversary of their "Let Go" LP
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday, March 23rd
    Glen Hansard
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Saturday, March 31st
    S. Carey
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, April 3rd
    Yo La Tengo
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, April 7th
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, April 10th
    Franz Ferdinand
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Tuesday, April 17th
    Chelsea Wolfe
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 20th
    Buffalo Tom
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, April 22nd
    The Darkness
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 27th
    They Might Be Giants
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, April 28th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    "Substance" collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday & Sunday
    April 28th & 29th
    Camp Cope
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 18th
    The Fratellis
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, June 2nd
    Japanese Breakfast
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, June 11th
    Jimmy Eat World
    Alex Lahey
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, July 17th
    @ Xfinity Center

    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park

    Friday, August 10th
    Pedro the Lion
    @ Brighton Music Hall