Break It Yourself
In many ways, Chicago born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird is like an Olympic gymnast; they consistently perform so flawlessly and gracefully that you begin to take their unbelievable talent for granted. Thus, the virtuosic violinist and former Squirrel Nut Zipper has made his own unique magical blend of folk for a decade and a half making consistently good to great records with his hyper-literate songwriting, vivid vocals, aggressive guitar play, pioneering violin style, and unrivaled whistling ability making a sound that can only be described as his own. On top of all this, the one man band loops it all together live to make for quite the sight, which has now been captured on screen in the concert documentary film, Andrew Bird: Fever Year debuting this spring around the country. If the film isn’t enough, Bird now releases Break It Yourself, his 12th solo album to date, which is a true triumph and ranks as his most sophisticated album to date.
Continue reading “Andrew Bird Review”
Naughty by Nature
Leading a fairly sheltered existence during my childhood, I wasn’t privy to the wonders of Naughty by Nature until they appeared as a musical guest on one of the all-time Nickelodeon classics, All That. This sketch comedy show was the high-water mark for humor aimed at kids, as well as an introductory course in hip-hop and R&B for youngsters. The likes of TLC, A Tribe Called Quest, Aaliyah, Nas, Blackstreet, and many more earned my instant affection from their appearances on this seminal show. Although all these artists kept it clean because of the target audience of Nickelodeon, there was still a level of uncomfortable feelings that emerged watching the musical guest with my parents. I think this was what may have first drawn me to hip-hop – my parents disapproval – and probably the whitest way to be introduced/start enjoying hip-hop. Nevertheless, the love affair was born, and Naughty by Nature was an important player in this development.
Continue reading “Naughty by Nature Review: Nostalgia Isn’t Enough”