Monday, September 20, 2010

TVD Takeover | The Mynabirds

For those of you following attentively at home, it’s no secret that The Mynabirds’ debut release has garnered more than its share of praise in these parts. From swooning over of the first track released to the blogs, to making the LP available in a giveaway, to our First Date with DC ex-patriot Laura Burhenn, she of The Mynabirds (and Georgie James prior) we’ve simply been taken with the level of authenticity and craft—both elegant and (seemingly) effortless. Simply put. “What We Lose in the Fire, We Gain in the Flood” is quite high on our list of favorites for the year.

Laura and the rest of The Mynabirds are currently on the road with David Bazan in support of the aforementioned Saddle Creek release—in the van—making their way to DC where they take the mainstage at the Black Cat this coming Saturday night, 9/25.

We’re delighted to present a bit of a Mynabirds road diary in advance of Saturday night's show. Laura’s in the driver’s seat and it’s her Vinyl District. All week. —Ed.

Well hullo there, dear DC. So good to see you here. Very much looking forward to meeting up at the Black Cat on Saturday. Til then, I'll write you letters everyday, starting now.

After meeting up with David Bazan and his sweetheart crew in Chicago, we wound ourselves through Detroit, Toronto, and Montreal. Just crossed back over into the States a few minutes ago, in fact. In Toronto the sound guy, Ron, said, "Mynabirds, Mynabirds, hmm... Haven't you guys played here before? [PAUSE] Oh wait -- no, there's a Toronto band. Oh, and they were from the 60's." I got a good laugh outta that one -- told him he perfectly pinpointed our namesake. Felt good to play our first Canadian date in the land of Neil and Rick. I joked with our drummer, Nicole, that we should pull out a cover. But I've gotta be honest -- as much as I love the notion of the original Mynah Birds and that incredible cast of characters, those two singles Motown put out aren't my favorites. In fact, I kinda feel creeped out by Rick James singing, "It's my time, don't care what you say. It's my time -- gonna love you anyway." Sounds pretty smarmy. But maybe it'd be a good trick to turn it on its head and have a lady sing it. We'll see...

We spent the night in Toronto with friend and label mate, Nils, from the Rural Alberta Advantage. They're in the midst of finishing their sophomore record. Can't wait to hear it.

The long drive between Toronto and Montreal included a long conversation about great lyricists. I realized three of my all-time favorites are Canadian: Joni Mitchell, for knowing how to set a scene; Leonard Cohen, for his Zen way saying the most with the least; and Neil Young, for his jazz standard strength in simplicity. Then we all wondered aloud about the great lyricists of today. Who's our Dylan? Who can turn a phrase and get the zeitgeist of our whole generation? Do we have a zeitgeist? Or are we just the dregs of a non-movement, content with our bougie coffees and fancy phones while the world turns to shit? I'd like to think not, to hope that the good voices will rise above the top 40 radio crap and redeem us. Sorry for the rant. Probably just preaching to the choir anyway. (Good that we've got a choir on the good side.) But seriously, who moves you these days, lyrically? How do you feel about politically - and socially-minded music? I, for one, eat it up. Reminds me of being a kid with pink hair and combat boots, my friends in bands with high ideals and punk patches, all of us excited about the world we were about to make our own. I say let's do it. There's still time. We'll tear it down and build it back up one lyric at a time.

In Detroit Thursday night, David gave this great little segue way about being courageous in how we consume music. If we don't put our dollars behind music that means something, commercialism will win out and our kids will be left with vapid jingles for crap on TV. Musicians who sing about the real stuff won't be able to keep making music -- they'll starve doing it. I'm hopeful that it won't quite come to that, but it's a good cautionary tale -- and a good reminder about the power we do have. Put your money where your MIND is, I guess. There's a line in a Pedro the Lion song that I just love:

Have you ever seen an idealist
With grey hairs on his head
Or successful men who keep in touch
With unsuccessful friends
You only think you did
Yeah, I could have sworn I saw it too
But as it turns out
It was just a clever ad for cigarettes

Damn. Now that's a great lyric.

More tomorrow!


The Mynabirds - Let The Record Go (Mp3)
The Mynabirds - Numbers Don't Lie (Mp3)
Approved for download!

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