My first time ever listening to No Bird Sing was a Youtube video of an in-studio performance of their song, “Land Mines.”
I remember being so floored by the sheer and honest emotion in their lyrics, in their performance, and especially in the way that the lead vocalist’s voice cracked ever so slightly over the words “you gotta rise around it like you sick of the pounding, like you’re sick of the yells but it’s worse because you’re stick of the silence.”
Music has always been particularly cathartic for me, and it just so happened that in that moment, “Land Mines” was exactly what I’d needed to hear. That song remains one of my all-time favorites.
But wait – a quick rundown of who’s who: No Bird Sing is an abstract, experimental hip-hop group based in Minneapolis consisting of Joe Horton (who does both vocals and keys), Robert Mulrennan (guitar and electronics), and Graham O’Brien (electronics and drums). The group members, having been involved in other hip-hop projects before coming together (such as the also fantastic Hyder Ali and Abzorbr), bring their unique talents to No Bird Sing.
After I started perusing more of the band’s discography and wasn’t surprised to find myself loving a lot of the other stuff they’ve put out – which so far has only been two albums, a self-titled debut in 2009 and a second album titled Theft of the Commons in 2011.
Even so, the talent that this group consistently displays within those two albums is insane. I also hear they’re wicked good live (not that I would know personally, of course, since I still lack the funds to transport myself any farther than a 20-mile radius past my front door.)
Until I’m able to rectify all that and get my concert-starved self to a No Bird Sing show, I’ll just put my favorite tracks on replay. And if you need a little more nudging to listen to this criminally underrated group, here are a few links for your listening pleasure:
That little seed of mistrust grew up into a flower
Devoured every piece of you with love
Before the hour turned to month,
Month became the withered face of something that stayed
To chase the loneliness away.
Sparrows (feat. Kristoff Krane)
Take it in, breathe it out
Let the sparrows in your house
Show them where the attic is and let them be to set up shop
Watch them sing, while you dance
While you’re cooking, while you break shit
Never let them go, it’s their escape, they’re escaping
Dream (feat. Eyedea)
Eyes closed, slowly dissipate
Have a stare down with the sun and hope that it could lift away
I can’t say I never made a mistake,
But people will be people and I can’t hate you cause you change.
Like the new paper sack that I stashed on the moon
One skin says me, the other skin says you
Twins from the same old mother
So feed that tale to the snake man.