Upstairs, All Ages
DOORS: 8:00 PM // SHOW: 8:30 PM
Sunday December 9, 2018
Songbyrd Vinyl Lounge
D: 8:00 // S: 8:30; FREE
“A rock-solid power pop gem” -PopMatters
“Brodeur’s attention to craft stands above all.” -AllMusic
BIRD STREETS is the musical endeavor of New York songwriter John Brodeur. In need of a creative rebirth after years on the music-industry margins, Brodeur reached out to his friend, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jason Falkner (Beck, Jellyfish), to suggest a collaboration. The album yielded by this pairing is both fresh and familiar--a dynamic collection of introspective indie-rock and power-pop that draws liberally on the music of decades past without being bluntly nostalgic, Brodeur’s voice like an old friend you’re meeting for the first time. The Falkner-produced debut, simply titled Bird Streets, is available worldwide on Omnivore Recordings.
Over a career that’s spanned nearly 20 years, John Brodeur has independently produced and released several solo albums, including 2013’s Little Hopes; fronted rock trios The Suggestions and Maggie Mayday; and worked as a touring and studio musician for scores of acts, including The Morning After Girls, Freedy Johnston, and White Hills.
Recorded in Los Angeles between 2014 and 2016, Bird Streets (the album) is the product of equal measures tenacity and patience. After a series of setbacks derailed touring plans for his last solo album, Brodeur decamped to L.A. for a few months while waiting for a hole to open in Falkner’s schedule. “I basically planned to hang around until Jason had a free afternoon,” he says. “Eventually I wore him down.”
Once they were in Falkner’s studio, the kindred creative spirits hit it off immediately. What started with a song turned into an EP and then into a full-length album. Working during the short gaps between Falkner’s touring and production commitments, with Brodeur shuffling between coasts for studio dates, the pair had to move quickly, arranging and tracking entire songs in a day or two, sharing instrumental duties throughout.
Lyrically, these songs draw heavily on internal conflict--self-doubt, anxiety, depression--with an overarching feeling of wistful resignation rather than blind optimism. These sometimes difficult themes are delivered via unshakable melodies, a dichotomy that recalls the tightrope walked by artists like Elliott Smith and David Bazan.
In album opener “Carry Me,” Brodeur celebrates “new beginnings and bitter ends” over a bright, bristling bed of electric guitars, then laments the end of a friendship that was once “tighter than Steely Dan” in the eminently catchy “Betting On The Sun.” From there the album jumps between
epic power-ballads (“Stop To Breathe”) and British Invasion-flavored power-pop (“Thanks For Calling”), the George Harrison-via-Radiohead melancholy of “Heal” and the grungy jangle of “Until The Crown.” Moments of guitar interplay, tracked simultaneously by the pair, give songs like “Betting on the Sun” and “Stop to Breathe” a live-band energy, even though many of the songs had never been performed prior to being recorded.
Now, after years in the making--and decades on the outside looking in--Bird Streets is giving Brodeur a renewed creative energy, and a shot at reaching a larger audience