Friday, October 26, 2007

The quiet turmoil of Brown Bird

I went to see Tunng last night and they were great and as soon as I've had more than three hours of sleep and something to eat, I'm going to write about them in more detail. (My son gets up for seventh grade every morning at 6:30, whether I've gotten home from Boston at 3 a.m. or not.) The main thing to remember, meanwhile, is this: go see this band. They are way, way, way more fun than their albums would suggest, even though the albums are lovely and delicate and charming. Their live show is one huge stomping party, from one end to the other, with syncopated handclaps and mechanical birdsong and three, count 'em three, guitar players. I'd wait to tell you about all this until I get my review up at Harp, but then it'd be too late. Here are the remaining dates.

Oct 26 Portland, ME SPACE
Oct 27 Montreal, QC Main Hall
Oct 28 Toronto, ON Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
Oct 29 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
Oct 30 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
Nov 2 Seattle, WA Nectar Lounge
Nov 3 Portland, OR Someday Lounge
Nov 5 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov 6 Los Angeles, CA Echo

All you Canada, Chicago, West Coast people get on will not regret a thing.

Now, here's the point. Tunng had a band called Brown Bird opening for them, a sort of local Boston/Portland threesome, whose dark, minimalist folk was truly gorgeous. They are led by mostly guitarist David Lamb (he also plays drums and tambourine and woodblock with his feet, which I found vastly entertaining), whose voice and guitar playing may remind you, a bit, of Damien Jurado, but his lyrics are weirder. Okay, Lamb's got two other people in the band, whom I'm assuming are married to each other. Jerusha Robinson plays cello, giving the band's sparse folk sound a kind of baroque lushness, along the lines of Margie Wienk's Fern Knight, if you want a reference. Her husband Jeremy Robinson is the wildcard, switching among banjo and accordion and toy piano and, at one point, grabbing Lamb's mallets and pounding a drum with his left hand. (The right was clutching an accordion.) They have very kindly shared their first album with me, the self-released Such Unrest which you obtain from iTunes or CD Baby or through their website at

Meanwhile, a couple of MP3s
"Such Unrest"

"Run the Wire"

A more coherent, professional write-up will follow, I hope, in a week or so.


michaeldustdevil said...

they are so damn good live... the Brown Bird sounds very interesting...

Phenome-nonnon said...





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