But then today, I read an interview with Andrew Bird on the KXT website*, and then I remembered that Andrew Bird is coming to the Columbus Theater in Providence on October 15 (which is a delightful venue and if you have never been there you most certainly should go), and I also remembered that I never really gave his latest album a nuanced listen. Wouldn’t today be a great day to do that? Couldn’t I NOT FAIL at that?
*KXT, based in Dallas, is, hands down, the best radio station ever: listener-supported, giddily-eclectic, and not so far down at the end of the dial that you feel weird listening to it.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Andrew Bird: the ectomorphic precision of his music, the literary introversion of his lyrics, and how he uses a violin, a gramophone, and (of course) his own whistling to reach straight into my spleen and MAKE ME FEEL. His music is good stuff.
The latest record, Are you Serious (no question mark), rocks harder than those of the past. I think Stacey Anderson at Pitchfork nails it: “It’s deceptively straightforward at first, unfolding genially as more guitar-driven rock than he’s attempted before, almost a sidestep of ambition with freewheeling frayed ends. But it’s still got all of Bird’s standby elements—the esoteric wordplay, the many stratas of strings—subtly edited into economy.”
My favorite track this time through is “The New Saint Jude,” and although it reminds me of Graceland-era Paul Simon with its Soweto-influenced pep (something of which I am generally dubious…yes, I’m talking to you, Vampire Weekend), I am besotted with the lyrics:
So here’s a mighty revelation
That’s sure to cure what ails ya
That everyone’s just a disappointment
And everyone’s a failure
And the delightful chorus: “And ever since I gave up hope I’ve been feeling so much better.”
Thank you, Andrew Bird, for providing me some cover for my abysmal performance with the vegetable box this week.
I admit right off the bat that I didn’t use the mushrooms soon enough and they turned into a slimy, soggy, shameful mess (FAIL). I also made fried rice with the bok choy and broccoli and pizza with the roasted peppers and potatoes that I delivered to my gym family without taking pictures (FAIL). Gym peeps, back me up on this, K?
Here’s what else happened:
Some of the peppers made it into a hearty dish of migas: stale tortillas, homemade bacon, onions, and peppers, scrambled up with eggs, and slathered with cheese, avocado, hot sauce, and sour cream.
We countered the artery-clogging nature of the migas with the artery-clearing properties of a hand-harvested red wine from Ballard Canyon’s Saarloos and Sons. Saarloos names all of their wines after members of the family; this one was Big Brother. It was an in-your-face grenache, but not a fruit bomb. This wine is very well-balanced: in addition to the cherry and red fruit one generally associates with warm climate grenache, there was a good amount of cedar and herbs on the nose and palate. The bottle is also really cool. I mean: look at that bike.
I also finally made it to Bucktown, the new (tiny) place on the West Side that serves Southern specialties. When you go, do not miss the fried green tomatoes (shatteringly crispy and not mushy at all!) or the collard greens (again, not mushy, and well seasoned with bacon). If you are lucky, as I was, this very friendly neighborhood cat may come visit you!
The kitty definitely wins the post. For me, I’ll continue to contemplate my failure and listen to Andrew Bird.