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Andrew Bird’s “Manifest” is his finest work yet

Multi-instrumentalist artist Andrew Bird released his latest album My Finest Effort last week, and has just debuted the new animated video for the terrific track “Manifest”.



Multi-instrumentalist artist Andrew Bird released his latest album My Finest Work Yet last week, and has just debuted the new animated video for the terrific track “Manifest”.

We haven’t talked about Andrew Bird in awhile here. We reviewed his 2005 album Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs, and then 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha. He’s been extremely busy since- 8 full-length albums since- and his latest might just be as its title states.

The new video for “Manifest” (above) is An animated film by Andrea Nakhla with creative direction by Matthew Daniel Siskin and Andrew Bird himself. It is the perfect accompaniment to the wispy track; an airy and dream-like visual representation of the music.

Talking about the process of recording My Finest Work Yet, Bird has said;

“[My Finest Work Yet] … was recorded live to tape at Barefoot Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Bird and band went for that Rudy Van Gelder jazz room sound where the instruments bleed in to all the mics in just the right way. Piano plays a strong role on these songs and most of the melodies are tinged with a gospel-jazz-60s soul feel while the lyrics are direct and risk-taking, cutting to the quick of what’s happening in our world.”

My Finest Work Yet is available now via Loma Vista Recordings.


Like father, like son: That’s My Jazz

That’s My Jazz is a beautiful story about fathers and sons



That’s My Jazz is a short (14 mins) documentary that details the story of pastry chef Milton Abel II. He is the son of renowned Kansas City jazz musician Milton Abel Sr who made a name in the local jazz circle. The documentary is a beautifully shot piece that tells the story from the perspective of Abel II- reminiscing about life growing up the son of a famous jazz musician and how it would ultimately shape his own life as a pastry chef.

The documentary was made by Breakwater Studios and aside from it being visually arresting, it is a very well put together story of the oft-complex relationship between fathers and sons. The crux of the story is the question Milton Abel II has asked himself- would he trade his successful career as a pastry chef to have stayed home to take care of his aging father?

As the film opens, he states

“If you were to put a button in front of me today where we would go back and I would say ‘no’ to the French Laundry and stay at home with my dad, live in a split-level apartment, take care of him, I would hit that button.”

Abel Sr. passed away some 12 years ago and the film asks the hard question of whether or not one should forgo the potential of a future for familial responsibility. One that Abel II clearly answers.

However, the film isn’t just about this moral dilemma, it is also about the connection one has with their craft. In this case, the similarity between the dedication it takes to be a renowned pastry chef and that of a legendary jazz musician. The film is soundtracked by jazz’s timeless sound, adding to the short film’s remarkable resonance. As the film concludes, we find that there is a circular grace to life- and that the choices we make going forward will at times find its way back to the beginning.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Abel II says with simplicity, that in the end regardless of your work, your children care about one thing above all;

“They don’t care if dad is a great pastry chef. They just care that dad is a great dad.”

If you have 15 minutes, That’s My Jazz is well worth your time.

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Berwanger remembers “When I Was Young”

Berwanger preps new album with video for “When I Was Young”



For those who were big Vagrant Records fans in the late 90s and early 00s, there was one band that flew just under that Get Up Kids / Saves the Day radar. That band was The Anniversary, and while they didn’t quite reach the same heights as some of their more noted label mates, their two albums are still some of the best from that label, not just of that era, but period. Josh Berwanger knows, he was there. As lead singer for The Anniversary, Berwanger’s work along with his bandmates still has resonance to this day.

The Anniversary broke up in January of 2004 but John Berwanger remained busy all through the years after. And even though The Anniversary reunited in 2016, Berwanger continued to release and perform as a solo act under the moniker Berwanger.

Now Berwanger is on the cusp of releasing his new solo album, titled Watching a Garden Die (the follow-up to 2017’s And The Star Invaders). The new album is due June 28th via Wiretap Records and pre-orders are being taken now. In the lead up to the release, Berwanger has released the wistful video for the track “When I Was Young”- an ode to yesterday and growing up, wrapped inside that comforting super-8 video blanket.

The song features that great country-strewn sound of pedal steels and open roads and showcases the backing work of Hot Rod Circuit members Jay Russell and Casey Prestwood. This one is going to be a good one folks, I can feel it.

For those unfamiliar with Berwanger’s work, I would recommend checking out his 2016 album Exorcism Rock and of course, The Anniversary’s Designing A Nervous Breakdown.

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