Birdwatchers of America
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Birdwatchers of America

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"CD Of The Day!"

Birdwatchers of America-There Have Been Sightings
There's just something about the debut disc from Boston's Birdwatchers of America that defies categorization.... Not quite power pop, not quite jangle-rock, not quite classic rock, but not quite Americana, There Have Been Sightings may be tough to pin down genre-wise but is an outstanding accomplishment nonetheless.

After the first of six brief spoken-word musings on ornithology, "Rain Down The Chimes" bursts through the speakers with a classic sound that recalls birds spelled with a "y" instead of an "i", but not as jangly. There's a bit of the Third of Never and The Grip Weeds in this track, yet it stands on its own as melodic, atmospheric rock. "Ashes of the Sun" pushes the six-minute mark, but never wears out its welcome as it first appears a straightforward midtempo rocker but builds an interesting momentum. "The Boy Emperor and G.I. Joe" recalls Sound of Lies-era Jayhawks, when Gary Louris was attempting to channel Alex Chilton, and is another quality track. Elsewhere, "Save The Berlin Wall Committee Blues" also leans Americana, with more the feel of some of Wilco's more adventurous Mermaid Avenue outings; "Call From Virginia" is a 7-minute gem which makes me rethink my philosophy that the best pop songs shouldn't exceed 3-4 minutes, and the final proper track "My Stolen Bird" is another fine tune in the overall vein of the disc.

With its idiosyncratic retro-yet-new pop sound and loose concept, this disc has the makings of a pop cult classic that some tastemaker will unearth 10-15 years from now. But don't wait until then - grab what may turn out to be 2008's most singular pop release today.
- Absolute Powerpop

"This album is must listen material."

Whether or not you take pleasure in watching for birds, you will enjoy listening to Birdwatchers of America’s first full-length album, There Have Been Sightings. A blend of toe-tap-inducing, pop-folk tunes, this album definitely stays true to the birdwatching theme.

With powerful tracks that will stick in your head for days, such as “Rain Down the Chimes” and “Ashes of the Sun,” there are certainly some future hits resting in this nest of an album. These catchy lyrics and upbeat chords carry through to other songs, like “The Boy Emperor and G.I. Joe,” which features an impressive guitar solo, and the electric guitar-filled “Save the Berlin Wall Committee Blues,” which starts with a sound that could be straight out of Pulp Fiction. The longest song on the album, nearly seven minutes long, “Call From Virginia,” takes on a slower, mellower mood with some beautiful vocals.
With former members of The Red Telephone and Permafrost, and sounds often compared to Wilco and Radiohead, this album is must listen material.
-- Rebecca Schiller [December 9, 2008]
- Amplifier Magazine

"5 Stars (out of 6)"

Birdwatchers of America - There Have Been Sightings (CD, Raise Giant Frogs, Pop)

Boston, Massachusetts-based band Birdwatchers of America was created in 2006 from the ashes of other bands (The Red Telephone, Permafrost, The Willows, The Details). On this, the band's debut album, many of the tunes remind us of the 1990s band Dumptruck. These guys present their tunes simply, using tasteful guitars and genuinely heartfelt vocals. The band consists of Matt Hutton (vocals, guitars), Pat MacDonald (bass, mandolin, glockenspeil), Jon Rosen (keyboards), and Adam Goodwin (drums, vocals, percussion). The songs on There Have Been Sightings are reminiscent of guitar pop bands from the 1980s. Vocal melodies are at the forefront and harmonies are an integral part of the sound. Smooth, cool cuts include "Ashes of the Sun," "Save the Berlin Wall Committee Blues," and "My Stolen Bird." Neat stuff with a nice polished sound... (Rating: 5)
- Babysue / LMNOP Online


"There Have Been Sightings" LP released 10/08
"Ashes of the Sun"/"Rain Down the Chimes" single released 10/08



Birdwatchers of America emerged out of the ashes of the 90's Boston pop scene. At the forefront of the scene were The Red Telephone and Permafrost, two critically-acclaimed bands that only barely made it on the national radar, largely thanks to college radio and the independent press. Yet true to all-too-many stories, the bands were derailed by shoddy record deals: The Red Telephone to Warner Brothers, PermaFrost to Emperor Norton. Resigned to anonymity, with little label support, both bands called it quits by the early oughts. ***** A few years later, in early 2006, Telephone frontman Matt Hutton, toiling in his day job as a teacher and itching to get performing again, called up old bandmate Pat MacDonald. Bassist MacDonald had been playing with former Permafrost drummer Adam Goodwin in the Details (with Boston pop mavens Dave Aaronoff and Corin Ashley). Hutton and MacDonald invited Goodwin in to start up a new project, and thus Birdwatchers of America was born.***** The trio aimed to create a rootsy folk-rock sound. They worked with several organists, fiddle players, and pedal steel players, refining their approach. "As we got going, a lot of the pop tendencies and psychedelic overtones kept reemerging," says Hutton. "But the roots instruments brought in great new textures. So we ran with it." ***** What shines in Birdwatchers of America, as their debut full-length "There Have Been Sightings" (Raise Giant Frogs, 2008) testifies, is a vintage pop sensibility with rough-hewn edges and loopy frills, equal parts Big Star and Radiohead, Wilco and the Pixies. ***** "The music industry is in shambles, and we have grown up a bit. The whole concept of 'making it big' sounds a little ridiculous in this era, unless you're on reality TV, earning your fifteen minutes of shame," says Hutton. "Our main goal with this recording was to make the record we would most want to listen to ourselves, regardless of who will hear it. As soon as you stop thinking about the music as a means to some other success, and more as an end in itself, you have the freedom to be as creative and genre-bending as you like. A harpsichord solo over pedal steel? Why not? How about glockenspiel over fuzz bass? We just had fun producing the record." ***** And why "Birdwatchers of America"? "It's the least 'cool' thing you could imagine, like something your grandmother does," says Hutton. "But if you think about it, what could be cooler? Maybe grandma was on to something." *****