Breathe Owl Breathe
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Breathe Owl Breathe

Band Folk Comedy

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Music

Press


"Yancey Strickler, reviewing Ghost Glacier EP"

Breathe Owl Breathe sing of folklore and homespun miracles, oral histories left to thaw in the earth's crust until pre-history's giant ice cubes rolled their wet bulk down the North Pole and into Canada, finally settling into extinction in what we now call the Great Lakes. It's from the shores of these bodies that Breathe Owl Breathe come (Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be precise). These are songs about being left behind, songs about being dead, songs without geography, songs worth repeating... The music is very economical — guitar, cello, drums, piano, other organic sounds — and the vocals float between folk and country, a very earnest mood... The marriage of their music and lyrics is the sort of chance meeting that becomes a 60th anniversary in a blink. Middaugh, Moreno-Beals and drummer Trevor Hobbs are easy and fluid with one another, enabling their songs to (deceptively) feel more like happy accidents than serious, premeditated songwriting. That's where their charm lies. Whether or not you're listening hardly matters: this music has always existed, and always will. - emusic


"Pitchfork Forkcast review for "Playing Dead""

As Breathe Owl Breathe, Michigan trio Micah Middaugh, Andréa Moreno-Beals and Trevor Hobbs sound as intimately familiar with woods and wild as their band name suggests, but there's an air of cosmopolitan sophistication, too. Their forest-paced, guitar-and cello-grounded "Playing Dead" has the careful, modern approach to folk production of rustic post-rock ensemble Califone, and Middaugh's weary vocal also braves Palace Brothers' Southern haints. "I got you, didn't I," Middaugh repeats in harmony with Moreno-Beals, as cymbals splash across some delicate acoustic plucking. The verses reflect nostalgically on playing dead as a child by the swing set, so this chorus comes to tell everyone they're just fooling. At the same time, the joke may be getting played on us, too: "When I was alive..." Middaugh begins one line. What, is he dead? Still, like North Carolina's similarly verdant Bowerbirds, Breathe Owl Breathe keep their lyrics earnest and un-showy ("Your hair is gray...the light is black") and then bask in organic splendor. They got me, didn't they? - Pitchfork


Discography

Summer 2008- "Ghost Glacier" (CD, LP, MP3) available through emusic

Spring 2008- "Ghost Glacier EP" (MP3) available through emusic, featured through emusic selects

Summer 2006- "Canadian Shield" (CD, MP3) available through itunes

Fall 2005- "Climb in" (CD, MP3) availbe through itunes

You can stream a selection of tracks at our myspace/breatheowlbreathe site.

Photos

Bio

How did we carve to this? I guess we whittled from the inside out at first, trying to cultivate and catapult these small songs over the castle wall. With instruments, levers, wires, and the sturdy encouraging hands of friends, we formed the
band / art project, Breathe Owl Breathe.
Before the band came together, we were all in different places working on different things. I was studying printmaking, Andréa was giving cello lessons, and Trevor was reading and making maps. When I first met Andréa we played music
all day outside under a shady tree. Later that same day, we made a recording of short story songs inside a small messy room with drawings on the wall. The day I met Trevor, we played music inside a dorm room and later made a movie
about zombies. The recording was a think piece; the movie was a romantic comedy; and we were friends forever (at least).
The name Breathe Owl Breathe came from a dream I had. There was an owl that was cutting its way through the cold, still night. (Whoever was in charge of the cinematography of the dream—my hatʼs off to them.) It was from the perspective
of just above a field mouse scurrying through blades of grass. The mouse then found a little divot in the ground, laid down on its back, and gave its last breath. The breath rose up into the sky, passing by the owlʼs beak. The owl gave a
breath, turned its head, and decided to fly away. Suspended in the air, I watched the owl weave its way out of sight, flapping three flaps on one wing before switching to the other wing to do the same. I had never seen a bird fly that way. I woke up and wrote “Breathe Owl Breathe” on the windowsill with a ballpoint pen, then fell back to sleep. The
pen was out of ink, so the writing (I discovered the next morning) was more of an indentation of the words into wood. I called Andréa up, she wrote down Breathe Owl Breathe, the dream came back, and we had ourselves a name.
Our first show came a week later. I was doing some day work in Grand Rapids, MI pounding nails up on a rooftop, when my friend came running down the street yelling, “Youʼre opening up for Little Wings!”. It was meant to be an art
show as well, of drawings by Kyle Field (a.k.a. Little Wings). Unfortunately, his art did not arrive by mail in time. So instead, Kyle drew on the walls of the venue with markers as the night unfolded, listening while he drew. This show meant a lot to us.
Andréa and I played together for two years, writing, singing, bowing banjos, and stitching albums together before Trevor jumped on. Trying to put our hands in the work, with original woodcuts, silkscreens, and drawings on each album
was important to us. Once, we even drew with crayons on the labels of our CDʼs — little did we know it caused peopleʼs boom boxes to smell like burning, melting wax. Iʼm proud to say we have learned from our mistakes.
Four years later we find ourselves sharing our third full length album “Ghost Glacier”, with plans to release it on vinyl in 2009. Carving our way through landscapes, we will be touring in the summer and fall. We look forward to seeing
you on the way, stay warm and inspired.

-Micah
January 2009