National Bird
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National Bird

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop




"National Bird "The Rhythm of Our Science" EP Review."

National Bird are a band that are easy to like right off the bat. The band that I continued to reference when listening to their new EP, The Rhythm of Our Science, was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Not necessarily because they sounded just like them (although their fleshed out americana are somewhat similar), but mostly in the fact that they are easy to like. So much so that I could see people making that a bad thing. The production on the record is crisp, the melodies are tight and the presentation makes you feel like you know the band the instant they kick into their songs. This worries me. Easy access can often lead me to get bored with a band and I have often found that my all time favorite albums are ones that proved inaccessible to me on first blush. I am not sure if National Bird will fall victim to this conundrum, but the first few spins of The Rhythm of Our Science finds a band that I could see gaining some real traction in the local scene.

The five songs on the EP are all classic American indie rock and roll. Starting with the breezy track “In Summer,” the group storm through the five song record in quick and precise fashion. “Fixin It” is the kind of well rounded, keyboard driven pop that fans of local group the Alarmists would find right up their alley. The rest of the songs feature the kind of part alt country/part REM style indie rock that should by all inclination be well received in a scene that seems to eat this stuff up. “Poor Rock and Roll,” the charging “Physical Fitness” and the wistful “You’re a Liar” round out the EP, which should prove to have nearly infinite repeat value for fans of the groups style of music.

While I don’t know if the initial gleam of the record will wear off, the new (at least as far as I know) group has a confident, well rounded sound that really comes across well on The Rhythm of Our Science. Your experience with the album will most likely be shaped your perception coming in. If you are a fan of airtight pop music with sharp melodies that you are humming before the track is even over, The Rhythm of Our Scienceis probably going to be in heavy rotation for you. If you like you music a little rougher around the edges and less accessible, you probably would roll your eye through this five song EP. Either way, National Bird have a sound that I am fairly certain will resonate strongly with a scene that still for all accounts revolves around the Jayhawks and the ‘Mats, so whether you like them or not, expect to hear more from National Bird in the future.

"Concrete and Grass mixes it up again"

Minneapolis quintet National Bird marks the release of its new EP, "The Rhythm of Our Science," with a CD-release show tonight at the Turf Club. With two songwriters and singers, the band managed to write and record five distinct tunes that don't sound much alike but still feel like they've come from the same source. Think of the Jayhawks' less country, more pop moments and you're halfway there. BNLX and Wizards Are Real open. - Pioneer Press

"Local music: Proud to be an Okee Dokee"

Having two bandleaders can be tricky, but National Bird's dueling frontmen, Casey Nelson and Dan Wenz, did a fine job whittling their respective singer/songwriter styles and myriad influences into one cohesive, tight, hard-popping five-song EP, "The Rhythm of Our Science," which they're celebrating Friday at the Turf Club with BLNX (10 p.m., $5). Songs such as "In Summer" and "Poor Rock and Roll" have a Big Star-ry melodic punch and wry lyricism, while the snarling "Physical Fitness" shows a Spoon side. ... - Star Tribune

"National Bird – The Rhythm of our Science"

Time hasn’t allowed for much writing this week, but this latest development calls for some urgency! Something new and feathery is flying into the Turf Club tomorrow night. It’s a National Bird! No, no – not a bald eagle, and come to think of it, it may not even be that new and shiny (it’s been flapping around the local clubs for a couple years now), but it will be performing and selling something new and shiny.

National Bird is the machination of Minneapolis songwriting duo Dan Wenz and Casey Nelson, and they have a new EP dropping tomorrow called The Rhythm of our Science. The Rhythm of our Science is five tunes “steeped in all facets of rock” (if such a thing is possible!) According to the band, their “sound is reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s hair circa 1976 with highlights of Tom Petty’s attitude.” I’m still not sure exactly what Orbison’s hair or Petty’s attitude sound like (can someone help me out here?), so instead, I might just put it this way: The Rhythm of our Science – 5 songs that sound exactly like five of the sweetest things to have come out of the Twin Cities thus far in 2010.

No kidding, just listen to this, and hit up the Turf Club tomorrow for National Bird’s EP release! They’ll be joined by Borang favs BNLX, Wizards Are Real, and DJ sets by Psychedelic Shack. -

"National Bird debut The Rhythm of Our Science"

Combining their total years playing together and apart, National Bird's Dan Wenz and Casey Nelson have been in the local music trenches for more than two decades. During that time they had seemingly found their niche and locked in on it, singing and playing guitar or bass in service of knotty and complex indie-rock tunes across a number of different projects, including End Transmission, the Tide, and, most notably, Tin Horns. When last group fizzled out unexpectedly in 2007, however, the pair took stock of their past musical output and set sail in a new direction with an unexpected soft-pop beacon as their guide: Hall & Oates. "In between bands, Dan and I had a weird side project called Hall of Notes, which was a Hall & Oates cover band," recalls Nelson, with a grin wide enough that I initially think he's putting me on. "We re-imagined their hit songs while keeping the structure pretty much the same. We would typically learn the song and record it in a half-hour span. I noticed when we were learning all those songs that all of the Hall & Oates hits are structured exactly the same way to a T—and they all work! It really made me think about focusing on getting the point across more effectively in our own songs."

National Bird's new EP, The Rhythm of Our Science, isn't exactly Private Eyes, but it does mark a welcome move into streamlined pop terrain after a decade spent largely avoiding traditional verse-chorus-verse strong structures (and for the record, Nelson wasn't kidding, and I've got the mp3 demo of "Man Eater" to prove it). Lead single "In Summer" is a sinewy slab of sweltering and sinister pop-rock, with a choral guitar hook a mile wide that Spoon would be proud to call their own. "Physical Fitness" chugs along with lock-step concision, bowling over the listener with barbed-wire riffage and exiting stage right in a shade over two and a half minutes.

"At one point all of our songs used to be averaging over five minutes in length," recalls Wenz. "This time around we wanted a more focused vision; I was ready to try out more of a pop formula and actually write the kind of song that might fit in the background of a TV show. We'll always have our share of songs with crazy time signatures but it's also nice to get to the point a bit faster."

At the same time that Wenz and Nelson were reigning in their sound, Nelson decided to push his lyrics further out—way out. While Wenz's tunes on The Rhythm of Our Science are grounded takes on summer living, dissolving relationships ("You're a Liar"), and the struggle of trying to make a living in music ("Poor Rock & Roll"), Nelson has chosen to channel his inner Isaac Asimov, spinning tales of intergalactic travel ("Fixin' It") and fleeing from supernatural dangers ("Physical Fitness").

Nelson doesn't plan on bringing his songwriting back down to Earth anytime soon. "Up until this band I was always embarrassed by whatever lyrics I tried to write," Nelson readily offers. "They were just awful, like the scribbling of some little kid in junior high. I was ashamed of them. When I started writing these new songs for National Bird I decided to completely change my approach and not make them really have anything to do with my life and just write science-fiction stories instead. That's pretty much all I do now—write songs about monsters and the apocalypse and time travel."

With such disparate lyrical styles and singing voices—Wenz favors a classic croon reminiscent of Richard Swift, Nelson a clipped deadpan—it's a testament to the personal bond between the two that they've been able to make their musical talents gel so effectively into a coherent whole.

"It helps when you're a huge fan of the person you're playing with and love the kind of music they make," explains Wenz of their mutual ease in co-fronting the quintet that also features guitarist Kris Johnson, drummer Ryan Otte, and Wenz's sister July Palm on bass. "There's never really been any talk about power sharing."

"We lived together for a long time," adds Nelson "And we've been really close for a number of years now, so that's definitely a part of it. I'm a fan of his, and I trust his musical ideas so it just works out. I don't know exactly how it works but I purposely don't spend too much time thinking about it because I don't want to jinx it." - City Pages

"Stone Arch Festival of the Arts: A music geek's guide"

Why they're worth your time: Arising from the ashes of great one-perfect-album-and-sadly-done local combo Tin Horns, National Bird features a similarly sinewy brand of post-punk rock (and two of Tin Horns' principal singer-guitarists). Whether Dan Wenz or Casey Nelson is at the mic, the group revels in pairing obtuse lyrics with acute hooks. If you skipped your morning cup of coffee, National Bird's adrenaline-stoking rock attack should provide more than enough kick to get you feeling wide awake. - City Pages


Veteran Beginners CD/EP 2011
The Rhythm Of Our Science CD/EP 2010



National Bird is a rock quintet from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are quite good. They have been making rock and roll music together and presenting it publicly since 2006. National Bird has a sound that attempts to integrate all the best things rock music has to offer, and extricate the things that make rock and roll boring or pretentious. They are happy to experiment, but not above paying homage to the greats of every era. National Bird's 2010 EP "The Rhythm of Our Science" garnered critical praise and provided a solid foundation for future efforts. Those efforts were realized upon the completion of the new EP "Veteran Beginners", which provides still more proof that National Bird are, indeed, quite good.