Oh! My Blackbird
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Oh! My Blackbird

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"The song is inspired by a really bad breakup with a boyfriend, and the idea was that I couldn't move on even though it was always bad," singer Annie Sullivan tells Spinner. "The music video uses this idea, showing the guy (portrayed by Nick Jozwiak) passed out drunk and the girl (me) asleep and upset. The clothing comes to life while we're asleep. First, the girl sneaks out of the room and meets up with a friend (Veronica Kohl), and then the boyfriend's clothes notice, and join us. At first, the girl is upset to see him, but by the end of the video, she shrugs it off because she loves him despite his faults." - Spinner.com


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPaih5h1xoY - Balcony TV


For their full-length debut “Dare Me,” Oh! My Blackbird explore sweet folk pop melodies, creating a sound that’s inspired without being referential. “Dare Me” is not only both brooding and upbeat, but simple while still carrying the weight of heartache and let downs. And the NYC trio’s musical background of jazz, classical, and, of course, folk is manifested throughout each song. Oh! My Blackbird’s force comes through the sincerity in the vocals of Annie Sullivan and Verionca Kohl, which play agaisnt the energy of bassist and cellist Nick Jozwiak. The band will next appear at the “Dare Me” release party at Pete’s Candy Shop of April 7. - Devon Anotnetti - The Deli


With an honest mastery of complex chord structures, the first Oh! My Blackbird full length, Dare Me, takes the groups signature style to new levels of polished beauty. The album is filled with perfectly pitched harmonies and lyrical lines that combat the surrounding space for sanity. If there was ever a band with something to say, OMB is it. Their unequivocal ability to emote their most potent memories and aspirations sets them apart, sets them as shining beacons in the DIY community. Ultimately, the album takes a somber, reflective moment; putting life into perspective, at least, for the artist. - Dingus


Back in January when I put together a list of bands that I thought should get a lot of attention in 2012, I had no idea how proud they would make me. Three months into the year and I’ve already heard a ton of great music out of these 12 groups. Oh! My Blackbird, a trio from Brooklyn, has proven me right yet again with their debut full-length Dare Me.

The group first came to my attention when they had a song on the Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen compilation that I reviewed last year. That tune, “True Story,” was a sunny bit of 60's pop that stuck with me and I couldn’t wait to hear more from them. Unfortunately, the Internet was in short supply of Oh! My Blackbird, so I had to wait until the official release of their album.

The album kicks off with the title track featuring a layered cello before kicking in with an aggressive string riff and moves into the bands signature glorious harmonies. “Dare Me” is a great introduction both musically and thematically for an album as steady in its narrative and it is volatile in style.

There are no bad songs on the record, so I’ll highlight a couple of my favorites here. First, maybe the best moment on the album comes on what I can only imagine would be the lead single if this were headed out to radio stations, “Faking.” It’s the longest song featured on Dare Me, and my only problem with it is that it’s not longer. If you’re looking for one song to tell you what Oh! My Blackbird’s music is like, this is it.


I think my favorite tune is “Stick Song.” it’s a bit less complex than some of the other songs, but I dig it. I imagine if Azure Ray decided to become a cover band of The Turtles, it might sound like this. It’s got universal relatability, and the lyrics penned by Annie Sullivan have a tendency to stick in your head:

I wish that I was cool like you boy,
I wish I could be cool like you
I wish that I had lips like starlight
And eyes made out of glue
So I could stick stick stick right onto you
So when you tear me away it just rips you in two


“Garden Walls” takes a more psychedelic twist about 90 seconds in, and is all the better for it. Playing off that layered cello that opened the album, they add in some electric guitar and get a real funky interlude going. And again, Sullivan’s lyrics stick out:

Come and break this awful silence
I’m not afraid of violence
I’m not afraid of a choice I make, so don’t take me from myself


I’m more impressed with the work done on Dare Me every time I listen to it. Producer Oliver Ignatius has helped the band craft a record that perfectly captures what they’re all about. After a few delays the album is available on their Bandcamp page for $5, and I highly doubt that you could spend that amount more wisely. - Music-defined.com


Oh! My Blackbird play the kind of indie-folk that reminds you of fresh cut grass and sun-drenched mornings. That being said, it's no surprise that their video for "Little Bird" would feature both of those things -- though not in the ways you'd expect. Imagine you go to sleep after a lovers spat, and the next morning, pieces of your room come to life to sing out the reality of the day to come. It's a little something like that. The wig on the dresser pairs with the dress on the floor to strum out your feelings on your guitar. The socks, pants, and shirts have a say in the matter also -- and they've all chosen your front yard to do your bidding. It's a light-hearted ode to heavier issues, and it's such an enjoyable watch. Check it out, and for more Oh! My Blackbird, grab their Too Much Future EP on iTunes. - purevolume.com


It appears that everyone and their sister is putting up a mid-point top 25 list already, so I figured what the heck. I’ve heard 25 albums this year, maybe I should make a list. Fortunately I’ve been keeping a weekly top ten on the site every week since February, so I don’t have to think about my top ten at all. There have been a lot of albums that have come close to making the list, or been on and fell off shortly after. This is their time to shine, as they are all still very much worth your time. Not quite all of these have been reviewed on the site-I honestly don’t have time to post about every record I listen to, but I get close. For the most part these are names are ones you’ll recognize from previous posts. If not, you need to start doing some listening. Links to reviews will be provided. - Music-Defined.com


Lou Canon- Heart Of
We Are the Woods- God Save Owen Wilson
Shannon Stephens- Care of You
Emily Jane White- Lay to Rest (California)
Courtney Barnett- Lance Jr.
Fear of Men- Doldrums
Tristen and the Ringers- Avalanche
Oh! My Blackbird- Stone - Rubyfruit Radio


Last week I posted my top 25 albums released so far this year. This week I’m once again foregoing my regularly posted Revolving Top Ten and providing you with my Top 25 Tracks so far. You’ll probably notice quite a bit of overlap between albums and songs. That’s to be expected. If it’s a top 25 album, chances are there is at least one top 25 song. Obviously I only chose one song per artist (which made this very tough in some cases). I’ll provide audio embeds where I can to allow you to make a decision on your own of whether or not it belongs here (and YouTube vids for the others).
The order isn’t concrete, but rather the order that I thought of them. Except for “Emmylou” by First Aid Kit, which I said would be the song of the year the first time I heard it. - Music-defined.com


Discography

Too Much Future EP, March 2011
Drop Dead EP, October 2011
Dare Me LP, March 2012

Singles from "Dare Me", to date

1. "No Exit"
2. "Faking"

Photos

Bio

Fronted by lead vocalist and guitarist Annie Sullivan, alt-folk trio Oh! My Blackbird harness the magic of close vocal harmonies and pissed off lyrics. With Nick Jozwiak (cello, bass, auto harp) and Veronica Kohl (tambourine, vocals), they create a tight yet playful folk pop sound, akin to the Fleet Foxes. Oh! My Blackbird released their debut full-length album Dare Me on March 26th.

Inspired by classical music — particularly choral music and madrigals—and ‘60s and late ‘70s folk revival, mixed with 90’s-00’s era rock, their sound is driven by tight vocals and witty, often venomous lyrics. Sullivan, as Oh! My Blackbird’s songwriter, tells introspective tales of real life experiences that are steeped in traditional pop—like a string of really bad boyfriends— mixed with a mystical folk mentality. “Our goal is to create folk-pop sung in a traditional folk manner,” she said.

Sullivan met Kohl, a Toronto native, at New York City’s famed Professional Children’s School (alumni include Yo-Yo Ma, Vera Wang, Carrie Fisher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci and Milton Berle, among many others). Sullivan, a self-taught guitarist, was studying to be an Opera singer, but quickly realized her desire to sing her own music. She began writing songs and around the same time met Kohl; the mischievous teens became best friends.

The two remained in NYC for college—Sullivan at The New School, Kohl attending Fordham -- and rented an Alphabet City apartment. They began singing Sullivan’s songs and found that Kohl, while a non-trained musician, has a startlingly similar singing voice to Sullivan. Kohl holds her own as the only non-formally trained member of Oh! My Blackbird, a testament to her natural moxie and feel for music.

At a fateful Christmas soiree in their apartment, a friend brought Jozwiak, a musical prodigy from the suburbs of Chicago and student at The New School for Jazz and contemporary music. The middle child between to girls, Jozwiak grew up in a family of musicians, evident in his freakish virtuosity and kinetic musical chops. A multi-instrumentalist with a trained background in double bass, he also plays piano, auto-harp, guitar and cello and virtually any other instrument he picks up.

After performing together for two years as Blackbird, a five-piece electric outfit, the group realized their greatest strength was in their intricate vocal harmonies. They stripped the band down to a tight acoustic trio, and changed the name to a more copyright friendly Oh! My Blackbird. “We prefer to play shows which allow us to be intimate with the audience and sing the songs in a way that showcases the harmonies and melodies in the forefront,” said Sullivan.

Oh! My Blackbird released their first EP Too Much Future in May 2011, followed by Drop Dead EP in October 2011. Both releases are highlighted by Kohl’s earthy vocals, Jozwiak’s soaring cello lines and Sullivan’s romantic and acerbic lyrics:

"I could die here waiting for you
And tell you things you wouldn’t believe.
Although before I did adore you, promised to stay but got up to leave.
Now my love I do implore you
The bloodstains are all you can see
But I could die here waiting for you, so please sit down right next to me"
Song: "Stone" from Drop Dead EP

Oh! My Blackbird has performed around NYC at places like Pete’s Candy Store, Piano’s, Public Assembly, Arlene’s Grocery, The Delancey, Cake Shop, R Bar, Bar East, Crash Mansion, Alphabet Lounge, Parkside Lounge and The Local 269.

RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Jessica Lea Mayfeild, First Aid Kit, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Neko Case, Peter Paul and Mary,Tilly & The Wall, Mates of State, Tegan and Sara, The Belle Brigade, Mamas & the Papas, Richard and Linda Thompson, Fleetwood Mac.