The Morning Birds
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The Morning Birds

West Hollywood, California, United States | SELF

West Hollywood, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk

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If there ain't somethin in that little lot to get you shimmying, you ain't got ears! - Burdz Eye View


They make running a music site like this worthwhile and however overwhelmingly biased we are towards them, we will not make any apologies. Check them out, they are delightful, its official. - Beehive Candy


"..creating soundscapes that paint a perfect summer picture – positive beats that remind me of a day in the sand. The Morning Birds know how to create a feel-good vibe, and their latest record “Surrender to This” is backing that statement up." - Pens Eye View


"...reach this track (and) you’ll see why it will be so hard to get this one out of your head." - Maimed and Tamed


This magnificent EP, full of pastoral optimism and the virtues of spectacular-sounding harmonies sounds as if it was lost and eventually dug out from the 60's. That being said, It doesn't sound dated as it teeters somewhere between psychedelic pop and folk with some tunes at a faster twist, indicating more contemporary influences. The voices of Jenn and Sam are beautifully combined and make up for a soulful and pleasurable listen. - Did Y'all Hear That?


One thing this album does quite well is the integration of this retro aesthetic into the songwriting. The title track features a Latin-flavored guitar strum and hand claps that are so Beatles circa 1964, while “Born to Be Alive” is a fun, up-tempo song with a strong rockabilly flair. - Consequence of Sound


"It's Then You'll Know - Spooky, sexy sixties inspired siren complete with a sped-up gothic breakdown, this video has it all!"
- Printed Review in The Deli CMJ 2011 Issue - The Deli Magazine


The Mad Mackerel selects The Morning Birds "Born To Be Alive" as one of the best songs of November 2011! Off upcoming EP, Surrender To This, out January/February 2012... - The Mad Mackerel


"Born To Be Alive, which skips along on the back of a groove so funky that it sounds like it was kidnapped from a 1970s New York disco and dragged into the new Millennium. Add the doo-wop harmonies and slinky percussion and we have a song that is so sure to put a smile on your face it could come with a money back guarantee." - The Mad Mackerel


The Morning Birds cinematic tones make you feel as if you're floating on a cumulous cloud at daybreak being transported to another time and place like a willing Dorothy and Toto. 'The Quickening' weaves Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus' stunning vocals around a complex yet comforting piece of sublime pop - call the control center and ask for clearance 'cause this one makes me want to break into airplane pose and fly away. - Yoga Shelter Sounds



The Morning Birds’ new single, “Heart’s Desire,” is a soothing, relaxing ballad to be included on their second album,The Quickening, releasing on April 26.

The co-ed duo consists of Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Marcus who complement each other’s comforting vocals. Markus has a raspy sensuality while Thorington has a higher pitched, pleasingly frail voice, nicely fitted for this lullaby of sorts. In an added push for beauty, sorrowful strings come in half way through the song. This song could be a good option for setting the mood after coming home from a lively Saturday night, but certainly not for getting pumped up beforehand. - Modern Mystery


It is one of those records that has gradually grown and grown on us and is full of lovely harmonies and rich, warm instrumentation that reminds us of duos like She & Him, but is altogether more joyful and uplifting – these two are what we would have once called hippies, and they are all the better for it! - Mad Mackerel


The duo of Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus have created one of the most creative independent music groups of the last two years. The Morning Birds' debut album, "Inspiration Point" garnished them as one of the NRG Theory "Artist Picks Of The Week". The duo have been extra busy readying their new release "The Quickening" which features 22 songs ranging from acoustic pop to folk hip-hop. - My Record Journal / JP's Music Blog


What would you do with an evening, some mirrors, lights and your living room? If you’re LA’s The Morning Birds, you’ll combine all of these things and your creative genius to produce a music video that feels like a trippy 60s variety show.
“It’s Then You’ll Know” was conceived, filmed, acted and edited by Samuel Markus and Jennifer Thorington in their home in the mountains two hours from LA. The infectious tune and the playful, vibrant images combine to make “It’s Then You’ll Know” a video you’ll just have to share.
- Skope Magazine


One of the newest acts in the indie, singer-songwriter vein, The Morning Birds only just formed two years ago when the two members Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus met in musical hotspot Los Angeles and began dating. While there has always been an ill-defined animosity towards “cute couples”, don’t let that discourage you. The two are a perfect complement to each other, weaving in and out of the others vocals and instrumentation, sharing verses and harmonizing on any chorus. The Quickening will be Thorington and Markus’ second release together as The Morning Birds. Present in the release is a degree of musical maturity and individuality that beats out their first full-length Inspiration Point. Each member now brings something unique to the table and with the way Thorington and Markus work together through meshing their individual styles The Quickening marks new depth for the act. Inspiration comes easy to Thorington and Markus, as they live near a rather isolated Buddhist temple. There they have chosen to forego modern entertainment amenities (including television and radio) in favor of a simple lifestyle, where they entertain themselves through creative expression and a mutual appreciation of nature. In that isolated state they write, forming pure, fantastic songs reminiscent of the best male-female duos in modern music’s history. They have the pure joy of life present in Matt and Kim, the polish of She and Him and the intensity of the White Stripes. - Reviews and the Rest


This is a little gentler and the soft harmonies really stand out above the rhythmic drumming that seemingly ensures the pace is kept up before we softly drift away to something quite beautiful. - 2011Candy


"Check it out, jazzy tripping out folk with the retro groove but with a new twist of that LA, West Coast taste. It is dripping with freshness, ready to go way far in all directions - spreading the love of music that reflects good feelings of joy and love, good work folks!"
-Bryon Tosoff, What the Folk! - Online Radio - Bryon Tosoff


With his whispery voice and poetic ramblings, Californian Samuel Marks stands by a musical crossroads that could take him into nu-folk, nu-pop or nu-jazz. 'New Dawn', his debut album, finds Markus supported majestically by The Only Ones and doing his own thing with a confidence that rarely shines this brightly with a 'starter' work.

Markus was clearly born to make sweet music; his story-telling through music is as reflective as it can be poignant; mature lyrics delivered with simplistic ease both tug at the heart strings and conjure up pictures that are as real to the listener as they obviously are to the writer. This is a no-fuss singer songwriter; superbly crafted songs are embellished with sympathetic reason and empathetic deftness as The Only Ones create accompanying backdrops that are as haunting as they are up-lifting. With clever mixing Markus allows his songs plenty of room to tell their tales - he doesn't crowd the words with over-blown arrangements, he shows a great understanding of dynamics and ensures the voice is the main instrument, an instrument that's expressive and sensitive yet all-powerful!

'New Dawn' by Samuel Markus pulls together folk, country, rock and jazz in a way that not many have managed; perhaps Tom Waits does similar things - Markus is certainly more gentle but just as persuasive in his approach. 'New Dawn' is a colourful musical tapestry; a collection of stories that slowly unravel to become one stunning collective of acousto-electric pictures-in-sound - a fine aural mural designed and executed with precision and understanding - a gift of beautiful sound to sit back with, relax and enjoy.

With 'New Dawn', Samuel Markus And The Only Ones have assembled a wonderfully rich album of classy and meaningful songs. A great debut work, a fantastic introduction to a singer songwriter that's surely gonna be a big name on the 'scene', not just at 'home' but globally! 'New Dawn' is a real beaut! Tough one to follow methinks but, I've a feeling that Samuel Markus has all bases covered and will continue in this rich vein of musical creativity and keep on coming up with the goods. - http://www.toxicpete.co.uk/samuelmarkus.html


A full-bodied helping of quasi-psychedelic neo-folk rock, or some such thing, "Rosa" treads an alluring line between the contemporary and the classic, mixing a Derek & the Dominoes-like guitar-band drive with crispier beats and 21st-century production effects.
Holding it all together--because I have to admit, that description doesn't sound all that alluring as I read it back to myself!--is 22-year-old Samuel Markus, whose voice contains something of Grant Lee Phillips' deep melodrama, but with a lighter touch and self-effacing tone. The song is pretty much built around a cascade of two-syllable almost-rhymes that repeat at the end of each lyrical line; Marcus wins the day with his earnest yet quizzical delivery, all but reveling in the mismatches that tumble out (e.g. "Casanova" and "composer" and "for ya") in service of his ramshackle, bittersweet-sounding story.
Markus co-founded the N.Y.C.-based band the Rosewood Thieves (featured on Fingertips in Aug. '06) before splitting to do his own thing out in California. "Rosa" can be found on New Dawn, a CD recorded with an ensemble he calls the Only Ones (no relation to the British new wave band of the same name, which has apparently been playing together again recently). New Dawn was released at the end of September by Yatra Media.

- http://fingertipsmusic.blogspot.com/2008/10/free-and-legal-mp3-from-samuel-markus.html


The first thing that really strikes you about Samuel Markus is the great range of music he, and the Only Ones, explore on 'New Dawn'. The album is simply incredible. Fact! The first major shock is that Samuel, with brilliantly intuitive songs and a haunting and mature voice is only 21. Yes, this singer who explores the great mysteries of the human heart is only just legal in the States! When you read more about Samuel you start to realise that he has also been around a while, producing music with Rosewood Thieves, and he also writes and directs his own videos, oh and I did I mention he is only 21!
Anyway, on to the music; Samuel is strikingly gifted, evident from the opening track 'Rosa' all the way through to 'Something Else' (the exit track). 'Rosa' evokes all the feeling of Cream, and 1967 psychedelial, kicking off with an infectious beat that you just can't sit still to! 'Another Day' takes the pace down a notch, but allows the listener to really absorb the range of Samuel's vocal ability. With a gravelly voice in the ilk of Dylan or Cash, Samuel just grabs you and haunts your sound system. 'New Dawn' presents us with a totally different style in the range of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. This song is infectious, and by the second listen you are singing along enjoying the brilliant guitar riffs and catchy chorus. 'What's on Your Mind Babe?' wouldn't be out of place on the best (in my opinion) Dylan album 'Blood on the Tracks', Samuel may only be 21 but he has clearly experienced the best and worst of love and relationships. A simple guitar and easy beat, along with an intensely haunting vocal, ending in a crescendo of sound create a song full of blood, sweat and tears that most can relate to: 'I wish I didn't love you like I do'. Just brilliant!
'Suzanne' is a song of loss, 'I still don't know what love means...' and learning 'but I think I am beginning to understand'. A little like Ray Lamontagne, but possibly better, Markus knows how to make us listen! Following this, and kicking in with a stamping drum beat 'Miles Away' takes us on yet another new direction and a new journey. Track 7 'Jitterbug' is just that; a Jitterbug of a song, is there any musical style Markus can't take on, take apart and produce and a new and exciting way? The songs just keep getting better, 'Deeper Well' races through New Orleans funky blues, whilst 'East End of the Bay' is a sexy sultry song set to dazzling guitar riffs and 'One Door Land', not unlike the Dave Matthews Band, creates a 'wonderland' of sound attacking our aural systems!
The final three songs on 'New Dawn' are the most reflective; 'The Only One' reminds me of Elliott Smith and the haunting lyrics he produced in his short yet creatively exuberant life. Samuel's voice is soothing and emotional embracing perhaps the best lyrics on 'New Dawn'. However, 'The Offering' is my favourite song on 'New Dawn', and the one on which Markus sounds the most like Zimmerman (this is not a criticism). Subtle guitars and Markus' voice are perfectly matched on a song that sounds like it has been around forever!
The album ends in fine fettle; 'Something Else' is just Markus' voice (which sounds like he recorded it in a cupboard) is muffled but this only adds to the poignancy of this song, 'let's just admit how much this hurts', which rounds off a truly superb album.
'New Dawn' is a revelation, and Samuel Markus is going to be huge! Oh and did I mention he is only 21... - http://www.allgigs.co.uk/view/review/3393/Samuel_Markus_New_Dawn_Album_Review.html


Samuel Markus’s debut New Dawn is a woodsy, honey-dripped stroll through folk country with excursions into rock and indie. Markus has a shadowy whisper and distant acoustic guitar that sound familiar and old like he is playing some song found written on tattered bark from a tree somewhere in the dark woods between Tom Petty and Neil Halstead’s houses.

In the past few years, a band’s debut album has tended to veer away from what a typical first album used to be; it used to be that a band would form, write songs, play them, get a record deal and record said batch of ditties. Lately, though, with home recording on the rise and the exposure given by MySpace, bands have bypassed this organic process and the ensuing first album is often a blitzkrieg of styles and sounds recorded at different times, in different bedrooms which are then pasted, crammed and collaged into a Frankenstein passed off as a first album. This machine gun technique can yield interesting results and it is one way to achieve that hit single (I’m talking to you Black Kids) but it more often than not results in inconsistent albums that have an overall sophomoric sound (still talking to you Black Kids).
Samuel Markus bucks this trend and achieves a proper debut. With the songwriting, production and the musicians, calling themselves the “Only Ones,” there is nothing too flashy or trendy; the effect is current and timeless or something in between. The album begins with the line “… a song comes to my lips…” (from “New Dawn”) in a simple, conversational way that could have been used by any troubadour at any time. It reminds me a little of Leonard Cohen’s opening to "New Skin For The Old Ceremony" which is “You were the promise at dawn…” not just because both songs evoke dawn but in the way that they are so unassuming, use sporadic female backing vocals and are ultimately stripped-down.
Through the course of listening to New Dawn, particularly through Markus’s voice (a Bob via Jacob Dylan approximation with heaping servings of Conner Oberst’s whining garrulousness as well as Nick Drake’s imagery) you can almost see the rhyming dictionary clenched in his hand. There are a lot of mellow post-folk singers that Markus invokes but somehow, through the tinny telephone effects and swinging melodies, M. Ward feels like the closest ally. However, there is a joking, sinister, ultra-clever quality to Ward that is absent in Markus. He, instead, has a less complex, playfully nascent tinge that is more readily accessible but also conjures comparisons to Jack Johnson; it often sounds too affected, which makes it grow a little thin with multiple listens.
Jeff Hassay - http://www.tracermagazine.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=193&Itemid=49


One of Markus’ strengths is that he seems to concentrate on post production just as much as he focuses on the craft of song writing. The Talking Heads sounded just as assured on stage as they did on their albums. I have yet to see Markus on stage, but the construction of these songs is assured and mature; the fundamentals so strong, so I can imagine them played as effectively during happy hour, as they are played on this album. “Rosa” leads off the album New Dawn, and it is one hell of a track with classy crunching chords and a pleading, if manipulated voice. It perfectly expresses the desperation contained in the lyrics. Markus is also incredibly evocative with a prototypical ‘folky’ voice, one that can frequently lie about the singer’s worldliness. He channels Dylan, but it is clear that he can sing. I really enjoy the voice because it speaks in sun tones, and with each song I find myself imagining a different time of the day, or a different temperature of the light outside my window. Marry that voice with a great set of poison pen lyrics, and you have a first rate folk singer.

If Markus has a weakness, it’s that he betrays a little too much of his influences. I don’t have to look at his myspace page to tell you that he digs Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan. “New Dawn” in particular borrows a little too much from Tom Waits’ lilting psycho-trubador vibe. Having said that, it is a great title track with an interesting play between his refined voice and the very raw backing vocals. “The Offering” is a top notch Dylanesque song that sounds straight off of “Blood on the Tracks,” and I’m kind of ambivalent about it because of the similarity. At the same time, the lyrics are well written (as they are throughout the album). At other times he gets a little too conventional. “Suzanne” in particular sounds a little too much like a top 40 hit, and it is a little disappointing to hear it after a string of dynamite tracks. “One Door Land” also falls into this category as it is a good track, but it does not match the fun of his other more manic tracks, and it is self consciously morose. The album contains a formidable number of tracks for a debut album (15), and that leads to a hodge podge sense of continuity. Markus relies on his heroes for several songs, and does so with aplomb, but it is when he writes his own songs and relies less on his influences that this album shines.

Once we enter the Southwest kick of the album, tracks 7-10, we don’t look back, and it is a treat that keeps on treating. His grasp of roots music is particularly dazzling on a stomping track like “Miles Away” that kicks a substantial amount of ass. I feel like I’m in a Southwestern bar, on my last stop before Cowboy oblivion. This is a track that would impress T-Bone Burnett, and I highly recommend it to anyone, even those not predisposed to Tex-Mex. “Jitterbug” is another pleasant surprised, as the voice says Dylan, but the cocaine-tempo boogie dances fast, and escapes any of his influences. It is a track that he completely owns and it would be great for driving, for a party, or just for listening after you’ve had some coffee. The guitar solos are short and sweet (and man are they sweet) and on “Deeper Well,” the guitar work stands out with scary guitar slides that recall Eric Clapton’s “Layla” (the GOOD version).

Above all, Markus joins a growing legion of professional grade artists that eschew the amateur textures of self conscious low-fi, and embrace virtuosity. The backing band, The Only Ones, deserves a lot of credit for this album’s success. They do not try to hide behind “conceptual” strong structuring or DIY textures; this sounds like an album made in a top studio. Markus should be very pleased with the results. I know I am.
- Bork

P.S. Samuel Markus is having a show in LA at the House of Blues on Dec 11th. Please show your support. More info here

- http://encorestatus.blogspot.com/


"Hollywood's, The Morning Birds, are a polished and professional band spouting art at every turn. Its part folk, part rock, and all accessible. " - Ross Christopher - Awaken Music


"It's great to hear varied production tactics, and these guys employ them nicely. ... easy with layered vocals and smoky with emotion. If the Doors were still releasing albums, these songs would be on them." - Ross Christopher - Awaken Music


"Inspiration Point is one of those few albums you can listen to straight through without any songs grating on your patience. I like the exclusive blend of tones and layered vocals they use; a unique style that is hard to categorize, which is one of their strongest features. " - Talk With Tim


ARTIST PRESS ITEMS
"If The Morning Birds were Bee’s they would defiantly be workers, because of what they are doing over time to build their brand. Unlike your typical music group; they are artist, designers and film makers. The Morning Birds are the one stop shop for anything you could ever ask for from a group in the music world"
- www.NRGTheory.com


Discography

Surrender To This EP - February 2012
The QUICKENING - LP April 2011
The QUICKENING B-Sides - LP April 2011
Inspiration Point - LP 2009
New Dawn - LP 2008

The QUICKENING LP on 98.1 FM Santa Fe
De Light on Ozcat Radio FM
Be Gentle To Your Mind - OPB Radio FM
Hearts Desire - Played on Tranquilizer Records
'New Dawn' chosen in top 10 albums of 2008 98.1 FM, Santa Fe
New Dawn album and interview played on-air on Transradio Magazine (98.1FM) in Santa Fe, NM
CUIT in Canada played live set of Eternally, Shalom, From Loving You, New Dawn

Photos

Bio

Two worlds collided, chaos ensued, new life was formed. When the dust settled there appeared - The Morning Birds - a hybrid of sonic and spiritual understandings expressed through music, art, and moving images.

Forged from an uncanny mixture of diverse musical styles, this band’s genre-defying music is as innovative as it is accessible. Powerful bass lines, lush harmonies and soulful strings are complimented by break beats, trumpets, and cascading keys as Jennifer Thorington and Samuel Markus weave their stunning harmonies into sublime pop.

The Morning Birds have been pioneering their signature sound since they released their low-fi masterpiece, Inspiration Point, 3 years ago. After last year’s The Quickening they have returned with the pared down EP, Surrender to This, a work that gives free range to their daring eclecticism. Primary songwriters Jenn And Sam have a marvelous yin and yang synergy: one part classic pop, one part emotive rock and roll swagger. Their experimental leanings make things all the more interesting; it’s as if Queen met Animal Collective in the back of Tin Pan Alley.

Becoming more and more energized and on point with each release, The Morning Birds show no signs of creative lagging. Certain songs spring forth like they have been caged up for years waiting for the appropriate audience to enthrall and entertain, while others soothingly crescendo and shower down like a warm summer rain.

Above all, this is music with a message. Most of the lyrical content focuses on staying centered in our hearts and surrendering to what is. As their name suggests, the Morning Birds have come to help wake us up. Not with a ten-gun salute, but with a melodic, uninhibited sound reminiscent of songbirds heralding the dawn, calling us gently from our sleep into the light of a new day.