June 8th, 2022 8pm Stage 1
“There's only one way to write rock music with mainstream potential that sounds timeless and honest, and pulling it off is not easy feat: It consists in finding a fine balance between melody, tension, character, meaning and relatability that few artists are able to strike (Tom Petty and The Cars are among our favorites). The music of Bird Streets features these qualities.” –The Deli
Bird Streets have returned with “Unkind,” out now via Sparkle Plenty records. The first new music in three years from John Brodeur’s project comes in the form of an epic breakup song marked by unflinching self-reflection.
“This was one of the first things I started writing after my wife and I separated,” says Brodeur. “It’s probably the most honest thing I’ve ever written–an apology by way of an admission.”
Producer-guitarist and Aimee Mann associate Michael Lockwood helmed the recording. “I met Michael through some mutual friends in Los Angeles,” says Brodeur, “and he played guitar on a couple of our live shows there. We hit it off great and I was already a fan of his work, so it just made sense to record something together.” In turn, Lockwood enlisted Mann herself to play bass, along with some of her longtime band members, including Patrick Warren, whose gorgeous string arrangement, in tandem with Lockwood’s fluid and melodic guitar lines, give an emotional lift to Brodeur’s weary, longing vocal.
The mix, by Grammy winner Michael Brauer (Coldplay, John Mayer) helps guide “Unkind” through its dynamic peaks and valleys, creating a remarkably cohesive and affecting piece–all the more remarkable considering the entire recording was produced during lockdown, with none of the players ever in the same room.
“Unkind” is the inaugural release for Lockwood’s brand new label, Sparkle Plenty Records, and the first glimpse of the forthcoming second Bird Streets LP, due out this fall.
Brodeur adopted the Bird Streets moniker as a de facto nom de guerre with the release of the 2018 Bird Streets LP (Omnivore Recordings). The sound of that album, recorded in collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Jason Falkner (Beck, Daniel Johnston), was both fresh and familiar–a dynamic collection of introspective indie-rock and power-pop that drew liberally on the music of decades past without being bluntly nostalgic. The record earned the attention of NPR Music, which featured Bird Streets in their Slingshot program spotlighting emerging artists. “Brodeur’s attention to craft stands above all,” wrote AllMusic, while Albumism hailed the record as “a contemporary masterpiece that conjures indie rock’s glory days.”
Singles “Direction” and “Betting On The Sun” received nationwide airplay on tastemaker radio stations KCRW, WXPN, WFUV, and WEQX, and on syndicated programs like World Cafe. A non-album track, the groovy “Come On,” came next in 2019, followed by the Bandcamp-only EP Ghosts in March 2020.
As a live act, Brodeur and Bird Streets have recorded sessions for Daytrotter and BreakThru Radio, and toured with an eclectic mix of artists including Juliana Hatfield, Alana Davis, Royston Langdon (Spacehog) and They Might Be Giants.