Mimicking Birds

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Mimicking Birds is a Portland-based indie and folk rock project fronted by Nate Lacy and embellished by a rotating group of collaborators. Recording a number of simple homemade demos of original work, Lacy distributed a small collection of physical copies to nearby friends. Unbeknownst to Lacy, one such companion sent some of these tracks to Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, who had recently started his Glacial Pace record label in Portland. Immediately stricken, Brock signed Lacy, instigated and collaborated in the creation of Mimicking Birds’ amazing self-titled debut LP, and even invited them to open for a 2009 Modest Mouse tour. It was around that time I had the good fortune of stumbling across Mimicking Birds, initially drawn in by their catchy moniker and mildly creepy album art. Randomly selecting “The Loop” as the first song to try, I quickly realized Mimicking Birds were a few giant strides beyond most indie debuts. With a beautifully hypnotic acoustic guitar loop as the foundation, Lacy delivers his whisper-soft falsetto, packing poetic run-on phrases dripping in imagery and feeling, while his band mates build in progressive layers of intergalactic-sounding keyboards, distorted guitar, and an array of field samples. The song is a merry-go-round of seasick bards stricken with delirium, confabulating a tale spanning dark matter, solar winds and the dying light of a supernova. It is, quite simply, one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, and the rest of the album follows suit.

Mimicking Birds have a somewhat sparse but precious collection of haunting, featherweight lullabies. Beginning with 2004’s “Early Recordings” compilation, the listener peers into the isolated bedroom recordings that brought Lacy to where he is today. 2009 self-titled LP is one of my most listened-to albums of all time, and I believe it’s amongst the greatest artistic achievements in indie music over the last decade. This week, Mimicking Birds returned with their label sophomore LP “Eons”, a lovely collection of expanded arrangements and more voluminous sounds that still stay true to the fragility and sincerity of Lacy’s stories.

Favourite tracks:
The Loop (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25oFpL8DrzE)… listen for Isaac Brock’s iconic yells in the background.
Bloodlines (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Oll2BY3bb4)… excellent new song from “Eons”.

Mount Kimbie

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Mount Kimbie are a post-dub electro duo from from London, UK who formed around 2008. Friends and collaborators with like-minded James Blake, Mount Kimbie’s Kai Campos and Dom Maker join him in being largely credited as the forerunners of the British post-dub movement, developing and popularizing their blissed-out, ethereal take on electro productions. Washing their zig-zag beats in a bleach of ambiance, Mount Kimbie take you for a slow cruise, windows down and arms dangling carelessly down the sides. They find a perfect balance between analog and digital mediums, frequently weaving the warmth of worn instrumentation amongst subtle yet critical sampling and vocal work.

To date, Mount Kimbie have released 5 EPs and 2 LPs of material well-worth the listen. Pictured above are their excellent full-length albums, 2010’s “Crooks & Lovers” and 2013 follow-up “Cold Spring Fault Less Youth”, the latter featuring 2 killer tracks with King Krule (try “You Took Your Time“). Perusing my library, it appears I’m also partial towards their “Sketch On Glass” and “Maybes” EPs, but so far I have yet to hear a song of theirs I don’t enjoy. You know, playin’ it safe.

Favourite track: Made To Stray… I’d love to air-drum along but my fingies don’t move that fast.