10 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tapping into her frustration over the state of the world, The Mynabirds’ Laura Burhenn turns the band's sophomore album, Generals, into an angry but compassionate musical statement. With her partner, Richard Swift, she moves The Mynabirds away from their earlier soul-pop stylings toward a dirtier, more aggressive sound that brings out the convictions of her lyrics. Combining the sultry tones of an R&B diva with the yearning ache of a ‘60s pop goddess, Burhenn’s compelling vocals bring an urgency to politically charged tunes like “Wolf Mother” and the title track. They likewise convey the bruised tenderness of “Mightier Than the Sword” and the torchy pathos of “Greatest Revenge.” Sonically, the album crosses genres and eras, invoking everything from the primal soul of Nina Simone (“Disaster”) to the glitter rock of Marc Bolan (“Radiator Sister”) and the techno pop of Depeche Mode (“Disarm”). What emerges from the throbbing martial tempos and dense instrumental textures is a defiant message that retains its poetic edge and sense of humor.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tapping into her frustration over the state of the world, The Mynabirds’ Laura Burhenn turns the band's sophomore album, Generals, into an angry but compassionate musical statement. With her partner, Richard Swift, she moves The Mynabirds away from their earlier soul-pop stylings toward a dirtier, more aggressive sound that brings out the convictions of her lyrics. Combining the sultry tones of an R&B diva with the yearning ache of a ‘60s pop goddess, Burhenn’s compelling vocals bring an urgency to politically charged tunes like “Wolf Mother” and the title track. They likewise convey the bruised tenderness of “Mightier Than the Sword” and the torchy pathos of “Greatest Revenge.” Sonically, the album crosses genres and eras, invoking everything from the primal soul of Nina Simone (“Disaster”) to the glitter rock of Marc Bolan (“Radiator Sister”) and the techno pop of Depeche Mode (“Disarm”). What emerges from the throbbing martial tempos and dense instrumental textures is a defiant message that retains its poetic edge and sense of humor.

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3:11
3:14
3:43
3:13
3:16
5:08
3:00
4:05
3:37
4:20

About The Mynabirds

Before forming the Mynabirds in 2009, Laura Burhenn made her living as a solo artist in Washington, D.C., where she also founded Laboratory Records in 1999. Eight years later, she teamed up with John Davis -- another veteran of the local music scene -- to form an experimental duo named Georgie James. Although Davis' previous group, Q and Not U, had been known for its aggressive post-hardcore music, Georgie James looked to pop groups for inspiration, particularly harmony-heavy outfits like the Zombies and the Kinks. The group didn't last long, though, with Burhenn and Davis going their separate ways after releasing one album.

For her next project, Burhenn decided to stay with Saddle Creek, the same Nebraska-based label that had released Georgie James' debut in 2007. She wrote a new batch of songs inspired by the likes of Neil Young, Motown, and Carole King, and eventually relocated to Oregon to record the material with producer Richard Swift. Another Saddle Creek artist, Orenda Fink, helped Burhenn assemble a solid backing band, and the resulting record -- What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, which Burhenn released under the Mynabirds moniker -- appeared in 2010. A limited-edition 7", "All I Want Is Truth (For Xmas)," arrived in 2011, followed by the group's sophomore outing, Generals, in 2012.

Burhenn toured as a member of the reunited Postal Service in 2013 until their official disbandment that summer, then toured solo in locales including South Africa amidst taking time off for writing and continuing to travel internationally. Produced by Bradley Hanan Carter of NO, a third Mynabirds album, Lovers Know, appeared in the summer of 2015 with lyrics informed by her journeys and lusher synth pop sounds reflecting more '80s influences than '60s. In 2017 the band released the politically charged Be Here Now, which was recorded in the two weeks following the inauguration of Donald Trump and the Women's March. ~ Andrew Leahey

  • FORMED
    2009

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