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Useless Creatures

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Editors’ Notes

Initially released as the bonus disc of 2009’s Noble Beast, Useless Creatures is a nine-song instrumental collection from Andrew Bird that shows what an excellent whistler he has become. His main instrument is violin and it’s that rich instrument that comes creaking out of the various modes. “Master Sigh” is an elemental beginning, sparse but with promise of wilder passages. Sure enough, Bird whistles in the wind as the sound of worry hits the air. “You Woke Me Up!” builds the tension for more than seven minutes, whereas the classical-meets-cartoon music vibe leads to the backyard shuffle of “Nyatiti,” and the whistler shows his most carefree side. “The Barn Tapes” plows through the land of Brian Eno. “Carrion Suite” carries a sense of mourning through more than nine minutes. “Spinney” is the pony race that sprints for 45 seconds before hitting the creaking floorboards in the attic for “Dissent.” “Hot Math” strikes up the band for Afro-pop, while “Sigh Master” inverts the beginning passage to end this journey.

Customer Reviews

Perfect Homework Album

Or the most delightful album for driving, walking, thinking, getting ready, whistle-along-to, or for having a little dance in your room because Andrew Bird is so wonderful. It's all so transformative - You feel his spirit light up yours here!!

Hot Math!!

Hot jazz sounds like watered down raga jazz mixed with mbira-like repetitive sounds in the background. The song is truly unique and rich enough to lose myself in. Bird is a musical polyglot and tends to make up his own language in his expression, I wonder what it was like to get lessons from him when he was still teaching at the old town school of folk music. This project as a whole is pure quality

Still listening...

I'm on the 2nd track right now and I instinctively put aside all I was originally doing to lend myself completely to such a pleasurable listening experience!


Born: July 11, 1973 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist Andrew Bird updates the traditions of small-group swing, German lieder, and New Orleans jazz, mixing Gypsy, folk, and rock elements into his distinctive style. Bird's projects include his group the Bowl of Fire (which also includes drummer Kevin O'Donnell, bassist Josh Hirsch, and guitarist Colin Bunn) and performing as an auxiliary member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers; in turn, the Zippers' Katharine Whalen and James Mathus appeared on the Bowl of Fire albums Thrills...
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