Saturday, December 30, 2006

Band of 2006: Birdmonster

Birdmonster Video Shoot

When I look back at 2006 in a musical fashion there's always one name, one band, and one album that comes to the forefront: San Francisco’s Birdmonster. This should come to no surprise for those of you who read this blog on a regular basis. There probably wasn't a month that went by this year that I didn't mention them once. So I felt it necessary to look back at the origins and development of this obsession.

It all started at the tail end of 2005 when Zach, Birdmonster's drummer imed me one day to introduce me to his band. I had seen their name pop around on some of the other blogs, but hadn't had a chance to listen. I was friendly enough, but a bit overwhelmed with a new job and school that I kindly asked him to send me a press kit. He mentioned they were a bit behind, but would get one to me as soon as he can. To my surprise, a little package (which I still have for when they are famous) arrived less than a week later with their EP inside. I listened to the three songs. I listened to them again. And that was all it took.

I first posted about the band on January 11, 2006 where I mentioned the word "love" for the first time. I hinted at the band being a "great DIY success story" which clearly was a foreshadowing to a great year. But I only had three songs, and no live show to go by. And then came the letter.

Just a little over a month later, I became very impatient. I wanted this band to come to New York and I wanted them now. I pleaded with the band and wouldn't take no for an answer. The band responded back on their blog, and so it began. They promised a summer tour, but I couldn't wait that long. Luckily enough, my SXSW trip was planned and I counted down the days until I could finally see them play live.

It was day two and it was hot as all hell outside, but I found myself at the front of the Fader stage completely rocked. I finally finally saw them play live for the first time and was completely hooked. There was blood. There were cheers. I sang along and I knew then that this wouldn't be the last time I saw them. In fact, I saw them again 24 hours later.

That began the real obsession. I finally put faces to the names and sounds and the west coast foursome could not have been nicer guys to chat with. Little did they know then that I would be harassing them on a regular basis.

No Midnight, their debut was still not out by this time, but lord knows I begged them for a copy every single day. Release date was set for April 11, and I couldn't wait. I got the mp3s a couple weeks early and the listening hasn't ceased since. I wrote my official review on the day of release. Within the first few listens I was immediately captured. Every song has been my favorite at one point or another and there is no doubt in my mind that I know every word, every guitar riff, drumbeat and vocal nuance. Okay, so I liked it....to say the least.

And then, the day finally came. I announced Birdmonster's first NY show at the beginning of May. Presented by yours truly, I was just a tad bit excited. The show was, in short, the best show of the year and I couldn't have been more thrilled with the amazing turnout. The next night, I followed the boys around the city and filmed a very special podcast of their show at Knitting Factory, plus an exclusive acoustic version of "Skeleton Suit." The video turned out awesome and perfectly captured the raw energy these guys exude on stage, and the fun loving guys they are off the stage.

Things died down for only about a month. I interviewed David for my first article at BTR, returning full circle to my declaration of their DIY method. The boys came back to NYC for two more shows at Mercury and Union Hall in September. Of course, I went to both and even hosted their afterparty following the Merc show. It was a shitshow of guest djing and crazy dancing til the wee hours of the morning.

It wasn't too long til the boys trekked back across the country to New York in time for CMJ. Of course, we wouldn't let them come to the city without booking them for our showcase. We caught the band on the first night of the festival, where they dressed up in the best Halloween costumes ever.

Our showcase was the last day of CMJ and we rocked out, once again, to the boys of Birdmonster. This officially marks the last time we saw them this year and so we made the best of it. I put my hands in the air and I sang along as loud as I possibly could. It was sad to say goodbye to the boys, but we bid them a fond farewell knowing they will make it back to New York soon enough, if we have anything to do with it.

We ended the year by giving No Midnight the #2 spot on our Top 25 Albums of 2006. It was a tough decision to not make the band #1, but it's only because we know that their best is yet to come. And from what I hear with my conversations with the boys, they are super excited about the progress made thus far. You can bet I'll be hounding them, once again, to get a sneak peak. Hopefully they are used to my psycho behavior by now.

So there you have it, to no surprise, Birdmonster is easily my favorite band of 2006. We at Underrated thank them for their support, their music, and those cute little grins. I can't wait to see what is store for this hard working band, and know that every success is deserved.

Prediction for 2007: White Rabbits
I find myself as enthusiastic about this band as I did with Birdmonster, and they have single-handedly restored my faith in New York bands. I'd see this band play every day of the week if I could, as they provide a live show that is both entertatining and musically impressive. Watch out for them to blow up next year. I received an advance of their debut album and haven't been able to put it down. It's that good.

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