Bird Sounds release New while awaiting grunge revival

Bird Sounds' upcoming New 7" was four years in the making, sort of. While they'd like to say they spent that entire time honing their craft, it was more accurately time spent honing the band itself.

Relocations, graduate school, more relocations, and the usual interferences from real life (time, money, work, etc.) have made their upcoming release substantial. "We were waiting for the trend to go back to grunge rock," laughs vocalist-bassist Jason "Zabby" Zaborowski, "but we got tired of waiting."

Zabby and singer/guitarist Matt Semke previously played together in the Winona-based punk trio Straight to Your Brain. In 2008, the two reconnected in Minneapolis and sought out a drummer. After some pairings that didn't work out, they found a then-Rochester based Charlie Smyrk to helm the kit and the band slowly gained traction, although it still took until late 2011 for all three to live in the same metro area.

"When Charlie joined the band it was like a long distance relationship," Semke explains. "The songwriting was just slower." Having played 29 shows in the past four years, only eight have been in the Twin Cities, with residents in Winona, Milwaukee, and Chicago getting just as much Bird Sounds action as those in the Twin Cities.

New is a continual evolution of their songwriting. "I see it as a really poppy version of what we used to do, but other people see it as an aggressive heavy band," Semke explains. The 7" features a cleaner sound than their live presence, with Semke's John Reis-inspired guitars driving the songs while, live, his vocal shouts bare a more aggressive feel. Meanwhile, the group strays across genre lines with concise instrumental jams that add a noisy angle. Asked to label their sound, he defers. "I would say psychedelic grunge music, but it's probably still punk rock."

The band did release an early digital EP (available for download here), but they consider the 7" to be their true debut. The EP, Semke explains, "was a panic to record before [original drummer] Justin [Oehrlein] moved away."

Rather than taking the time to master their sound, they were in a rush to document a band they thought may be ending. For New, the band has followed a more traditional recording process. First trying to self-record, "it wasn't quite how we imagined it," Semke says. Eventually, the band met with Neil Weir at Old Blackberry Way and recorded four songs. The vinyl (released on Zabby's Big Action Records) will include three of those tracks, with a fourth song available for download.

The vinyl will be available in late April or May. The band has not planned an official release show, in large part because "when you say you're going to have a record release, you're just inviting the delay of the record." That said, they hope to have freshly pressed wax for sale at upcoming Hexagon and Turf Club shows in the coming weeks.

Birds Sounds play at The Hexagon Bar on April 26 with Congorats, Ex Nuns, and Animal Lover. 9pm, free.

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