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    Wed, 03 Sep 2008 12:00:02

    Guest Collector: Birdmonster - Birdmonsters makes good neighbors

    Scientists may never find the elusive Birdmonster in the wild, but bloggers were quick to find the band when they started making noise across the internet with their D.I.Y. debut, No Midnight. Two years later, the band is back with their follow-up release, From the Mountain to the Sea, supported this time by Fader magazine's label imprint. The album finds the band further exploring the fractured gentility of their folk rock sound, this time with an increased air of confidence.

    Bassist Justin Tenuto recently took the time to give us a run down of influential albums in his collection saying, " While WIRED magazine claims the Album with a capital "A" is dead, I refuse to believe it. Here are 10 Albums that, from start to finish, are still the straw that stirs my coffee." In that case, make ours a double.

    The ClashLondon Calling
    Before punk rock became the province of SoCal bros with numerical band names, the Clash essentially perfected the genre. Lyrically, musically, and stylistically first rate in every conceivable way. If I could turn this album into a woman, I would marry it, do its dishes, and have ultrasexy babies with it.

    Paul SimonGraceland
    I'm half-convinced Graceland saved my life. On a marathon drive started at four in the morning after some always depressing Denny's, I was nearly asleep and behind the wheel of an 800 dollar van, shaky after an aperitif of "Rumba"—an also-ran energy drink that tasted like McDonald's orange juice and probably could have killed Rasputin. When I was feeling my worst, Graceland came on, woke me up, and kept me from driving us into a pine tree. Thanks Paul.

    Kings of LeonYouth and Young Manhood
    Any time you put out an album where your singer audibly loses his voice mid-song, I'm on board. Big time. As albums become more plastic, honed, and perfect, this Kings album bursts with energy, scrappiness, and plain ol' butt-kick-itude. It's like "Louie, Louie," for forty minutes.

    Van MorrisonAstral Weeks
    Another album that, like Youth and Young Manhood, captured something special at the exact right moment. Recorded in three days with a handful of jazz musicians who didn't even receive chord charts, you can hear songs forming as they're played. While folk and jazz sound about as compatible as peanut butter and toenails, it's pulled off perfectly here.

    Andre 3000 enjoys the distinction of being the only man alive who can make a football shoulder pads/ fur coat ensemble look cool. He also enjoys the distinction of being half of the my favorite hip hop album ever. I'm sure he's overjoyed that a scrawny white kid from the suburbs who spent his salad days listening to Iron Maiden approves.

    Stevie WonderFulfillingness' First Finale
    While "Songs in the Key of Life," "Talking Book," and "Innervisions" are generally considered his masterpieces, I always find myself returning to this one. "You Haven't Done Nothing" is perhaps the dirtiest, funkiest thing ever. I include it in every party mix I've ever made. And you know what? Everyone starts dancing.

    The NationalAlligator
    Right when I was falling for this album, we got a chance to play a show with The National. I distinctly remember being blown away...during soundcheck. And that pretty much says it all.

    Bruce SpringsteenNebraska
    This one also owes its spot on my list to serendipity. When us four Birdmonsters got together, my entire Springsteen knowledge was confined to "the guy who did 'Born in the USA.'" Pete's a giant fan of the Boss and, while we hammered out our first dozen songs, I discovered one of the great American songwriters. All together now: "Awwww."

    Dan BernNew American Language
    Still flying under the radar after six billion releases, Dan Bern remains a favorite in our slow van rides across America. At times deadly serious and at others content to sing about his own voluminous testicles, Dan Bern is one of those guys who wakes up and writes a song during his morning bowel movement, then another five before bed time. This album, I think, is a perfect synthesis of his work: both hilarious and poignant.

    Black SabbathVol. 4
    Before Ozzy was murdalizing doves with his bicuspids, Black Sabbath churned out five seminal albums. Of course, they'd then release Technical Ecstasy, the world record holder for "most unsold used copies of an album ever," barely beating out Smash Mouth's Astrolounge. At any rate, "Volume 4" was the album that made me want to play music, which is the reason I'm writing this here post. Or, was writing it, as we're done.

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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