This Chicagoan is unique in being an astonishing violin virtuoso devoting himself almost entirely to pop music. Founding Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire in the mid-'90s, his best work (2001's The Swimming Hour) takes in Appalachia, jump-blues and orch-pop in a flash-flood of American tradition. With Mark (Lambchop) Nevers producing, Weather Systems distills that same musical heritage into a new, supple-fresh language of strings, glockenspiel, wurlitzer and tape loops.

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Andrew Bird – Weather Systems
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This Chicagoan is unique in being an astonishing violin virtuoso devoting himself almost entirely to pop music. Founding Andrew Bird’s Bowl Of Fire in the mid-’90s, his best work (2001’s The Swimming Hour) takes in Appalachia, jump-blues and orch-pop in a flash-flood of American tradition. With Mark (Lambchop) Nevers producing, Weather Systems distills that same musical heritage into a new, supple-fresh language of strings, glockenspiel, wurlitzer and tape loops. Densely textured, it’s perfectly embodied by an immaculate reimagining of sometime-collaborators The Handsome Family’s “Don’t Be Scared”. Outstanding.