Austin Texas’ Jared Shotwell had always dreamed of making it in the music business, though with the cards stacked against him, as they are against so many, he took on whatever gigs he could get. Not to say he hasn’t seen his share of the limelight, as he has played drums for artists such as Ryan Cabrera, David Ramirez and Ben Rector. Although not surprisingly those acts are not necessarily styled after Shotwell’s own musical taste, which is why when he decided to strike out on his own his first intention was to make a record that sounded like something he would listen to.
The seven songs on Shotwell’s latest release Live Quietly recorded under his moniker Loud Bird, are as nearly perfect a piece of indie instrumental-dream pop as anything I’ve heard in a long time. Live Quietly contains warm and dreamy melodies, lush and ripe instrumentation and on occasion ethereal choir-like ah’s and hushed bah bah bah’s.
Many of the songs on Live Quietly have such a relaxing almost drug-inducing quality which gives the listener the feeling that their just drifting along with the album, letting the music itself slowly propel one from track to track. “The Declinist” with its breathy woodwinds and spacey synths, coupled with live drums and the melodic and mellow “True Evangelism” with its looped beats and tinges of xylophone possesses that same catchy quality which makes a band like Air so easy to listen to.
Though the album is very quiet it is by no means lacking in diversity, with tracks like the handclapping “Wanting to Want You” with its bouncing piano loops and shimmering guitar riffs that recall the lo-fi experimental jam sessions a la Yo La Tengo. This experimentation also shows up on “Old World New Look” via a ‘80s metal inspired guitar solo.
One key ingredient to Live Quietly that shouldn’t be overlooked is that Shotwell also recorded, mixed and mastered the album himself at his own studio, Salt Lamp Sound, and to his credit the album sounds highly professional.
The idea behind Jared Shotwell’s project Loud Bird may well serve as great advice to any number of musicians out there who are trying to make it big in the business; that advice being that you should make the kind of music that you yourself would want to listen to and not worry about anything else. The worse thing that could happen would be that you end up making a really great record because you’re focus is on the music first and not on worrying about landing a record deal. If you’re record turns out as good as Live Quietly, then you can start shopping it around to labels.
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