New Album "Arbitrary Magic" Out Now!
Southwest rock duo Birds and Arrows are Andrea and Pete Connolly. The band was formed in Chapel Hill, NC in 2007 and that year, went on to release two critically acclaimed EPs, "Self-titled" and "Woodgrain Heart". Over the past 10 years Birds and Arrows have released 4 full length records, "Starmaker" in 2008 (recorded by Andrea herself and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange), "We're Gonna Run" in 2009 (produced and recorded by Nick Peterson of Horseback), "Coyotes" 2013 and "Edge of Everything" 2015 (both recorded and mixed by Chris Stamey of The dB's). During that time, they also released a holiday EP "Holiday Forever" from which, songs have been featured on compilations with Wilco, Big Star, Yo La Tengo, Whiskeytown and more. After many years spent as an integral part the NC triangle music scene, the band recently relocated to the southwest.
Moving to the Arizona desert has been more than just a drastic change of scenery for Birds and Arrows, it’s turned out to be a radical change in vision and in attitude. Having outgrown the skin of their quiet NC folk beginnings, the desert has given them the space and freedom to finally shed the honeymoon sweetness of their past. Birds and Arrows' brand new album "Arbitrary Magic" is the band’s first full length release since relocating to the magical land of Tucson, AZ. This new, wildly energetic group of songs allows listeners to experience first hand, Birds and Arrows' transformation from love lorn folk duo, to hard hitting, rock and roll badassery.
"Arbitrary Magic" was produced and recorded by Gabriel Sullivan of Xixa and Giant Sand. Gabe’s creative vision is distinctly Tucson, having honed his skills at Wave Lab Studio before founding his own creative space Dust and Stone Studios.
“The magnificent fire of Birds and Arrows' new album Arbitrary Magic is like a blazing Phoenix and from it's ashes, rock and roll is re-born”.
“Overloaded”, the opening track on “Arbitrary Magic” hits you in the face with pure, raw, rock and roll muscle. That urgent, driving energy keeps coming at you song after song until you reach the second half of the record at which point they lull you into a desert trance state with their own original version of Peter Gabriel’s “San Jacinto”. And for those fans longing for their classic, sweet southern sound, don’t lose hope. The final 7 min. of the record leaves you with a soothing yet confident groove that proves their roots in the south are still deep beneath this new found, weathered desert exterior. To round out the sound of “Arbitrary Magic” they also have a few special musical guests…
Connor Gallaher is a young guitar conjurer and Tucson native, who’s talents have already graced the road sounds of big acts such as Calexico. Ben Nisbet, also provides his unique guitar voice playing on two tracks. Ben doubles as classic violist/Tucson Symphony organizer and guitar metal aficionado. At moments his guitar elevates the sound of the record, taking it to epic rock heights. Gabe Sullivan himself added a growling persistent bass guitar that possesses you with a deep groove throughout the record. And finally, Katie Haverly lends her mystical feminine power and soulful voice on the backing vocals for the albums single “Stay Down” which brings to mind the roaring gospel sounds of Merry Clayton on Gimme Shelter.
The Death card in tarot is the perfect symbol of Birds and Arrows’ transition from the deep south to the southwest. But then again, isn’t it all just Arbitrary Magic?
Birds and Arrows' visual art:
The Connollys have also been busy as artists and illustrators. They illustrated a series of children's books in 2013 for a Baltimore based non-profit. These books went on to be used as learning tools in inner city schools in places like St. Louis, New Orleans and of course Baltimore. Pete has illustrated two published tarot decks, "The Connolly Tarot" and "Feng Shui Deck". The couple have designed countless logos, brands and album covers for fellow musicians and small businesses...including t-shirt, album art and logo design for bands like Ben Folds Five, Justin Robinson of The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Dirk Shumaker of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And Pete's paintings have been featured in major network TV shows and was recently commissioned by Universal in Los Angeles.
Andrea and Pete Connolly have established an imaginative brand for their artistic and musical creations that is uniquely Birds and Arrows
Songs from the couple have also been included on compilations with Jeff Tweedy, Big Star, Yo La Tengo and Ryan Adams' Whiskeytown.
"Birds and Arrows reflects a self-assurance that results in strong songwriting and inventive arrangements" ~ Chris Conaton of Pop Matters
"There is a violent tension in the moniker Birds and Arrows, but the music that Pete and Andrea Connolly craft, spins friction away from brutality and into elegant, elemental heights." ~ Ashley Melzer - Paste Magazine
"The honeymoon sweetness of their earlier work has been replaced with a maturity and depth appropriate for musicians whose lives and work are gaining seriousness and acclaim."~ Frank Stasio of NPRs The State of Things
"Birds and Arrows are overflowing with invention, dedication and exuberance. Andrea and Pete sing together as if the Everly Bros. had joined Fleetwood Mac which doesn't hurt at all! If the Devil is in the details, then watch what you wish for around Birds & Arrows"~ Chris Stamey of The dB's
"Andrea's voice cuts right to my heart each and every time. Their music so lush, really creates some beautiful energy" ~ Dirk Shumaker of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Web design by Andrea Connolly of Birds and Arrows
ALL PHOTOS by JULIUS SCHLOSBURG