Birds and Arrows long awaited new album "Arbitrary Magic" will be released this fall on Baby Gas Mask Records.
Pick your favorite esoteric pre-order package and it will be sent to you on the dark wings of the occult.
It’s the band’s first full length record since relocating from Durham, NC to the magical land of Tucson, AZ.
Experience their transformation on this album from love lorn folk duo to hard hitting, rock and roll bad assery.
The desert southwest has been more than just a change of scenery for Birds and Arrows, it’s turned out to be a change in vision and attitude. They had outgrown the skin of their quiet, folk beginnings and the desert has given them the space and freedom to finally shed the honeymoon sweetness of their past.
“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.
The record 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. You can feel his presence on this record like a dark orb guiding the band to venture into mystical places they may not braved without him.
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
"Stay Down" single was recorded by: Gabriel Sullivan at Dust and Stone Studio and included special Tucson musical guests Katie Haverly on backing vocals and Ben Nisbet on screaming electric lead guitar. Read more about the new single and the video's premier through Tucson's Meow Meow Media.
"Edge of Everything" 2015 was produced and recorded by: Chris Stamey of the dB's and Birds and Arrows.
That record includes a wonderful cast of NC musicians:
Robert Sledge of Ben Folds Five : bass
Matt Douglas of The Mountain Goats : sax
Skylar Gudasz : vocals and flute
Eric Haugen of Swedish Fish : guitar and pedal steel
Kyra Moore Holt of Sweet By & By : banjo and fiddle
Jonathan Durlam of Graveyard Fields : guitar
Roger Gupton : bass
Omar Ruiz-Lopez: fiddle
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