Bar/None Records Fall 07 Newsletter


28 sep 2007, 02:38

Penny Arcade
Birdie Busch
Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Birdie Busch releases her second Bar/None disc, Penny Arcade, on September 25. Birdie has a natural blonde beauty that might suggest a straightforward, sweet-voiced folkie. But looks can be deceiving: her songs are way more adventurous and fun, weird and wonderful in the nicest ways. They're full of real-life observations and unexpected musical flourishes - a back-up troupe of whistlers here, a bluesy slide guitar there, and lots of real and machine-made handclaps that compel you to join in. Penny Arcade has a loose, easy-going feel, laid-back but never lightweight. Birdie's voice combines grown-up candor with child-like mischief and her songs, which NPR has praised as honest and insightful, feel like warm-hearted and witty diary entries.

Birdie recorded Penny Arcade, which includes a blissful cover of Steve Miller's Wild Mountain Honey, with her long-time collaborator, Philly musician and producer Devin Greenwood. They cut most of it at Devin's South Philly home; in a room they dubbed The Honey Jar. Joining them on many of these track are multi-instrumentalists Todd Erk and Ross Bellenoit. In the middle of this project, Birdie took time off for a visit to Memphis, making an essential stop at the Stax Museum, and that has clearly influenced the more soulful tracks

The Village Voice has called Birdie's Bar/None debut, The Ways We Try ... one of the slyest neo-folky records in recent memory, its blues loopy and eccentric, and its simple melodies often as inspired as say, Syd Barrett's. Penny Arcade is even more appealing as Birdie delivers each handcrafted song with a Cheshire Cat's grin. Hometown fans in Philadelphia can join Birdie on September 25 to celebrate the release of Penny Arcade at Johnny Brenda's. New Yorkers can do the same on October 10, when Birdie plays the Rockwood Music Hall. You can also see hippie-chick models frolicking to her song 'Bender - and sporting the fall line of Free People togs -- in a video at To catch a glimpse of Birdie and her band live, check out this ABC television footage from Philly:

For more information, check out and

Also playing live right now is Belfast electro-pop duo Oppenheimer. Sean and Rocky have been handpicked by They Might Be Giants to open their fall tour. Oppenheimer has made lots of friends in the U.S. after more than a year on the road, including a South Jersey policeman who came to bust a private pool-party show they were playing, then stuck around to dance instead. They've found a very receptive audience among TMBG fans, judging from the comments on their MySpace page and the amount of CDs they're selling every night. Oppenheimer is previewing songs from its second Bar/None disc, Take the Midrange and Boost It, to be released in 2008. In the meantime, if the buzz hasn't gotten to you yet, you can find Oppenheimer's self-titled debut at and Keep up with their schedule, which features U.S. dates through November, at

Hotel Lights
Hotel Lights
Hotel Lights front-man Darren Jessee is heading off around the country to do solo dates with his good friend Jennifer O'Connor. He's also putting the finishing touches on the second Hotel Lights full-length album, with the working title of Firecracker People. More info at:

In Case We Die
Architecture In Helsinki Catalogue
Old friends Architecture In Helsinki are also on the road, for what, they say, is their last U.S. tour for a long time. If you haven't caught up with their much-praised earlier work - Brian Wilson-worthy bedroom pop that has gradually evolved into new wave-styled dance music -- check out their two Bar/None discs, Fingers Crossed and In Case We Die... at We also have a few copies remaining of AIH's 2006 limited-edition remix disc, We Died They Remixed. By the way, that's AIH's Souvenir in the gorgeous Dreams Sprint ad directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris of Little Miss Sunshine fame. You can check out the ad and more in the news page.

Songs For Ice Cream Trucks
Michael Hearst’s Songs For Ice Cream Trucks
Where do ice cream trucks go in the winter? We're not sure we can provide the answer, but we do have the perfect music with which to ponder that eternal question: Michael Hearst's Songs For Ice Cream Trucks - a cool, refreshing treat any time of year. We suggest popping this one on right now to make sure summer lasts just a little longer, no matter what the calendar is saying. Find out where the hard-working Mr. Hearst is scooping out frosty musical treats at or

A Moveable Feast
The Sharp Things
Our favorite local chamber pop ensemble, The Sharp Things, has launched a sophisticated, revamped website. It features handsome looking black and white photos of the many band members (Perry - you're HOT!), live videos, streaming audio and a generous number of MP3's (though we still expect you to purchase a copy of TST's ambitious second Bar/None disc, A Moveable Feast, from or

David Driver
Speaking of sophisticated, long-time label pal and Losers Lounge stalwart David Driver, who released his groovy Togetherness disc (a collaboration with Austin punk-rock legend Gretchen Phillips) on Bar/None, will be performing -- with his inimitable savoir faire -- the songs of Scott Walker on September 29 at the Delacorte Theatre in New York City's Central Park. His must-see gig is part of Joe's Pub's end-of-summer Pub In The Park series, and it should be a surreal night under the stars. (The amazing Justin Bond will be interpreting the Carpenters and an all-star-cast will pay tribute to Marc Bolan too). For more info, go to

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P.O. Box 1704
Hoboken, NJ 07030
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