Music

Bill Baird: Diamond Eyepatch

Austin via Oakland experimental pop artist Bill Baird makes his Moon Glyph debut with a mini-album of balanced absurdity.


Bill Baird

Diamond Eyepatch

Label: Moon Glyph
US Release Date: 2014-01-31
UK Release Date: Import
Website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

You may know Bill Baird as the guy who was in Sound Team, a band whose tale of major label signing and instant disintegration is as old as time, or maybe from those wicked Sunset albums. That said, you truly 'ought to know him as one of the last remaining rock and roll geniuses. To borrow a line from Bender, he transcends genres even as he reinvents them. His latest release, Diamond Eyepatch, continues more from the mania and humor of Baird's 2012 album, Career than it does his most recent recording, 2013's Spring Break of the Soul, which was a highly orchestrated double-album opus, his prestige album.

Baird's mini-album and Moon Glyph debut Diamond Eyepatch is a freewheeling affair, recorded entirely to tape and presented in two diametric halves. Baird's uniquely hurt yet hopeful voice can be heard clearly on the first three tracks. The opening "Luby's Purgatory", a shimmering sunshine-pop ditty contrasted by lyrics that include the hook "you're fucked", and the next couple tracks continue the lo-fi mutant pop trend. The set then switches gears after the 9-minute triptych "I've Waited My Whole Life To Disappear / Diamond Eyepatch See / Endless Ocean" mid-album, where things go from a hurt synth pop ode to driving, reverb-laden rock trance capped off by a long drum session fade. After that, "Small Room, Big Mind" is a psychedelic drone-rock jam, "Cabin Mix" is a lengthy manipulation of cabin field recordings meshed into a classic example of musique concrète (apparently intended for an 8 speaker mix), and the closing track is a stunningly sweet and moving Eric Satie piece called "Sonneries de la Rose + Croix". Though it was arranged for piano, what sounds like flamenco guitar and an effected melodica, it could just be Baird messing with our heads.

Diamond Eyepatch like right and left brain, Baird's meshing of paranoid, eccentric garage-pop and avant-garde whimsy bolstered by his experience earning an MFA in electronic music from Mills College. You never know what's next with this guy! But you should know picking up a Bill Baird tape that it's going to be a Bill Baird tape. It's going to be full of lo-fi weirdness that attempts to shine third eyes like a good Bill Hicks routine. One can easily enjoy his work superficially, but that rabbit hole goes a long way down if you're willing to give chase.

8

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image