"Little Bird Courage" - Old Canes
It's unusual for a song that feels like some kind of folk rock to have this much percussive appeal, but "Little Bird Courage" is all about the drumming from the get-go--we pretty much don't even hear anything else until almost 20 seconds in. And this is in fact how Old Canes front man and master mind Chris Crisci envisions his songs--he records the drum tracks first, and builds the songs up from there.
Everything ends up feeling rhythmic and propulsive as a result. With its vibrant but informal energy, spurred by relentlessly strummed acoustic guitars and accentuated by Crisci's mixed-down vocals, "Little Bird Courage" has the vibe of a happier incarnation of Neutral Milk Hotel, an impression accentuated by the homely chorus of trumpets that appears halfway through, just when the whole thing seemed to be grinding to a halt. While it's hard to pick up a lot of the lyrics, I get the impression of something transcendent and triumphant here; the title alone speaks volumes.
Chris Crisci is perhaps better known as a member of the Appleseed Cast, the Lawrence, Kansas-based band usually identified as being a "post-rock" pioneer; Old Canes has been a side project of his dating back to 2004. "Little Bird Courage" is from Feral Harmonic, the second Old Canes album, slated for release next week by Saddle Creek Records.