It’s been five years since bassist Paul Siler and guitarist Cheetie Kumar broke ranks from Garage Rock titans Cherry Valence, got married after nearly a decade of dating and assembled their new band project, Birds of Avalon. The next shift was Siler’s move to guitar, a subtle but powerful step that allowed Siler and Kumar unlimited time (given their domestic situation) to work out their dual guitar attack. The pair invited keyboardist/vocalist and old friend Craig Tilley to jam with them, followed in short order by Dynamite Brothers drummer Scott Nurkin and multi-instrumentalist David Mueller.
Steered by a love of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and John Coltrane and galvanized by a contemporary vibe, Birds of Avalon put all of their energy into touring as much as possible.
Their 2007 debut album, the magnificent Bazaar Bazaar, is a brilliant pastiche of gritty Blues/Rock with the best elements of ’60s/’70s Psych and Prog Rock and a shot of Punk adrenaline. The combination proved potent: Bazaar Bazaar earned a ton of great reviews, made a number of year-end lists and resulted in BoA being touted as a band to watch.
Over the past two years, the Raleigh, N.C., quintet has lived up to its early billing. Last spring saw the release of the stripped-back yet still densely fabulous Outer Upper Inner EP, teeing up the June release of Birds of Avalon’s much anticipated sophomore full-length, Uncanny Valley, a swirling black-light evocation of bygone days, as delicate as drifting tendrils of incense and as pummeling as a paisley jackhammer.
Through it all, Birds of Avalon’s Pop roots are clearly evident: Mitch Easter is a friend and sonic advisor, and his influence courses through the band’s catalog. But the best way to experience Birds of Avalon is face to face — apply plenty of soundscreen and brace yourself for the band’s psychedelic onslaught.
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