Filthybird has an eclectic sound that could easily be filed under literary folk, Americana, psychedelic country, or indie rock. Although their sound references all of those genres, the music the quartet makes is rather hard to pin down. The band's evocative and unlikely title is taken from a lyric by Robyn Hitchcock, "A happy bird is a filthy bird," another artist with an eccentric worldview, so it's best not to read too much into their moniker. The band's core is Renee Mendoza, a Texas born and bred guitarist and singer/songwriter with a big, open, expressive voice that inhabits its own unique musical space. She has the powerful yet understated delivery of a folk singer, and a literary turn of phrase that never calls attention to itself. Guitarist Brian Haran, her husband, has played in noise rock bands with Glenn Branca and LaMonte Young, but his approach here is minimal and melodic. —J. Poet
“The punks steal lines and swagger from Duehring’s bass face. Guitar nerds watch Haran’s mad scientist take on tone and solos. And if Aiken didn’t hold the whole sound down percussion-wise, they’d all just levitate. Then Mendoza ... writes these lyrics and melodies that give emo kids something to feel good about. Altogether it’s a sound you’ve never heard before and wish to hell you’d created.” — Molly McGuinn
"Filthybird has been compared to Cat Power, and that's not really a wrong comparison, but personally they remind me of two of my favorite female-led bands, lyrically, vocally and musically: Midnight Movies, because of the husky, breathy vocals and dark psychedelica; and Geraldine Fibbers for the lyrical trippiness and vocal androgyny. Seriously, I wasn't sure until looking at the credits if it was a man or woman singing. Musically, it's a little jangly, a little swampy, a little psychedelic. Effects-laden and a little trippy. Good stuff, but the vocals are what makes it shine. "Fightsong" is the best song, though "Warm Womb", "Sing" and "Sunshine" give it a run for its money." —Karen A. Mann
"Lush, breezy and cinematic arrangements by this Cosmic Americana quartet may recall the best moments of Gram Parsons, Jefferson Airplane, Roky Erikson and Chris Bell, but Filthybird is unique, reassembling the most colorful fragments of a mythic American music into something entirely new. Members of Vetiver contribute percussion and guitar to boot." — Mad Mackeral
"With three notable exceptions, the music is atmospheric, suggesting wide-open emotional and geographical spaces. Every instrument has its own discrete presence and helps to set off and complement Mendoza's impeccable vocals. "Portraits" sets off its contemplative verses with a chorus of psychedelic swing that has a hint of honky tonk country in its backbeat. Mendoza's cosmic vocals on "Mostly of Waves" are given a larger than life feel with careful use of reverb and an amazing lyric that tie past, present, future and the mysteries of birth, life, and death into a neat little package. "Stephen Dedalus" a jazzy Nick Drake-like folk tune with a gently rolling rhythm that conflates James Joyce and Greek mythology for a playful meditation on hubris, features Mendoza's chilling, multi-tracked vocals and an unexpected whistled bridge; "Last Night," a quiet samba that examines the impact of unexpected infatuation, and "Hiders," a country-flavored bossa nova that sings the praises of love with a delicious, swooning vocal by Mendoza." — J. Poet
"Filthybird is unique, reassembling the most colorful fragments of a mythic American music into something entirely new."
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