Beloved virtuosic indie-pop musician Andrew Bird has just shared a new track titled “Capital Crimes.” It’s a rhythmic-leaning song, featuring Bird’s signature instrumental layering and spells of drifting violin melodies. “I wrote Capital Crimes more than a year ago about capital punishment,” he says about the origin of the track. “For a while they were giving IQ tests to death row inmates. If you scored below 70 your life was spared, above 70 and you were executed.” Bird continues “The government exists to protect and care for its citizens especially those who are most vulnerable, not decide who should be sacrificed. I hope the song handles the issue more eloquently than my prose here. “If I let go of your hand it would be murder” - the things that hold our society together are not really institutions and laws but everyday humanity and compassion. An acceptance that we are all in this together."
Andrew has been keeping busy and creative while the social distancing orders remain in place in California. He provided a log of what he’s been up to and an exclusive playlist for KCRW, featuring tracks that are helping him enjoy the time. Listen to the playlist below and you can also revisit his MBE session behind his 2019 Grammy-nominated album My Finest Work Yet.
“I usually start my days with a song for Instagram, whatever is in my head that morning and I don’t fuss over it being perfect. Then some soccer in the backyard with my 8-year-old. I’m finishing a record I made with Jimbo Mathus. It’s a pre-war country blues/early country duo collaboration. Jimbo plays that stuff like no one else, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for 20 years now.
I just finished reading The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow for the second time, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. It’s full of characters and slang from the 20s and 30s. Gatsby gets all the love, but this novel is better in my opinion. Now I’m reading Erik Larson’s The Splendid and The Vile, a very gossipy account of the Battle of Britain and Churchill. I’ve also started subscribing to The Criterion Channel for old art house movies and particularly early Hitchcock from the 30s. I’d been complaining how there are no good old movies on Netflix when a friend recommended this. We’ve gotten more in to cooking and playing vinyl records and scrabble.”