New Audio: Arbor Labor Union’s Shaggy and Expansive New Single “Mr. Birdsong”

Over the past 18 months or so, the Athens, GA-based quartet formerly known as Pinecones have become a JOVM mainstay act with the release of Cosmosis” and “Ocean at the Center,” off their full-length debut Sings For You Now. And what caught my ear was that their material eschewed familiar and fundamental songwriting structures — there simply isn’t a discernible chorus or a bridge, and honestly it doesn’t matter nor is that the point as their material possesses a raw, primal urgency and passion that’s sadly rare in an age of prepackaged, carefully marketed, commodified music product. More important, their material manages to remind me that life is a brief and chaotic blast of strident passions and furies that dissipate into the ether as quickly as it came. And it suggests that life is ultimately the here and now; nothing more, nothing less.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you may know that last year was an interesting year for the band, comprised of Bo Orr (vocals, guitar), Ben Salle (drums), Brain Atoms (guitar) and Ryan Evers (bass) announced that their were changing their name to Arbor Labor Union, and then they were signed to renowned indie rock label Sub Pop Records. Building upon the attention they received with the release of Sings For You Now, the quartet formerly known as Pinecones will be releasing their sophomore effort I Hear You on May 13.  And the sophomore effort’s first two singles “Radiant Mountain Road” and “Belief’d” will cement the Athens, GA-based quartet’s burgeoning reputation for a sound that sounds deeply indebted to Neil Young and Crazy Horse (think of “Cinnamon Girl“), and Pearl Jam (think of “Last Exit,” “Spin The Black Circle,” and Tremor Christ” off Vitalogy and “Blood” off Vs. and “Tremor Christ”).

I Hear You’s latest single “Mr. Birdsong” is a shaggy, free-flowing, expansive and seemingly improvised jam that has the band pairing layers of towering and scuzzy guitar chords, a chugging rhythm consisting of thundering and propulsive drumming and tumbling bass chords with Orr’s shouts, howls, yelps and laughter in a song that hints at the surreal and metaphysical simultaneously — but with a furious and urgent passion.