Once upon a time, there was a band called Railbird. They were from Saratoga, NY, and they played a lot of shows in and around the Albany area, where I live. Railbird had a bunch of guys who all seemed to play about a dozen instruments, and a pretty singer-songwriter whose voice was quirky and powerful and whose lyrics were cryptic and fascinating. They started out playing mandolins and stand-up bass in little bars and coffee shops and over a couple of years, evolved into a strange and mesmerizing musical creature that swam in the chasm between folk and electronica. They released an album called No One in 2011, and a lot of people around here agreed that they were the best band we could reasonably call ours. Their synthed-up live shows began to experiment with acoustic frontiers that vibrated in my guts and left me stunned, and I started to feel a little embarrassed after seeing them because I felt like it was inappropriate for their audience to be limited to a few dozen people hanging out in Albany on a Thursday night. I suspected they thought it was inappropriate too.
And then, they disappeared.
Well, actually, they just moved to Brooklyn and renamed themselves Lip Talk, went full-on art pop, and now they’re doing a residency at Shea Stadium (which used to be the name of a place in Queens where my fifth grade class went on a bus to see Howard Johnson hit home runs, but now is the name of another place in Brooklyn where super-hip, edgy bands hide out and play awesome music). Their band leader is still Sara Kyle-Pedinotti, one of those super-talented, weird girls who got to grow up in an era when Kate Bush and Bjork already exist, giving her permission to let her creativity unfurl in mind-numbing layers of magical fashion and unexpected time signatures. They released an EP called Lucky last year; the title track attacks ears with the full range of what the band is now capable of – densely layered electric guitar loops and beats, an undulating bassline, and their singer’s now fully realized vocal wizardry:
Several months later, Lip Talk released a single called “Ghost,” with Kyle-Pedinotti exploring her right to sing like Aaliyah, while guitarist Chris Kyle blares feedback over a dance beat:
Well, this is all very interesting, but what else you got, Lip Talk? It’s been four years since Railbird took a musical left turn, offered us No One, and then set out on the open road to share their gifts with the rest of the world. All I’m saying is: it’s time. Drop a full album that knocks our socks off, just like all of us back home knew you would.
Stream or download the music of Railbird on Bandcamp.