Mutton Birds

Combining the dramatics of moody Australians like the Go-Betweens and the Triffids with the pure pop craft of Split Enz and Crowded House, New Zealand’s Mutton Birds made a number of sparkling guitar pop records in the ’90s. Before forming Mutton Birds, singer Don McGlashan had been in post-punk pioneers Blam Blam Blam, theatrical folk…

Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather singer Robert Harrison sounds more than a little like John Lennon. He also writes songs that sound like the Beatles. Those two factors are usually enough to write a band off as retro wannabes, but this Austin group has made great music that uses its inspirations merely as a jumping-off point to explore…

M. Ward

Portland, Oregon’s M. Ward (Matt to his friends) combines the guitar chops of John Fahey with tuneful front-porch hymns that are equal parts rambling country blues and folk ballad and delivers them in a laid-back drawl that recalls Greg Brown or Tom Waits. Having done college time in San Luis Obispo, California with indie outfit…

Mendoza Line

Only ardent baseball fans know infielder Mario Mendoza’s sorry legacy: giving a name to the humiliating .200 average. (Despite a final career mark of .215, he finished five of his nine seasons batting below one-in-five.) It is in that self-effacing spirit, and with a certain chutzpah, that the Mendoza Line stake their claim in the…

Andrew Bird

A classically-trained violinist with the kind of expressive voice that draws comparison to Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright, Chicago native Andrew Bird is also a gifted arranger, inventive multi-instrumentalist and quirky songwriter with a unique musical worldview. In the mercurial Bowl of Fire and on his own, Bird has made music that manages to sound…