Birds And Batteries exists in an alternate universe in which the classic-rock artists of the 1970s—Tom Petty, Neil Young—put down their guitars and picked up bubbly synthesizers. The project of San Francisco synth-popper Mike Sempert, Birds And Batteries eschews the usual self-absorption that has become characteristic of synth-based pop of late, in favor of a wide-eyed, happy-go-lucky optimism that is impossible to confuse with naivety.
Birds And Batteries was started by Sempert in Boston, when he and a friend started playing guitar over laptop beats. Since the first release in 2005, Sempert’s project has relocated to San Francisco (“An amazing place and definitely a pretty open scene,” Sempert says), grown three members, and developed a more complex and less “somber” sound. Live, Birds And Batteries emphasizes the “dancier side of the catalog,” preferring to get the audience moving.
It’s an odd thing to say that certain voices are suited to certain genres, but it’s true—it would just be odd hearing Dylan singing metal. Sempert’s voice is elastic and soulful, seemingly a product of the soaring harmony-laden folk-rock of the 1970s rather than either the chanting/moaning or icy delivery that usually accompanies electronic textures. This gives Birds And Batteries a dynamic awash in flavor and bringing to mind names that a swirling synth would generally repel.
Birds And Batteries has opened for Memory Tapes and Tapes N’ Tapes, and been featured on MTV and Fuel. The group just finished a U.S. tour, is releasing a 7″ this summer and is shooting for a full-length in 2012, which will likely follow Sempert’s desire to “build up to a dance-party and blast off with everyone.” Prepare for launch.
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