Portico I -- Listen Now, Listen Loud!

“Only Here For Your Love"

In June of 2016, the band gathered at The Portico, a repurposed Baptist church, to start work on some new recordings. Just twenty minutes outside of our original hometown of Athens, GA, it had been there for over 100 years, waiting, long before most of us arrived for the first time in that hot, strange, candy-land town 11 years earlier at the ripe age of 18. Being in Athens for the first time was total freedom. Freedom to dive into anything, to explore any crack in your brain, any crack in the floorboards, to become anyone, to pursue anyone. Freedom to go days without sleep, or sleep all day; to do everything, or nothing at all. In those first Athens years, playing music meant spending afternoons at each other’s houses, using bootleg recording rigs to chase down whatever weird musical fancy someone was on at the time. We’d hang out, try to impress each other with songs we were working on, and laugh our asses off doing whatever we felt. Once, we recorded the toilet seat slamming over and over through a delay to use as a drumbeat. We were on our 3rd or 4th pass when another roommate finally cracked and came in yelling, “you’ve got to shut the f*@k up!” He ended up helping us sing vocals on the choruses. There was no pressure, only pleasure in doing it for ourselves.  When the steam ran out on those ‘recording’ or jam sessions for whatever reason, we’d go out to a bar we could get into, or to a party, try and talk to girls, or go to another friends house to burn a fire and talk about what we might actually do with our lives down the road when our hands were forced on the matter. We got better at recording the toilet seat, but not at answering that last question. 

This was the environment we wanted to create when we started talking about demo sessions for our 4th full length LP. We decided we could record a few covers along the way to release in the meantime. We had two weeks blocked off to find a place, set up some recording gear, and chase the ideas we were sitting on; maybe brew up some new ones as well. We had no hard-lined goals; we weren’t under any of that delusional, self-imposed pressure to record the most important album of our generation. We just wanted to get together in a comfortable and casual environment to be creative in our own way, like we had so many years before. Like everything else, however, it takes all the right ingredients, and the setting was most definitely the broth of the stew. That’s when the Portico came to us. 

Originally a turn of the century Baptist Church, The Portico is enveloped by a large graveyard, almost as old as the building itself. It sits on a 60-acre plot of land that runs along the Apalachee River, a slow, murky Georgia river with overgrown banks and a soft-clay mud bottom; the kind that quickly fills the gaps in your toes in a highly unsettling, yet strangely enjoyable way. The main building was converted into a venue and event space by the owner, Lee Moody, a hard-working local family man, who spent his early life playing bass in small, hard-touring bands. He has put a lot of thought, love, time and care into the place, but from what we heard, it sat mostly unused, aside from a handful of wedding receptions and family gatherings.  No one in Athens seemed to know about it either.  At some point in the church’s existence, they added on a library and a couple small back rooms that now, by divine province no doubt, were occupied by exactly 5 twin beds, one for each of us. The place was stocked with an armada of canoes and kayaks by the river, and a comically large charcoal grill.  With just enough isolation, and just enough sources of distraction, it was the perfect place to let our focus and energy go wherever it needed to, to trust in the flow of the natural process. It sounds repulsively heady, brah, but it was exactly the thing we needed in order to give ourselves back the freedom to do anything, everything, or nothing at all if need be. So when the feeling wasn’t there in the playing, or it was just too nice outside, we would go explore the river by boat, or shoot pellet guns at empty beer cans stacked on headstones, grill food, laugh at videos B-Miles harvested deep from within the internet, whatever, til the feeling was refreshed. The musical work followed in suit; a few people would mess with the rhythm section of one song in the main room, while someone else caught a nap or worked on lyrics to another song in the library, while someone else roamed the graves out back, trying to envision the lives of long-dead strangers. It all carried its necessary weight. 

Aside from its new life as a venue, however, the Portico is still very much a church; the pews still line the main room, the library is packed with books and cassette tapes neatly organized on an array of religious topics: heaven and hell, angels, the nature of the human soul, witchcraft and demonic possession, you name it. The place is decorated with faded old black-and-white photos of the church throughout its existence; photos taken amidst fervent sermons to a full house, or children sitting on the front steps on a Sunday afternoon. On the front of the building, you could still see the cuts in the exterior where there had previously been two separate entrances, which was commonplace of a Baptist church back then, one for the men and one for the women. It evoked ideas of Depression-era, hard, southern Baptist ideals; living in fear of God and shame of one’s own human nature, sexuality, and desires. Fear of what your faults in that department might cost you in an eternal afterlife. But amidst those dire warnings of the evil lurking around every corner to impregnate you, there was a message of a Shepherd’s love for his flock, looking out for one another, and surrendering your trust to something completely intangible, much bigger than yourself. 

The most striking photo on display that evoked this dichotomy was of a funeral scene that actually took place in a snake-handling church a couple hours north of the Portico. We knew it meant something important to our recording session, even if we weren’t totally sure what the recording session itself was to become. In the foreground of the photo, there is a young man named Lewis Ford, lying deceased in an open coffin. He was a member of the congregation who had died from a snake bite he suffered professing his faith in the will of God during one of their services. Above his coffin, stands his broken-hearted father with weary, tear-filled eyes, above his head two terrifying handfuls of enormous Rattlesnakes, men to his left and right with eyes ablaze, preaching wildly, Bibles clenched tightly in their hands. Behind this scene is a church packed with people from the tightly-bound community. Families and neighbors all wrapped up in their literal and figurative isolation, together under the banner of their strongly held beliefs. It’s a community that clearly cares for itself; families that have one another’s backs. You can see young people standing on the pews in the back to get a better view. Kids that probably flirted with one another at the town dance and snuck out together at night. Neighbors that lent a hand when one was needed. You can see the hardened faces and soft eyes of mothers and fathers who were breaking their backs in an impossible environment to provide for their children. On the surface, it’s a grim scene of an extreme cult whose practices needlessly took a man’s life, but underneath, there’s an enormous amount of love.

And it was that feeling of love that was still radiating from the Portico all these years later, more than any notion of fear or negativity. And living now in a time when it seems as though fear is rapidly becoming its own currency, it was refreshing to be reminded that terror and the horrible things it can fuel, although real, are not what last. All those different types of love: familial love, romantic love, brotherly love, neighborly love, God’s love, empathy for a total stranger, people call them all kinds of different things, but they all come from a singular place. The songs to which we kept gravitating back to work on seemed to all revolve around that place. And it was that feeling that seemed to guide our hand through our time there, because we gave ourselves the freedom we needed to let it.  We couldn’t be happier with the resulting EPs, Portico I and II, and we are very excited to share them with you while we continue to work on our next full length record. We hope you all enjoy listening to these tracks as much as we did recording them and that the love from the Portico resonates through your speakers and beyond.

LOVE,

FUTUREBIRDS

New Music and Tour Dates!

BIRDHEADS!!!

We are thrilled today to announce the release of part 1 of our double-EP Portico series!!!!

Futurebirds-Portico-I_AlbumCover-9.27.jpg

This past June, we spent 2 weeks living and recording in a 100 year-old Baptist church outside of Athens, GA called the Portico. We went in to start working on demos for a still-to-come full-length LP, and to take a stab at a few cover songs to release along the way. The venue and the vibes were just too strong and we ended up with a lot of tracks we want to share with you over the next few months.

Thanks to the good folks at Brooklyn Vegan, you can get a sneak peak of the project with the premiere of the music video for the new original, “Only Here For Your Love”

Portico I drops in full on November 4th across all your favorite digital platforms. Pre-order the full record and now and get an immediate download of "Only Here For Your Love."

Portico II will be available early 2017.

This music video was filmed at the church, during our recording session, by our mega-talented friends Alex Beaver and Bo McKenzie and stars an amazing cast of misfits including our friends the High Divers from Charleston, SC, multi-instrumentalist vibe-master Kiffy Myers, sonic wizard Drew Vandenberg, and High Shoals, GA undisputed All-Star, Mr. Brett Mizerak (like the pool player).

This project has ended up meaning a whole lot to us on so many different levels. We went into this session with no specific goals to speak of and what we found were loads of that inexplicable Chi that you can only conjure in a very old place of worship. We hope you feel the same array and intensity of emotions listening these songs as we did creating them.

We are blowing the doors off Q4 this year, with new tunes, a bunch of fresh tour dates in some of our favorite towns, including ATLANTA, CHICAGO, NEW YORK, DC, NASHVILLE, CHARLESTON, ASHEVILLE, CHARLOTTE (NYE!), and so many more! We’ve got a lot of surprises along the way, and will be hitting 2017 at well over 1.21 Gigawatts. So check out the dates below, saddle up, and come join us!!

We’ll see y’all all soon!!! 

AND HAPPY MUTHALICKIN' HALLOWEEEEEEN!!!!!

LOVE,

FUTUREBIRDS 

 

Upcoming Tour Dates

November 25 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
November 26 - Memphis, TN - 1884 Lounge
November 30 - St. Louis, MO - The Bootleg @ Atomic Cowboy

December 1 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean
December 2 - Maquoketa, IA - Codfish Basement
December 3 - Fort Wayne, IN - The Brass Rail
December 4 - Barnesville, OH - Albert S. George Youth Center
December 6 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade (NYC)
December 8 - Washington, D.C. - U Street Music Hall
December 9 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
December 10 - Columbia, SC - Music Farm (Yule Jam w/ SUSTO & The Mustache Brothers)

December 15 - Chattanooga, TN - Revelry Room
December 16 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
December 29 - Charleston, SC - Music Farm
December 30 - Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle
December 31 - Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre

New Summer Tour Dates!

We're looking forward to hitting the road again this summer!   We'll be hitting some old favorites like the Jackson, WY, Houston & New Orleans and visiting a few cities we haven't seen in far too long like Houston and San Diego.  Check out the list below or hit the tour section for all info.  More to come...  We hope to see you on the road!

June 17  |  Downtown After Five  |  Asheville, NC
June 18  |  Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort  |  Snowshoe, WV
July 24  |  Rowayton Summer Music Series  |  Rowayton, CT
August 2  |  Town Square Tavern  |  Jackson, WY
August 3  |  Alive After Five Concert Series  |  Boise, ID
August 5-7  |  Pickathon 2016  |  Happy Valley, OR
August 10  |  Crystal Bay Casino  |  Crystal Bay, NV
August 12  |  Sweetwater Music Hall  |  Mill Valley, CA
August 13  |  Henry Miller Memorial Library  |  Big Sur, CA
August 18  |  Velvet Jones  |  Santa Barbara, CA
August 19  |  Soda Bar  |  San Diego, CA
August 21  |  Lowbrow Palace  |  El Paso, TX
August 24  |  Paper Tiger  |  San Antonio, TX
August 25  |  White Oak Music Hall Downstairs  |  Houston, TX
August 26  |  Gasa Gasa  |  New Orleans, LA
August 27  |  Varsity Theatre  |  Baton Rouge, LA

Futurebirds LastFM Session

The band recorded a session with LastFM. They performed "twentyseven," "Paranoia Letters," and "Rodeo." Videos of all three are below!


Futurebirds TuneIn Session

The band stopped in at TuneIn Studios in Venice, CA to record a few songs. Listen to the full session below! 

Added to Gasparilla Music Festival Lineup

Futurebirds were added to the lineup at Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa, FL. The festival is March 12th and 13th, and will include performances from Blitzen Trapper, Lucero, Erykah Badu, Greensky Bluegrass, and more. Futurebirds will be playing on March 13th. Full lineup and tickets are available here: gasparillamusic.com .


Futurebirds at KEXP - Seattle, WA

The band stopped in at KEXP 90.3 FM for a live session while passing through Seattle. Videos of the session will be released soon! 


Futurebirds Jam in the Van

Futurebirds visited Jan in the Van Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA while on the West Coast leg of their Hotel Parties Tour. The band performed “Hotel Parties” and “Xmas Drags” off the Hotel Parties album, along with a cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” Check out the videos of all three!


"Rodeo" at Huckberry - San Francisco, CA

Futurebirds stopped by Huckberry in San Francisco, CA to record a stripped-down version of “Rodeo,” off the Hotel Parties album. Watch the video below!


Winter Tour Update

Goodbye 2015,

A year that saw us record, mix, master, and release Hotel Parties. A year where we played a show in -14 degree temperatures at Dartmouth, and played a festival on the melting black top parking lot outside the old AstroDome, in June. A year where we saw the whales migrating north towards Canada off the southern Oregon coast. Yay, a year that hath seen both highs and lows, peaks and valleys. While I will miss your gentle touch and longing gazes, it it time to move forth from the depths of nostalgia and brashly into the new year. We shan't shun you completely though, sweet 2015, as we've many artifacts from our last few months still remaining. Videos, live sessions, and studio sessions are all to come soon, and we're super proud of all the collaborations we've been afforded the opportunity to make. 

Back in November, we were graciously asked to be part of Oxford American's Georgia Music Edition, the result is our version of Ray Charles' "Midnight" (written by Boudleaux Bryant and Chet Atkins). Our new friend Ben Surber captured the experience in an awesome video that is attached below. We thank all of the people who took time to come see us this past year, to purchase our merch, to pester us on social media, and even to donate to our stolen goods fund. We hope that we made it worth your while in every way we could, and hope that the new year holds great secrets and truths for us all.

Since we last saw any of you (almost 2 months ago) we've been diligently stuffing our faces in preparation for a long winter tour with our good friends SUSTO. Since our friend James forced us (over the course of a year probably) to listen to this band, we've been smitten. We could be soul mates, as we've become fast friends and mutual admirers within the course of a few months. We'll be heading out on a bunch of western dates with the fine boys (and girl) in SUSTO, a tour that will be sure to feature much collaboration and a newly fandangled light rig that we have no idea how to run.

Check out our tour dates below. You can find tickets to all these show (and all other dates) here: futurebirdsmusic.com/tour .

Thanks for allowing us to continue to be band!

Sincerely,
FUTUREBIRDS

January 22nd - Dallas, TX - Club Dada (with SUSTO)
January 23rd - Austin, TX - The Parish (with SUSTO)_
January 27th - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo (with SUSTO)
January 28th - San Francisco, CA - The Independent (with SUSTO)
January 29th - Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst (with SUSTO)
February 3rd - Eugene, OR - Sam Bond's Garage (with SUSTO)
February 4th - Portland ,OR - Mississippi Studios (with SUSTO)
February 5th - Seattle, WA - The Tractor Tavern (with SUSTO)
February 6th - Spokane, WA - The Bartlett (with SUSTO)
February 9th - Jackson, WY - Town Square Tavern (with SUSTO)
February 11th - Fort Collins, CO - Surfside 7 (with SUSTO)
February 12th - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge (with SUSTO)
February 13th - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge (with SUSTO)
February 14th - Creede, CO - Creede Cabin Fever Daze (with SUSTO)
February 16 - Lawrence, KS - The Bottleneck (with SUSTO)
February 18th - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
March 10th - 12th - Savannah, GA - Savannah Stopover Festival
August 5th-7th - Happy Valley, OR - Pickathon Festival

Futurebirds Added to Pickathon 2016 Lineup

Futurebirds will be playing at Pickathon again in August! The festival is in Happy Valley, OR on the weekend of August 5th to August 7th. They’ll be playing along with Jeff Tweedy, Yo La Tengo, Beach House, Ty  Segall & The Muggers, Black Mountain, and many more! See the full lineup in the image below. Tickets and more info available here: http://pickathon.com/tickets/

Futurebirds at Paste Studios, NYC

Back in November, Futurebirds visited Paste Studios in New York City to play a few songs. They performed “Rodeo” and “For You” off Hotel Parties, and a new single “Painted Tears.” Check out videos of all three below! 

 


Videos and Recordings from OurVinyl Sessions Now Available

Futurebirds did three tracks off Hotel Parties for OurVinyl Sessions. "Paranoia Letters," "twentyseven," and "Rodeo" were recorded in the Ink building just outside of Nashville. Videos of all three are below, and the tracks are also available on Spotify and iTunes .