“Felt” By Neighbor Lady

"Felt" by Neighbor Lady is Northern Transmissions Song of the Day. The track is off the band's forthcoming release For The Birds
"Felt" by Neighbor Lady is Northern Transmissions Song of the Day

For the Birds is the title of the forthcoming album by Neighbor Lady. After lulling the listener into an eerie dreamworld with a repeated broken chord played on piano while vocalist Emily Braden entreats the listener to “take it or leave it all,” the keys suddenly start smashing together discordantly in a swell of cacophonous noise. It appears out of nowhere and recedes just as quickly, its absence foregrounding Braden’s quavering voice as she sings over a colorful arrangement of psychedelic strings and horns: “Don’t make it easy on me/ I can handle it.”

For The Birds was mixed by Noah Georgeson, whom the band admired for this work with Andy Shauf, Cate Le Bon, Devendra Banhart, and Joanna Newsom—“Albums that kind of have their own little universes,” says guitarist Jack Blauvelt. “And that’s how we tried to treat this one, with all the tiny magical noises in between things.”

Though Neighbor Lady began life as Braden’s solo project, the band is now a quartet consisting of Braden, Blauvelt, drummer Andrew McFarland, and bassist Payton Collier. Braden still writes all the songs, but the band agrees that For The Birds is a record that could only have been made by the four of them together. “Even after I came in, this idea of the band being this really tight knit group was pretty immediate—just the respect between everybody in the band, and the willingness of everybody to to hear anybody out on a part or an idea that pertains nothing to your personal instrument. It’s so collaborative and that was like from day one,” says Collier, who is the newest member of the group.

The mutual trust in each other’s instincts is key to For The Birds’ kaleidoscopic yet cohesive approach. While the record covers a lot of stylistic ground—there’s catchy alternative (“Penny Pick It Up”), starry-eyed country (“I’m With You”), indie rock (“Scared”), and otherworldly pop indebted to ambient (“Haunted”)—it all feels of a piece, different facets of a single band working in harmony towards a shared goal. Neighbor Lady finished recording basic tracks with Jason Kingsland (Kaiser Chiefs, Band of Horses, Belle & Sebastian) at Diamond Street Studios in Atlanta right before lockdown, and spent quarantine tinkering with the arrangements and the tracklisting, sending emails back and forth to nail down the pacing and figure out what kind of emotional story they wanted to tell. They also ended up re-recording many of the songs, creating multiple iterations in order to drill down to their true essence, with tracks like “I’m With You” changing from a surf rock number to a spacious, stripped-down ballad. “Being able to spend the time and have that intention behind it, and really being able to trust our own ears and feelings about it was a really cool exercise, a big growing exercise for the band,” says McFarland.

Neighbor Lady
For The Birds
Park The Van Records

For The Birds
Penny Pick It Up
Feel It All The Time
Taking U 4 A Ride
I’m With You
Too Far Gone

Pre-order For The Birds HERE