Today we present the newest single from iconic power pop artist Anton Barbeau – the ‘Manbird’ single is the first taste of the ‘Manbird’ double LP. The title track comes with b-side ‘The Art of Beaking’. The new video was created by Julia VBH together with Barbeau.
The new double-album will be released on September 18 via Gare du Nord (UK) and Beehive Sound (USA). This one is a definite time for lovers of Robyn Hitchcock, Dresden Dolls, XTC, The Beatles and Julian Cope.
With over 30 albums to his name now, the Berlin-based Sacramento-raised artist is releasing his long-awaited autobiographical double album, which is focused on his hometown. Hence this involves many Sacramento musicians, including Vince Di Fiore (Cake) and Jonah Matranga (Far). While Barbeau has worked with drummer Michael Urbano (Todd Rundgren, Neil Finn, Cracker) and bassist Larry Tagg for years, ‘Manbird’ marks the first time the Bourgeois Tagg rhythm section appears together on an Ant album. Other guests include wyrdfolk musician Sharron Kraus and Bryan Poole (Of Montreal/Elf Power).
‘Manbird’ is a collection of new songs, written in Berlin and on a farm in Auburn, CA. Recorded in Berlin, Oxford, Paris and California, the title takes inspiration from the film ‘Lady Bird’, a coming-of-age-in-Catholic-school story set in Sacramento. Many of the film’s locations are well familiar to Barbeau.
Whereas Lady Bird couldn’t wait to leave town, Barbeau notes: “I was quite timid about even stepping out of my precious Midtown, where I’d become a big fish in a small nest. I had major labels calling me up at home and I thought the world would simply come to my door, cash in hand.” Obviously it didn’t work like that, and Barbeau did finally leave Sacramento, ultimately finding his way to Berlin via Alameda and then England. “I saw the film Lady Bird in Madrid while on tour with Julia VBH, and it struck me I’d finally left the proverbial nest.”
Unfortunately, the global pandemic seems to have grounded ‘Manbird’. Barbeau explains, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back to Berlin before the album is released, and there will be no touring to promote it for now. So much uncertainty in the world has planted me in a green chair on a farm in the foothills of Northern California. My personal life, my professional life, my health care are all rewired, but I feel incredibly lucky to have landed where I am. I was in a world of my own making with Manbird. Every song on this album has a purposeful vibe, and my writing standards were high. I mean, who doesn’t want to live inside a double album modeled after Tusk, The White Album and 666?”
The ‘Manbird’ single is out now and can be obtained across online platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify. On September 18, the ‘Manbird’ LP will be released on CD and digitally. It can already be pre-ordered here.
Anton Barbeau – vocals electric guitar, tiny 12-string ping, sequential synths, TR-707, Mellotron
Michael Urbano – drums
Don Hawkins – fanciful gtrs (Ebow, amongst)
Allyson Seconds – backing vocals
Eric Broyhill – Mixing and mastering
Video by Julia VBH and Anton Barbeau
Also enjoy his ‘Berliner Grotesk’ single:
All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.