Neighbor Lady Release New Album ‘For The Birds’

Georgia-based band Neighbor Lady has released their new album, For The Birds (Park The Van). Today they also share the newest single off the album, “Sister” of which they note, “‘Sister’ shows Neighbor Lady at our most vulnerable. It’s a testament to the invisible ties that keep us together, and a song that isn’t afraid to embrace love unapologetically.”

Next week Neighbor Lady kick off their first set of dates in support of the album. The tour starts on July 7 in Charlotte, NC at Snug Harbor and this leg concludes at the Hi-Tone Cafe in Nashville on July 17.

This run also includes a stop in both Atlanta, GA on July 9 & Athens, GA on July 14. The band have additional dates confirmed in October including stops in Chicago, New York City, Seattle with more to be confirmed. All dates are listed below.

There’s an illuminating moment that comes midway through “Feel It All The Time,” a hypnotic torch ballad off For the Birds, the new record from Atlanta-based band Neighbor Lady. After lulling the listener into an eerie dreamworld with a repeated 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 of 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.”

It’s a bold musical choice in a record packed full of them. Once primarily associated with indie-country, on For The Birds, Neighbor Lady pushes the boundaries of their music into more atmospheric and even unconventional realms, with songs that are just as inspired by the ornately arranged storytelling of Andy Shauf as the baroque experimentalism of Scott Walker.

While gorgeous top-line melodies, spirited rock hooks, and Braden’s richly emotive vocals (and plenty of twang) remain the core components of their sound, on For the Birds, Neighbor Lady expands their purview to encompass an elegant style of lush and textural guitar pop sprinkled with, as Braden puts it, with “reverb and magic.”

For The Birds was mixed by Noah Georgeson, whom the band admired for this work with 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 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 (“Hunted”)-it all feels of a piece, different faces 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.

This is both the heart and foundation of For The Birds, where every song is infused with the rare magic created by a group of musicians who are just as happy on a festival stage as they are at a last-minute house show as they are in the studio, relying on each other’s talents and ideas to transform the music they make into something beyond what they could achieve on their own.

Though For The Birds is hallmarked by big sonic flourishes and brave moments of experimentation, the overall feeling is still intimate and personal-four people in a room, making music together; Fitting for a group of musicians who say they feel less like a band and more like a family. “This record came out of a lot of love and hard work and us caring so much about the music and each other,” says Braden. “And that’s pretty much what we’re about.”

Neighbor Lady is Emily Braden (vocals), Jack Blauvelt, (guitars, keyboard), Payton Collier (bass), and Andrew McFarland (drums).

Listen to the new album here:

Neighbor Lady tour dates

7/7 – Snug Harbor – Charlotte, NC

7/8 – El Roco via Dog Days Presents – Savannah, GA

7/9 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA

7/15 – Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS

7/17 – The Basement – Nashville, TN

7/18 – Hi-Tone Cafe – Memphis, TN

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