Houston, Texas based Artificial Head Records has been putting out some wicked, underground lo-fi pop, garage rock, metal, punk, and experimental rock releases for 10 years now, and it is our pleasure to give you their newest outing, “An Olive Branch Wrapped In Barbed Wire” by BABY BIRDS. The album is a nihilistic release of gloomy, psychedelic post punk / post metal no-wave music influenced by Chrome, early Killing Joke, and Head of David, an interesting eerie listen that ropes you right into a very particular, personal experience. We have teamed up with the band to give you some more details on their work through a brief interview including their backstory, COVID-19, George Floyd protests, and the underground music scene of Houston.
An Olive Branch Wrapped In Barbed Wire by Baby Birdswas released worldwide digitally and via special-edition cassette on June 12th via Artificial Head Records – home of releases by Terminal Cheesecake, Locean, The Cops, and Funeral Horse.
BABY BIRDS are: Walter – guitar, vocals, Lisa – drum machines, percussion, Wendy – guitar, synthesizers
How did the band get its start?
Baby Birds got its start while the band Right Speaker Heavy was working on material for their third album late in 2019. Some of the new material for the record wasn’t fitting with the style the band was going for at that time – which was a decidedly 70s new wave funk but with much darker tones. In the process of finishing up the recording, COVID-19 started to spread rapidly and the studio had to close down for an unforeseen amount of time.
So, in March, while everyone was waiting to see what happens next – Wendy and Lisa started going over the extra material and contacted Paul from Funeral Horse to see if he would want to work on the songs. And that’s pretty much how all THAT began.
Well, we had to file-share all of the songs back and forth to get the recordings finalized. The vocals had to be recorded in the backseat of a car using remote recorders because there was nowhere to capture the screaming and yelling without pissing off the neighbors!
And here we are… still stuck with COVID-19 and (unfortunately) many not taking it seriously which is now causing a new spike in cases in the Houston area. The Houston scene is doing A LOT to hold it together amid all of this – but gigs are certainly on hold and going out to bars is getting to be risky business.
To date, many bars in Houston have shut down permanently (last count was around 20) as staff members start getting sick and opening back up just isn’t financially and ethically sound. Venues with kitchens are faring better, but things are still tough all over. Even as a band, we haven’t fully been able to be in one place together in months!
How did Houston react to the George Floyd protests?
I’m super proud of our community for gathering peacefully and marching strong. We did not have the large scale riot and destruction that you see on the news feed with other cities. We did have a MASSIVE gathering of people from all walks to join and physically be there to ensure their collective voices were heard against the abuse of power. What’s more, this critical mass is continuing in Houston and other cities – which is going to be the key in bringing about true reform and change.
With all that is going on, what do you see the rest of 2020 looking like for Baby Birds and the Houston scene?
There was talk about gigs and such, but at this point – a lot of bands (including ourselves) will need to wait until the second wave of COVID-19 is under some reasonable sense of control before doing anything involving gigging… and that could be autumn at this point Karol. Facebook/Instagram Live performances only go so far with reaching friends and fans. I dread the imminent news of our favorite record shops and venues closing due to a new call for quarantine.
Hope all is going well and you’re keeping yourself well Karol. Thank you and your readers so much for your time!