Secret Kids, the second LP from Seattle-based Virgin of the Birds, is a collection of pop songs adorned with longing, an abundance of lyrics, and languid, serpentine guitar parts. There’s a song on Secret Kids named after seminal New York underground chronicler Victor Bockris. Another song namechecks largely unheralded early 21st century indie rock troubadours Minmae. The album title and title track reference the almost/shoulda made-it Philadelphia folk-rock saviors of the late 1970’ s, Kenn Kweder and his Secret Kidds, while lead single, “Spooky, Stony, Barely Over Thirty”, has a line in it about playing bass in the Lemonheads during the twilight of their ‘ 90s run. Touchstones include the inspired jangle pop of the Verlaines and Lilys, the warm modernism of Cate Le Bon, and, of course, the third Velvet Underground record to which all strains must return.
Named after a poor English translation of a Salvador Dali painting, Virgin of the Birds treads a line between intimate, lo-fi pop and the occasional grandeur of early art rock. About Virgin of the Birds’ debut EP, Mixed Choir, songs: Illinois noted, “If you like the rambling folk weirdness of Felt then you’ ll no doubt like this as well.” Songwriter Jon Rooney started Virgin of the Birds as a solo project in San Francisco in the mid-00’ s then built an ace band while living in Austin, TX for a couple of years before settling in Seattle. After releasing a series of free, home-recorded EPs on Rooney’ s own Abandoned Love Records, Virgin of the Birds caught the attention of Scottish blog and label Song, By Toad, leading to several solo shows in Edinburgh, the inclusion of a disc full of songs on the label’ s limited edition Five-Year Anniversary Box Set and the release of Winter Seeds, their 2014 debut full-length album that The Herald Scotland described as “essential.” Three songs Virgin of the Birds recorded in Edinburgh appear on the Song, By Toad Split 12” Volume 4 released in July 2016 alongside tracks by Baltimore-based troubadour Viking Moses and Scottish artists Supermoon and digitalanalogue.
Like Winter Seeds, Secret Kids was recorded at Her Car, a studio in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, by Virgin of the Birds’ drummer and producer, Colin J Nelson. Upon finishing the record, prolific local bass player Ken Nottingham (the Foghorns, Sam Russell & the Harborrats, Creeping Time) rounded out the lineup as the band embarked on their first West Coast tour alongside UK chamber pop band Storm the Palace in the spring of 2015. With the release of Secret Kids, Virgin of the Birds plan to tour more widely at home and return to Scotland for more Irn Bru and rock shows.
“an uncommon grasp of adroit, heartfelt songcraft sets Rooney on track to follow the likes of Bill Callahan and David Berman into the pantheon of awkward, visionary American outsiders.” – The Herald Scotland
“the songcraft is the brightest star here and rewards multiple listens, with engaging tales delivered effortlessly with vocals reminiscent of the late Lou Reed’s” – Seattle Weekly
“This is mature, wonderful stuff. RIYL Magnetic Fields or Luna.” – Nada Mucho