The Mynabirds (the moniker of Laura Burhenn) kept up their/her hot streak of releasing great albums with this year’s excellent Be Here Now. The new album is at times the most overtly political album Burhenn has made. Mostly though, it’s just a tight collection of 9 songs that play around with all sorts of genres. Like most of Burhenn’s work, it deserves so much more recognition.
Just to back up slightly and introduce The Mynabirds, let’s go back to the year 2005. Back then Burhenn worked with John Davis in their very short-lived duo, Georgie James. They were a DC-based indie pop duo that saw a little bit of success before calling it quits in 2008. A year after that Burhenn set out to continue making music on her own under the name The Mynabirds.
What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood was Burhenn’s first solo statement, comprised mostly of old soul style songs. Generals followed it up, which was more of a rock protest album. Lovers Know came in 2015, and was the biggest shift in style yet, focusing on a lot more electronic instrumentation than ever before. And in August of this year, Burhenn released Be Here Now.
The recording of Be Here Now was initially a way to react artistically to the political mess that our country got itself into back in January. Although the tracklisting is short, the album is overflowing with ideas, and it’s all anchored flawlessly by Burhenn’s stunning vocals.
Now, Burhenn has stepped into the NPR offices to perform four tracks from the new album for the Tiny Desk Concert series. At various points throughout the performance, she’s backed up by an incredible group of artists. The list of additional artists are as follows: Patrick Damphier, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Dieudonne Manirakiza and Eric Esron of the Umoja Choir of Omaha, Mike Boggs, Emily Moore, Alexia Kauffman, and Adriana-Lucia Coates.
Watch the entire Tiny Desk performance right here.
Be Here Now is out now via Saddle Creek Records. Buy it here.