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Violent Femmes - Why Do Birds Sing

Violent Femmes - Why Do Birds Sing

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A remastered reissue of Violent Femmes' fifth studio LP.


The textbook American cult band of the ‘80s, Violent Femmes captured the essence of teen angst with remarkable precision; raw and jittery, the trio’s music found little commercial success but nonetheless emerged as the soundtrack for the lives of troubled adolescents the world over. Their self-titled 1983 debut was a blueprint for legions of sardonic alternative rockers that would follow, and they continued their blend of searing, darkly humorous lyrics and sharp-edged folk-rock on other standout albums like 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing.

+ Available as a limited Smoke Coloured vinyl Indie exclusive.

Violent Femmes formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the early ‘80s, made up of singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo. After being discovered by the Pretenders’ James Honeyman-Scott while they were busking on the street, the band signed to Slash and issued their self-titled debut, a melodic folk-punk collection which struck an obvious chord with young listeners who felt a strong connection to bitter, frustrated songs like “Blister in the Sun,” “Kiss Off” and “Add It Up.” Though never a chart hit, the album remained a rite of passage for succeeding generations of teen outsiders, and after close to a decade after release, it finally achieved platinum status.

40 years on, Violent Femmes’ legacy remains strong, while their influence can be heard across multiple genres—from the anti-folk movement of the early 2000s to the chart-topping hits of Barenaked Ladies, and the indie-pop of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. In 2014, Popmatters declared that the folk-punk pioneers “may have very quietly been one of the most important rock bands of the 1980s, if not the past quarter-century…[They] celebrated the simplicity of pop music from the fringes, attacking convention with a mix of humour and violence.” Pitchfork argued that “The Femmes don’t signify an era so much as a time of life,” adding that “for young people growing up in the internet age” their music “is part of a shared language.”

Vinyl Edition
Side A
American Music
Out the Window
Look Like That
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
Hey Nonny Nonny
Used to Be

Side B
Girl Trouble
He Likes Me
Life is a Scream
Flamingo Baby
Lack of Knowledge
More Money Tonight
I'm Free

2CD Edition
Disc 1
1. American Music
2. Out the Window
3. Look Like That
4. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
5. Hey Nonny Nonny
6. Used to Be
7. Girl Trouble
8. He Likes Me
9. Life is a Scream
10. Flamingo Baby
11. Lack of Knowledge
12. More Money Tonight
13. I'm Free
14. Me and You*
15. Color Me Once (Early Version)*
16. 4 Seasons (Early Version)*
17. Breaking Up (Early Version)*
18. American Music (Alternate Mix)*
19. Dance, M.F., Dance!

Disc 2
1. Look Like That (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
2. Out The Window (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
3. Fat (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
4. Blister in the Sun (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
5. Prove My Love (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
6. Country Death Song (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
7. Old Mother Reagan (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
8. Confessions (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
9. Girl Trouble (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
10. Add It Up (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
11. Good Feeling (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
12. More Money Tonight (Live At The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA / 1991)
Artist: Violent Femmes
Label: Concord
Catalogue: LBJ326LPC1
Barcode: 648401032604
Format: LP or 2CD
Release Date: 8th October 2021

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Drift Recommends

Alongside a weekly playlist of new and old tracks (tune in via the news section), all of the Drift staff also contribute to a weekly 'Drift Recommends' playlist.

Updated every Friday, it's full of new tracks that we love, absolute bangers that have popped back into our heads and all sorts of other weird avenues. It is supposed to sound a little bit like that feeling of walking through the door at Drift.

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