Small Birds of Sound was born in 2008, when Chris and Jess started making music and art together as graduate students at UC Santa Cruz. It's poetic that the birthplace of Small Birds - UCSC's Porter College - also incubated the now venerable but still notorious Camper Van Beethoven, of which Chris was a founding member.
Small Birds of Sound make songs that are the perfect soundtrack as you watch your dog roll blissfully in the grass. They also compose songs, simultaneously of celebration and protest, that snarl beneath a back-porch-fingerpicking repose. Furthermore, Small Birds of Sound make lovingly tended soundscapes that can be explored for days, like a maze of desert canyons, or a newly discovered corner of a coral reef.
"So... what do they sound like?"
A fair question. Isolating Small Birds' stylistic elements can be a little bit like trying to extract an egg from a cake, but it is possible to detect a laid-back, slightly dirty, country twang, a bit of indie-pop sparkle, spare, crystalline folk lyricism, melodies that bubble up from a stew of European folk traditions, and occasional forays into jagged rhythms, oblique harmonies, and acousmatic whimsy. The ghosts of Harry Nilsson and Ennio Morricone occasionally preside over their writing sessions.
They currently perform as a duet - or duet-plus daughter - playing ukeleles, keyboards, accordion, and odd percussion, and as a full band with a rotating cast of superb musicians.