The Lineup

Birds of Avalon

Raleigh, NC

While Raleigh's storied Kings Barcade has long since given up its ghost to the downtown area's unavoidable development, the group that was founded in Kings' final years—Birds of Avalon—are keeping its spirit alive.  Four-fifths of the group worked at Kings once upon a time, including club co-owner/ Birds of Avalon guitarist Paul Siler. Birds' guitarist Cheetie Kumar and then-bassist Siler did time in another hallowed Raleigh rock ’n’ roll institution, The Cherry Valence.  Teamed up with David Mueller, drummer Scott Nurkin, and Craig Tilley on keyboard and vocals (Tilley recently left the band), the quintet stirred up a potent brew that takes the Valence's more traditional sound on a strange and wild ride. And, as fate should have it, Kings will reopen just in time for Hopscotch, in which Siler played a pivotal role.

On Birds of Avalon's debut, 2007's Bazaar Bazaar, there were hints that the group was going places, but the record's enjoyable amalgam of benign lysergic interludes and easy-to-please Cheap-Tricky hooks didn't really hint at the group's true north. That became clear with last year's Uncanny Valley, where psychedelic tendencies took an appreciably benevolent turn. Instead of opting to further mine the softer side of audio LSD, Birds of Avalon dove headlong into the type of ominous druggy sludge that progenitors like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were known to dip their toes into. The end result is a record that trades in its affable fun loving charm for something much more insidious and powerful, and, as a result, much more interesting.  

Birds of Avalon is now a quartet that splits vocals across all members. Interesting aspects continue to shift in their sound. —David Raposa