One of Australia’s biggest contemporary rock bands, Birds Of Tokyo, this week announced the release of their album, Playlist…A Singles Collection. Released November 6, the album will feature songs from their career spanning over a decade.
In the dozen years since forming in Perth these five unassuming guys have gradually grown – song by song, gig by gig the group has won multiple ARIA and APRA awards. They’ve co-headlined virtually every important music festival in this country. They’ve had tracks in major TV and film campaigns and even played the AFL Grand Final. All of this was driven by a string of emotive anthems that have dominated radio, from Triple J’s Hottest 100 to the commercial FM charts … big songs like ‘Plans’, ‘Broken Bones’, ‘Wild At Heart’, ‘This Fire’, ‘Lanterns’, ‘Anchor’ and their latest hit single ‘I’d Go With You Anywhere’. It’s an airplay streak unmatched by any Australian artist since Powderfinger. Watch the video here:
Even so, for most people Birds of Tokyo have still somehow ‘flown under the radar’. Until now. Their new compilation album, Playlist, gathers all these songs (and 10 more) into one undeniable 18-track bundle. For all but their most hardcore fans, the collection is a revelation. Casual listeners will be surprised to realize that they actually already know the words and melodies for most of these tunes. “Yeah we hear that a lot”, chuckles the group’s frontman, Ian Kenny. “Whenever we play a festival someone always comes up afterwards and says, ‘I didn’t know you guys did that song and that song’. I never know what to say. Maybe now I can just tell them to listen to this album and then they’ll basically be up to speed!”
The idea for Playlist actually began last year when the band was based in the U.S. and starting to introduce themselves to a new audience over there. “It was a bit weird”, explains guitarist Adam Spark. “After making music for ages we were suddenly doing interviews for the “new faces” sections of magazines again. We needed to give American music industry people a quick sense of what the band was all about so we created a playlist that had a couple of key tracks off each album.”
Drummer Adam Weston adds, “After we first put it together on Soundcloud we listened back to the whole thing and we were actually kinda surprised. It was like we’d gone for a long walk and when we eventually paused to look back we realized we’d travelled a lot further than we thought.”
The band also soon realized that plenty of people back home might only have paid attention to one small part of that journey so it made sense to make their private U.S. playlist available to everyone in case they wanted to explore the band in a bit more depth. It’s therefore apt that the set is lead by the irresistible ‘I’d Go With You Anywhere’ … the single’s title says it all. Playlist actually retraces the band’s musical voyage in reverse – from newest song to oldest, with the song ‘Puzzle’ from the band’s recent Anchor EP included to bookend the collection. It’s a trip that includes songs recorded in Europe, America and multiple parts of Australia, from the epic moodiness of more recent works to the ramshackle indie rock of their earliest years. It’s clearly been quite a ride so far.
For rusted-on fans who truly have ‘gone everywhere’ with Birds of Tokyo, this compilation is like hearing 13 years flash past you in less than an hour. For others who think they only know a song or two, the album showcases a deep and strong body of work that’s all too rare in an era of fly-by-night blog darlings. “Obviously ‘Greatest Hits’ albums are pretty much a thing of the past because now we can all just create our own playlists if we want”, reflects bass player Ian Berney. “Most people don’t even want to sit through one whole album these days let alone wading through five of them so at least this playlist puts all our most immediate songs in the one place and then if people hear it want to dig deeper, they can. There’s plenty more where this came from.”
Playlist will be released alongside a summer of extensive touring by Birds of Tokyo. The coming months will see the band playing all their hits right around Australia – everywhere from The Falls Festival to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo; from Southbound Festival in WA to the Deniliquin Ute Muster. As “I’d Go With You Anywhere” clearly flags … this band is on the move.
Ironically – or perhaps appropriately – this song and retrospective release coincide with an intense period of creativity for the band.
“We’re actually in the middle of recording about 30 new tracks”, reveals keyboardist, Glenn Sarangapany. “It’s still a bit early to know what shape the next release will take but it’s definitely going to be moving on from everything on Playlist.”
“There’s something oddly liberating about putting out a compilation album”, Adam Spark explains. “We’re tying a ribbon around these songs and sending them off to anyone who wants to hear them. Now we’ve got more room to explore – I can’t wait to see where things go.”
1. I’d Go With You Anywhere
from “Playlist” 2015, premiered on Richard Kingsmill’s triple j show ‘2015’
from “Anchor EP” 2015, certified Gold ARIA accreditation
from “March Fires” 2013, #1 Most played song of the year on Australian radio
4. This Fire
from “March Fires” 2013, # 1 on ARIA National Album Charts
5. When The Night Falls Quiet
from “March Fires” 2013, nominated for “Album of the Year” at ARIA Awards
from “Birds of Tokyo” 2010, Triple Platinum single
from “Birds of Tokyo” 2010, winner of “Best Rock Album” ARIA Award
8. Wild At Heart
from “Birds of Tokyo” 2010, APRA Award winner for “Rock Work of the Year”
9. The Saddest Thing I Know
from “Birds of Tokyo” 2010, platinum selling album
10. Broken Bones
from “Universes” 2008, #20 on JJJ Hottest 100
from “Universes” 2008, #22 on JJJ Hottest 100
12. Wild Eyed Boy
from “Universes” 2008, J Award nominee for Best Rock Act
13. Medicine (Broken Strings version)
from “Day One” 2007, nominated for Best Rock Act at the 2008 AIR Awards
from “Day One” 2007, nominated for Best Rock Act at the 2008 WAMi Awards
15. Black Sheets
from “Day One” 2007, iTunes Album of the Week
16. Off Kilter
from “Day One” 2007, spent 36 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the AIR Independent Music Charts
Non-album single, winner of Rock Song of the Year at 2005 WAMi Awards
from “Anchor EP” 2015… The puzzle in my head keeps changing.
PLAYLIST… A SINGLES COLLECTION
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ALBUM OUT NOV 6
**details from official press release