Nature Vs City
A couple years back the mediocre likes of Flobots scored a minor hit boasting about their no-handlebar bicycle-riding skills. Big freaking deal. Hurtbird can top the 'Bots in both hiphop flow and bicycle swagger ('I Like My Bike' could serve as a local two-wheel anthem and should be the soundtrack to any late-night bike lane adventure). Their brand-new Nature vs. City stomps through hiphop's sacred grounds with a destructive urge to destroy and creatively reassemble the storied franchise. Much like the Anticon folks-or Seattle's Astronautalis-Hurtbird pile their flowing vocals atop a vast selection of warm, live-band instrumentation. It's unlike anything you have ever heard before, and that's a damn good thing. EAC [WEIRDO MUSIC] Hurtbird's early demos and live showings always showed potential: They bucked Portland's twee popular music trend for an hip-hop/indie funk fusion that meshed tribal percussion, spoken-word poetry and dramatic synths. But it's hard to deliver on a high-concept sound without the production values to back it up. That's where Nature Vs. City is such a success. The finds Hurtbird building a sonic nest somewhere between Air's The Virgin Suicides, Cake's Fashion Nugget, Grizzly Bear's Yellow House and the Talking Heads' Remain in Light. It's an unconventional mix, but one works quite well for Hurtbird, which ties everything together for a really enjoyable, atmospheric, post-genre disc. I think Hurtbird just moved itself up a notch in Best New Band voting. CASEY JARMAN.