Just took some time to (finally) listen to the most recent Bowerbirds record, Upper Air and as it turns out, it's exponentially more gorgeous and full than last year's Hymns For a Dark Horse. I didn't think that was possible after spending all of last December wrapped in an afghan and watching that LP spin 'round while I dreamt of New England winters from a stupid craftsman bungalow in stupid, sunny California, but alas, it is! The Bowerbirds have trimmed their edges and trumped their debut with a more refined take on their baroque-folk sound. "Northern Lights" might also be the most beautiful song ever. (Yep, even more beautiful than the Mariah Carey cover of Journey's "Open Arms.")

Speaking of beautiful: La Blogotheque's "Les Concerts a Emporters." Whether it's two little kids discovered dancing to Menomena while they play "Wet and Rusting" on the streets of Paris, or Andrew Bird singing "Spare-Ohs" with the accompaniment of real birdsong, Vincent Moon is bound to capture something in his short performance films that will break you from your still, still life. The video for Bowerbirds "The Ticonderoga" is no exception.

Also, the Bowerbirds are playing at Mississippi Studios on January 26th. Hooray for January, as it marks the end of the live music misery that is the month ofDecember. (Unless you like Howie Day, in which case, you're stoked and you probably just bought my 2002 "HD"-signed guitar pick on eBay for $30. Sucker.)

(Shit... Did I really just mention Mariah Carey, Journey and Howie Day in one blog post?)