The Mynabirds return with “Body of Work,” a new track from their eagerly awaited upcoming album GENERALS, out June 5th on Saddle Creek. With syncopated beats layered on top of Laura Burhenn’s gospel inspired tone, the new song premiered yesterday on Rolling Stone. Burhenn explains that the track represents our ability to constantly remodel our lives into anything we want, regardless of what the past holds; “we are living things, bodies of work to edit.”
GENERALS is both a protest record and concept album. It’s fueled by a full decade of Burhenn’s political frustration and aimed at finding a revolutionary yet pacifist way in a world where, these days, it seems warring comes quick. Musically you can hear echoes of early PJ Harvey, politically-charged Nina Simone and Low-era David Bowie. It gets down and hip hop dirty, flirts with African melodies and rhythms, goes four-on-the-floor for all out dance jams and has plenty of percussion. Burhenn even plays drums herself on a couple of songs, and a 5-gallon bucket in homage to DC street Go-Go on another.
Lyrically, GENERALS sings the voice of the collective frustration, then moves beyond that. "It was important for me that this record made sense of my own anger and turned it into positive energy," Burhenn says. "I needed it to be transformative – of both the individual and the body politic. It’s as much a meditation on Walt Whitman’s hope for America as Gandhi’s directive to ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’"
The album’s name comes from a Richard Avedon photo entitled "Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution." Looking at the portrait of upper class ladies in their pristine satin gowns, Burhenn considered her own supposed eligibility to be a member of DAR and thought about what true revolutionary American women look like. The lineage of women that have stood up to injustice for well over a hundred years – women like Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf – they get their hands dirty. And Burhenn wanted to pay tribute to that.
In conjunction with the release of the album, Burhenn is launching a portrait project called The New Revolutionists (www.thenewrevolutionists.org). In an election year when so much time, energy and money will be spent on political contests, Burhenn wanted to shine a light on women making a difference – often on shoestring or even non-existent budgets – in their own communities all over America, whether they’re making headlines or not.
The Mynabirds Tour Dates
06/08: Omaha, NE – Slowdown
06/15: Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
06/16: Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
06/17: Chicago, IL – Schuba’s
06/19: Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
06/20: Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern
06/21: Harrisburg, PA – The Abbey Bar
06/22: New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
06/23: Washington, DC – Black Cat
06/24: Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
06/25: Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
06/27: Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree
06/28: Atlanta, GA – The Earl
06/29: Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
06/30: Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s
07/01: St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
07/02: Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
08/04-08/05: Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
08/11: Omaha, NE @ MAHA Music Festival
The single “Generals” is available NOW on iTunes HERE
The album GENERALS (out June 5th) is available for pre-order HERE