VSL:WEB // Be the first to hear some free, excellent music

Chicago’s best-known singer–songwriter–whistler–violin player, Andrew Bird, releases his fifth studio album, Noble Beast, on Tuesday; the night before, he’ll perform in honor of another Chicagoan at the Big Shoulders Ball in Washington. The timing couldn’t be better — but you can also stream the album today, free and in its entirety, on NPR.

“Fitz and the Dizzyspells” is a good starting point: It’s a quirky, foot-stomping folk song, complete with hand claps and a devil-beating fiddle. “Privateers” sounds like a cross between Jeff Buckley and Imperial Bedroom–era Elvis Costello. And the seven-minute “Souverian” shifts tack several times before settling into a haze of misty feedback. All three are something to crow about.

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VSL:WEB // Be the first to hear some free, excellent music