Album Premiere: In ‘Rarest of Birds’, Grizfolk Fight Personal Struggles with Visions of the Sun

Grizfolk © Andrew Ha
Expanding their sound while diving into emotions such as patience, longing, and peace, ‘Rarest of Birds’ is Grizfolk’s method of finding light in the darkness.
Stream: ‘Rarest of Birds’ – Grizfolk

Some music just feels really suited for particular times of the year. At the peak of summer, there’s the easy-going guitars and steady drums, relaxed vocals and melodic riffs. The kind that combined set our mind wandering and transport us to a beach where we remain in a utopian daze. Add in some synths and a simple urge to dance and you likely have the aura for some good times, soaking up the long days in in the company of others.

Rarest of Birds - Grizfolk

Rarest of Birds – Grizfolk

I ain’t asking for much,
but the whole world it ain’t enough
I ain’t asking for much,
but the whole world it ain’t enough
Went looking for a whisper in a wasteland
Water in a desert sand
Nothing ever goes as planned
Life’s hardest when you try to understand
– “Rarest of Birds,”​ Grizfolk

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Rarest of Birds, the second album by Los Angeles-based four-piece Grizfolk (released 19 July via Nettwerk), which is an uncomplicated gathering of summery atmospheres and a message of finding light in darkness.

“We just wanted to make an album that sounded timeless, and also more akin to something that we would want to listen to and the type of album we would put on if we were just hanging out on our own or with friends,” Grizfolk tell Atwood Magazine. “Songwriting is definitely a great way to discover what you’re feeling. We were met with some difficult obstacles both as a band and in our personal lives. This album is therapeutic in that sense.”

Grizfolk © Andrew Ha

Grizfolk © Andrew Ha

The songs on the album are a notable blend of remedy and social nonchalance. “Heavy Crown,” “Spoonful,” and “Shaky in the Knees” have the glistening, mellow warmth of hanging with friends on a beach during a long summer’s day, the vocals sweeping along like a gentle breeze and the piano upbeat like the bouncing of feet on sun-lit ground. Other songs, such as “Black Magic,” are more groove-led, forming a casual party atmosphere maybe with the scent of barbecues.

Mercy,” released as a single in April, is a cry out for peace, lines such as ‘we know damn right where we went wrong/ We know enough to carry on’ and ‘we’re carrying the light, in the darkest time’ a motivational plea for change. But, rather than being overly emotional and tugging at the heartstrings, there’s a subtle sense of fun to its sound and a pace that encourages movement of the body. “We wrote “Mercy” while we were all in Adam’s living room watching news coverage of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that ended in tragedy. We felt pretty helpless and just kind of in shock at the way things transpired and obviously just the direction things have been headed for the past couple years or so in the States,” Grizfolk explain to Atwood Magazine. “We’re not a very political band and definitely don’t have the answers for how to fix things that are broken right now, and we don’t want to try to tell people what’s what. But we know what we know, which is music, and we want to try and spread as much positivity and love in this world as possible.”


This spreading of positivity and alluding to things without being forthright is a core part of Rarest of Birds. Members of the band experienced troubling periods prior to the album’s creation but, apart from the occasional line such as ‘I’ve been up all night trying to find myself/ Nowhere to be found in that bottle on the shelf’ referencing alcohol dependence, the listener is never given a deeply personal picture. Instead the narratives are built around relationships. ‘I’m no stranger to the dark side of my mind/ If I fall off again would you catch me one more time?asks Roth in “Shaky in the Knees,” while ‘It’s going to be a long long ride/ You should get some rest/ Right here by my side’ in “Spoonful” and “You make me wanna lose myself in you, you got me believing,” in “Believing” all continue this idea of things being easier with a lover by the side.

Let’s get caught up in
the wonders of our lives
Let’s climb all the way up
to the greatest of heights
It’s feelin’ alright, and
it’s more than a dream
Something inside saying you can’t be
Don’t get caught up in the race of time
I take it all away, if it takes all night
Let’s turn it all around, baby, upside down
– “Pretty Penny,” Grizfolk

Grizfolk is made up of made up of Adam Roth on lead vocals and guitar, Sebastian Fritze on keys and vocals, Fredrik Erikkson on guitar, and Bill Delia on drums. Following on from the electronic- tinged consistence of their debut Waking Up the Giants, released in 2015, Rarest of Birds as a whole introduces a new sound for the band. “We’ve written so many songs in so many different styles since we put out our first album, trying to find the sound that we all wanted to create and trying to find our voice as a band,” Grizfolk tells Atwood Magazine. “When we hooked up with our producer Allen, it was the perfect fit at the perfect time because his studio in Venice has this beautiful old upright piano and great sounding acoustic drum set. We essentially swapped out a lot of the synths from our first record for that piano, and a lot of the drum machines/samples for real drums. We also took great care to focus more on the ‘feel’ of a song and less if it was perfectly in time, lined up on the grid etc. We wanted the music to ebb and flow and feel more ‘real’, just the way some of our all time favorite albums do.”

Rarest of Birds is an example of music’s sound overpowering our emotions: Struggles and general pain are transformed into a steady lightness that helps us envision that things are going to all be fine.

Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Grizfolk’s Rarest of Birds with Atwood Magazine as the band go track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their latest studio album!

Stream: ‘Rarest of Birds’ – Grizfolk

:: Inside Rarest of Birds ::

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Rarest of Birds - Grizfolk

Heavy Crown

“Heavy Crown” can basically be summarized using just the pre chorus lyric – ‘i’ll be the light in a cold world.’ It’s about speaking up and being a positive light amidst darkness. Our producer Allen Blickle had the initial inspiration for this track and it helped shape the sound of the entire album, honestly. – Bill

Spoonful

Lyrically, “Spoonful” is a tale of longing and need and only getting the smallest doses of what it is you’re yearning for and never a total fulfillment. But musically, this one, along with ‘Heavy Crown,’ helped us to realize what the common thread would be for all the songs on the album. Without these two songs, it’s safe to say the rest of the album wouldn’t have ever been realized in the form it ended up taking.  – Bill

Black Magic

We wrote this one with our pals Tim Bruns and John Rausch (John also mixed and mastered most of the album). Its about a crazy kind of love that you know isn’t good for you but you just cant help yourself and do it anyway. It has a supernatural magnetic pull…something that’s beyond your capacity to explain in any logical way, but when it comes down to it, you can’t ever and definitely don’t even want to try to resist. — Bill/Adam

Mercy

“Mercy” was born on August 12, 2017. It’s a cry out for peace, a voice for the voiceless. When a grave injustice was committed and we felt helpless watching the news, feeling like society was moving backwards and hate was winning the war against love. – Adam/Bill

Believing

We had a writing session with our friend Nick Bailey in LA, and we wrote a song with him that everybody felt pretty good about, so after a full day of writing we started packing up our bags to call it a day. Then Sebastian started messing around on a rhodes (playing the chord progression for what would eventually become the verse of the song), we all caught a vibe, and ‘Believing’ was literally written within 5 minutes. Later on, we brought it back to our producer Allen Blickle and eventually wrote the bridge with him (the vocals breakdown section and big guitar solo part), and it became one of our favorite tracks on the album. – Bill/Adam

Carmen Sandiego

We wrote this one in Nashville with Tim Bruns and John Rausch. We only had one writing session scheduled with them, but after we wrote “Black Magic” on a Friday, we all decided to reorganize our schedules and squeeze in one more session the following morning before flying back to LA, from which “Carmen Sandiego” was born. It’s literally a song about Carmen Sandiego: It’s about always longing for something or someone that’s forever just barely out of your reach. – Bill/Adam

Shaky in the Knees

This song was written right around the time I was first getting sober. I was attempting to mend a failed relationship. When I first quit drinking, I felt like a completely different person…I still do for that matter. I knew in my heart that something deep down inside me had changed. It was like a light was now illuminated. But sometimes there’s not a thing in the world you can say or do to fix something that’s broken. – Adam

Daylight

This song is a tale about being sick and tired of being sick and tired. For years, I suffered the hangovers with no end in sight. Hungover was my normal feeling. Day after day, I’d wake up and promise myself I wouldn’t drink that day, only to break that promise later that day. That was my life for years and towards the end of my drinking career I sort of gave up on myself. This song is about overcoming the fear of acceptance. We wrote “Daylight” with our dear friend Pat McClaughlin in Nashville, who is one of the coolest people I know. He’s written some of our favorite songs by some of our favorite artists so it was a real treat to get to work with him. – Adam

Pretty Penny

Let whatever happen, happen. What is the point of worrying if we can’t control the events that happen in our life? What if everything is planned out? What if we are all connected and every single thing happens for a reason? Would you still worry? What’s the point? This song was written with and features our friend Clare Reynolds on vocals. – Adam

Hurricane

This was actually an older song that we wrote at the beginning of this album making process, nearly three years ago,  which we revisited within the scope of this new world that we carved out and created (Rarest of Birds). When we started, we had a different version of it where [Fred] played a loungey kind of piano part under the chorus with just Adams vocals. For whatever reason, that was just enough of a spark for us to realize that this old song, which we always thought was special but maybe didn’t have the right vehicle to get it quite right or make sense to us, was actually a perfect fit for this album. – Bill/Adam

Rarest of Birds

“Rarest Of Birds” is about patience. If you are looking for a needle in a haystack, it might take really long time to find it. Or it might not. To surrender to the thought that timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. To find yourself in the peace of patience. To keep your ears peeled and listen for a chirp or melody that could lead you in the right direction. – Fred

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Rarest of Birds - Grizfolk

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Francesca Rose

Francesca is a writer currently based in Mont-Tremblant who considers music a form of storytelling. She's fascinated by the connections that songs can form, whether it's relatable lyrics or the personal associations a sound conjures up.