"It was quite an amazing summer for Birds & Batteries. On June 27th at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco, B & B celebrated the local release of their brand new album, I'll Never Sleep Again. to a capacity audience. On August 25th they packed the house at the prestigious Great American Music Hall with string and horn sections in tow. In September, the band was featured on NPR.org after I'll Never Sleep Again charted in the CMJ top 200 six weeks in a row. Now they are fresh off a national tour and gearing up for more regional and national touring with their strongest lineup yet: composer/songwriter Mike Sempert on guitar and vocals; Brian Michelson on drums, laptop and vocals; Jill Heinke on bass and vocals; and Julie Thomasson on Rhodes, synthesizers and vocals.
Birds & Batteries has come a long way in their two years in SF. In the fall of 2005, Mike Sempert moved to San Francisco from Boston, immediately after completing an 18 song demo called, Nature vs. Nature. Sempert took a job at the legendary Hotel Utah Saloon doing live sound with the hopes of scouting local talent. That's where he met drummer, Brian Michelson and B&B SF was born. The two started adapting the material from the demos to a live show with laptop as a crucial tool for executing the synth programming and drum machines. With Neil Thompson on pedal steel guitar, B&B found the right combination of sounds and textures that reflected Mike's recordings, but also took them to a new level in a live setting. They took this version of Birds & Batteries on the road, joining Thompson's group, Low Red Land on a national tour in the winter of 2006.
Just before leaving, B&B pressed a new version of their first recordings, called selections from. . .Nature vs. Nature, which was newly mixed, mastered and cut down to 12 songs. The album charted in the CMJ top 200 for three weeks in a row, peaking at #135 and garnered a slew of glowing reviews.
With a two-month national tour and several regional tours under their belt, Birds & Batteries decided it was time to hunker down and document the newly developed material. I'll Never Sleep Again was recorded at John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone Studios by Ian and Jay Pellicci (Deerhoof, Erase Errata). The album features the musicianship of a whole cast of Bay Area musicians including Brian Michelson on drums; recent additions Julie Thomasson on electric piano and synths and Jill Heinke on bass; Thompson on pedal steel (Low Red Land); Katrina Weeks on Viola (The Music Lovers); and Daniela Gesundheit singing (Snowblink).
The result is equal parts explosive pop and epic balladry, four-on-the-floor beats and lonesome Americana, and yet another step down B&B's path of genre-defying music. Call it country rock for the information age, or maybe the urban pastoral, I'll Never Sleep Again is a work of singular vision and startling originality." - bio from band website