The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.

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Blubird Spreads Its Wings

Brendan Lordan, '17, Staff Writer

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Local group, Blubird, is releasing their debut album this November. The Delaware County and Montgomery County-based band began as a collaboration between childhood friends, Strath Haven’s Henry Wolgast and Friends Central’s Alex Bessen. In 2014, Bessen and Wolgast were joined by Erez Potok-Holmes and Jack Correll, and soon began performing at various events around Wallingford, Swarthmore, and Lower-Merion under the name “Bluebird,” only having recently dropped the “e” from their name. In two short years, the band has grown a following among students in local high-schools as well as success on the internet. As of October 23rd, their 2016 single “Oh Ay” has over 67,000 plays on Spotify alone.

After practicing, writing, and performing music for the better part of their high school careers, the members of Blubird are independently releasing their first full-length record. “It took two years,” Wolgast said. “Some of the songs we came up with when we started playing together.” The Strath Haven senior plays rhythm guitar for the band and co-wrote several songs on the album. “Some we got rid of, and two years later, we’re finally good enough with a bunch of these songs to record them.”

Most of the lyrics on the album were written by singer and guitarist Erez Potok-Holmes and singer and drummer Alex Bessen. Inspiration for the diverse range of songs was taken from bands that Blubird started out by covering. “A lot of my stuff comes from Radiohead, and the same with [Alex],” Wolgast said of his writing influences. “[Also] the Flaming Lips, the War On Drugs, and the Districts.” The Philadelphia music scene also played a role in developing the band’s sound, as the four often see concerts together in the city. “Joe, from the band Hop Along and Kyle, from Thin Lips helped with mixing the album,” Bessen said of two local bands in particular. “They really helped develop our studio sound”

Even with help from the older musicians, the album took around 48 hours to record, spread over two weekends. The band used the Headroom Studio in center-city Philadelphia, where producer Kyle Pulley spent weeks mastering the music. The city has emerged as a creative melting pot for new artists like Blubird, a culture that has not gone unnoticed by the band. “Philly’s great DIY scene gave us realistic goals and inspiring opportunities,” Bessen noted.

The album has yet to be named, but the group is leaning towards bassist Jack Correll’s suggestion, Delusions of Grandeur. The unique musical stylings of the different members create a blend of tones and genres that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. “I’d say we’re like alternative-indie… something.” Wolgast struggled to define the band’s sound. “I don’t really know how to describe our genre.” After listening to the album, it is easy to see why. From the symphonic, soaring vocals of “Exit Songs,” the two-part piece that pays homage to Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” to the power-pop riffs and Sublime-esque guitar solo of “Under Water,” Blubird’s style evades description. “We were pretty poppy, but we kind of branched out into more experimental, reverb-y [sic], phaser stuff,” said Wolgast.

This transition comes across as a smooth arrangement of music that will sometimes start your head bobbing, sometimes send your foot tapping, and sometimes make you sit down, close your eyes, and give your full attention to what you’re hearing. Blubird’s debut album feels like a real progression in music that, while never abandoning its influences, stands out as a piece of art entirely of its own. “I hope people like it,” Wolgast said about the album. “We’ve worked pretty hard and I hope it sounds good when we’re done.” Look for Blubird’s new album later this November on Spotify and iTunes.

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The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
Blubird Spreads Its Wings