Bluebird was ahead of their time -- but in a rather unusual way. While the band existed within the confines of the late-90s post-grunge esoteric art-punk underground, its virtuosic merging of anthemic riff-rock with experimental psych-punk seemed an anomaly in an era of disjointed lo-fi spatter. Bluebird was an MC5 for the 21st century: a fierce hybrid of musical muscle and artistic exploration. In today's pastiche musical culture, the Los Angeles quartet's multiple personality power-psych-punk would make much more sense.

In the same way that Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age and Quicksand deftly blend heavy guitar riffing with shimmering vocal melodies, Bluebird made catchy pop songs driven by heavy layers of guitars, that could also just as easily be outtakes from Swervedriver or Jane’s Addiction. Bluebird was comprised of such divergent personalities that any song – from its most traditionally structured rock tune, to its freeform droning jams – seemed to be tugging in a variety of directions all at once. This friction resulted in a catalog of 4 albums and multiple EPs that boldly revitalized rock formalism.

A guiding force to the band was the innate connections between brothers, Jim and Bryan Lee Brown (bass and drums, respectively) who have played together since their elementary school days (and continue to do so today in Holloys). But, also the melodic hooks of vocalist Sam James Velde (who today leads Tee Pee Records band Night Horse) and the thick guitar layers paved by Barry Thomas and later recruit, Paul Figueroa added further glue to this bond. Composed of five musicians who each contribute a vital energy to every detail of their music, Bluebird's masterful balance of pop sensibility and sonic battery is compulsory listening.

The Bluebird retrospective collection gathers two discs' worth of peak performances culled from the band's critically-acclaimed 2003 album Hot Blood (mixed by Joe Baressi, with guest appearance by Wayne Kramer) all the way to its 1997 self titled debut, Bluebird. The release also includes tracks from the entrancing collaborative album, Black Presence (2003), which was created in a series of freeform jams with members of QOTSA, Earthlings, White Zombie, Pleasure Forever and others. The critically acclaimed EP High Atmosphere (1999), The breakout album, The Two (2000), their 2003 tour EP of odds and sods, Falling Back To Earth as well as selections from various singles and compilation tracks further elucidate the band's unique sound.

-Dave Clifford