Last night, two locals—Bowerbirds and Lost in the Trees—shared a four-band bill at Manhattan's Mercury Lounge. Throughout the evening, a trickle of excited correspondence from members of both bands announced that a special guest had come to watch Bowerbirds' set: Neutral Milk Hotel leader/ de facto hermit/ "Salinger of indie rock" Jeff Mangum. There's, of course, little to report about the appearance besides just that—no collaborations, no serious hangouts. Mangum just watched and, between songs, held his beer between his teeth to clap. Maybe he'll come down to Chapel Hill later this year?
On the news tip, though, Dead Oceans will release Bowerbirds' second LP, Upper Air, Tuesday, July 7. (And, just to get it right, I co-released Bowerbirds' first album on this here label.) The Birds will likely offer some of those songs up ("Northern Lights," please) at a homecoming show at Local 506 Friday, May 8, before heading to Europe for a festivals-and-clubs tour later in the month. New in the Lost in the Trees world: Billions, one of the most esteemed booking agencies in the land, recently acquired the band, and they seem to have piqued some national label interest of late.