Birds & Batteries Release 2nd Album, “I’ll Never Sleep Again”

“In making the decision to put ‘Heart of Gold’ first on the album, I knew that it would probably make a lot of very hip people scoff, but that seemed like a really bad reason not to do it.” – Mike Sempert, producer/arranger of Birds & Batteries on why he kicks off sophomore album I’ll Never Sleep Again with a Neil Young cover.

Birds & Batteries sophomore album I’ll Never Sleep Again (self released on October 9) begins in quite a peculiar way — with a Neil Young cover. Why would a band do this? And the better question — how absolutely badass is it for producer/arranger Mike Sempert to make the conscious decision to do so?

Sempert explains: “I understand that it was probably a controversial choice to start our album out with a cover, and such a well-known soft-rock classic, no less. Who does that?”

The answer for Sempert is easy and very personal. “For me, Heart of Gold was the obvious choice for track 1 because of the way it sets up the narrative of the record. Additionally, Heart of Gold was one of the first songs for Birds & Batteries that really came together in a live setting in San Francisco. We started out just doing it for fun out of a sincere love for the original, but the M83-esque final result sort of defined our sound for a while and it elicited such an exciting reaction from the audience.”

“And finally, I think that our version of ‘Heart of Gold’ is different enough from the original that it stands on its own as a true example of adaptation at its best (or worst, depending on your perspective). In making the decision to put ‘Heart of Gold’ first on the album, I knew that it would probably make a lot of very hip people scoff, but that seemed like a really bad reason not to do it.”

Birds & Batteries on the Web: <>
Press Resources: <>


“One of the most impressive things about this band, however, is their range, one that is not afraid to include some slide guitar on the title track, which in turn, makes them sound like a 21 century cowboy .” – Portland Mercury

“…a project that’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit electronic, and all kinds of intriguing pop .” – The A.V. Club

“’I’ll Never Sleep Again’ makes good on the promise of Michael Sempert’s first self-released disc from 2005, ‘Nature vs. Nature,’ fleshing out his bleary electrocountry songs with a warm studio sheen. The palette is a satisfying mix of synthesizer and pedal steel, with washes of sound buoying Sempert’s undertow croon.” – San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Isn’t a band’s Neil Young cover usually reserved for the end of an album or set? Not so in the case of Birds & Batteries, the San Francisco collective conceived of and led by Mike Sempert. His mournful, downcast wail of a voice fills up the corners of ‘Heart Of Gold,’ and the strange urgency of the arrangment — it sounds more like Grandaddy than anything country, or maybe it’s Americana with a side of analog glitch — keeps us interested. There’s a pedal steel player in Birds & Batteries, and all manner of wood and brass instruments find a spot in the combo next to squelchy keyboards and clever mixing that always finds a way to manipulate the track subtly enough to seem like you’re listening to ‘I’ll Never Sleep Again’ on a slightly-eaten cassette tape.” – Detour Mag


09.14 San Francisco, CA @ The Elbo Room
10.03 Reno, NV @ Fort Ryland
10.04 Salt Lake City, UT @ TBA
10.05 Denver, CO @ The Lion’s Lair
10.06 Omaha, NE @ Saddle Creek Bar
10.07 Madison, WI @ The Klinic
10.08 Chicago, IL @ TBA
10.11 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Lava Lounge
10.12 New York, NY @ Lit Lounge
10.13 Somerville, MA @ P.A.’s Lounge (Boston CD release with Deer Tick)
10.14 Brooklyn, NY @ Goodbye-Blue-Mondays
10.15 Washington, DC @ The Velvet Lounge
10.16 Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House Music Hall
10.17 Athens, GA @ Tasty World
10.18 Pensacola, FL @ Sluggo’s
10.19 Austin, TX @ TBA
10.20 Ft. Worth, TX @ The Moon
10.21 Dallas, TX @ The Barley House
10.24 Tucson, AZ @ Café Passe
10.25 San Diego, CA @ Scolari’s Office
10.26 Los Angeles, CA @ Pehr Space Gallery
10.27 Long Beach, CA @ The Prospector
10.29 San Francisco, CA @ The Knockout

Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *