The new Ryan Adams LP, Ryan Adams, isn’t “for the birds.” That lesson is learned the hard way in a bizarre promotional video for the album, which features cameos from Jeff Garlin, Garry Shandling, Don Was and Bob Mould – and a plot wherein Adams’ emotionally heavy music brings an inexplicable death to parakeets.
The three-minute, Funny or Die-esque promo opens with Adams’ manager (Shandling) answering a hysterical phone call from an Adams fan (Garlin) whose parakeet has been slayed by the unexpected weight of the new album. This prompts the manager to ring up a mysterious label executive (Was, channeling his inner creepy-businessman-from-a-David-Lynch-movie), who demands that Adams “make a new album that doesn’t kill anything.” The climax flashes back eight months to Adams’ recording studio, where the singer records a series of hilariously grunty vocals.
Ryan Adams, the singer-songwriter’s 13th album, is out on Tuesday via Pax-Am Records. In the meantime, fans can stream the entire LP over at NPR. Adams talked to Rolling Stone back in July about the 11-track release, which was inspired by the Smiths, the Velvet Underground and his battles with an inner ear disorder called Ménière’s disease.
Before recording the LP, Adams previously spent $100,000 recording a full, stripped-down album with producer Glyn Johns. After scrapping those recordings, Adams recruited bass-playing friend Tal Wilkenfeld and a local drummer and started work at the frontman’s newly built Pax Am studio in Los Angeles. “I was like, ‘I’ll go in with a couple bros at seven o’clock and just jam,” Adams told Rolling Stone. “We would, like, smoke a bowl and drink some tea – and the words came free-flowing out of me. It gives me chills just talking about it.”
Adams kicks off an eight-week tour tonight, September 8th, at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club.