Emily Reilly -- aka Birdy Bardot -- is known from multiple incarnations of the New Kinetics and all-female rockers the Rosalyns (alongside Anja Stax/Diabolik from the Loons, Lety Beers from the Schitzophonics, Diana Death from Chinese Rocks, and Amy Gore from the Gore Gore Girls). Her debut solo album was recorded in collaboration with Al Howard (Heavy Guilt, Midnight Pine) and released digitally and on CD in summer 2015 on the Redwoods Music label (headed by Heavy Guilt’s Josh Rice and Transfer's Matt Molarius). A vinyl edition was released a few months later.
“Al’s the most brilliant lyricist I know of,” Bardot told the Reader. “He has this knack for just honing in on a simple emotion or state of mind and creating huge, beautiful imagery to add to the story. Al and I would work on melodies together...ideas for songs, just kind of for the fun of it. After we had a few down, we knew we wanted them to come to fruition as finished songs.”
The self-titled Birdy Bardot album also features Jake Najor (Taurus Authority), Matt Molarius (Transfer, the Midnight Pine), Daniel Cervantes (Creature & the Woods, Mrs. Henry), and Al Howard's Heavy Guilt bandmates Jason Littlefield and Josh Rice.
In concert, she's frequently backed by players like Howard, Rice, Littlefield, Molarius, Cervantes, and Najor, as well as fellow players from the Redwoods Collective roster. Not that things always go smoothly. "We did play the Del Mar Fair once," Bardot recalled for the Reader. "It wasn't awful, but when you see someone watching your set while trying to deep throat a turkey leg, you inevitably question why you're there. But we did get to collectively see Brian Wilson play Pet Sounds for free, so that's not really a terrible gig."
The Birdy Bardot II full-length was released in June 2017 via the Redwoods Music label, preceded by a single for “Fortune.” Says Howard, “I wanna say there's something more significant than this being our sophomore effort, but that's pretty much the aim. And we all love Zeppelin and have lofty goals. I like McCartney II also.”
The album is very informed by Howard's “swap meet hustle. We used a lot of '80s keyboards, but didn't aim at '80s tones. We'd run them through unusual amps and get some really fresh sounds we hadn't obtained on any of our albums prior.”
“Every member brought at least one song to the table. This is probably the most collaborative Redwoods album to date. Most of the songs were lyrics first. Then, we’d flesh out melodic ideas with Birdy and one musician and, once we had a batch of songs, we’d start recording it with the band, getting their first feel for them with the mics running. You’re hearing the songs explored in their most nascent forms and developed in the studio.”
Over the course of 2017, members of Birdy Bardot also performed on releases from fellow Redwoods Collective artists Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact and Dani Bell & the Tarantist. The band also played that summer's BottleRock and In-Ko-Pah festivals.
A new video debuted in March 2018 featuring labelmate Dani Bell, for the track "Slowly Know Me" from the previous year's Birdy Bardot II full-length.