Keith Beck’s Zigman Bird flies again with new album, shows


Keith Beck of Zigman Bird.

“Hypomania” is defined as “a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity.” It’s also the title of Zigman Bird’s latest album, which does not seem particularly hyperactive, but is a well-crafted, calmly confident collection of melodic rock and crunchy power pop. (You can watch the video for lead single “Dry Tears” below.)

Released on the Hillsborough-based Lump ‘N’ Loaf Records label, it’s basically a solo project for Beck, who sings, plays guitar and bass, and co-produces, with co-producer Anthony Kroposky (of A Halo Called Fred and Little Dipper) on drums, and contributions by other musicians on two tracks. Beck wrote three of the songs himself, and five in collaboration with lyricist Rick Mutz.

At shows, though, Zigman Bird is a four-piece band. Upcoming gigs include Crossroads in Garwood, today, and the Dragonfly Music and Coffee Cafe in Somerville, April 14.

Beck, who grew up in Old Bridge and now lives in Highland Park, says the word “Hypomania” isn’t really meant to describe the mood of the songs.

“All my life since I remember, since like second grade, like, once a year I would get this strange feeling,” he says. “It’s a euphoric feeling. And I still get it. I had it like three months ago. And it lasts for like two weeks or so, and I could never explain it to anybody. They wouldn’t know what they hell I was talking about.

“I tried to look it up the best that I could. I didn’t know the name of it. I didn’t know of there was the name for it. And (hypomania) is the closest thing I found to this feeling. And it still may not be what I experience. But I thought the name was pretty cool. It was like, there you go: That’s the name of the album.”

Beck has been doing a lot of solo performing recently, in addition to the band. Zigman Bird is also the name he’s used for other musical projects, through the years.

“The last time I had band together — the last incarnation of Zigman Bird — it was getting to the point where I didn’t feel like I was getting what I wanted with my own material,” Beck says. “So even before I said, ‘I’m gonna split,’ I was working on a solo CD. And the band eventually did fold: That particular aspect of Zigman Bird folded. So I just concentrated on doing this album.”

Some of the songs on the album had been written long before he started working on it.

” ‘Angel’ is probably one of the first good songs I wrote when I first started out,” he says. “And then there’s songs like ‘Monsterpiece’ … that’s one I kind of wrote in the studio. I had the riff and the chorus, but I didn’t know what the hell else to do, so I kind of just did it in the studio. I had a couple of ideas and went with it.”

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