With the uncertain times we are living in, there are bands like Detroit alt-rock noisemakers The Messenger Birds who have just the right words to say in songs like “Play Dead (Just For Tonight).” Today, the power-packed duo debuted the poignant single and video that touch on current themes with provocative visuals and a strong message delivered through a refined musical tone. 

The single can be purchased here:

During the past few years, The Messenger BirdsParker Bengry (vocals, guitar) and Chris Williams (drums, vocals)–have released a series of singles filled with heavy riffs and catchy hooks that belie their status as a 2-piece, including “Self Destruct,” “No Pardon,” and the widely popular “Phantom Limb,” which has accumulated nearly 5 million streams on Spotify, with the video logging about 28,000 views on YouTube. Overall, the band has around 100,000 Spotify listeners monthly.

Drawing comparisons to bands like Queens of the Stone Age, The Black Keys, Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, Arctic Monkeys, and NirvanaThe Messenger Birds have gained a reputation for loud and energetic live shows. In addition to touring with bands like Wilson and ‘68The Messenger Birds are known for their scorching set at the 2019 Mo Pop Festivalalongside Tame Impala, Lizzo and Vampire Weekend

Like each track from The Messenger Birds, “Play Dead” offers a vignette that attempts to make sense of the surreal nature of the reality the song’s character exists in.

The band explains the inspiration behind “Play Dead”:

‘Play Dead’ is one of the songs we were most surprised by when we wrote it. It always felt a bit haunting and intense, certainly a slight change in tone musically for us, but it is a song that we hold very close to our hearts.

Most of the lyrics were written in one afternoon while we were driving through the Appalachian Mountains on tour. Inspired by real events and conversations, the track takes a perspective on the uniquely strange, incredibly surreal, borderline dystopian times we are living in. Though we didn’t write or record “Play Dead” in the wake of this COVID-19 outbreak, the song seemed equally relevant, maybe even found new meaning over a year later.

Things have gotten real weird, to say the least. A lot is uncertain, and many people are struggling and not getting the help or support they desperately need, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the negatives. Really easy. But there are positives to be found too.

This is a time of uncomfortable isolation—we tried to highlight elements of that in the visuals we put together for this song—but despite that, people are finding creative ways to stay connected and survive this pandemic together. And if we as a global community can collectively be patient, put aside petty politics, ignore the noise, and support each other as fellow human beings, then we’re going to come out better for it.” 

“Play Dead” was engineered, mixed and produced by Steve Lehane at Rustbelt Studios and mastered by Paul Blakemore. The video for the track was directed and produced by the band.

Here’s a sample of media accolades for The Messenger Birds:

“Like rock duos Royal Blood and Japandroids before them, The Messenger Birds shred with the intensity of at least five musicians.” – Lake Schatz, Consequence of Sound

“…the two-man garage-blues outfit serves up their social commentary with an ominous tectonic rumble.” – Cole Waterman, PopMatters

The Messenger Birds Online
iTunes / Apple

Music Videos:
“Phantom Limb” (2018): 
“No Pardon” (2019):
“What You Want To Hear” (2020):
“Play Dead” (2020):