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Birds of Avalon grow along with Troika

 Birds of Avalon, fresh off a tour of the southern and central United States, has finally flown home.

The Raleigh-based psychedelic rock group—whose album Uncanny Valley dropped this past June—are ready to jump back into the Triangle music scene by performing at the Troika Festival this weekend. The festival, though a familiar event for members of the local quintet, has impressed the group with its recent surge in size and popularity.

“When we first started out, all three points of the Triangle seemed really far away from each other. [Troika] seemed separate, like a Durham institution sort of thing,” bassist David Mueller said. “Now it’s really ubiquitous. You can see it everywhere and everybody’s excited about it.”

With Troika evolving, so has Birds. The band, started by guitarists and married couple Cheetie Kumar and Paul Siler, formed in 2005 with vocalist Craig Tilley. The group eventually picked up drummer Scott Nurkin and, finally, Mueller.

“All of us have different musical tastes, and they overlap,” Mueller said. “The writing process is very collaborative: one person will bring something in and everybody cobbles the sound together.”

The last Durham show Birds played was at the Duke Coffeehouse back in 2007, just after the five-piece released their LP Bazaar Bazaar.  

“I feel we’ve really found ourselves as players since then,” Mueller said. “Over the years, we’ve created something that is more a product of each of us... it has more of an irregular shape, which is more interesting.”

Mueller, who grew up attending concerts at the Coffeehouse, is excited to return. “It’s cool because [the Coffeehouse] has a rootsy sort of feel,” Mueller said. “The people who work there do it because they care about it; it’s professional, but it also feels like a community.” 

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