Entries tagged with: DM Stith
photos by David Andrako
Shara Worden & The Orchestra for the Next Century, Ecstatic Music Fest 2013
As you may know, the Ecstatic Music Festival is underway in NYC with concerts happening now through March 21 at Merkin Concert Hall in the Kaufman Music Center. Last night (2/6) featured a performance by Clogs and Sarah Kirkland Snider & Orchestra for the Next Century. The latter was presenting the world premiere of Unremembered, a 13-song cycle set to poetry and artwork by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows. DM Stith, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (who performed the opening night) and Clogs' Padma Newsome. sang as part of it. Pictures from the evening, as well as setlist and program notes, are in this post.
The next EMF performance happens February 20 featuring a collaboration between Deerhoof and Chicago ensemble Dal Niente, including new work by Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter. Deerhoof and Dal Niente previously collaborated last summer as part of Chicago's Wordless Music series. Tickets to the event are still available.
More pics from last night's Ecstatic Music Festival performance are below...
Clogs at Merkin Concert Hall in 2011 (more by David Andrako)
Clogs, the modern classical collective that sometimes counts The National's Bryce Dessner as a member, are releasing their new EP, The Sundown Song EP, the followup to 2010's The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton LP and Last Song, on February 5. You can download the title track HERE, or stream it along with the EP's cover art and tracklist, below.
Clogs has two dates scheduled for 2013 at the moment, including the previously discussed show on February 6 at the Merkin Concert Hall for a collaborative set with Sarah Kirkland Snider and Orchestra for the Next Century as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival. Since we last spoke, special guests Nathaniel Bellows, DM Stith, and Shara Worden were added. Tickets for that show are still available. Shara also plays her own Ecstatic Music Festival show to kick off the fest on January 25 at the Greene Space, but that show is sold out.
Bryce Dessner, who is busy with The National, is not confirmed to appear at Clogs' NYC show, but he will definitely appear at their Australia show in March. A list of all Clogs dates and the EP cover art and tracklist are below.
by Andrew Sacher
DOWNLOAD: yMusic - "Proven Badlands" (composed by Annie Clark) (MP3)
My Brightest Diamond at Prospect Park in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) is set to release her third full length album All Things Will Unwind on October 18 via Asthmatic Kitty. She's already revealed the excellent track, "Reaching Through to the Other Side," which you can grab HERE. Now she's got a video for another album track, "Be Brave," which you can watch below. The song's got backing vocals by DM Stith, was engineered and mixed by Pat Dillett (Laurie Anderson, The National), and features instrumentation by yMusic, who play on every track of the album. The video was directed by Murat Eyuboglu, who has directed other videos for Shara in the past, and stars Jessica Dessner as a dancer.
Shara's got some upcoming dates in the next few months including an album release show in NYC on October 14 at Littlefield with yMusic and DM Stith, who both appear on her album. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All dates are listed below.
Speaking of yMusic, they will release their debut LP Beautiful Mechanical on September 27 via New Amsterdam Records. The album features tracks composed by Shara Worden, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), Son Lux, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Judd Greenstein, and Gabriel Kahane. You can download the St. Vincent-penned piece, "Proven Badlands," above and check out the album's tracklist below.
All dates, video, and tracklist below...
There's no question. The Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens' bombastic game-changer-of-an-album is hugely divisive among fans and critics alike. Many balked at its sheer absurdity and accompanying oddball aesthetic. When I first heard the new album, I admit I was one of the skeptics. It was the gentle beauty of Michigan and quirky magnificence of Seven Swans that initially drew me in, but after seeing his performance at Beacon Theatre last fall, I was a convert. I drank the neon-colored, glow-in-the-dark Kool-aid, and I do not regret it.
Before Sufjan and his 14+ band mates claimed the Prospect Park Bandshell stage last night (8/3), the one-man glam artist Diamond Rings (John O'Regan) took his turn. Like Sufjan, O'Regan's show is just as much about his attitude and aesthetic as it is about his music. Dressed in a glittering silver crown and eye make-up reminiscent of Ziggy Stardust, O'Reagan helped pump up the crowd with his upbeat synthesis of samples, drum machine beats, and live guitar/keys.
Though the rain ceased a bit during Diamond Ring's set, by the time Sufjan and his band began to play, it had begun to steadily fall once again. But in a movement of crowd solidarity, umbrellas disappeared one by one as people traded in comfort for better sightlines.
As if in an effort to ease old fans into the post-apocalyptic landscape of glow-in-the-dark electrical tape, Sufjan Stevens kicked off his second Celebrate Brooklyn show not with a new song, but with "Seven Swans" (as he did the night before). Of course, it wasn't long before the nine-minute song began to get raucous.
And in what was just the first of many times throughout the evening, Sufjan slipped into the role of spiritual guide, sage, and motivational speaker. "Oh you are fierce warriors," he said, surveying the sopping magnitude before him, "You have the patience and fortitude and strength."
Sufjan followed the more mellow opening number with a string of songs from The Age of Adz, breaking up the new material only slightly with "Enchanting Ghosts" from last year's over-shadowed but excellent All Delighted People EP. Like last fall's show at Beacon Theatre, the scene was ridiculous. Psychedelic projections, wild costumes (including massive white wings for "Seven Swans"), and the carefully choreographed moves of Jessica Dessner (the sister of Bryce and Aaron of The National) provided abundant visual stimulation.
"I'd like to apologize for being so melodramatic, but I knew you had the heart and strength and soul to take it," Sufjan said as if anticipating a backlash. "So if you're feeling a little bit wet and disenchanted, I encourage you to move your butt."
At times Stevens comes across as a parody of himself and a bit of a megalomaniac, teetering on the edge of sanity... and maybe he is, or maybe he's just channeling the eccentricities of others.
Toward the middle of his set, Stevens explained that the inspiration behind both the fantastical scene on stage and much of the music was an "amazing outsider artist" from Louisiana that he had started studying a few years ago named Royal Robertson. "I decided to use him as my muse [...] and I just really wanted to capture in the frenetic sense the sound of the universe. I wanted to sound my barbaric yawp above the rooftops. And so I threw away the acoustic guitar, and I threw away the banjo, and I decided to surround myself with noise. And then through Royal Robertson I was able to contextualize all this mess into a sort of beautiful pop pageant."
Sure, The Age of Adz is an indulgent, schizophrenic mess, but it's a marvelous mess--especially in a live setting. The neon colors, the flashing lights, the trilling flutes, and dancing girls--it all just works... if you open yourself up to it, that is. Luckily, with the steady rain and steep ticket price (which benefits the Celebrate Brooklyn series), this was no place for haters.
"Tonight we celebrate Brooklyn. We celebrate rain. We celebrate ourselves. We sing the body electric. Am I quoting too much Whitman? I celebrate myself. I sing myself [...] every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. These are your songs this is your show. Thanks for being here." And with that, he launched into "Impossible Soul."
By turns life affirming and heartbreaking, his sprawling opus was clearly the grand finale of the set. Stevens and friends pulled out all the stops--especially DM Stith (on backing vox and keys) and Cat Martino. Though she provided backing vocals for much of the show, Martino (who also sings with Sharon Van Etten) left her post at the back of the stage for a spirited, soulful duet with Stevens, proving that she is more than capable of being the leading lady. (Look for Martino's second solo album, Yr Not Alone this fall.)
After donning an elaborate golden headdress for the auto-tune portion of the song, Stevens re-emerged wearing a crazy balloon costume that would even be a bit much for George Clinton. Then out of nowhere, inflatable dancing men--the kind typically found in side-of-the-road displays--popped up, sending cheers throughout the soaked but ecstatic crowd. As if the scene on stage were not enough, large, clear beach balls began to circulate the crowd.
Stevens concluded the show with a three-song encore of older songs, including the simple, quiet love song "The Dress Looks Nice On You" and of course, "Chicago."
One thing's for sure. As Stevens sings himself in "I Want To Be Well," he's "not fucking around."
More pictures and setlist from the Wednesday show below...
"In 2004, Sounds Familyre released Sufjan Stevens' Seven Swans. And [last week], micro-label On Joyful Wings released Sevens Swans Reimagined. They've gathered quite the cabal of artists who have managed to dive into the Seven Swans material and fish from it some intriguing interpretations of the 2004 record. Appearances include Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Unwed Sailor, Inlets, and the David Crowder Band, but also our own Half-handed Cloud, Shannon Stephens, and DM Stith. It's quite good!Sevens Swans Reimagined contributor DM Stith will be touring Europe with Sufjan Stevens himself in late April and May And Sufjan, who last played headlining shows in NYC as part of his November tour, has a NYC show coming up too! He will headline the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn on August 2nd! Tickets to the Celebrate Brooklyn benefit go on sale Friday at noon.
Profits from the album benefit the Susan G. Komen For The Cure breast cancer foundation." - Asthmatic Kitty
Stream Sevens Swans Reimagined in full below....
words by David Andrako
night 1 (more)
Sufjan Steven's tour-ending show at The Beacon Theatre took an unexpected turn Monday night at the two hour mark when the subdued, seated audience leapt to its feet and turned the front orchestra section into an impromptu electro-folk hippie-intergalactic dance party. The moment happened at the midway point of the set-closing 25-minute-plus song "Impossible Soul" from Sufjan's latest album "The Age of Adz." The performance started rather inauspiciously when one of the two drummers on stage knocked over one of his snare drums and Sufjan struggled with his effects pedal causing him to nearly miss his guitar solo. A stagehand reset the drum and Sufjan recovered to lead his 11 person backing band into a rollicking, jagged, electronic extended jam that featured, among other things, glow in the dark shorts, hundreds of balloons that dropped from the ceiling, an autotuned Sufjan singing with a glowing headdress and some choreographed (and some most definitely not choreographed) dance moves featuring Sufjan, his two backup singers and frequent collaborator Jessica Dessner. The song, which is more like a mixtape than a traditional folk/rock/pop song, eventually slowed as Sufjan stepped to his microphone with his guitar and sang the final 2-minute reprise. The audience rewarded the band with a lengthy standing ovation and applause that lasted until the band returned to the stage to perform the only song of the encore, "Chicago".
Having attended and photographed Sunday night's show, I was eager to see how both crowds would react to the new material. "Seven Swans", which opened up both shows, set the tone for the evening as the 2010 version featured Sufjan's hushed singing and banjo playing until the halfway point when he stopped playing his banjo and switched over to a synthesizer. As the song reached its final peak, he began jumping up and down and playing with his entire body. The song, long a part of Sufjan's catalog, had been transformed into a bridge between the older more acoustic material and the new digitally influenced work.
The first half of the set featured songs Sufjan has released in 2010 on "The Age of Adz" and the preceeding EP "All Delighted People." Up-tempo, electronic, loud songs ("Age of Adz" and "Vesuvius") were interspersed amongst quieter acoustic songs ("Heirloom" and "Futile Devices"). The setlist was identical to the previous night until the band performed the infrequently played "All Delighted People" to which Sufjan remarked, "destroys us when we play it." The song ended with Sufjan and band taking a deep breath and a quick drink of water before launching into a delicate version of "Enchanting Ghost." DM Stith, who was the opening act for both shows (and the entire tour) and played piano in the backing band, and Cat Martino, who sang backup, both deserve special praise for their performances. Their vocals stood out and complemented Sufjan's voice especially well on "The Owl and The Tanager."
The shows featured digital art that was created by Deborah Johnson and projected behind the band and sometimes projected in front of them on a translucent scrim that was raised and lowered throughout the show. The art (and the music of "The Age Of Adz") was influenced by the work of Prophet Royal Robertson, a Louisiana based sign painter who produced thousands of paintings that feature scenes of the end of the world, monsters and religious imagery. Sufjan frequently bantered between songs, whether it was telling a fantastical story about his grandfather, an onion farmer who was blessed with the ability to shoot lightning out of his hands and feet, or proclaiming his love for trigonometry and algebra. He also thanked the band for playing all of his "32nd and 64th notes" which were the products of, as DM Stith described, some "12 hour band practices."
Night one pictures HERE. Last night's setlist with some videos below...
photos by David Andrako
With various videos and projections displayed on a backdrop behind the 11-piece band, a contingent of three back-up dancer-singers, and a slew of costume changes (mostly in the way of jackets and headgear, and yards of what appeared to be reflective tape), this show was not the Sufjan you might have expected -- Sufjan himself described the performance as "Avatar meets Cats on Ice." Sufjan stuck to the synthesizer and keyboard during most of the new songs, often joining the backup dancers. It's a shame, however, that Sufjan's development as a multi-media artist has scaled back the other elements that used to be staples of his performance. The best parts of "The Age of Adz," and the best parts of the night, were when Sufjan did what he does best: guitar, vocals, banjo. Sadly, though, even during "Chicago," Sufjan did not even touch his guitar. Perhaps as a concession to Sufjan purists and diehard fans, however, the night ended with "Casimir Pulaski Day," "To Be Alone With You" and "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." in succession, bringing the audience to their feet collectively amidst a shower of beach balls and balloons. -[Trust Me On This]Sufjan Stevens played the first of his two NYC shows at Beacon Theater last night (11/14). The second, and final show on his North American tour for The Age of Adz, happens tonight, Monday, 11/15.
You can also catch Sufjan on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Friday, 11/19, either on TV or in person if you are lucky enough to win a spot on the "Band Bench".
Soof's tourmate, labelmate and friend, DM Stith opened the sold out show. More pictures, the Sunday setlist, and a video below...
by Rachel Kowal
In the wake of celebrating its one-year anniversary last month, Littlefield is beginning to host some pretty decent artists. Take Sunday night's show at the Gowanus venue. Only a modest crowd made it out, but the evening was filled with beautiful and haunting melodies.
First up was Norwegian singer-songwriter Silje Nes. On her debut album, Ames Room, Silje's soft and airy vocals are often overshadowed by the layers of sound she creates, but at Littlefield, they rang out against the gentle notes of a violin and and her guitar. As with other Scandinavian groups like múm and Seabear, shy stage banter and whimsical sound effects factor prominently into the mix. Lyrics of gardens, birds, the sun, and the sky only increase the charm value.
Silje Nes' sound is beautifully understated. Her percussionist in particular is a master of subtlety. He had at his disposal: a tiny xylophone, sleigh bells, wooden blocks, and a miniature accordion of sorts. At one point, he seemed to rub something against his own arm hair to create the scratchy sound characteristic of old recordings.
In addition to playing a handful of songs from her 2007 album, Silje played some newer songs, including "Crystals," which will be on an album her upcoming album, Opticks, due out in September.
Following such a quiet set by Silje Nes, the contrast of Inlets' opening song, "Canteen" was initially a bit jarring. The volume level in the room spiked, and Inlets seemed to possess more self-assurance-- even when, early in the show, front man Sebastian Krueger stopped mid song, saying, "I'm already upset with how out of tune that note is." Like Silje Nes, however, Inlets benefits from lovely group harmonies. The addition of Ben Lanz on trombone also helped to punch up the set.
As DM Stith settled in to play and introduced himself, he suddenly interrupted himself, saying, "I can still hear Gorillaz. Am I the only one?" After the faintly playing house music had indeed stopped, Stith began to set up his first song with a series of claps and snaps that he looped together to create the percussion.
The audience was quite respectful throughout the evening. The presence of seats and the relatively small size of Littlefield made for quite an intimate show. Besides the unintentional rumble of the snare drum during part of Stith's set, the only noise culprit turned out to be not the crowd, but the blasting A/C (though I suppose that's better than the oppressive heat that takes over many other Brooklyn venues in the summer).
Following a Sparklehorse cover, Stith invited the Osso string quartet to occupy the empty seats that were on the stage, and members from Inlets to share the stage with him. Given the fact that the quartet has also worked with fellow Asthmatic Kitty artist Sufjan Stevens, I guess their presence on Sunday shouldn't have been too unexpected, but it was still a welcome surprise. With the addition of all the extra musicians, DM Stith'a set took on a fuller sound for a couple of songs, though his haunting falsetto was still rightfully a major presence. Stith's vocals may be slightly off-kilter, but his voice is rich and eerily compelling.
Like Silje Nes, DM Stith also showcased a new song and revealed that he is working on an album that will be inspired by 50's pop and country music.
If you missed the NYC shows at 92Y Tribeca and Littlefield, you're in luck. The whole line-up will be back at Joe's Pub on July 21st following their tour. I'm already making plans to attend.
From now until that Joe's Pub show, you can catch the three artists on tour together. Their other stops include the NXNE Festival in Toronto, Spaceland in LA, the Black Cat in DC and many other places... but maybe not Portland.
Two new DM Stith videos, and DM's and Inlets' setlists from Littlefield, below...
Inlets @ Permanent Records
Inlets played a set at Permanent Records in Greenpoint on Friday, May 21st. The week prior, the band played an in-store of sorts at the National's High Violet Annex. Their new record, Inter Arbiter, came out in April on twosyllable Records, and two tracks from that are re-posted above, along with "Spotsylvania," a non-album track cut during the same session.
Coming up, frontman Sebastian Krueger and the band, along with tourmates DM Stith and Silje Nes, will play tour kick-off shows on June 12th at 92YTribeca (tickets) and June 13th at Littlefield (tickets). After that, a North American tour follows, which is then capped by a July 21st show at Joe's Pub. Tickets are on sale.
DM Stith @ Spider House in Austin
DM Stith's new album, HEAVY GHOST APPENDICES, will be released this week on Asthmatic Kitty. Per a press release, it "revisits this secret world [that was explored on its predecessor Heavy Ghost] and adds to its cartography a series of hidden coves, unexplored forests, and new landscapes". The full tracklist for the 2-CD set is below. You'll notice it is full of covers and remixes.
I last saw DM in Austin in March at the BV/Anso day party at Spider House. It was the early afternoon, sunny, and outdoors. Admittedly that wasn't an ideal situation for DM, his string quartet and their quiet songs. That said, I was busy running back and forth at the time, so don't remember too much about it. Belated pictures from that performance are in this post though.
Silje Nes (hailing from "Bergen / Berlin Norway") will release a new single, 'Crystals', on June 7th via FatCat Records. The full length, 'Opticks', will be released on the 13th of September.
More pictures from both mentioned shows and all tour dates are below...
yes we've lost our minds...
BrooklynVegan & AnSo Present:Thank you to Annie Southworth of Panache Booking aka AnSo for partnering with us on this amazing party. More info on the bands and stuff as we find time. In the meantime, happy to get this (yet another BrooklynVegan party at SXSW this year) announced!
A Day Party in Austin, TX!
@ Spider House (2908 Fruth St @ Guadalupe)
Thursday March 18, 2010
ALL AGES-FREE [No badges, wristbands or RSVP necessary]
19 bands on 3 stages (1 indoor and 2 outdoor)
Full bar w/ Drink Specials. In house restaurant & backyard BBQ.
6:00 Human Eye
4:00 Thee Oh Sees
3:00 Golden Triangle
1:00 The Beets
5:00 Jim Jones Revue
4:00 Slim Cessna's Auto Club
3:00 Kid Congo Powers
2:00 Carletta Sue Kay
1:00 Or, The Whale
12:00 La Strada
4:30 Everybody Was In the French Resistance Now (w/ Eddie Argos of Art Brut)
3:30 DM Stith
1:30 A Sunny Day in Glasgow
12:30 The Sandwitches
P.S. Odawas is also on the bill of the free BrooklynVegan Happy Hour show happening at Noise Pop in San Francisco this Saturday (2/27)
UPDATE: SXSW flyer below...
DOWNLOAD: David Byrne And Fatboy Slim - Please Don't (feat Santigold) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Basia Bulat - Go On (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: My Brightest Diamond - Inside A Boy (Son Lux Remix) (MP3)
My Brightest Diamond @ Dark Was the Night last May (more by Natasha Ryan)
Although Shara Worden hasn't performed as My Brightest Diamond in New York over the last year, she has been far from idle. She collaborated with David Byrne on his upcoming release, Here Lies Love, worked with Clogs on Lady Walton's Garden, due out in March, played the role of the Queen on The Decemberists' newest album, The Hazards of Love, and toured with them and found time to perform with Laurie Anderson, Bon Iver, The National and St. Vincent as well. My Brightest Diamond also contributed their version of Nina Simone's renowned classic "Feelin' Good" to the celebrated compilation Dark Was The Night. [PR]In addition to being her first NYC in more than year, My Brightest Diamond's Bowery show on January 22nd is a CD release party for her new limited-edition remix album Shark Remixes. According to her website, "Shara had so much fun on the short European tour this last December that she, together with drummer Brian Wolfe and bassist Nathan Lithgow, decided to keep the glow alive by playing in New York and adding Butoh dancing and clowns for fun." The record, which comes out on Asthmatic Kitty on January 26th, collects four "remix EPs" put together by remixers Alfred Brown, DM Stith, Son Lux and Roberto Carlos Lange of songs from MBD's 2008 album A Thousand Shark's Teeth. Album art and tracklist are below.
Opening the show is Canadian singer and guitarist/autoharp player Basia Bulat, whose album Heart of My Own also comes out January 26th, on Rough Trade/Secret City. A track from that album, "Go On", is a free download above. Her other tour dates and the song "Gold Rush" off the new record are below. Tickets to the January 22nd Bowery show are still on sale. We also have a pair to give away. Details are below.
You can also catch Basia Bulat on Thursday, January 21st, at Professor Thom's on 219 2nd Ave (between 13th & 14th). It's her record release party and she'll be performing an "intimate live performance" at 8pm. $1.00 beers at 7pm (while they last).
Shara Worden and Nicole Atkins are two of the many collaborators on David Byrne's Here Lies Love project with Fatboy Slim. The song "Please Don't," featuring Santigold, is above. Byrne will be one of the speakers at "Stories in High Fidelity: An evening of storytelling" at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, February 3rd. Also on hang will be Alan Light, Dan Kennedy and Jason Gordon, and music from Nicole Atkins. Tickets are on sale.
David Byrne has been speaking publicly a lot lately.Most recently at the Bell House on January 11th.
My Brightest Diamond's other upcoming shows include a performance with Clogs in Minneapolis on February 19th and 20th and Big Ears Festival, happening March 26-28 in Knoxville, TN.
All of the above-mentioned tour dates, ticket contest, and more info are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DM Stith plays The Stone on X-Mas...
pictured @ 92YTribeca in October (more by Vincent Cornelli)
The Stone has a great lineup of innovative pop-based acts scheduled for this December. Curators Sam Kulik (multi-instrumentalist who plays trombone in Nervous Cabaret) and David Garland (singer & songwriter and host of WNYC's "Spinning On Air" and "Evening Music") are the month's guest curators at the space.
Let's get into some highlights.
Danielson will somehow pack his "family group" into the venue for a night of music on December 22nd. They just put out a new 7" single on his Sounds Familyre label. The video for its lead track "Moment Soakers" is below. Later that night, you can also see M6, a six-person vocal ensemble that performs the work of innovative composer Meredith Monk.
Diane Cluck is there on December 16th.
Larkin Grimm plays after David Garland on the 17th.
Rob Moose plays violin and other instruments with Antony and the Johnsons, My Brightest Diamond, Sufjan Stevens and others. He plays his first-ever solo show at the venue on December 18th.
Currituck County aka Kevin Barker is the late show on the 19th, and the one and only Dave Deporis will be there on the 27th.
And for those with an open Christmas Day, the venue presents an 8pm set from Asthmatic Kitty-signed songwriter DM Stith and a 10pm set that promises to be entertaining: David Garland (piano, clarinet), son Kenji Garland (some-input mixer) and guests present "Processing Xmas" which will features "Familiar seasonal songs processed and emancipated; family improvs; audience sing-alongs; a warm get-together on a winter night."
Then the month and year end with "JOHN ZORN'S ANNUAL END OF THE YEAR IMPROV" on Dec. 30th, and a TBA New Year's Eve event.
The Stone's full December schedule is below...
photos by Vincent Cornelli
"Hey, I'm your host: DJ Sufjan. Thanks for coming," he says, trying to stir the audience.After the live music came a screening of the BQE movie. The pictures in this post are from the third show on Saturday night. They did it at 7:30pm, 10:00pm, and then again st 12:30am (technically Sunday morning). The show is now on tour (though without Sufjan to introduce things), and will play NYC one more time. It happens at The Bell House on November 7th, and tickets are still on sale. More pictures from 92Y below...
It will be a night of art -- but exactly how, or what kind of art, no one is certain.
Stevens speaks for a brief moment and introduces the first act, singer/songwriter DM [Stith]. Unlike most folk singers, [Stith] is backed by six other musicians: a percussionist, a bassist, a cellist, two violinists and a viola player. The classical backing only serves to assist his enchanting howl, which channels Eastern rhythms. His short set is defined by simple, delicate arrangements, like an appetizer before the main course.
A few moments pass, and Stevens climbs the stage once more. This time, he explains that his second album, "Enjoy Your Rabbit," was an electronic experiment that no one seemed to understand. As a result, he had the songs rewritten for the string quartet Osso, a group of classically trained women who perform interpretations of Stevens' songs. Stevens' experimental computer distortion transforms into high notes. The audience, formerly busy in conversation, is respectably silent. Dreamy sequences approach and linger as each song reaches a close. It is, most definitely, a non-traditional take on a classical medium. [NYU News]
photos by Tammy Lo, words by Andrew Frisicano
Sufjan Stevens played the first show of his four-night NYC run last night (10/4) at Bowery Ballroom. The set mostly covered material from Seven Swans (visited extensively at ATP NY in Sept.), Michigan, Illinois and new tracks. Full setlist and more pictures from that show, below.
His current tour dates (including all four NYC shows) are with Sufjan's Asthmatic Kitty labelmates Cryptacize (who are touring with Fiery Furnaces this November). That's just one of many goings-on Sufjan has with the Asthmatic Kitty label he co-founded. He's collaborating with his step-father (also the label's other co-founder) Lowell Brams on Music for Insomnia, Brams' debut and part of the label's Library Catalog series. The album, due December 8th, also includes contributions by Bryce Dessner (of the National and the Long Count) and cover art by Asthmatic Kitty's DM Stith.
Stith will be opening at Sufjan's Osso Quartet/BQE shows at 92YTribeca on October 24th and 25th. Two two screening on the 24th are sold out, but there's still tickets for the show on the 25th.
The Osso Quartet is taking that show on the road at the end of October into early November. The last show of the tour was to be at TBA venue in Philly. Instead it appears that they're closing out the tour at the Bell House on Sunday, November 7th. Tickets are on sale now. If is unclear if Sufjan will actually be at the new date. He will be at 92Y, but not on the rest of that tour.
In 2000, Asthmatic Kitty artist Shannon Stephens was interviewed by Sufjan to discuss her just-released debut album. He interviewed her again a few weeks ago to catch up and discuss The Breadwinner, Shannon's first album in 10 years, which came out September 8th. In the new interview (more of a discussion), Sufjan revealed some interesting things about himself...
Sufjan: I'm at a point where I no longer have a deep desire to share my music with anyone, having spent many years imparting my songs to the public. Although I have great respect for the social dynamic of music--that it should be shared with others, that it brings people together--I now feel something personal is irrevocably lost in this process. Now, while I refuse to act wholly on this impulse (I refuse to take my audience for granted in spite of my mood), I'm still trying to find the value of the song in private. Having spent ten years in private (not sharing your music), can you offer some wisdom on this matter? Does a song have any meaning even it's not shared?A new video from Shannon is posted below.
More pics, video and the setlist from Sufjan's 10/4 Bowery show, with the above mentioned Asthmatic Kitty goodies, below...
In late October Osso will begin a North American tour in support of their debut record Run Rabbit Run, a re-arrangement of Sufjan Stevens' Enjoy Your Rabbit--a genre-bending electronic instrumental song cycle referencing the animals of the Chinese zodiac--for the string quartet. The album is due out October 6 on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Also featured on the tour will be screenings of Stevens' The BQE, a 40-minute symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway....Asthmatic Kitty recording artist DM Stith...will also perform.Tickets for the NYC BQE screenings on October 24th, which will have Sufjan in attendance, are currently sold out. Sufjan will be playing a set at ATP NY on September 12th. Full dates and more info on the Osso + BQE tour (with DM Stith on most dates) below...
photos by Tim Griffin
DOWNLOAD: DM Stith - Pity Dance (MP3)
"DM Stith's first full-length debut comes out in March. Right, right; not soon enough, we agree. Well, you can check out "Pity Dance," the first single, right now. Two ways: watch it, with a beautiful and haunting video directed the accomplished Ryan Jeffrey (below), or listen to it by downloading the mp3 (above). The iTunes exclusive single is just $1.99 and includes a cover of Randy Newman's "Suzanne." Watch for Heavy Ghost next month.DM Stith played Cake Shop on Friday night (2/27). More pictures from that show and the above-mentioned video (again), below...
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DOWNLOAD: DM Stith - Pity Dance (MP3)
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A selection of free music by artists playing official showcases on Wednesday March 18, 2009 at SXSW.
by Andrew Frisicano
Stith's full-length, Heavy Ghost, out March 10, will feature guests that include Shara from My Brightest Diamond, and Asthmatic string-puller Sufjan Stevens (performing on "stapler, scissors, and a stationary fan" - via Stith's Dec 18th blog). The album, "recorded in bedrooms, churches, kitchens and instrumental rehearsal halls around the East Coast," comes packaged in a sleeve desgined by Stith, a graphic designer.
DM Stith also visited Daytrotter about a week ago. Of the session he says, "If you listen to only one, make it 'Braid of Voices.'"
His new record's first single,"Pity Dance," just came out on iTunes, with a video (see below), and a b-side a cover of Randy Newman's "Suzanne."
Stith labelmate and fellow ghost-lover Chris Schlarb is performing his 2007 debut, Twilight & Ghost Stories, on Saturday, Feb 7th at The Stone with 8pm and 10pm sets.
The album, an adventurous, contemplative found-sound composition, was pieced together from snipets submitted to Schlarb by fifty musicians. It was "performed" in Athens, GA, on December 8, 2007, using only Section IV (of X). You can read the full story here), and check out a piece of the performance, which Schlarb titled "Twilight Athens" (MP3 above).
On the Red Hot benefit comp Dark Was the Night, due next Tuesday, Stith contributed backup vocals to the Sufjan-Buck 65-Serengeti track, "The Blood Pt. 2." The song remixes the Castanet's "You Are the Blood," which Sufjan also covers, and extends to nearly 11 minutes, on the album.
Asthmatic Kitty's Rafter was just in town and played a show at Cake Shop. All DM Stith dates, the video, and new album tracklist, below...
DOWNLOAD: DM Stith - Just Once (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: DM Stith - Thanksgiving Moon (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: DM Stith - Be My Baby (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: DM Stith - Around the Lion Legs w/ Sufjan & Shara (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sufjan Stevens - That was the Worst Christmas Ever (MP3)
On December 9th, we [Asthmatic Kitty] will proudly unveil the very first release from DM Stith: the EP, Curtain Speech.David and Sufjan don't have anything coming up, but Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond has a bunch of shows scheduled.
We signed David Stith after listening to just two demo songs. Yes, they were that good. And then, after a year of careful recording and revising, Stith finished Curtain Speech. It is an EP that - we admit - is little more than a tease for the upcoming 2009 full length, Heavy Ghost. Still, Curtain Speech is exquisite; a complex, atmospheric set of whispered songs. This EP gives us something to savor while we wait.
And since we're talking about Asthmatic Kitty, check out the winning entry in Rafter's recent video contest below...