Entries tagged with: Shara Worden
by Andrew Frisicano
this post concludes our Big Ears 2010 Festival coverage. links to the first two posts are also below...
"When people ask what my favorite place to play is, I tell them about this place. It's like playing inside an Easter egg," quipped My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, gazing at the deep-sea blue dome overhead at Knoxville's Tennessee Theater. The psychedelic cavern, a mish-mash of decorative styles and colors, served as the home to the Big Ears festival's largest shows, and its final act on Sunday night, with headliner the National.
The National's presence was felt long before they took the stage - in the hand of guitarist Bryce Dessner, who co-curated the fest, in the National members' supporting gigs, playing behind Doveman, Clogs and others, and in the abundance of friends and fellow Brooklyn-ites in the Big Ears lineup. Of course, those are all connected. One look at the stage during the first song of the National's encore - "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" off their forthcoming High Violet - revealed a selection of Big Ears' top acts - Nico Muhly, St. Vincent, Shara Worden and sometimes-National members Padma Newsome and Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan came out for a song, but not during the encore), all of whom performed earlier in the weekend on their own. (Read here about days one and two)
Attendees also had the chance to opt for music outside of that circle. At Big Ears Annex, Tim Hecker and Ben Frost collaborated for a set of fragile, icy noise (they both played on their own earlier too - Hecker opened for Bang on a Can All-Stars' performance of Music For Aiports and the Books at the TN Theater). Trio Konk Pack took the same stage later for improvised noises, pops and whirs - like the soundtrack to an invisible film. The night before, one could choose between Liturgy and Gang Gang Dance - two bands at the top of their respective genres - while Terry Riley's In C filled the Tennessee Theater to its elliptical rafters.
Around the corner from the Annex at the Pilot Light, KnoEars, an unaffiliated, somewhat anti-Big Ears DIY Fest, hosted an all-day lineup that included homemade noise, Replacements-style punk and more emanating into Sunday's rainy street.
Terry Riley, selected to be this year's resident guide, performed four times over the three days - all in different settings. Other repeat acts like Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), who played with Sam Amidon, the fest's first act (interviewed here), and The National, its last, were frequent Knoxville fixtures for the three-day fest, running to their own gigs or enjoying others'.
"Mr. Riley also enjoyed a fair number of other people's shows, especially the art-song band Clogs. ("They were the hit for me," he said, beaming over breakfast on Monday morning. "Great performers, great writing. I'm going to buy their CD when I get home.")" [NY Times]Doveman and Nico Muhly both played earlier Sunday in a set that included material from their recent Peter Pears project, the Footloose soundtrack, and their 802 tour partner Sam Amidon (who had to catch a flight to Germany). That show's headliner, St. Vincent, provided a counterpoint to their pianos with a set of songs steeped in squealing noise and leveling distortion.
More pictures and videos from the fest are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Collaborations were the order of the day on Big Ears' Saturday, March 27th schedule (day two). At 1pm, the 802 Tour - Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) and Sam Amidon with violist Nadia Sirota - performed songs written by each. The National's Dessner brothers and drummer Bryan Devendorf joined for a selection of full-band Doveman songs, and the finale was a clamoring, epic version of the folk song "The Two Sisters" arranged by Nico (part of the percussion included Nico combing Thomas's hair). Sam played his own set with help from Thomas one day earlier, and later Saturday night.
Before that, the day started with Andrew W.K.'s Q&A-heavy lecture at the Knoxville Museum of Art (he played a set of music the night before) and a Bang on a Can All-Stars set that included works by Dave Longstreth, both at noon. Dirty Projectors performed later in the day (3:45pm) at Tennessee Theatre on a bill that also included DJ/Rupture and William Basinski who went on at the same time as Liturgy (who played at the Big Ears Annex at 2pm and then again at Pilot Light at midnight).
Clogs took the stage at the Bijou Theater with guests as well. Rumors of a solo set by Sufjan Steven circulated, but he only played one of his own songs, "Barn Owl Night Killer," on piano. Clogs were also assisted by Shara Worden, Aaron Dessner and Calder Quartet. Matt Berninger was delayed en route to Knoxville, so he didn't make his duet on "Last Song," for which main Clog Padma Newsome filled in. That wasn't the actual last song - new-album closer "We Were Here" was, which featured Sufjan on vocals and banjo along with Shara Worden and guitar by Aaron Dessner. A similar show happened in Brooklyn a few days earlier.
The Saturday headliners - Vampire Weekend and Joanna Newsom - both played to sold out crowds (Vampire Weekend at the sprawling, ornate-adorned 1600 seat Tennessee Theater with opener Abe Vigoda). Joanna Newsom's set was opened by Fred Armisen aka Jens Hannemann, a master of "complicated drummer technique." Armisen also joined her set for one song to play awkward and out-of-place cowbell.
At the Tennessee, the night ended with Terry Riley's Autodreamagraphical Tales - music from Bang on a Can over Terry reading from his actual dreams (Eastern religion and weed popped up frequently) - and In C, led by BoaC's Evan Ziporyn and featuring the rest of Bang on a Can All-Stars as well as Calder Quartet, Clogs, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Gyan Riley, and Terry on voice. The open-ended song stretched to an hour, canceling out any chance to catch late night sets from Javelin and Gang Gang Dance. Gang Gang was stil going when I arrived, but the club shut down the power mid-song and flipped on the lights promptly at 3am, sending everyone home.
A recap of Friday is HERE. More pictures and videos from Saturday are below...
photos by David Andrako
"Clogs tonight at the Bell House Brooklyn w/ the astonishing Shara Worden and (briefly) Sufjan Stevens: Complex, transfixing, transcendent" - Frank Rose
As promised, Sufjan showed up to perform with Shara Worden and Clogs (featuring members of the National) at the Bell House last night. The whole crew is now off to Tennessee for the Big Ears Festival which kicks off Friday with performances by Sam Amidon, Andrew WK, The xx, Ben Frost and others (full schedule HERE). Some more pictures from last night's Clogs show in Brooklyn below...
Olof Arnalds @ SXSW 2010 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Chamber group Clogs played live (and spoke) on WNYC on Monday. You can listen at their site (and download it above).
Wednesday night (tonight, 3/24) is Clogs' record release show at The Bell House in Brooklyn. They've confirmed that Sufjan Stevens and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (who also played with them on WNYC and was a special guest at the Regina Spektor show at Irving Plaza Tuesday night) will be their guests. Whether Sufjan will sing or not isn't 100% clear, but like Shara, he does sing on the new album.
The National's Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner are permanent members of Clogs. Bryce's twin brother Aaron and the National's Matt Berninger aren't, but will also play with the group when they perform at the Big Ears Fest in Knoxville, Tennessee this weekend.
Full Big Ears schedule at their site.
Shara Worden @ Bowery Ballroom in January (more by Chris La Putt)
tonight in NYC
* Soulive @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Chuck Prophet @ Southpaw
* Neon Indian @ Webster Hall
* Q-Tip the Abstract (DJ) @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Stephen Drury plays John Zorn @ The Stone
* Backwords, Spirit Family Reunion @ Sycamore
* Vinicio Capossela @ (Le) Poisson Rouge
* Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore @ Joe's Pub
* Minusbaby, Tristan Perich, TBA @ Silent Barn
* Joseph Arthur, The White Buffalo @ City Winery
* ADULT, The Depreciation Guild @ The Frying Pan
* Ghostface, Raekwon @ Nokia Theatre Times Square
* Muse, Silversun Pickups @ Madison Square Garden
* Here We Go Magic, Glass Ghost, Caveman @ Zebulon
* Dragons of Zynth, Chica Vas, Hard Nips @ Glasslands
* The Tony Castles, Keepaway, Forest City @ Cake Shop
* The Jaguar Club, Coyote Eyes, Serica Ux @ Bruar Falls
* Heloise & The Savoir Faire @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Pierced Arrows, Lullabye Arkestra @ (late) Mercury Lounge
* Adam's Castle, Monuments, Appomattox, Penmanship @ Union Hall
* Goes Cube, East Of The Wall, The Austerity Program @ Union Pool
* The New Colossus, Yoni Gordon, Mussels, Game Rebellion @ Don Pedro
* Anamanaguchi, Henry Homesweet, Sabrepulse, Starscream @ Market Hotel
* Xeno & Oaklander, Led Er Est, Frank Alpine, Kordan, Fan-Tan @ The Cameo
* Justin Townes Earle, Joe Pug, Annie and the Beekeepers @ Bowery Ballroom
* Sleepies, The Brooklyn What, Donner Party Picnic, Highway Gimps @ Shea Stadium
* Lauren Ambrose & the Leisure Class, Wahoo Skiffle Crazies @ The Bell House
* Tanlines, Lemonade, Janka Nabay, Pictureplane, Blondes @ Monster Island Basement
* Dinosaur Feathers, Darlings, Lonnie Walker, Pearl & The Beard @ Studio at Webster Hall
* Leatherface, Yesterdays Ring, Bridge and Tunnel, Cerebral Ballzy @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
* Edison Woods, Dayna Kurtz & Mamie Minch, Sarah Small, Black Sea Hotel (Shara Worden-curated 2-night fest) @ 92YTribeca
Vitalic has a new video for "Second Lives". Check it out below...
Little Boots @ Bowery Ballroom in September (more by Chris La Putt)
tonight in NYC
* Shout Out Louds @ Pianos
* Soulive & Vernon Reid @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Living Days, Follower @ Glasslands
* Flogging Molly @ Hammerstein Ballroom
* Bobby Previte @ Rose Live Music
* Corinne Bailey Rae @ Apple Store Soho
* K-OS, Jon Oliver @ (Le) Poisson Rouge
* Gil Scott-Heron & Friends @ Blue Note
* Jay-Z, Young Jeezy @ Madison Square Garden
* Afuche, Elks, Hyimn, Wizardry @ Death By Audio
* Rogue Wave, Avi Buffalo @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Bushwick Book Club plays 'Dark Knight Returns' @ Goodbye Blue Monday
* Little Boots, Class Actress, Body Language, JDH & Dave P @ Highline Ballroom
* Cage the Elephant, As Tall As Lions, Morning Teleportation @ Bowery Ballroom
* Sky White Tiger, The Beasts of Eden, Wu Li, Holistic @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
* The Music of the Who w/ Sondre Lerche, Robyn Hitchcock, Living Colour, Bob Mould, more @ Carnegie Hall
Tonight's So So Glos show at Littlefield has been cancelled.
Tonight's K-OS w/ Jon Oliver at Le Poisson Rouge has been cancelled.
JBM has been added as opener for tonight and tomorrow's Rogue Wave shows.
Bushwick Book Club this month features songs about Dark Knight Returns (the comic). Performers include Breez Evahflowin, Core Rhythm, Timothy Dark, Susanna Pryce, Anna Leuchtenberger, Susan Hwang and We Stole the Show - flyer below.
Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 tour visits MSG tonight. He plays Izod Center this weekend and Nassau Coliseum next, and you can catch him at both Bonnaroo and Coachella this year.
Soullive kick off "Bowlive", a 2 week residency at Brooklyn Bowl tonight. Flyer below.
Shara Worden is curating 2 nights at 92YTribeca Friday and Saturday. A video of her (My Brightest Diamond) performing "Golden Star" live, below...
The Twilight Sad is going on tour with Mono. Their video for "The Room" below...
My Brightest Diamond @ Bowery Ballroom in January (more by Chris La Putt)
Over two nights, Shara hosts a tremendous cast of artists to showcase the different ways people create. From the sewing installations of Dena Verdesca, to the yarn circle lead by Amy Fritch, to the provocative photography and Tableau Vivant performances of Sarah Small, to the paper art installation and spontaneous poetry of Tim Fite, to the live projections by video artist Deborah Johnson and the flower graffiti of Nikki Borodi - you will hardly recognize the 92YTribeca gallery and mainstage as the spaces are transformed by these wildly creative artists. To add to the magic, Shara has brought together live performances by puppeteer Lake Simons, Brooklyn acappella group Black Sea Hotel, songwriters Dayna Kurtz & Mamie Minch, a screening by filmmaker Cathryn Davis Zommer, plus a special performance by Shara Worden with the dynamic chamber ensemble yMusic and other surprise guests artists to be announced.The nights - dubbed "Diamonds, Teeth and Yarn" - will kick off 92YTribeca's Women's History Month calendar. Tickets to both nights are on sale. The full schedule, as listed below, includes at least one "Special Guest To Be Announced".
Shara played Bowery Ballroom in January. She's also on the new Clogs' album; she and the band will be at Big Ears Festival in Knoxville at the end of March, where yMusic (playing with Shara at 92YTribeca) will perform a piece by St. Vincent.
yMusic will be playing with Gabriel Kahane on Wednesday, March 3rd as part of the American Songbook Series at Lincoln Center's Allen Room (where Dirty Projectors will play Getty Address with Alarm Will Sound this Friday). On March 5th and 6th (the same nights as these 92YTribeca shows), yMusic will be at Symphony Space with Gina Gibney Dance Company.
All tour dates and the lineup for Shara's two 92YTribeca events are below...
With the new National record coming out, don't forget there's also a new Clogs record, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, out March 2nd on Brassland (cover art above). On that record, the band, headed by Padma Newsome and The National's Bryce Dessner, will be joined by vocalists Shara Worden, Matt Berninger and Sufjan Stevens (who is also a confirmed guest on the new National). Clogs just put out a pre-album EP titled Veil Waltz. They're also playing live including a Brooklyn show at the Bell House on March 24th. Tickets are on sale now.
Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) recently headlined a show of her own at Bowery Ballroom one night before she made a special appearance for Haiti at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
More info on the new Clogs album and all dates below...
photos by Paul Birman
"Thanks to everyone who came to the BV Haiti benefit last night. You made it really special." - St. Vincent
"St. Vincent and Justin Vernon performing together was easily one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen/heard." - Steph Lo
Wyatt Cenac was funny. Then came Britt Daniel (of Spoon) with White Rabbits frontman Stephen Patterson. They had such a good time on stage together, you can tell they were buds. Janeane Garofalo came next - she has the smartest humor and is a strong rooted New Yorker. Made a ton of jokes about the L train and hipsters which the crowd took very warmly to. Gosh she's tiny. St Vincent went on and sounded like the lovely thing she is. Someone yelled while she was setting up 'show us your bush'????', In which she replied, 'that is the strangest thing someone has ever said to me...on or off stage'. Adorable. Following her was Zach Galifianakis who everyone was undeniably waiting for. It really looked like he just rolled out of bed, picked up some papers from a table and walked on stage totally winging his whole act...hilarious. Alas came Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver). His voice sounded just as amazing it does on record. The room was at its most quiet during "Flume". Unreal. He was the last act but did say something about a special guest - I heard it was Megafaun/My Brightest Diamond (had to leave early), which I imagine rounded out the benefit nicely. Really awesome that these guys all came together"...Thanks for that partial recap S&S. You should have gotten there earlier and stayed later though!
[Stadiums & Shrines]
The night opened with a great debut set by singer-songwriter John Shade (previously Dave Godowsky) who brought out Justin Vernon on drums for two songs. Before and after John, and between every set of the night, came comedy by our two able hosts: Bobby Tisdale and Leo Allen. St Vincent's set included a National and a Nico cover. Justin covered John Prine. Britt Daniel did three songs, which was one less than he played at Sound Fix a few hours earlier.
And yep, the special guest after/during Justin's set was in fact Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) who (after headlining Bowery Ballroom one night earlier) played two jaw dropping numbers - one with Colin Stetson on his most-insane giant saxophone, and a cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore".
But it didn't end there. A supergroup called Songer Singwriter featuring Annie, Justin, drummer, and Brad from Megafaun came back to close the night off right with a set of four more covers. Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", Tom Petty's "Face in the Crowd" (with Brad on lead), Dolly Parton's "Jolene", and Annie Lennox's "Why". Each of those final covers was better than the next. To quote one of my tweets, "To quote my friend, 'Sounds like sonic youth playing a dolly parton song. Sick!' and now Annie Lennox Why! Full room Bon Iver singalong".
We ran almost non-stop for 3.5 hours straight (8-11:30), and raised over $20,000. I'm still waiting for an exact number. More pictures (one of two sets we have) and some videos from the show, below....
photos by Chris La Putt
"Friday night's double bill at Bowery Ballroom was hard to beat. Toronto's Basia Bulat played a rootsy solo set, accompanying her powerful, penetrating vibrato with fierce autoharp and guitar. A real talent; here's hoping she brings her full band the next time she comes to town.The good news is that Bowery Ballroom did sell out on Friday night, though it wasn't as packed as your usual sold out show (so still a bit of a crime). She's recognized by everyone from Sufjan Stevens to David Byrne, and she consistently blows away audiences every time she shows up (for instance at Dark Was The Night). She even has the ability to sell out Bowery Ballroom, but I think Shara Worden still may be one of the most underrated voices in NYC.
My Brightest Diamond, playing their first NYC show in over a year, took a more high-concept approach, filling the stage with white ladders and balloons; a young girl passed out balloon animals during intermission. Lead singer Shara Worden, who's been spending more and more time following pseudo-classical pursuits, was a commanding stage presence with her flamboyant attire and voice of operatic proportions. (Worden studied voice at the University of North Texas before being seduced by the rock siren.) Oh, and she played lead guitar, joined by Nathan Lithgow on bass and Brian Wolfe on drums.
Why this show (at $15 a ticket) had tickets available at the door while that talentless harpie managed to sell out four nights at Radio City says a lot about the state of our brainless culture."
[Feast of Music]
I ran to see My Brightest Diamond after the Dawn Landes show, and before I went back to Mercury Lounge to see an after midnight set by Serena Maneesh. Before running back to Mercury we asked Shara if she wanted to play at Music Hall on Saturday. The rest is history.
For Basia Bulat, Bowery Ballroom was her 2nd NYC show in two days. Her schedule also included a record release show at Professor Thom's on Thursday.
More pictures from Bowery Ballroom 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...
Shara Worden w/ The Decemberists @ Newport Folk Fest (more by Jim Brueckner)
Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) has been keeping busy. At some point she recorded a song with David Byrne for his new CD coming out. You may have caught her as part of The Long Count at BAM, and she spent much of 2009 touring with The Decemberists including their October 21st "Here Come the Waves: Hazards of Love Visualized" show at Royce Hall which was released on December 1st as a "full-length video album available exclusively through iTunes" (more info and trailer below).
She was also part of Dark Was the Night - the CD and the concert. That's all since her 2nd My Brightest Diamond album came out in mid 2008. Now, My Brightest Diamond is back for at least one NYC show: January 22, 2009 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets are on sale.
More Decemberists "Here Come the Waves" info below...
David Byrne w/ Dirty Projectors @ Bowery Ballroom
I have, after many years, finished the Here Lies Love CD project - at least this iteration of it. It will come out [February 23rd] on Nonesuch. It's a collaboration with Fatboy Slim, an upbeat series of songs sung each one by a different singer. The songs are about Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cumpas, the woman who raised her. The package includes 2 CDs (22 songs), a DVD with videos of 6 of those songs, and a 100-page book that explains it all. Singers include Florence Welch (of Florence + The Machine), Sia, Santigold, Nellie McKay, Sharon Jones, St. Vincent, Róisín Murphy and many more (even me on 1 and 1/2)... I am pretty excited about this, but who knows, it might just make people crazy.What should David Bryne's new name be? The full tracklist for the new record, which also features vocal turns by Steve Earle and Allison Moorer (who both just played NYC on Friday), Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos and Martha Wainwright, is below.
We'll see. There will be more concrete news, with links and music, in early January.
In the meantime, I have decided to rebrand myself, inspired by Philip Morris changing their name to Altria, Blackwater to Xe, and the train I'm riding on right now that calls itself Acela - none of which mean anything, but they are cleverly evocative. When I decide on the magic word, you'll be the first to know.
Here Lies Love premiered in March 2006 Australia, and Byrne brought the song cycle to Carnegie Hall as part of the venue's Perspectives Series in February 2007. As a stage show, the songs fit into a four act narrative, laid out in detail on Byrne's website. Those at either performance got a first look at the then-in-progress work...
Here Lies Love takes the form of a series of fairly traditional pop songs (verse-chorus-verse) played in a variety of styles (disco, rock, funk, latin, ballad) by Byrne and a small group of colleagues. Augmenting the core of guitar, bass and drums, is a percussionist and a keyboard player. The vocals are shared by Dana Diaz-Tutaan (Imelda), Ganda Suthivarakom (Estrella), and Byrne, who represents the 'voice' of other key players in Imelda's life. The stage itself is unadorned, although behind the band a small screen plays news clips and home movies of Imelda's life.David Byrne will appear at a free, unticketed (first come, first served) event at the Bell House on Monday, January 11th. He presents "a short video/audio lecture called 'Creation in Reverse,' speaking to the ways that venue and context shape artistic creation, followed by a Q&A."
As already mentioned, the songs themselves are simple pop tunes, leaning heavily on the disco and dance genres, and could fit neatly onto any number of Byrne's solo albums. They are tuneful enough, and skillfully played, but I wonder about the connection of the music to Imelda's life. Would it have been possible to blend some traditional Filipino sounds and flavours into the music of Here Lies Love (although, admittedly, Imelda was a fan of Western dance music)? [Tidy Boy]
More Here Lies Love info and a video on the performance are below...
photos by Julieta Cervantes, words by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: The Long Count - Bull Run (feat. Kelley Deal) (MP3)
The Long Count premiered last night (10/28) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music while the Yankees were losing to the Phillies up in the Bronx. It's a risky piece - and not just because the pre-show epigraph was a radio broadcast of the last time the Yankees were swept in a World Series. The overarching "Creation" theme guides the piece's rise-collapse-rebuild structure, and its individual songs and their discrete musical worlds make each movement engaging and unexpected. Each part has its own center: At the beginning the band sounds like a chamber ensemble, with the two lead guitars playing in counterpoint. That transitions into a duet between twins Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders, whose smiles and lighthearted gait broke through any opening-night tension that might've been present. Their informality went against the general seated-show seriousness of the BAM Opera House. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), in contrast, was in total performance-art mode, bouncing around lithely in a series of choreographed gestures and rotating costumes. The Deals sang muffled, overdriven harmonies, in their classic style, before splitting to take their own numbers. Kim's song in particular , "Time to play" it might be called, crested into a bass-less din like a staticy AM radio that filled the hall. (Kelley's, "Bull Run," you can hear above.)
While the Dessners sat (and rose at moments) on stage, they trusted the weight of their composed music to the assembled band. For the complexity of the piece, and the precision to which it was arranged, the tightness of the well-rehearsed and conductor-less band was remarkable. The middle of the piece is a series of instrumental arrangements that progress from relative order to menacing crescendo. To transition certain segments, Colin Stetson (on bass clarinet and bari sax) explodes through the hall with freefrom circular breathing figures. For these moments he's wholly alone.
A massive symmetrical backdrop of flowing abstract landscapes looms over the musicians and audience. The final piece, a Morricone-tinged number sung by Kim Deal, plays before a breezy, sun-burnt plain.
The show happens again at BAM on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are still available. More pictures from Wednesday below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Long Count - Bull Run (feat. Kelley Deal) (MP3)
Twins! (the Dessners & the Deals)
The Long Count kicks off its three show engagement at BAM's Gilman Opera House tonight (10/28). Tickets are still available for the show, as well as for the Friday (10/30) and Saturday (10/31) performances.
The 70-minute music and multimedia piece, commissioned by BAM Next Wave Festival, is the work of Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National and visual artist Matthew Ritchie. But they haven't been working alone. At every step of composing and arranging the Long Count over the past year, the brothers have tapped into their crew of skilled collaborators. The 12-piece orchestra that will be joining them on stage counts talents like NYC violist Nadia Sirota (who played last month's Archipelago series show), sax/bass clarinet player Colin Stetson, and Antony & the Johnsons' guitarist/violinist/conductor Rob Moose (who in particular assisted with some of the arranging duties).
As previously mentioned, the Breeders' Kim and Kelley Deal (twins) collaborated with the Dessners (also twins) on much of the music - they sing for nearly half of the show. Other vocal turns will be taken by the Nationals' Matt Berninger and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden.
All four singers play roles in the narrative of the Long Count, which takes its story from the Mayan creation myth of Popol Vuh. In that, multiple sets of twins (in the story and on stage) experience repeated cycles of life and death until giving birth to the world as we know it. The original tale ties in strongly with a ballgame played by its main characters - an element which the Dessners have woven in with their love of baseball, particularly Cincinnati Reds and the Big Red Machine.
Musically, the Long Count sections posted above, both from the show's work-in-progress performance at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on September 11th, showcase the piece's diversity. The first, "We Were Born," highlights the minimalist pedigree of the show, while "Bull Run" layers those elements with fearsome orchestral lines and extremely creepy vocals by Kelley Deal.
Paired with the spooky nature of Mathew Ritchie's animation (which you can preview here) the show looks to be a good Halloween night warm-up as any. In fact, the early Saturday night show has the most tickets available, and it follows a pre-show Q&A (ticketed separately) led by Brandon Stosuy (who's curating the Mount Eerie + metal show at Market Hotel later in the night).
Bryce generously answered some of our questions over the phone while in the last week of rehearsal (and in the hectic center of CMJ week). More photos from the production, and that interview, where he reveals the existence of an unreleased Christmas album he made with Sufjan, details on the new National record and more, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
There were (more) strings at September 25th's inaugural show for the Archipelago music series, which happens at Galapagos one Friday a month through next May. Like the Undiscovered Islands fest in May, the shows will be featuring music that crosses boundaries between classical, indie, etc. (and like that fest, it's also being set up by the New Amsterdam label.)
The full schedule is below. It's full of treats (like a way-off show with music by Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond in April). The first show featured violist Nadia Sirota and percussion quartet Line C3. Coincidentally, Worden and Nadia will both be playing with the Dessner Bros.' BAM Next Wave show, The Long Count, at the end of October.
Both acts on the first night performed works by Nico Muhly (Line C3 did "Ta and Clap," written by Nico for them in 2004, and he joined Nadia for his piece "Keep in Touch," which features a vocal sample from Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons). Nadia & Nico actually discuss their collaborations in an episode of New Amsterdam's Podcast series.
Speaking of New Amsterdam, they also have a CMJ showcase coming up with Cantaloupe Records at (Le) Poisson Rouge on October 21st. Tickets are on sale. That will feature the music of David Lang and Julia Wolfe (Bang on a Can co-founders) and performances by NOW Ensemble, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and more. Clips of the Lang-scored film (Untitled) will be screened between performances (the soundtrack of which will be out October 13th).
Full details on the Archipelago series below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)
The Long CountThe MP3 above is the first musical glimpse at the above-described (and previously mentioned) Long Count project. The heavy minimalist influence on the track makes the role of those guest vocalists even more curious. Single tickets for the Long Count, and all the BAM Next Wave concerts, go on sale September 8th. A video trailer for the show, which falls on and around Halloween, is below. More Brooklyn Halloween show options HERE.
Oct 28, 30 & 31 at 8pm
Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, and Matthew Ritchie
In an inspired collision of creative worlds, three inexhaustibly original artists--brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner of indie rock royalty The National and omnivorous visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie--combine talents to create a song-filled myth about the beginning of time. A feast of images, instrumentals, and songs thick with primordial mystery, The Long Count pairs Ritchie's protean forms with a twelve-piece orchestra and the Dessners' gothic mix of electric and orchestral sounds.
Guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders [who are at the Bowery August 18th & 19th]), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National) round out the line-up in this visionary collaboration between music and art.
Shara Worden has been keeping super busy and impressing Decemberists audiences across the country when she sings her part in the Hazards of Love production (and when she's doing Bob Dylan). Upcoming Decemberists dates include September 21st in Montclair, NJ.
The National recently played a set at All Points West in Jersey City.
Also below is a video from "a 20-minute animated and musical collaboration developed by Bryce Dessner and Matthew Ritchie" that premiered at the Kitchen in March (Sufjan Stevens played the harmonium), and trailers and music (!) for the other BAM Next Wave commissions including Imaginary City (the So Percussion show), Terra Nova (the DJ Spooky/ICE collaboration) and Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension...
BAM has announced the schedule for the Next Wave Festival 2009, a series of fourteen new music, theater and dance pieces that'll run from September 15th to December 19th.
The lineup includes a number of awesome-looking BAM commissions and premieres.
Bryce Dessner & Aaron Dessner of The National (and Dark Was the Night fame) and Matthew Ritchie have put together a piece called The Long Count, to feature Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond, Decemberists) and Matt Berninger (The National) on vocals (Oct 28th-31st).
Imaginary City, a new 70-minute work by So Percussion, will be accompanied by video and take inspiration from the Italo Calvino novel of the same name (Oct 14th--17th). Meredith Monk will compose and perform in Songs of Ascension alongside her vocal ensemble and the Todd Reynolds String Quartet (Oct 21st--25th). (As a side note -- Reynolds and Monk both appeared, separately, at the Bang on a Can benefits at LPR on June 3rd.)
The program features a concert staging of the Philip Glass opera Kepler (Nov 18th, 20th, 21st). And, maybe in time for the first snow (...) a performance by DJ Spooky and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) of Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, a piece "based around DJ Spooky's sound recordings in the Antarctic that explore the acoustic qualities of ice" (Dec 2, 4 & 5).
Most of the programs above will have an "Artist Talk" companion program, free to those with tickets to the event.
There's a couple ways to get tickets to the series. Friends of BAM will get the first stab at subscription packages, which let you pick a combo of shows to attend, on Monday, June 15th. Subscriptions for the general public go on sale Monday, June 22nd. Single ticket sales for Next Wave Festival starts Tuesday, September 8th (Aug 31st for Friends of BAM).
Full music lineup below...
photos by Tim Griffin
"The show was in two parts. The first consisted of the band, with the addition of two performers - Becky Stark and Shara Worden, playing the entirety of the Hazards of Love album without even a break between songs...
After the intermission, the second (and more whimsical) set consisted of...
Colin Meloy in Ohio, June 1st '09 (unruly badger)
Ah, yes, young Meloy....Colin, isn't it? Yes, yes...jolly good. I must say he is a springy lad...most flexible...hewn of wands, you know...they splice them down by the river...he was part of a group that lost contact with the main tribe, and drifted to Montana. I found him in the bushes, whistling to a frog. He later said it was me, perhaps he was right. A majestic performer, at ease with himself, his audience and his material in away that makes me quite...envious. He is...well, he's not old, you know...still green of leaf and...always springy, did I mention? Oh yes, well, the thing is: he's young but he goes back a long way. That's right - he leads from the old path. The deeper your roots, the broader your branches, I always say. Especially if you're a tree. Colin has magnificent roots, he showed me them in a forest. What did you say? Prog Folk? Or Fog Polk? In San Francisco, probably, I know he was there...or was I there?...yes, we were both there, but not at the same time. I get confused with the other chap...not Dr Partridge...he's sitting over there, I think it's him...no, Colin is very...to me he's the ultimate British rock star...in a way that he couldn't be if he was from Britain, because he's have to come from some sector of society that the other sectors would resent him for....(Canon Morrisey, that's the fellow - or is he dean now?)...no Colin has it in perspective and can be it in a way that only an outsider can. So he has the brogues, and the lamps, and the canvas...the pavilion...the lashes and the brand...although he's most careful with them both...and most of all, he has the voice. With a little technological help, he could yet be duetting withThe Decemberists are still on the road, playing their new album Harzards of Love from start to finish -- they'll be touring North America (with some time off) till August. Updated dates are below. The band visits NYC's Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, June 10th (TONIGHT). Tickets are still on sale.
- if he hasn't already. Hmmm? Did I say he was springy? Ah yes...young Meloy....
- Robyn Hitchcock [to Paste]
"Apropos, the stage backdrop was a silk screen draped with tumbling, gauzy cocoons and lit in blood and chlorophyll. Meloy, dressed like he wanted to borrow just a moment of your time to discuss the Good News, played the role of Narrator/William the Forest Prince. Becky Stark, as Margaret, wore a white sequined gown of the sort usually found in a giant trunk in the attic; I'd bet anything it originally came with a giant cone-shaped hat. Shara Worden, as The Forest Queen, dressed in a loose black dress and silver tights, leaving her free to steal the show with some body-rocking that was extemporaneous and silly and improbably sexy." [Washington City Paper]Becky Stark and Shara Worden are reprising their guest spots on Hazards of Love, and more, live. See a video of Stark, Worden and Meloy cover Heart's "Crazy On You" on tour, below.
Speaking of guests, Robyn Hitchcock, who played some guitar on Hazards, is opening select dates for the Decemberists with his band, the Venus 3. That group consists of Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows) and Bill Rieflin (Ministry). They'll open the Decemberists' Radio City gig.
The guys in that band -- McCaughey and Buck, specifically -- are also in The Minus 5. That group will release an album called Killingsworth on Yep Roc on July 7th. From that record, the song "Scott Walker's Fault" features Colin Meloy on lead vox. Meloy also sings on Robyn's newest disc.
Robyn Hitchcock has his own NYC headlining show on Thursday, June 11th (the night after the Decemberists gig) at the Bell House. Tickets are still on sale. The openers for that show will be Ken Stringfellow and Takka Takka.
Storefront Hitchcock, a 1998 concert film directed by Jonathan Demme and featuring Robyn Hitchcock, is now streaming online. See that video, and an exclusive interview with Hitchcock from SXSW earlier this year, with all Decemberists tour dates, below...
photos by Natasha Ryan, words by Andrew Frisicano
Dark Was the Night live finally happened Sunday, May 3rd at Radio City. Right before showtime, there were still tickets available, but the auditorium seemed fairly full as the Dirty Projectors set began. The band sounded great with its newly fleshed out six-piece lineup (though I didn't catch the titles of the first Bitte Orca song). The reverb of the room was almost a special guest of its own and a welcome addition throughout the night. On new single "Stillness Is the Move" singer Amber Coffman really let loose with the dance moves and the added vocal acrobatics the song deserves. David Byrne joined the band on their Dark Was the Night collaborations -- the not-on-the-comp "Ambulance Man" and album opener "Knotty Pine."
Red Hot executive director John Carlin (Red Hot being the AIDS advocacy group that put out Dark Was the Night along with many other benefit comps) came out and said a few words about the performers before My Brightest Diamond/Shara Worden burst into her cover of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good." Worden was backed by Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) on keys, members of the National including the two Dessners brothers (who were obvious fixtures through the night), drummer Bryan Devendorf, plus horns and strings. Worden's massive voice filled the hall, but sadly took the lead for only one song.
The rest of The National guys came on stage for Boxer song "Slow Show," followed by new song "England." Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and band were on stage for backups, and for The National's Dark Was the Night contribution, "So Far Around the Bend," Vernon even picked up a guitar and took a solo. The band closed with another new song, which singer Matt Berninger mumbled the title of a few times (anyone catch it?).
For the next set, TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek took the stage in a sharp looking suit and performed one track, his DwtN Troggs cover "With a Girl Like You." Here it was backed by a fuzzed out bass, horns, keys, and a collection of the night's performers on handclaps and tambourines (Dirty Projectors, Dessners, others).
As John Carlin announced earlier, the first half of the show was to close with David Byrne's three Red Hot compilation contributions. Led by five hand percussionists, Byrne opened with Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In." Second, he played "Dreamworld: Marco De Canavesems" with Justin Vernon sitting in on vocals for Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso (who originally collaborated with Bryne on the track). The tune's hyped up bossa nova, with the Dessners on guitars, was one of the night's many highlights. Finally, Byrne sang with Feist (who subbed for the original's Marisa Monte) on the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "Waters of March" ("Aguas de Março"). Even with Byrne starring down at the lyric prompt for nearly the whole song, the jumping melody of that tune was an amazing end to the first set.
photos by Kyle Dean Reinford
"Shuffle Mode," the Brooklyn Philharmonic program on Thursday night [2/26] at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, put the orchestra on an equal footing with two indie-rock bands: Clogs, from Brooklyn, and Bell Orchestre, from Montreal. Both are connected to better-known indie-rock bands: two members of Clogs are in the National, and two members of Bell Orchestre are in Arcade Fire.All three groups were on stage at the same time (playing in "shuffle mode"). Though the music is/was mostly intrumental, as promised, there were guest vocalists. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) sang one song with Clogs and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and then Shara and Sufjan Stevens joined Clogs for the song "We Were Here". More pictures below...
More to the point, both include conservatory-trained musicians writing what's essentially chamber music, using the same pool of ideas as nominally classical contemporary composers: Minimalist repetition, elements of traditional music and a rediscovery of melody. [NY Times]
The Decemberists have announced the first leg of their Spring 2009 North American tour in support of The Hazards of Love, their ambitious new album to be released by Capitol Records on March 24th. The 16-date run will kick off May 19th at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, and include a June 10th performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York, as well as a set at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee.30 seconds after I posted the Radio City date, the whole tour appears in my inbox. All dates below...
A limited number of pre-sale tickets go on sale today to the public on a first-come, first-served basis at http://www.decemberists.tickets.musictoday.com. General ticket on-sales begin on Friday, February 13th. Full venue and ticketing information is available at The Decemberists' website. More upcoming tour dates will be announced shortly.
On tour, The Decemberists will present a full performance of the album, a 17-song suite that tells the tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake. Joining the band on stage will be Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden who deliver the lead vocals for the female characters. The band announced last week that they will give the debut live performance of The Hazards of Love when they headline NPR Music's South by Southwest showcase at Stubbs in Austin on March 18th.
On March 24th, Capitol Records will release The Decemberists' The Hazards Of Love, the follow-up to the group's 2006 breakthrough, The Crane Wife, which NPR listeners voted their favorite album of the year. With their fifth full-length album, the Portland-based quintet of Colin Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query and John Moen solidifies its standing as one of the most innovative creative forces in music today. In an age when singles rule and the death of the album has been pronounced by many, The Decemberists - who will be featured in a live session on NPR's "World Café" today - have fashioned an anomaly: a record that demands to be listened to from start to finish and reveals more with each subsequent play. The 17-song suite, recorded with the band's longtime producer, Tucker Martine, is rooted in ancient language and imagery, yet entirely modern and accessible.The Decemberists also have another new song on the Dark Was the Night comp, as does My Brightest Diamond who recently played a show at (le) poisson rouge.
Eager to share a bit of the new music with fans before street date, The Decemberists are making "The Rake's Song" available as a free download beginning today at www.decemberists.com.
The album began when Meloy - long fascinated by the British folk revival of the 1960s - found a copy of revered vocalist Anne Briggs's 1966 EP, titled The Hazards of Love. Since there was actually no song with the album's title, he set out to write one. Soon he was immersed in something much larger than just a new composition.
The Hazards Of Love tells the tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake, who recounts with spine-tingling ease how he came "to be living so easy and free" in the aforementioned "The Rake's Song." Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden deliver the lead vocals for the female characters, while My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock and the Spinanes' Rebecca Gates appear in supporting roles. The range of sounds reflects the characters' arcs, from the accordion's singsong lilt in "Isn't it a Lovely Night?" to the heavy metal thunder of "The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing."
"There's an odd bond between the music of the British folk revival and classic metal," says Meloy. "A natural connection between, like, Fairport Convention and Black Sabbath - of course, Sandy Denny from Fairport even sang with Led Zeppelin on 'The Battle of Evermore.' I think there's a shared sense of narrative and ambience, of moving beyond the first person in your writing. And I thought it would be interesting to mess around with that."
The Decemberists will tour this spring, playing The Hazards Of Love straight through for the show's first half and older material for the remainder. Ambitious, yes - but this is a band that doesn't shy away from major stage productions, having performed The Crane Wife with full orchestral accompaniment on several 2007 dates, including a stop at the historic Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Upcoming tour dates will be announced shortly.
Jim James's most recent NYC show took place at Madison Square Garaden. Robyn Hitchcock's was at Symphony Space.
Stay tuned for those tour dates (Terminal 5 again probably?). The track listing for The Hazards Of Love is 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...