Entries tagged with: Sufjan Stevens
DOWNLOAD: Sufjan Stevens - "Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling" (MP3)
As mentioned, Sufjan Stevens is going on "The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice" tour which hits NYC on December 21 and 22 at Bowery Ballroom, two very intimate shows for Sufjan, whose last shows in NYC were a two-night run at Prospect Park.
Tickets for both Bowery Ballroom shows go on sale today at noon.
Sufjan also just revealed another song off of his upcoming Christmas box set, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10 (due out 11/13 via Asthmatic Kitty). You can download that song, titled "Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling," above, or stream it below.
In other holiday show news, Matisyahu is bringing his "Festival of Light" tour to the NYC area on December 15 at Terminal 5 with The Dub Trio and December 16 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. Tickets for the Terminal 5 show and the Capitol Theatre show go on sale today at noon. He also plays NJ's Starland Ballroom on November 3 (tix) as part of the fall tour he's on right now.
Lists of all Sufjan and Matisyahu dates, and that Sufjan song stream below.
Sufjan at Prospect Park in 2011 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As mentioned, Sufjan Stevens is releasing more Christmas music this year, and he'll continue the celebration with a series of shows dubbed "The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice" with support from Sheila Saputo. Those shows include a two-night run in NYC at Bowery Ballroom from December 21-22. Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday (10/12) at noon.
A list of all Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long dates and a stream of "Christmas Unicorn" from his upcoming release are below.
Sufjan Stevens at Prospect Park in 2011 (more by Jessica Amaya)
As mentioned, the NYC Ballet will be presenting Two Hearts, with music by Nico Muhly, live vocals by Dawn Landes, and choreography by Benjamin Millepied (Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan), starting this Friday (10/5) and running through Tuesday (10/9). Also beginning Friday, is the ballet, Year of the Rabbit with music by Sufjan Stevens (from his Enjoy Your Rabbit album) and choreography by Justin Peck (who has also done work with Philip Glass). More info on Year of the Rabbit and tickets are available HERE. All dates are listed below.
Sufjan is also releasing Christmas music this year (for a change). He'll release a five-EP box set, Silver & Gold: songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10, on November 13 via Asthmatic Kitty. The box set features guest appearances by Aaron and Bryce Dessner (of The National), Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire, Cat Martino (who plays NYC soon), Ray Raposa of Castanets (who recently released an album), members of Danielson, and more. Check out the cover art(s), tracklist, and a free download of one of the songs below.
photos by David Andrako
The inaugural, Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival concluded on Saturday night (May 5) with performances from Beirut, Atlas Sound, My Brightest Diamond, Caveman and more.
There were whispers there'd be an unannounced set from The National, but the secret guest Phi Slamma Jamma was actually Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury, and Richard Reed Parry who performed a bunch of covers (Ramones, R.E.M., Devo, Beatles and the Stones, among others) to cap out the Fest.
Night Two pictures HERE. Night one HERE. Lots of pictures from all of Saturday night's performers (including Sufjan), plus video of Atlas Sound (who also kept busy in others ways while in town), Caveman, Beirut and Phi Slamma Jamma performing a song each, below...
TONIGHT (4/20) at Littlefield, Gaspar Claus is performing with an impressive list of guests for 'The Permanent Festival: Gaspar Claus with Friends.' That list includes Bryce Dessner (The National), Jessie Stein (The Luyas), Mauro Remiddi (Porcelain Raft), David Moore (Bing and Ruth), Remi Alexandre (Syd Matters), Ben Greenberg (Zs), Andy LaPlant & Jessica Larrabee (She Keeps Bees), Pedro Soler, Emil Bognar-Nasdor, and Clara Claus. Advance tickets are no longer on sale, but $15 tickets will be available at the door.
Like Bryce Dessner, Gaspar Claus is a Sufjan Stevens collaborator. Check out three pieces that the two musicians recorded together last year below...
The National at Beacon Theater in 2011 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
Doveman's Burgundy Stain Sessions at Le Poisson Rouge continue TONIGHT (4/13) with Aaron Dessner and Bryan Devendorf of The National, Julia Stone (of Angus and Julia Stone), Trixie Whitley, and more. Tickets for tonight's show, and for the next three, are still available.
In related news, Doveman collaborator and occasional Burgundy Stain Session player Dawn Landes also has a NYC show TONIGHT (4/13) at Mercury Lounge with Cheyenne Marie Mize and Donora. Tickets for tonight's show are still available. That same lineup also plays Cameo on Saturday (4/14). All Dawn Landes dates are listed below.
Doveman @ Le Poisson Rouge in 2011 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
In more Doveman-related news, collaborator Glen Hansard is NOT currently on tour with Eddie Vedder, seeing as Vedder had to postpone the tour due to injury. Glen does have a new video for the track "Philander" off his upcoming Doveman (Thomas Bartlett)-produced solo album, Rhythm and Repose, which is due out June 19 via ANTI-. Check out that video below.
Meanwhile, Glen Hansard's Swell Season bandmate Marketa Irglova, who also contributed to his new album,
will be WILL NOT BE the musical guest at the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series at Joe's Pub on May 2.... UPDATE: Marketa has cancelled and the guest is Clare and the Reasons instead. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Speaking of members of The National, Aaron Dessner and both Devendorf brothers recently joined The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir for a cover of Cass McCombs' "Love Thine Enemy" during a Bridge Sessions webcast. Meanwhile, Bryce Dessner joined Sufjan Stevens and Nico Muhly to perform a collaborative composition titled "Venus" with horn and string accompaniment at MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, OH. Videos of both of these performances are below.
All Dawn Landes dates and National-related videos below...
Gabriel Kahane's new musical February House will be at NYC's Public Theater May 8th-June 10th. The show debuted Feb 15th at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, and the Hartford Courant, condensing its review to a Twitter-length blurb, called it, "A haunting, intimate chamber musical so special you want to wrap your protective arms around it." A TV spot and a teaser for the musical are below.
Before that gets to town, Gabriel Kahane plays a solo show at Rockwood Stage 2 on Monday, February 27th. Tickets are on sale. We've also got a few pairs to give away as well. Information is below. At the gig he'll be performing songs from his excellent 2011 disc Where Are the Arms (streaming on his blog), as well as other solo material and possibly some songs from the musical.
Gabriel's busy year also includes a premiere of one of his pieces by American Composers Orchestra on March 22nd at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall and an entire night dedicated to his music at the same venue on October 22nd.
As for the future, Gabriel told us, in a short interview you can read below, about the commissions and material for a new album he's been working on, and he says he's been contemplating a musical work based on David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.
Read the interview, along with the videos and Rockwood contest info, below...
Beyond This Place$25 tickets to the Brooklyn show are currently on sale for BAM members and go on sale to the general public on 9/19. There will be similar events in Portland and LA.
Part of BAM 150
Directed by Kaleo La Belle
Music composition by Raymond Raposa and Sufjan Stevens
Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 7:30pm
As part of BAM's 150th anniversary celebrations, filmmaker Kaleo La Belle--joined by childhood friend Sufjan Stevens (The BQE, 2007 Next Wave; TAKEOVER 2008) and singer-songwriter Raymond Raposa--comes to the opera house for a screening of his award-winning documentary Beyond This Place.
Deeply reflective and personal, La Belle's breakout film charts his attempts to reconnect with his perpetually stoned, long-estranged father Cloud Rock during a grueling 500-mile bike tour across the Pacific Northwest. Stevens and Raposa share the stage as special musical guests, providing a live soundtrack to this emotionally nuanced look at family ties and the process of moving on.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
As mentioned in Rachel's review, Cat Martino danced and sang backup in Sufjan Stevens' 14+ piece band and has also played with Sharon Van Etten's band. Cat is releasing her own second LP Yr Not Alone this fall. The album's title track, which you can stream below, features Sufjan on backup vocals. Sufjan also co-wrote the track "We Belong" with Cat for the album which was produced by Jack Petruzzelli (Rufus Wainwright, Patti Smith), mixed by Brian McTear (Matt Pond PA) and features guest musicians Casey Foubert (Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift, Pedro the Lion) and C.J. Camereri (The National, Bon Iver, Antony & The Johnsons). In addition to singing, playing guitar and piano, Cat creates soundscapes by putting her vocals through a loop station. Check out a video of her covering The Cure's "Love Song" with her loop pedal below.
Cat has a few upcoming shows including Cake Shop on September 14 and opening for Megafaun at Mercury Lounge with Doug Paisley on September 25. Cat was originally scheduled to play Truck America but the festival has since been cancelled. Tickets are still available for the Mercury show.
Song stream, videos and all dates 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...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Sufjan Stevens and his elaborate band walked out onto a dark stage at Prospect Park last night (8/2), masked by a black transparent screen. They slowly began the delicate "Seven Swans" as dim light patterns swelled on the screen. Where soft piano and drums usually enter the song, Sufjan's entire band erupted into a heap of crashing chords as the black screen rose and revealed the neon-coated collective of musicians, backup singers, dancers, and Sufjan Stevens flapping a pair of massive bird wings. Sufjan and his band then proceeded to play a set of mostly Age of Adz material. Last night's and tonight's Celebrate Brooklyn shows are the last of the Adz tour.
They launched into the glitchy pop of "Too Much" and "Age of Adz" complete with a frenzy of futuristic visuals and carefully choreographed moves from Sufjan and his dancers/backup singers. After about 15 minutes of the orchestral glitchy awesomeness, Sufjan gave the crowd some "folk relief." He told us that he's still a folk musician at heart and played "Heirloom" off the All Delighted People EP, which was released shortly before Age of Adz last year. He took a moment to tell us about the inspiration for the album and all of the corresponding visuals, outfits, and dancing. He told us that he discovered the work of folk artist/self-proclaimed prophet Royal Robertson, and was influenced by his material. He described Royal's work as the portrayal of visions he had throughout his life, and mentioned that he also faced many struggles within himself, as all of us do. Sufjan said that much of the album was a tribute to Royal, his artwork, and his ideas, and explores themes like inner space, outer space, and the body.
As Sufjan and his band were nearing the end of the set, they delivered the one-two punch of "Vesuvius" and "I Want To Be Well," and after quieting down with album opener "Futile Devices," they sent the show into the most epic part of the night with the 25-minute album closer "Impossible Soul." The song opened with Sufjan accompanied by his piano and voice and slowly built into a layered piece that evolved into the portion sung by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond.
Although Shara was there (because she opened the show), I'm pretty sure it was one of Sufjan's backup singers who handled her part, though it was hard to tell because they were wearing a mask covered in light bulbs. As she sang, the black screen dropped once again, swirling light patterns drenched the stage and a light tunnel zeroed in on the singer and her light-up mask. After that mesmerizing section drifted off into ambiance and the stage went black once again, Sufjan appeared front and center in a large silver mask with a diamond shaped backdrop behind him and delivered the exaggerated auto-tuned vocals of the song's third section. As glitch hop beats entered the song and the robotic Sufjan left the stage, lights sprung up again and Sufjan's backup dancers, now in neon green t-shirts, neon pink shorts, leggings, and sideways pink hats, appeared at the front of the stage singing lead vocals to the song's epic refrain. After hitting the first round of "it's not so impossible"s, an indecipherable Sufan returned, running onto the stage covered in balloons and feathers and joined in on lead vocals. As the stage became a balloon-covered sing-along dance party, clear beach balls were propelled into the audience as long inflatable creatures shot up in front of the stage, turning the entire prospect park into into a huge party. Once the party died down and the song arrangements fizzled out, Sufjan returned to the front of the stage with only an acoustic guitar and sang the wispy ending of the song, where he plays off the refrain's lyrics to create what could be a stand-alone song in Sufjan's style of folk.
After making such a mess, Sufjan thanked the crowd and he and his band left the stage. He shortly returned for a three-song encore of Illinoise material. It's really hard to follow the end of that set with anything, but it's also pretty hard to turn down Sufjan Stevens playing "UFO," "Casmir Pulaski Day," and "Chicago."
My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) opened the show with a strong set of mostly songs off her upcoming album All Things Will Unwind, quirky dancing, and also an awesome outfit. She wore a bright green dress and a headdress of something resembling peacock feathers. She switched between guitar, ukulele, keyboard, autoharp, and other instruments as she and her band delivered one great song after another, including the recently released single "Reaching Through to the Other Side." Shara told a story during her set of seeing a Laurie Anderson show about the death of her mother, being extremely touched by it, and wondering if she'd ever learn to love. She told us that she eventually talked to Laurie and asked her if she'd ever learn to love. Laurie told her that it takes a lifetime to learn to love, which Shara then wrote a song about. She played it for us. It aptly opens with the line, "It takes a lifetime to learn how to love." Shara and her band also played a cover of "Tainted Love," which she recorded for the Guilt by Association Vol. 2 compilation, before her band left the stage and she ended the set with another new song solo with guitar and vocals.
More pictures, videos, and setlist from the first show below...
Sufjan at Bowery Ballroom in 2009 (more by Vincent Cornelli)
today in NYC
* Chris Cochrane @ Barbes
* Yellow Tears @ The Stone
* The Moon Show @ Union Pool
* Slavic Soul Party @ Barbes
* Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra
* The Sugarhill Gang @ Tappen Park
* Morning After Girls @ Pete's Candy Store
* Don Dietrich, C. Spencer Yeh @ The Stone
* Tell Your Friends w/ Sean Bones @ Lolita Bar
* Aphonia, Kids At Risk, Cassette Kids, Honduras @ Pianos
* Typhoon, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper @ Mercury Lounge
* The Ettes, Heavy Cream, Hans Condor @ Mercury Lounge
* Tinie Tempah, Action Bronson, Hezekiah, STS, Los @ S.O.B.'s
* Widowspeak, Hoop Dreams, Crinkles, Ex Cops @ Glasslands
* Intuitions, Ohnomoon, The Fear and Trembling @ Bruar Falls
* Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond @ Prospect Park Bandshell
* Todd Barry, Brent Weinbach, and more at Sweet @ Ella Lounge
* The Atomic Bitchwax, Cycle of Pain, Rob Cantrell @ The Delancey
* Death Cab For Cutie, Frightened Rabbit @ Williamsburg Waterfront
* Alison Krauss & Union Station, Jerry Douglas, Dawes @ Beacon Theatre
* Hannis Brown, Spectre Folk, Sands, Sleeping Bag @ Cameo Gallery
* McCoy Tyner Quintet featuring Ravi Coltrane & Gary Bartz @ Blue Note
* The CCB Reggae All-Stars (Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival) @ City Winery
* Matana Roberts, Ryan Sawyer, Peter Evans, Nate Wooley, Ramble Tamble @ Zebulon
* Bird Call, Johanna &The Dusty Floor, Former Belle, HolidayHoliday @ Knitting Factory
* Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Jessie & the Toy Boys, and Nervo @ Nassau Coliseum
* Weingarten/Bieber Duo, Run-On Sunshine, Moonmen On The Moon, Man, Dave Neff @ Cake Shop
* The Sway Machinery, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Flight Simulation with John Bollinger @ 92YTribeca
* Co La, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Reo, Birthdays, Radiator Girls, Bananas Symphony @ Shea Stadium
The Sway Machinery, who have an album out on the now defunct JDub Records and who play 92YTribeca tonight, have a fan in Henry Rollins via Ian Mackaye. Check out Henry playing The Sway Machinery on his radio show on KCRW below.
My Morning Jacket have a new video for "Holdin on to Black Metal." Check it out below
The McCoy Tyner Quintet play their first of three nights at the Blue Note tonight. They play two sets each night at 8 PM and 10:30 PM.
Widowspeak play their record release show at Glasslands tonight for their self titled debut, which comes out next week on Captured Tracks.
Mostly Mozart Festival begins tonight and continues through August 27. The festival features the music of Mozart (believe it or not).
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Typhoon, who play Mercury tonight, also play Littlefield tomorow (8/3) with Diamond Doves.
Sufjan Stevens plays his first of two Celebrate Brooklyn shows tonight in Prospect Park. My Brightest Diamond opens the show tonight and Diamond Rings will do so tomorrow. These are the last two shows on his neon infested Age of Adz tour, so don't forget to bring your neon. Watch the concert trailer for the Prospect Park shows below.
members of Brooklyn Philharmonic at the Seaport in 2010 (more by Chris La Putt)
The 2011-2012 season for The Brooklyn Philharmonic has been announced and you can browse the full schedule below or at that site, but we'll highlight a bit.
Mos Def is presenting works at the Season Preview Concert I on October 8 and the Season Preview Concert II on October 12. Mos Def's work will then also be presented as part of the Bed-Stuy Series on June 9, 2012. All three of events are free.
Works by Sufjan Stevens will be presented at The Downtown Brooklyn Series on March 23 and 24. Tickets for that series are $20. Tickets for the public can be acquired by calling the Brooklyn Phil Box Office at 646-397-2765.
Throughout the season works will also be presented from a range of artists including Beethoven, Bernstein, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, Brahms, Scott Joplin, Tchaikovsky, and others.
Brooklyn Philharmonic are celebrating Alan Pierson's debut conducting the orchestra in partnership with Mark Morris Dance Group on Thursday (7/28 aka TONIGHT) at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. Admission is free and doors are at 8 PM.
Sufjan also has upcoming Prospect Park shows.
Full 2011-2012 Brooklyn Phil schedule below...
Diamond Rings at Europa in June (more by Diana Wong)
As mentioned, My Brightest Diamond opens the first (8/2) of two Sufjan Steven shows at Prospect Park in August. Historically, this is an excellent match-up and her set should suit the show perfectly. Unfortunately, it is sold out. Sufjan's second show (8/3) now has an opener too though, and the addition suits Sufjan's new neon coated electronica (and diamond fetish) pretty well. It's Diamond Rings. Tickets for that show are still available, and we have a pair you can win. Details below.
The website "After Elton" asked Diamond Rings aka John O to describe his fanbase. This is what he said:
"It's really diverse. Short of bugging your own friends to come out and see you, after that it's out of my hands by and large who comes to my show. I can only make the music I want to make, and present the image that I feel represents me and hope that the right people get it. Not that there's wrong people. People who come to my shows are all over the place. Kids in high school, 20 something downtown folks like me, people my parents' age, which is really cool. It's all over the place. I'm trying to reach as many people as I can. I want to try and make the music and put on the kind of show that allows anyone to feel like they can come and express themselves and be themselves and be safe and have fun. I would be really worried if I had a demographic niche and everyone were the same that comes to my show."Diamond Rings will return in October during their tour with Twin Shadow. Updated dates, contest details, and the song "Give It Up" which features vocals by Austra's Katie Stelmanis, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield words by Zach Pollack
Classical, pop-tinged orchestral group yMusic kicked off the second to last concert of the summer season at Castle Clinton in Battery Park as part of the River to River Festival last night (7/7). The six-players rotated on a variety of instruments including trumpet, viola, clarinet, and violin, possibly improvising as they took cues off of each other.
yMusic stuck around to back My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) as she took the stage around 7:30PM. Initially seeming shy and reserved, those notions of her were immediately shattered as she opened her mouth to sing. With a large vocal range in her arsenal, Shara's voice is as much of an instrument as the ones the orchestra behind her were using.
Breaking out a harpsichord, Shara and yMusic, backed by drummer Brian Wolfe, played a sonically expansive new track titled, "Escape Routes" off MBD's new chamber pop album LP All Things Will Unwind. The LP will arrive on October 18th via her longtime label Asthmatic Kitty, and they played in its entirety at the NYC show according to a note on Shara's website (though not in the album order). This will mark Shara's third LP under the moniker, and from the taste of what we received at Castle Clinton, it draws strong comparisons to Edith Piaf, Joanna Newsom and label-mate/collaborator Sufjan Stevens. Grab a taste via the MP3 from the album above. Check out the whole tracklist and cover art below.
Between performing cuts off of her new album, Shara donned a creepy mask while yMusic performed instrumental pieces that Shara composed for them and dancer Jessica Dessner who was there dancing to them. Late in her hour-long set Shara performed the track "High Low Middle" which had a New Orleans-feel to it, and had the entire audience engaged in endless hand claps. The group closed out their amazing performance at Castle Clinton by playing new song "Everything Is In Line".
My Brightest Diamond has sporadic dates throughout the summer, including an opening slot for Sufjan Stevens at his first of two nights at the Prospect Park Bandshell (August 2nd & 3rd).
Sufjan also has a new video for "Get Real Get Right." Check that out, along with more pictures from the My Brightest Diamond show, and her album artwork below...
DOWNLOAD: Sufjan Stevens - Get Real, Get Right (MP3)
Sufjan Stevens' Age of Adz show @ Beacon Theater (more by David Andrako)
As previously mentioned, the two Sufjan Stevens Prospect Park shows will be your last chance to experience the AGE OF ADZ tour in all its neon glory. The August 2nd show is still sold out, but tickets are still available for the show on August 3rd. We also have a pair you can win to the second show. Details on how, and a trailer that the Asthmatic Kitty team created for the shows (in which you are encouraged to bring neon, gaff tape and your dancing shoes), below...
Sufjan Stevens @ Beacon Theater in 2010 (more by David Andrako)
Tickets are now on etix/artist presale (password = heirloom) for the just-added Sufjan Stevens show in Prospect Park. The Venue/AEG presale starts on Ticketmaster on Thursday at 10am. Sufjan's label Asthmatic Kitty says, "This will be your last chance to see the Adz tour in all its bright, balloony glory!"
Sufjan Stevens at Beacon Theater (more by David Andrako)
Tickets for Sufjan Steven's August 2nd's appearance at the Prospect Park Bandshell have flown away. Luckily, the notorious S.O.O.F. will bless the park with a second date on the following night: August 3rd at Prospect Park Bandshell. Tickets for the new Brooklyn show go on AEG/venue presale at 10AM on Thursday (6/17) and noon on Friday (6/17). No word on openers (though we think My Brightest Diamond is opening the first night). We'll keep you posted.
In other SOOF related news, IFC is currently streaming a clip from the film Make:
Directors Scott Ogden and Malcolm Hearn's documentary, "MAKE," is about four artists on the furthest fringes of our society. Isolated by their disabilities, they find a voice and try to make sense of a world that shuns them, through incredible works of art. These are the characters that inspired Sufjan Stevens' album, "The Age of Adz." Stevens, who called the film "a beautiful and insightful look at the sublime task of making art when nothing will else do," based his album's narrative specifically on the life and apocalyptic work of the schizophrenic artist, Prophet Royal Robertson featured in "MAKE."The film's screening and release party will happen at the American Folk Art Museum on June 17th (RSVP info at the link). Screenings happen at 1:00, 3:00, 4:30 & 5:45 pm in the auditorium (lower level 1). The reception is 5:30-8:30 pm in the atrium, with live music by Takka Takka.
..."MAKE" includes a soundtrack with original compositions from Sufjan Stevens and Marc Bianchi (Her Space Holiday), along with music by Jim Guthrie, Oneida, Tommy Guerrero, and Au Revoir Simone.
Check out the 17 minute clip below....
My Brightest Diamond at Bowery Ballroom in 2010 (more by Chris La Putt)
Frequent Sufjan Stevens-collaborator (and now mother) Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond is opening for Sufjan at his previously announced Prospect Park show on August 2. Worden recorded vocals on the album epic "Impossible Soul" off Sufjan's The Age of Adz last year. Hopefully she'll come out and play it with him in Brooklyn. Tickets are still available.
My Brightest Diamond, who is busy working on a new album, also plays a free Castle Clinton show in NYC on July 7. Meanwhile she heads to Amsterdam for some performances of the Long Count. All dates are listed below.
Worden provided guest vocals on the recently released The Only She Chapters by Prefuse 73, who just released an EP with The Flaming Lips. Psych Explorations of the Future Heart has YouTube streams of all four songs. Those in Oklahoma can buy a 12" at Guestroom Records.
Check out a new(ish) My Brightest Diamond video and more of her dates 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....
photos by David Andrako
"Sufjan did not disappoint us. He came, he played banjo and sang We Were Here, acting in his self-effacing way just any other hired musician. It was a wonderful moment and a delightful surprise. But I don't want to sell Clogs short. The concert was delightful even before Sufjan arrived onstage.More pictures from the Saturday show, and the full setlist, below...
Clogs put on a beautiful show as part of the excellent Ecstatic Music Festival. Wonderfully quirky vocalist Shara Worden, in an extremely colorful ensemble, joined Clogs to sing and play some guitar on several tunes from the latest Clogs album, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, on which she appears. The band also did some older tunes and a new song cycle, called Unattended Shadow, by the band's violist, Padma Newsome. (Clogs' lineup is rounded out by Rachael Elliott on bassoon and Thomas Kozumplik on percussion.)
One of the real treats of the evening, though, was the band's interaction with the fabulous Brooklyn Youth Chorus. They performed guitarist Bryce Dessner's new Tour Eiffel, which was premiered at the Nico Muhly Tell the Way show at St. Ann's Warehouse early in February."
[Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone]
Shara, Sufjan & Bryce @ the Bell House (more by David Andrako)
Tickets are still on sale for Saturday's Clogs/Brooklyn Youth Chorus Ecstatic Music Festival show that Shara Worden (and Sufjan Stevens) is also playing. "The set list includes works from recent Clogs albums as well as a new piece from Bryce Dessner (The National) and a world premiere by Padma Newsome."
Video of Friday night's episode of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, 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...