Entries tagged with: Sufjan Stevens

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DOWNLOAD: Clogs - Red Seas w/ Padma Newsome (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Clogs - On The Edge (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Clogs - Three-Two (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Clogs live on WNYC (MP3)

Olof Arnalds @ SXSW 2010 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Olof Arnalds

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.

Opening the Brooklyn show is Julianna Barwick and Olof Arnalds who was just in Texas for SXSW. Tickets are still on sale.

Full Big Ears schedule at their site.

Continue reading "Clogs played WNYC (listen), confirm that Sufjan & Shara Worden will join them in Brooklyn (and in Knoxville)"

by Andrew Frisicano

DOWNLOAD: Clogs - Red Seas w/ Padma Newsome (MP3)

Dave Longstreth @ MHOW in December (more by Ryan Muir)
Dirty Projectors

The final lineup for Big Ears Festival in Knoxville TN, March 26-28, has been confirmed and updated, with the addition of King Crimson's Adrian Belew, tape composer William Basinski, NYC metal Liturgy (who are also playing MtyMx), UK avant-noisemakers Konk Pack, punk band Abe Vigoda, Ches Smith (drummer for Marc Ribot and others who'll play with Tery Riley) and Sufjan Stevens, who will be appearing with Clogs.

Also joining Clogs on stage will be the other guest vocalists on their new song cycle/album ,The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton: Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and The National's Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner. They'll be performing that work. A new track from the album, featuring Sufjan Padma on vocals, is posted above.

Other pairings at the fest include Ben Frost and Tim Hecker (collaborating for the first time) and Bang on a Can All-Stars, who will be playing music by David Longstreth, Thurston Moore, Michael Gordon and their own Evan Ziporyn. They'll also be doing a rendition of Brian Eno's Music for Airports at a show with Tim Hecker and The Books (who are also on the bill of ATP NY this year). Tickets to most Big Ears shows are currently on sale; additional shows go on sale Friday at 10am and noon.

Bang on a Can All-Stars will be performing the music of Dave Longstreth next Wednesday, February 24th at their show at Merkin Hall. At the gig, they'll also premiere work by Nik Bärtsch, Oscar Bettison and Christine Southworth plus "performances of a recently commissioned work by Michael Nyman for a film by the celebrated 1920s New York photographer Paul Strand along with a selection from the group's acclaimed live arrangement of Brian Eno's ambient classic Music for Airports." Tickets are on sale. A video of them playing 2x5 directed by Steve Reich is below. The full Merkin Hall schedule for their New Sounds/Contemporary Contexts series (including a May 27th Signal show/Nico Muhly premiere) is below.

Longstreth, Dirty Projectors and Alarm Will Sound play The Getty Address in full at Lincoln Center's Allen Room on Friday, Februay 19th. More below...

Continue reading "Big Ears Fest expands - Sufjan w/ Clogs (MP3), William Basinski, Liturgy, Bang on Can do Dave Longstreth (NYC too)"

Clogs

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...

Continue reading "new Clogs album features lots of Shara Worden & some Sufjan - 2010 dates include Brooklyn (on sale)"

The National

Pitchfork: Sufjan Stevens played on the last album. Do you have any guests on this one?

The National's Matt Berninger: We have a bunch of people who have come in and out of the studio, which is behind Aaron's house. It was sort of an open door policy; friends come over and do stuff. So a lot of people did do things. I don't know exactly how much of everything we're going to keep. I will say that Sufjan did something that we are going to keep on a song. He sang some weird little backing vocal melodies-- no words. It was on a song that had just the right sort of odd, creepy vibe. There are a few other people that have come in and out. I don't want to say who yet [laughs] because we still might be editing them out. But I'm pretty sure that the little Sufjan vocal thing is going to be in there. It really did something special with that song.

It's no surprise that the new National album will have guest appearances by friends of the band. Even before their massively collaborative Dark Was the Night project, the band had a history of working with Sufjan, Thomas Bartlett, Clogs' Padma Newsome and many others. Bryce Dessner was just a guest at St. Vincent's Allen Room show on Friday (January 29th).

The National's spring/summer tour dates are approaching. Only single tickets are left for their Radio City show on June 16th, so not totally surprisingly, the band has added a 2nd show, though not at the same venue or in the same month. It's a ticketed Celebrate Brooklyn show at Prospect Park Bandshell Tuesday, July 27th. Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 4th at 2pm.

Various videos of the National with friends (and alone) are below...

Continue reading "The National add Prospect Park show ++ Sufjan on new LP"

DOWNLOAD: Jookabox - You Cried Me (MP3)

Jookax record release show (by Dave Evans)
Jookabox

Asthmatic Kitty Records is representing in two neighborhoods of Brooklyn tonight (11/7). Sufjan's BQE movie screens one last time at the Bell House along with a performance by the Osso Quartet (see review of the 92yTribeca show). It's not clear if Sufjan Stevens will be there to introduce the film or not, though it seems reasonable that he would if he's in town. Tickets are still available.

Or maybe Sufjan will be in Williamsburg instead, checking out Jookabox (formerly Grampall Jookabox) whose album Dead Zone Boys was released on his label on November 3rd. The show is at Bruar Falls. Or maybe he'll just wait to see Jookabox when they/he plays Cake Shop on Tuesday (11/10). MP3 above. Video and all dates below...

Continue reading "Sufjan might be @ Bell House, Jookabox will be @ Bruar Falls (new album, MP3, video, 2009 tour dates)"

DOWNLOAD: Takka Takka - Silence (MP3)

(the new) Takka Takka @ Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn - CMJ 2009
Takka Takka
photo by Erin Molitor

Brooklyn band Takka Takka are playing a show in DUMBO tonight (11/5). This gig follows a few shows that the band played in town during CMJ. You can see them playing at one of the showcases in the picture above. If you're familiar with the band, you may notice some changes including one less member, and no it's not front-man Gabe Levine aka Samuel Izdat. Gabe/Samuel has started playing solo, but that's in addition to being in the band.

In light of all this, I asked Takka drummer Conrad Doucette if he would answer a few questions...

---

BV: Name and position?

Conrad: Conrad Doucette, second base

BV: Did you watch the last game of the World Series last night?

Conrad: I did.

BV: Were you jumping up and down and screaming really loudly when the Yankees won?

Conrad: I was jumping up and down and screaming loudly in the alternate universe where the Cincinnati Reds have a chance to win a World Series.

continued below...

Continue reading "an interview w/ Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka (who have a new lineup & a free show in DUMBO tonight) "

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

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...

Continue reading "an interview w/ Bryce Dessner of The National whose show, The Long Count, opens @ BAM tonight ++ 2 MP3's"

photos by Vincent Cornelli

Osso Quartet

"Hey, I'm your host: DJ Sufjan. Thanks for coming," he says, trying to stir the audience.

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]

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...

Continue reading "a BQE evening w/ Sufjan Stevens, DM Stith & the Osso Quartet @ 92YTribeca in NYC - pics "

photos by Vincent Cornelli, words by Andrew Frisicano

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens played his second night at the Bowery Ballroom on Monday (10/5). Today (10/6) and Wednesday (10/7) at Music Hall of Williamsburg will be the final two shows of his current tour.

After wading through the lines of confused people outside and the waterlogged Bowery basement floor, I managed to settle in for the quiet opening song, "The Mistress Witch from McClure," executed with Sufjan on banjo and french horn accompaniment. Someone nearby got shushed a minute in, but things loosened up as the show progressed. Sufjan's on stage demeanor did a lot to liven things up; he cracked self-deprecating jokes throughout (a few times with post-song IDs of "That was [name of song] by Sufjan Stevens").

Like others, I spent the better part of 2005 and 2006 listening to Illinois - and those were the songs that got the most reaction. Unfortunately, "Come on! Feel the Illinoise!" (an "old one" according to Sufjan) was also the most unpolished. It was nice to hear, but the execution suffered due to a poor mix (too many vocals, not enough of the four horns, which never really lived up to their potential). Afterwards he admitted that they hadn't played it in a while, and apologized with a clean, majestic version of "Casimir Pulaski Day."

One thing I didn't expect was just how in your face the new material is. It brushes up against the rest of the stage show in a stark but not totally unwelcome way. The new tunes are broad psych-rockish opuses that expand elements of Sufjan's usual light-rock shuffle with proggy guitar solos, jazz fusion-y improv passages, drum and bass style beats and glitch-pop blips. They seem made for a live setting (opposed to his complex woodwind-oriented arrangements) and loaded with plenty of testosterone (or at least some, which is a big jump). After the first encore, "Chicago," Sufjan quipped that the tune was "a little boring" and closed with new track "There's Too Much Love," a synth-driven indie-pop gem at first that descends into psychedelic anarchy over its seven plus minutes.

Sufjan's band expanded and contracted throughout the night, maxing out at eleven members with added horns. Bryce Dessner played guitar on some songs, while backing vocals were provided by opener Cryptacize's Nedelle Torrisi and Rosie Thomas, who came out between the set and encore as Sheila Saputo, her dorky, stand-up comedian alter-ego, to read a fangirl ode to the dreaminess of Sufjan.

Speaking of Rosie, she appears at John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders show on October 7th at (Le) Poisson Rouge (after the Sufjan MHOW show I guess?). She'll also be at 92YTribeca on Saturday, October 10th to do an acoustic performance and Q&A after a screening of All the Way from Michigan Not Mars, a documentary that features her as well as "intimate live performances with fellow songwriters Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer...the film is a lyrical examination of Thomas' quest for an expression of truth and her unique brand of performance." Tickets are on sale. 92YTribeca also hosts three of the four upcoming NYC Osso Quartet/BQE screenings later in October.

All photos, the set list and all Rosie Thomas tour dates are below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens played Bowery Ballroom again (pics, setlist), Rosie Thomas was there (and will be at LPR & 92Y)"

photos by Tammy Lo, words by Andrew Frisicano

Sufjan Stevens

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...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens played Bowery Ballroom (pics, setlist), Brooklyn BQE show added & other Asthmatic Kitty news"

Sufjan Stevens @ ATP NY (more by Ryan Muir)
Sufjan Stevens

"When Illinois and Late Registration placed #1 and #2 in Pitchfork's Top Albums of 2005 list, some took it as symbolic, a situation in which a hip-hop record that catered to every single rockist habit in the book still played runner-up to our precious lily-livered indie rock. But they're a hell of a lot closer than they look: each a staggeringly ambitious, lushly orchestrated big-top extravaganza whose ringleader mixes in frivolous tall tales and Chicago civic pride with heavy meditations on God, mortality, and love, all to suffer criticisms about too many tracks, too many interludes, and too many French horns." [Pitchfork's Top 200 Albums of the 2000s]
Sufjan Stevens & Cryptacize in NYC
2009-10-04, Sunday @ Bowery Ballroom
2009-10-05, Monday @ Bowery Ballroom
2009-10-06, Tuesday @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
2009-10-07, Wednesday @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg

Some videos from other recent Sufjan shows, including footage of a new song, below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens kicks off four night run in NYC Sunday night"

Daft Punk

Daft Punk's first album had helped refresh house music in the mid 1990s; the second went further, rewriting electronic pop's pleasure principles to such a degree that when it came out a lot of people thought Discovery must be a put-on. They took the joy in the record for irony. Rather, the band had simply plunged into the raw popstuff of their 70s childhoods, from AOR to disco, Buggles to Manilow, rock to robotics. They wanted their listeners to get the rush of context-free delight they had hearing music as kids, and on "Aerodynamic" and "Digital Love" they succeeded wildly, dissolving a decade-plus of dance music good taste. And not all of Discovery looked back. The middle of the album is house music as string theory, with the duo finding dimensions of pleasure coiled within the tiniest loops: "Crescendolls" releases an awesome, gleeful energy by repeatedly triggering one five-second sample.

Discovery was simply the decade's best good-times record, with Daft Punk as pyramid-toting party wizards and the chipmunk Kraftwerk of "Harder Better Faster Stronger" their anthem. But this most celebratory of records has a bittersweet streak, too: Daft Punk know that a rush always carries the risk of exhaustion. Perhaps the album's most underappreciated track is the sad but gorgeous "Short Circuit", a three-minute robot graveyard of crumbled transistors and dying LEDs. But from Romanthony's first blissful, vocoded shout of "one more time!" the dominant emotion on Discovery is joy. A joy that wasn't afraid to be sentimental and funny as well as hard and futuristic, and is all the better for that. When a generation looks back and tries to catch a fuzzy hold of the music that made them happy this decade, Daft Punk's will be top of the list. --Tom Ewing [Pitchfork]

Daft Punk grabbed the #3 spot on Pitchfork's list of the Top 200 albums of the 2000s (now fully announced) (yesterday they were only up to #21). The top 20 are also listed below...

Continue reading "Pitchfork announces the top 20 albums of the decade "

words by Black Bubblegum, photos by Ryan Muir

some of the stars of ATP NY 2009
Boredoms
Hopewell

What's almost the exact opposite of a soothing set of Seven Swans performed by one of the most delicate singers in indie rock? Try nine drummers (including Hisham Bharoocha, Zach Hill, and Kid Millions among other notables) bashing your fucking skull for so long that the stage manager has to come out to unplug their gear and remove toms from underneath them! That's how I started my ATP Day 3... with the Boredoms blowing my mind.

Starting off with sparse chords on the monstrous multi-neck guitar/percussive device, Eye set a calm and reflective mood... and then the cymbals. And then the toms. And then eight drummers pummeled away led by Yoshimi P-We. And then the synced rimshots that recalled an Animal Collective beat. All of this happened before a ninth drummer was carried into the show like an emperor while doing a call and response with the other eight.

Within about 10 minutes, I knew that Boredoms would take the prize as best show at Kutsher's that weekend. The sheer power of the coordinated drums, along with pregnant pauses and killer synth effects performed via keys, CD-DJ tables, and broomsticks (!) were beyond jaw dropping.

Following Boredoms, I poked my head into Oneida's Ocropolis for the first of many times. For 10+ hours, Oneida basically had the small and very decorated room all to themselves for a long jam session with their friends. Reportedly, the band had tape rolling the whole time (Ocropolis is the name of their Brooklyn recording studio) and had visuals provided by the Mighty Robot AV Squad. With local standbys like BJ Warshaw of Parts & Labor/Shooting Spires fame, Chris Weingarten (ex P&L), Todd P, and many others spotted in the Sportsman's Bar, it seemed like Brooklyn in the Catskills. Unfortunately, I missed every single special guest appearance (word is, and in part according to a sign on the door, Soft Circle, Yoshimi, Aaron from Tall Firs, Zach Hill, Steven Drozd and many others all popped in) but the band was very interesting to watch, alternating between songs, and droney ambient jams.

Caribou was next in the main room and the 16-piece(!) band including Sun Ra Arkestra member Marshall Allen, Koushik, Kieran Hebden (Fourtet) and many others. I had no expectations heading into the set and was pleasantly surprised, although I found the mix to have waaay too much low end.

I ducked out of Caribou early to catch the last twenty minutes of Hopewell who was billed to be playing "The Desperation Suite," "complete with a female choir and avant-garde saxophonist Mark Marinoff". From what little I saw, the three person "choir" did little but coo, ooh, ahh, and coordinate a dance, but the band did close with a rousing cover of Jane's Addiction's classic "Of Course".

continued below...

Continue reading "ATP NY 2009 - Day 3 pics & review (Boredoms, Caribou, Deerhoof, Boris, Jarmusch, Oneida, that crazy guy...)"

words by Black Bubblegum, photos by Ryan Muir

Steve Albini in Shellac
Shellac

"We're taking a bath, but I don't care," Barry Hogan told [Sasha Frere-Jones]. We were standing in the makeshift production office for the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, at Kutsher's, a resort in the Catskills.

Kutsher's, where Muhammad Ali trained and a thousand schticks were born, was once the jewel of the Borscht Belt. The main venue at Kutsher's, the Stardust Ballroom, has a capacity of 2,800. But Hogan seemed largely unbothered that only 1,800 tickets to ATP had sold. It is 2009, after all.

"My name is Sufjan Stevens and I am going to play all of my Seven Swans album. That should be a good early afternoon hangover sort of thing"

Considering the bad coffee situation and the fun that I had the day before, Sufjan was spot on. Clad in tie-dye that the band had purchased at the general store at Kutsher's, the five piece were delicate, light and lilting. Sufjan's bright banjo strums and songs, like the sunny "Sister", resonated so well in the Stardust Ballroom. The Seven Swans album was an excellent choice for a wake-up set on the second day of the three day upstate NY festival (Saturday, September 12, 2009).

After Sufjan, I wandered over to catch a crew of young Aussies named Bridezilla. Though their name is a touch offputting, guitarist/vocalist Holiday Sidewinder has a sexy and breathy coo that recalled PJ Harvey and their her cocktail-dress-ed crew were a surprise and a delight.

Grouper were next, and as a fan of 2008's Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, I was eager to check out Liz Harris's ambient soundscapes. Playing to a projection of an ocean at night, the stage show wasn't much visually but the tides of noise was otherworldly.

Conversely, Black Dice in the same room was a psychedelic mindfuck. Blasts of tribal noise beats nodded heads and shook them in equal measure.

As a fan of Bradford Cox, it was great to see him pull a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning with Atlas Sound. Rolling solo with guitar, harmonica, and some backing tracks, Cox was engaging both in song and with between song banter. I would regrettably end up missing Deerhunter's set a few hours later. Drowned in Sound was there though:

Bradford Cox is a picture of serenity as he swaps his shirt for a more tasteful number and leads Deerhunter into their Saturday night set. He announces that this will be their last performance for some time, causing the band to roll out the hits in quick-fast fashion. They gallop through 'Cryptograms' and 'Nothing Ever Happened', the positively herculean double guitar sound feeling unstoppable and a sense of jubilation ricocheting between the walls as people succumb to these great big shining pop songs. The closing 'Calvary Scars' is a slab of beautiful kraut-pop, with Lockett Pundt's metallic Tim Gane-esque strum leading the way, face-painted kids jerking their bodies back and forth, and Cox looking genuinely sad that this will be the last time these songs will be wrung from his fingers and throat for a while.
Anti-Pop Consortium was my next venture, the first time I had ever seen the crew though I was a long time fan. On the Stardust Ballroom system, APC's distorted and creative beats sounded amazing but save for Beans energetic movement, I was less than impressed with their live show. Live hip hop is hard to pull off, and those who try should heed the great Rakim who said "to me MC means move the crowd". If you want to give them a chance, they're at Santos Party House on September 29th.

Sleepy Sun were line checking when I got back to the second stage, with vocalist Rachael Williams checking her levels in the monitor

"Check. Check. I. Hi. Me. You. All of you. Us. Getting nervous."

If they had nerves, the band channeled them into positive energy. Sleepy Sun's influences fit right in with their hometown, San Francisco, as the band dabble in a psychedelic California sound with some krautrock-y elements. I was most struck by their fantastic drummer Brian Tice as well as vocalist Williams, who ripped out a solo that had the crowd shouting and applauding. Wayne Coyne watched the band from stage left, clearly impressed.

After an elongated line check, El-P came on and with a four-piece band (Chin Chin) and hypeman (Mighty Quinn) to the sound of "Tasmanian Space Coaster". I have a soft spot for El-Producto's Blade Runner beats and post-apocalyptic rhyme styles, and it was great to see a Hip Hop artist who actually puts an emphasis on his live show. As a matter of fact, El-P put a little too much of himself out there, almost falling off the stage after pogo-ing around during "Smithereens". Careful dude... we need a follow-up to I'll Sleep When You're Dead.

I hadn't seen Akron/Family since the then more acoustic-centric band played Tonic many years ago (with Hamid Drake?) and it was refreshing to see their energy were still in place. Against a backdrop of a tie-dyed American flag, the band played a rousing and ripping set. It's good to see that the loss of Ryan Vanderhoof to a Buddhist center hasn't slowed them a bit.

Autolux had the discordant riffs, feedback squalls, and a 90s alt punk sound to hit all of the right influences (Joy Division, Sonic Youth, etc), but unfortunately didn't really distinguish themselves from their influences. Autolux isn't offensive by any means, just not compelling or distinctive, and I find it a touch disappointing that guitarist Greg Edwards was a member of Failure (a band that I dug).

Dead Meadow and their fuzzy freakout psych blues were riffing on Stage Two towards the end of the Autolux set, but by half way in, the crowd had diminished considerably due to Shallac on the main. For shame, as the trio played a ripping set!

continued below...

Continue reading "ATP NY 2009 - Day 2 pics & review (Atlas Sound, Deerhunter, El-P, Boss Hog, Shellac, Animal Collective, Dead Meadow...) "

photos by Ryan Muir

DOWNLOAD: Sufjan Stevens - Movement VI--Isorhythmic Night Dance with Interchanges (MP3)

Sufjan Stevens

When Sufjan Stevens took the stage to a packed room for the opening set of ATP NY's Day Two, the Detroit singer promised to go easy on peoples' headaches. "This will be an early-afternoon hangover special," he promised, explaining that the set would draw heavily on Seven Swans, his gentle, spare 2004 debut. He started with "All the Trees of the Fields Will Clap Their Hands," in which a plinking banjo riff suggested a tiny music box, mesmerizing and intricate.

Stevens was breathy and hushed, and his backing band -- all in matching tie-die shirts purchased at the grounds' kitsch-stuffed gift shop -- slowly built up songs around him. In keeping with the mellow vibes, "The Dress Looks Nice On You" played like particularly chaste make-out music: "I can see a lot of life he you," he cooed, "I can see a lot of bright in you/ And I think the dress looks nice on you." Someone in the back of the room wolf-whistled. As far as Christian post-folk pick-up lines go, this was pretty racy stuff. [Rolling Stone]

The pics here are from Sufjan's ATP NY set on Saturday. Jesus Lizard played on Friday. Flaming Lips on Sunday.

Sufjan has a string of 'small club' dates coming up. And he's appearing with the Osso Quartet at the start of their Run Rabbit Run tour which will also include a screening of the new Sufjan BQE DVD. A new MP3 from the forthcoming BQE album, is posted above.

The BQE album tracklist, and the rest of the ATP pictures, below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens - 'Seven Swans' ATP pics, a BQE MP3"

DOWNLOAD: Shannon Stephens - In Summer in the Heat (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fol Chen - The Longer U Wait EP (ZIP)

Sufjan Stevens

Tickets for the NYC shows on Sufjan Steven's upcoming tour with Cryptacize go on sale this Saturday (August 15th) at 10am...

10-04: New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (tix)
10-05: New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (tix)
10-06: Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg (tix)
10-07: Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg (tix)
Also there's the BQE screenings coming up, which just added an extra showing.

Speaking sof Sufjan Stevens, Shannon Stephens, an Asthmatic Kitty labelmate of his, has a new album, The Breadwinner, coming out September 8th. It'll be her first in nearly 10 years. Sufjan played drums on her album that came out in 2000. He also interviewed her that same year...

Sufjan Stevens: This is a business question. Do you acknowledge any sort of christian market, or is that bunk? Would you be willing to participate in the christian market?

Shannon Stephens: Honestly, I feel that the christian music market was created out of a need for safety by separation. People wanted to know that the music they were listening to would not contaminate their souls or the souls of their children. The truth is that we are not contaminated by our culture, but by our own hearts. I do think it's important to feed the fire as little as possible, but shutting out the world and creating a safe subculture is not what Christ commanded us to do. Rather than making absolute judgments about christian bands or labels, I try to take them on an individual basis. Sometimes people ask me if I play "christian music"--I don't even know what to say. I'm a Christian, and I play music, but is it all praise and worship? No. I feel more comfortable outside of the box, where things are more dangerous and oftentimes more real.

"In Summer in the Heat" from Shannon's new record, is above. Tracklist and album art are below.

Cryptacize recently recorded a live session that was just posted as a free download and video on Luxury Wafers. Grab that here

Another band on Asthmatic Kitty, Fol Chen, recently put out a free remixes EP, The Longer U Wait, with contributions from "Liars, Simone White, Epstein AKA Roberto Lange, Rafter and more!" That's linked above, with art, tracklist and tour dates below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens tickets, Shannon Stephens, a free Fol Chen EP"

Speaking of the BQE, 92YTribeca added a 3rd show/screening (on sale now)

by Andrew Frisicano

DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)

The Long Count

The Long Count
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.

The 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.

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.

Kim Deal, in addition to the above-mentioned BAM and Bowery shows, will be in NYC (and around the country) with the Pixies in November. The shows at Hammerstein Ballroom are now on sale.

The National recently played a set at All Points West in Jersey City.

Worden/National collaborator Sufjan Stevens premiered his show "The BQE" as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival in 2007. That show is being released as a DVD and going on tour, as is Sufjan himself.

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...

Continue reading "an MP3 from the upcoming National-Breeders-Worden show @ BAM, Long Count ticket info, Next Wave video previews"

Sufjan Stevens

One of our favorite things around here [at Asthmatic Kitty] is seeing our artists meander around the country spreading great music, so you can imagine our giddiness when two of our artists decided to pal up and tagteam an east-of-Lake-Minnentonka tour. The team? Sufjan Stevens and Cryptacize.

We wanted to make this as equitable for all of the fans so there are a few things to read carefully here. Due to the sizes of the venues, tickets will be limited. With that in mind, we wanted to avoid ticket scalpers and ensure that as many fans as possible could attend these shows. Tickets must be picked up at will-call the night of the show (not mailed), tickets are non-transferable and purchaser must present a government-issued photo ID. Also, there is a two ticket limit per purchaser. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tickets go on sale Saturday the 15th. We'll post the purchase links on Thursday, but the venues will be handling the purchasing and will turn those on when they can (we have no control over what time Saturday they turn the links "on").

Coincidentally, Sufjan also has a film and corresponding soundtrack about the BQE to be released in October as well. Although this tour has nothing to do with that... [Asthmatic Kitty]

Those tour dates, which kick off September 21st in Philadelphia, end with a four-night NYC run. Two nights at the Bowery Ballroom (October 4th and 5th) and two nights at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (October 6th and 7th). According to Asthamtic Kitty, tickets will go on sale sometime Saturday.

The new dates come after Sufjan's September 12th set at ATP NY, but before his October 24th appearance at the 92YTribeca BQE screening.

Cryptacize last visited NYC in July while on tour with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.

Full dates below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens - 2009 small venue tour (dates), 4 NYC shows "

OssoOsso

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...

Continue reading "Osso Quartet playing re-arranged Sufjan Stevens album on tour w/ BQE movie & Asthmatic Kitty label-mate DM Stith"

Tickets are on sale for the BQE screenings (early & late) (thx arakias).

Sufjan BQE

"Sufjan Stevens premiered The BQE, a film and musical suite exploring New York City's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in November 2007. The critically applauded performance featured 36 performers including a band, a wind and brass ensemble, string players, a horn section, projected film footage of the expressway and five hula hoopers. On October 20, Asthmatic Kitty Records will release The BQE (also available via Rough Trade in the UK, P-Vine in Japan, Spunk in Australia).

The comprehensive package features the CD soundtrack, the DVD of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway film footage, a 40-page booklet with extensive liner notes & photographs and an accompanying stereoscopic 3-D Viewmaster® reel. Furthermore, Asthmatic Kitty will release a limited edition double gatefold vinyl edition of The BQE on 180-gram vinyl with a large-scale 32-page booklet including liner notes, photographs and a black and white version of a 40-page BQE-themed Hooper Heroes comic book. View a video trailer of The BQE below.

On October 24, 92YTribeca will host the premiere screening of The BQE DVD with an introduction by Stevens. At the screening, the Osso Quartet will perform selections from Run Rabbit Run. Tickets for this event go on sale July 23."

Sufjan Stevens is playing ATP NY on September 12th. BQE trailer and more info below...

Continue reading "Sufjan Stevens releasing The BQE, appearing at NY screening"

Sufjan Stevens w/ Clogs @ BAM in February (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Sufjan Stevens

We are extremely excited to announce the addition of Sufjan Stevens to the ATP-curated Saturday lineup. Stevens, who will be releasing Run Rabbit Run (a re-arrangement of his 2001 album Enjoy Your Rabbit) in October, has not played a US show in over two years, and this is sure to be a special performance. [ATP NY]
Sufjan is one of the most recent additions to ATP NY, running September 11th-13th in Monticello, NY. It'll be his first show in a while, though over the past year Sufjan has made appearances joining St. Vincent at BAM, The Welcome Wagon at St. Paul's Lutheran and the Clogs with My Brightest Diamond (which you can see above) again at BAM .

Sufjan will be joined on the Saturday bill by new additions Shellac, Circulatory System and Grouper (who we previously announced).

On the Sunday, the Flaming Lips-curated bill has added Crystal Castles, who has been touring North America and Europe. They're also on the schedule for All Points West on August 1st.

Other Sunday additions are Super Furry Animals (who are also playing Maxwell's and Highline Ballroom), Boris, Low Lows and Oneida, the latter of which will perform a special set, described below...

"Oneida presents the Ocropolis" - where Oneida will transport the impetus, spirit and community of their multidisciplinary studio/performance space, The Ocropolis, to ATP for a full day of improvisation, collaboration, and recording, combined with the astounding Mighty Robot Visuals light crew.
Limited tickets for the fest are still on sale. Ongoing coverage of ATP NY and related NYC-area shows HERE. Full lineup so far below...

Continue reading "ATP NY adds Sufjan Stevens, Boris, Shellac, Crystal Castles & more - full updated lineup"

by Black Bubblegum

DOWNLOAD: The Metermaids - Nightlife in Illinoise Mixtape (Zipped MP3s)
DOWNLOAD: Hezekiah - Cure For THe Common $oul Mixtape (ZShare Link)

Styles P and Black Thought (The Roots) @ BHHF (more here)
Styles P

Though daily tickets are now sold out, you can still buy tickets for both nights of The Rock The Block Fest going down at Southpaw on August 6th & 7th. The curiously Thursday-Friday festival scheduled the mighty Styles P (my favorite performer at Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest) for Aug 6th, with State Property mainstay and recent Cash Money signee Freeway filling the slot for Aug 7th. Metermaids and NSR as well as Hezekiah and Kimberly Nicole get the assist for days one and two respectively.

The Metermaids released their Nightlife in Illinoise mixtape in the tail end of last year (download that above), featuring material sampled from Sufjan Stevens's Illinoise LP mixed with their Nightlife LP. The crew recently released the Live At Arlene's Grocery EP in the pay-what-you-want format and are scheduled to play Arlene's Grocery again on July 23rd with Prayers For Atheists.

Illadelphian and Roots cohort Hezekiah released his Cure For The Common $oul Mixtape (downloadable above). Featuring appearances by Freeway, Reef The Lost Cauze (Army Of The Pharoahs), and many others, Hezekiah rhymes and remixes tracks by Jay-Z, Kanye West, Will I Am, Zap Mama, and many others.

The Roots are scheduled to take on Highline Ballroom for the umpteenth time on July 8th (tonight), tickets are still available.

Styles P tour dates as well as a live video of "Come Through" at BHHF 2009 below...

Continue reading "Rock The Block hip hop fest @ Southpaw in August (Styles P, Freeway, Metermaids & more) "