February 16th, 2016 , by John Beeler
Human and machine also grow closer in Helado Negro’s Island Universe Story: Selected Works. Created alongside his recent performed work, the album compiles songs chosen from three “Island Universe Story” cassette tapes released between 2012-2014. If the tapes represent the subconscious exploration of other worlds in Helado Negro’s imagination, then this record, with its clear vinyl embedded with tinsel, suggests a certain leakiness between those dimensions. Some of the records contain silver threads, the sheddings of his Tinsel Mammals that have joined him on stage in cities far and near. Other records in this limited edition series contain the remnants or rumor of further realms, with the blue, gold, or multi-colored metallic sweepings left behind by creatures we haven’t yet met and can only imagine. Perhaps the tinsel itself recalls the actual, ionized tape, pulled from their original cassettes.
The album begins with a soft march in “We Will You,” building louder and joined by a fully present being pronounced in marble mouthed vocoder. Recognizable as spoken language, yet indecipherable, this voice meets another, legibly human, and we’re game for more, “you’re a strange impossible feeling, let’s go strange impossible stealing.” From here each song offers a sketch of a unique land within the same cosmos. On “Enfocando“ Lange dreamily repeats the Spanish word for “focusing,” perhaps unconvinced that he should find gravity through the jaunty distractions of a spacy lounge or field of blooming curiosities. All electro save for Lange’s well-deployed heavy breathing, oohs and ahs, “Detroit” evokes an exhilarating night drive on empty wide-laned roads, while “Mamember” and “Salve Nada” each find at times a softer squish and ooze, an organic, fleeting, tactility. While primarily composed in solitude, the intimate wandering continues in the orchestral swarm of “Stop Living Dead,” created with composer Trey Pollard and a double string quartet and “Mitad del Mundo” featuring the talents of Wilco’s Mikael Jorgenson.
Limited to 1,000 pressings of a variety of colors with art work by Paul Coors, the album immediately suggests a relic loosed from a dream. Set into motion Island Universe Stories: Selections carries us into the dark to find galaxies within galaxies, the human, the machine, the space between. We let go of charting the stars in resolute focus, and greet mysteries with wonder.
February 11th, 2016 , by John Beeler
Psychic Temple III is a folk pop masterpiece, the culmination of years of failures and experiments. It is as honest and true a musical statement as Chris Schlarb could possibly make. It exists free of guile and corporate control. III is the obsessive, colorful work of an auteur who spent years playing to a handful of hardcore followers.
And now you can hear the first song. We’re honored to share it with you, and hope you enjoy.
Psychic Temple III completes the transition from avant-jazz solo project to a working band constructed around timeless songs that draw upon the rich history of classic American soul, blues, and folk. Equally immersed in the sound of California’s canyons and the swamps of the deep South, Psychic Temple’s cult leader/guitarist Chris Schlarb steps out of the shadows and up to the microphone for the first time with astonishing results.
Maintaining Psychic Temple’s affinity for nuance and delicate minimalism, ‘III’ exhibits a new directness centered around Schlarb’s agile guiding voice. While the album places his unfolding vocal melodies and narratives in the foreground, ‘III’ subverts easy categorization by sustaining the collaborative, exploratory spirit of ‘Psychic Temple’ and ‘II’.
Culled from sessions recorded at home in Los Angeles and the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – ‘III’ includes contributions and performances from Spooner Oldham (Neil Young, Bob Dylan), David Hood (J.J. Cale, Aretha Franklin), Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), Avi Buffalo, Nedelle Torrisi (Sufjan Stevens), Elliot Bergman (Wild Belle, NOMO), Dave Easley (Brian Blade Fellowship) and many more. Coming together quickly and intuitively, the album was mixed over three days with Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson).
You can preorder a special “Deluxe Altar Edition,” a gatefold version of the record artwork, limited to 500 prints. Also available is the single LP. Preorder here.
February 11th, 2016 , by John Beeler
Sufjan has released a new live video of the title track from Carrie & Lowell. The video was filmed in North Charleston and directed by We Are Films. Long-time Sufjan collaborator Deborah Johnson edited the video.
Sufjan will be touring Australia and New Zealand in just a few weeks. You can purchase tickets here.
Monday 22 February – State Theatre, Sydney
Friday 26 February – Hamer Hall, Melbourne (sold out)
Saturday 27 February – Hamer Hall, Melbourne
Sunday 28 February – Hamer Hall, Melbourne (just added)
Monday 29 February – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Wednesday 2 March – Red Hill Auditorium, Perth
Friday 4 March – Qpac Concert Hall, Brisbane
Sunday 6 March – New Zealand Festival, Wellington
Tuesday 8 March – The Civic, Auckland
January 13th, 2016 , by John Beeler
Chris Schlarb – aka Psychic Temple – has released a video teasing a new Psychic Temple album: III. Tom DesLongchamp illustrated the video.
As shocking a transition as The Byrds’ pitch toward country music with Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Psychic Temple III completes the transition from avant-jazz solo project to working band playing classic American soul, rock, and folk music. Equally immersed in the sound of California’s canyons and the swamps of the deep South, Psychic Temple’s cult leader/guitarist Chris Schlarb steps out of the shadows and up to the microphone for the first time with astonishing results.
November 22nd, 2015 , by John Beeler
“Well, now. I guess that qualifies as a level eight.”Read the Rest...
September 15th, 2015 , by John Beeler
Sufjan is currently touring in the EU now, the US later this year, and – just announced – in Australia in 2016. Says The Guardian on Sufjan’s performance in London: “The solemn care with which Stevens recreates Carrie and Lowell, the album dedicated to his late mother, leaves the audience spellbound and breathless.”
Click here for details.
JUL 25 Newport RI – Newport Folk Festival
AUG 14 Lyons CO – Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
OCT 24 Santa Barbara CA – The Arlington Theatre
OCT 25 Phoenix AZ – Orpheum Theatre
OCT 26 Albuquerque NM – Popejoy Hall
OCT 28 Omaha NE – Orpheum Theater
OCT 30 Buffalo NY – The Center for the Arts University at Buffalo
OCT 31 Jersey City NJ – Loews Jersey Theatre
NOV 01 Baltimore MD – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
NOV 03 Pittsburgh PA – Heinz Hall
NOV 04 Charlotte NC – Ovens Auditorium
NOV 05 Atlanta GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
NOV 06 Orlando FL – Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center
NOV 07 Miami FL – Olympia Theater at Gusman Center
NOV 09 Charleston SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center
NOV 10 Birmingham AL – Alabama Theatre
NOV 11 Nashville TN – Ryman Auditorium
NOV 12 Louisville KY – Robert S. Whitney Hall, The Kentucky Center
NOV 13 Cincinnati OH – Aronoff Center
FEB 22 Sydney – State Theatre
FEB 26 Melbourne – Hamer Hall
MAR 02 Perth – Red Hill Auditorium
MAR 04 Brisbane – QPAC Concert Hall
May 18th, 2015 , by John Beeler
I Had Grown Wild is the final EP in a series of three releases that started last year with the EP None More Than You.
The EP, just released May 19 here on Asthmatic Kitty Records, is now available for sale on iTunes. The 6-song EP also features a version of the single in French, “Ceci Est Ma Main,” as well as two new songs, “Say What” and “Bronze Head.”
Says Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond): “What is interesting about any remix is that by changing the instruments, and even the language, the meaning of the song takes on a multi-dimensional aspect, like staring at an object from a different angle, you see it in a new way. The form has not changed but the environment, the dressings, the costumery has altered your perception of it’s meaning. To sing ‘This Is My Hand,’ a song about the embracing of one’s own body, means something different in this time in history when there have been so many recent tragedies, where innocent people have had their lives taken from them in acts of violence and racism in both America and France. Today this is not only a song of self-embrace, but also one about the inherent right of all people to maintain freedom in their own bodies.”
In celebration of the release, My Brightest Diamond will perform at several festivals this spring and summer, including Barcelona’s Primavera Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival.
You can buy the record now on iTunes here. We’ll be opening up a limited edition translucent blue vinyl later this year.
April 22nd, 2015 , by John Beeler
To celebrate the release of his forthcoming album Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens is touring Europe this summer and early fall.
Click here to for details.
August 28 — Dublin, Ireland – Helix w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
August 29 — Dublin, Ireland – Helix w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
August 30 – Edinburgh International Festival
August 31 — Manchester, England – O2 Apollo w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 2 — London, England – Royal Festival Hall w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 3 — London, England – Royal Festival Hall w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 4 — Brighton, England – The Dome w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 5 — End of Road Festival — Larmer Tree Gardens
September 6 — Bristol, England – Colston Hall w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 8 — Paris, France – Grand Rex w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 9 — Paris, France – Grand Rex w/ Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
September 10 — Brussels, Belgium – Bozar w/ Mina Tindle
September 12 — Oslo, Norway – Spektrum w/ Mina Tindle
September 13 — Stockholm, Sweden – Gota Lejon w/ Mina Tindle
September 14 — Copenhagen, Denmark – Falconer w/ Mina Tindle
September 15 — Hamburg, Germany – Mehr Theater w/ Mina Tindle
September 16 — Berlin, Germany – Admiralpalast w/ Mina Tindle
September 17 — Berlin, Germany – Admiralpalast w/ Basia Bulat
September 19 — Essen, Germany – Colosseum w/ Basia Bulat
September 20 — Geneva, Switzerland – Théâtre du Léman w/ Basia Bulat
September 21 — Milan, Italy – Teatro della luna w/ Basia Bulat
September 23 — Amsterdam, Holland – Royal Theatre Carré w/ Basia Bulat
September 24 — Amsterdam, Holland – Royal Theatre Carré w/ Austra
September 26 — Luxembourg – Grand Theatre w/ Austra
September 27 — Lyon, France – Le Radiant w/ Austra
September 29 — Barcelona, Spain – El Forum w/ Austra
September 30 — Madrid, Spain – Teatro Circo Price w/ Austra
March 30th, 2015 , by John Beeler
Carrie & Lowell, the new record from Sufjan Stevens, is officially out now.
Here at AKR, we’ve had the privilege of listening to this record for many months. We’re quietly elated that we finally get to share it with you. We see ourselves as a good friend sitting across the table from you and saying, “You might want to hear this,” and then dropping the needle on this music as you sit and listen. Is it good? Is it bad? We don’t know. Sufjan’s new songs on Carrie & Lowell are absent of irony or artifice and that makes it difficult to critique. But his songs have given us the companionship and commiseration we didn’t know we needed.
Carrie & Lowell has made itself a special place in our hearts. We hope it finds a similar home in yours.
Sufjan is on tour in North America in just a couple of weeks, and will also be making stops at VIVID in Sydney in May, at Eaux Claries Festival in July, and End of Road Festival in the UK in September.
You can buy the record on CD/LP or digital here.
March 20th, 2015 , by John Beeler
On Saturday March 21st, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series will debut a very special performance by AKR mainstay Helado Negro. MPR News spoke with Roberto Carlos Lange aka Helado Negro to learn more about the performance. “I make things difficult,” Roberto told MPR News.
Nearly twenty people will be on stage for the performance. The performance will involve tinsel, and so much more. The concert takes place in the brand new 1,000-seat Ordway Concert Hall.
Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, Jason Trammell of David Byrne’s band, and Wilco’s Mikael Jorgenson will be helping fulfill the Helado Negro version of Island Universe Story.
Tickets are going fast. Get them here.
EDIT: DONE. You missed it.
Helado Negro http://t.co/vd8qKNQ2LH
— EmDub (@StartsEndsMpls) March 22, 2015