January 12th, 2015 , by John Beeler
We’re proud to announce that on March 31st (March 30th in the EU) we’ll be releasing Carrie & Lowell, a new Sufjan Stevens record.
THESE ARE AGGRESSIVE TIMES. Each morning we awaken to a psychic blitz of breaking news, social outrage, and millions of images and voices shrieking look at me and this onslaught does not cease until late at night when the last glowing screen fades to black. This world demands our attention with one hand and destroys it with the other. That such a noisy age can deliver an album as graceful and honest as Carrie & Lowell should reassure anyone losing faith these days. Let no one say philosophy is dead, for here is a 44-minute meditation on mortality, memory, and faith.
Each track in this collection of eleven songs begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. Sufjan recounts the indignities of our world, of technological distraction and sad sex, of an age without either myth or miracle—and this time around, his voice carries the burden of wisdom. Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait. If youth knew, if age could.
Our limited edition first pressing is in clear colored vinyl, which is available for preorder now. It’s also available in black vinyl, CD, and digital. The first single, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross,” arrives mid-February. You can be one of the first to hear it by preordering the album on iTunes or Bandcamp.
Thanks to Pitchfork who premiered the trailer today. We also put the trailer on a little website along with a write-up and pre-order links. Visit carrieandlowell.com for more information.
EDIT: We’re out of clear vinyl in our webshop and Bandcamp page, but black vinyl is still available. Here’s a list of retailers currently selling the clear vinyl:
EU: VinylTap / Norman Records
Amoeba / Origami
January 8th, 2015 , by John Beeler
City planning, outer space, and now the rodeo: at the end of January Sufjan Stevens will perform what has become an ongoing series of multimedia performances premiering at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and incorporating collaborations with stellar performers and video artists into new classical compositions by Stevens himself.
His live electronics, along with percussion and piano duo Yarn/Wire, will be accompanied at the premiere of ROUND-UP by a new film shot Aaron and Alex Craig, at the BAM Harvey Theater from Jan. 20-25.
Previously, Sufjan Stevens collaborated with Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly to compose Planetarium, a set of hymns to our solar system, for a BAM premiere in 2013, and at 2007’s BAM Next Wave Festival he unveiled The BQE, a symphonic poem about the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. ROUND-UP, through the Craig Brothers’ slow-motion footage, is a chamber piece that takes the audience to the 2013 Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon to explore the roping, riding, and ritual of the rodeo.
Buy tickets here.
A new trailer is available for viewing now. See it above or here.
Indiewire premiered the trailer and interviewed Sufjan and the Craig Brothers. Said Sufjan on the topic of the composition and film: “Round-ups are steeped in a lifestyle of cattle ranchers, and they take place on these grounds — it’s a way of life that still exists. The film is part of a much bigger argument about the domestication of plants and animals and man’s relationship to the earth. It’s an existential issue that I think is crucial to have conversation about: man in modern society.”
December 13th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Half-Handed Cloud’s Learning About Your Scale Turns 15!Read the Rest...
November 19th, 2014 , by John Beeler
FLOOD Magazine has debuted a striking new music video of My Brightest Diamond’s “Lover/Killer.” Director Jean-Paul Frenay told FLOOD Magazine ““In a sense, I’m considering Lover Killer as an allegory of rebirth. Each one of us is facing different difficult choices throughout life. Sometimes the decisions we make are not even consciously taken. Sometimes this means to kill something you’ve loved: an idea, a thought or perhaps a friend. It’s the ineluctable rawness of life. I’m picturing those choices as little deaths, which lead to rebirth.”
My Brightest Diamond is on tour in the US now. Limited edition translucent red vinyl is available at AKR and your local record store.
November 19th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Fumes, the new record from Lily & Madeleine, is out now. A review in The Daily Mail reads, “Fumes is bewitching but never too glossy and the harmonies are sublime.”
On Tuesday, Teen Vogue premiered the music video to “Can’t Admit It.” In the video, a couple faces the reality that things might (or might not) be over for them. Lily & Madeleine sing backdrop at a swanky club. Luke Tate and Jason Drake directed the video.
October 28th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Fumes, Lily & Madeleine’s second full-length, is out now.
The U.K.’s The Independent proclaims, “Never mind Difficult Second Album Syndrome . . . Fumes, an even better follow up.”
Here’s a sample of what Katie Presley wrote for NPR:
The foundation of Fumes, and of Lily & Madeleine’s career overall, is clearly two intrinsically connected women sharing stories and bearing witness to each other . . . Though both are still teenagers in possession of sweet, juvenescent voices, their lyrics are sharp and wielded skillfully. “The Wolf Is Free” and “Rabbit” possess Top 40-friendly instrumentation, but the former is undercut with deliciously creeping menace, while the latter features a biting perspective on breakups and perhaps the album’s most powerful moment: the line “Oh my god,” delivered without harmony and highlighted with echo.
You can hear the album here on NPR.
Buy it here; limited edition coke-bottle-clear vinyl is still available.
October 16th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Audiences at the Austin City Limits performance of My Brightest Diamond were surprised by a Minor Mishap, but it was all part of the show. The live experience of the tour This Is My Hand, My Brightest Diamond’s ambitious and eclectic new LP, has been a full-tilt rock spectacle, and this time it included an appearance by Austin’s own Minor Mishap Marching Band.
Long fascinated by the spatial dimensions of sound, My Brightest Diamond vocalist and songwriter Shara Worden went into the planning of the This Is My Hand tour and record with every intention of making the concert a fully immersive sensory experience. In Austin, this meant recruiting the self-described “renegade circus-punk-brass band” Minor Mishap to parade through the crowd and onto the stage, marching, dancing, and pumping up the crowd with their own high-energy live show—a little bit Balkan, a little bit Dixieland, a little bit hip-hop—before breaking into the cadence for “Pressure,” the opening number of This Is My Hand and of MBD’s Austin City Limits set.
The entire Minor Mishap Marching Band performance, from the first steps of their procession through the crowd to the last note of “Pressure,” was captured in YouTube footage shot from the lawn in Austin, complete with honorary band member Worden in a drum-majoresque stage costume proudly accented with the yellow and black of the Minor Mishap uniform.
The local press went wild for My Brightest Diamond’s set, which the Austin Chronicle dubbed “one of the most underrated performances of the weekend.”
“Given the intensity of her songs,” said the Chronicle’s Doug Freeman, “Worden nevertheless projected exuberance and appreciation throughout, unleashing a guitar maelstrom” on the seething live version of This Is My Hand‘s complex and hypnotic “Resonance,” and concluding that “My Brightest Diamond has matured into a musical force.”
Now on tour in Europe, My Brightest Diamond returns to the US for another string of live dates from St. Paul to San Diego in November and December.
October 7th, 2014 , by John Beeler
With their second LP, Fumes, scheduled for release just a year after their self-titled debut, singer-songwriting team Lily & Madeleine are turning out to be as prolific as they are precocious. Fumes follows up on the promise of that first full-length by showing the sisters moving even further beyond the nostalgic, acoustic pop sound of their early recordings with the poised rock sound of songs like their new single, “Rabbit,” whose debut this week is being celebrated with a special premiere at Elle, a new Noisetrade download, and a special fanmade video contest.
As heard at the Soundcloud stream premiered exclusively at Elle, “Rabbit” brings the Jurkiewicz sisters’ commanding voices and cool, dry wit to the part of the wronged lover in a relationship gone south. Like “The Wolf is Free,” the first track released from Fumes, it exudes both a honeyed charm and an undercurrent of menace.
At least, that might be one interpretation—but Lily & Madeleine want to see yours. At lilmadrabbit.com, the pair are offering a chance to submit fan videos, with a shot at winning one of two prize packages: as chosen by the fans, the best video wins a signed poster and a limited edition copy of Fumes on colored vinyl; as chosen by the sisters themselves, the best video is not only selected to be the new official clip for “Rabbit” but also wins a $500, a colored limited edition Fumes LP, a black-vinyl copy of the the self-titled debut LP, a Lily & Madeleine t-shirt, and a signed poster. Having once been aspiring YouTube stars themselves, Lily & Madeleine are not necessarily interested in discovering the most experienced filmmaker in the world, so much as they are in seeing a distinctive vision for their track from fans of every age.
To make it easier to enter, Noisetrade has made “Rabbit” available today in a special download, by itself or in a special compilation of singles. A new sort of song from Lily & Madeleine, “Rabbit” demonstrates just how much Lily & Madeleine have grown as musicians since they first began recording, realizing their acute songwriting instincts through a new range of studio strategies—subtle coups of arrangement and production that underscore the equally elegant fillips of their wry lyrics and close harmony. “Rabbit,” the latest snapshot from the year-in-the-life that is Fumes, portends great things from this album… and the next, and the next.
October 3rd, 2014 , by John Beeler
Our latest sampler is up just in time for autumn. The compilation begins with a shiner from My Brightest Diamond, follows up with Castanets, and proceeds down our eclectic catalog with songs from Mozart’s Siser, Helado Negro, and Lily & Madeleine, as well a retrospective inclusion of a song from Sufjan Stevens’ BQE.
Artist, architect, designer, musician, and skateboarder Matthew Skjonsberg designed the cover art.
September 25th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Lily & Madeleine’s “Sounds Like Somewhere” will be on tonight’s premiere of the final season of Parenthood. Will it air during Amber’s pregnancy test? When Sandy drives into town? And what does it mean that this season will be about the “cycle of life?”
Watch it tonight on NBC 10pm EST.