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
March 11th, 2015 , by John Beeler
“Should Have Known Better” is the second single from Sufjan’s upcoming Carrie & Lowell, the follow-up to “No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross.”
“Don’t let down, nothing can be changed,” sings Sufjan. “Concentrate on seeing.” Stereogum calls this track “a spare, gorgeous, heavy-hearted folk song.” We like what sounds like knee patting in the middle of the song.
Sufjan is on tour just following the album release. Tickets are still available in some cities. Check here for details.
March 4th, 2015 , by John Beeler
After recording Fumes, Lily & Madeleine stepped back into the studio for a few days to record acoustic versions of several of the album’s songs. Those tracks comprise the Blue Blades Acoustic Sessions, a new EP out this week from Lily & Madeleine.
In addition to five songs off the LP, this new EP also includes a cover of Alex Turner’s “Stuck on the Puzzle.” Rachel Reynolds at KCRW played the cover back in October and said this, “Listening to their rendition of this song for the first time, I got chills. Their harmonies soar, and with just simple piano and acoustic guitar, it’s a real thing of beauty.”
You can buy the EP wherever you buy digital music, including iTunes and Bandcamp.
February 25th, 2015 , by John Beeler
“Blue Blades” is one of our favorite songs from Lily & Madeleine’s Fumes. A dystopian jazz-ish piece that sounds like it marched off the set of Blade Runner, “Blue Blades” features the low growl of Lily until sister Madeleine chimes in on harmony half-way through the song. But the harmony doesn’t raise our spirits much; we’re too busy being hopeless about everything:
Bluebird’s body lies and no one’s mourning
Nothing in his eyes, his feathers blowing
The cold air stings and with it comes a warning
The wind rips through the night and kills the morning
The newly released music video, shot by director Laurel Cohen, captures the song’s loss and mystery and resignation. Why is Lily in the middle of the arctic (actually, it’s the shore of Lake Michigan)? Is it all a dream (maybe!)? What is that boat horn in the background at beginning (a tugboat?) Is it even possible to sing underwater (it is)? And where did Lily get that incredible coat (we don’t know)?
If we were to guess, this is the ending of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, only with women, instead of men, making it to a frozen wasteland (instead of a beach). We’re ok with that.
Thanks to NPR for premiering this gorgeous video.
Lily & Madeleine are on tour now.
February 19th, 2015 , by John Beeler
“Beauty’s ordinary, I’m bored,” sings Montreal’s Mozart’s Sister in “Salty Tear,” the next video from Being. Jordon Minkoff animates the video, with additional shooting by Strawberry Jacuzzi.
“There’s a sense that a battle is going on beneath the bubblegum-neon kaleidoscope of her music,” says Line of Best Fit, who reviewed Being when it came out late last year.
Big thanks to Noisey for premiering the video, and talking to Jordon. “I like to think that there’s a secret narrative going on between the wind and Adobe Premiere,” Jordan tells Noisey. “In the last part you can see the wind blow it’s final blow and completely ruin the video. So I guess we kinda fucked up but who cares, right!? It looks cool!”
Here’s Mozart’s Sister at Bar Le Ritz PBD:
February 13th, 2015 , by John Beeler
“No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross” is the first single from Carrie & Lowell, the new album from Sufjan Stevens available at the end of March. Lyrics posted below.
You can get the song on iTunes when you preorder the album, on Bandcamp, or when you preorder the record through Asthmatic Kitty Records.
PS: In concert with record stores around the world, we’ve set up headphone listening parties so you can hear Carrie & Lowell early. See those dates and locations here.
February 12th, 2015 , by John Beeler
Helado Negro is also playing in NYC at the Ecstatic Music Festival on February 18th, and at the Liquid Music Series with an 18 piece ensemble in St. Paul on March 21st.
Also just released is an incredible music video to Helado Negro’s “Ojos Que No Ven.” This project was hand crafted by a talented group of 9 to13 years olds during a very intense 2 week summer camp with the NYCICFF (New York City Independent Children’s Film Festival) and the @TheGoodSchool. Art Teachers helping out were William “Zoe” FitzGerald & Maya Erdelyi.