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 20th, 2015 , by John Beeler
Carrie & Lowell, the new album from Sufjan Stevens, doesn’t release until March 31st but that doesn’t mean you can’t hear it early. On Saturday March 21st, your favorite record store will be playing the LP of the record on their turntables.
If you go and listen, let us know what you think of the record by tweeting or instagramming #SUFJANSATURDAY.
If you haven’t already, you should be able to preorder the record at the store.
EDIT: Over. BUT FUN.
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.
February 11th, 2015 , by John Beeler
Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) are curating a music festival in Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire, WI. Sufjan is slated to play. Tickets are available here.
Says Justin Vernon, “That the barriers between the stage and the audience altered, and expression and experience put above all. We have put so much thought into who should collaborate at this festival, from musicians to actors, filmmakers to visual artists. We will all share and revel in this collision of artistic force while performing in the arms of our own Chippewa River Valley.”