July 16th, 2014 , by John Beeler
It starts today: the latest phase in the musical evolution of My Brightest Diamond has officially begun with the release of None More than You, an EP of new material from composer/performer Shara Worden.
The five tracks collected here hint at a new direction for My Brightest Diamond, as Worden begins combining lullabies and laments of an almost tremulous intimacy with pop songs that take as much inspiration from classic poetry as they do from the latest dancefloor anthems.
Two of those tracks are a pair of vastly different takes on “Dreaming Awake”: the raw Son Lux Mix that opens the EP, and a mix by Mason Jar Music, who got caught trying to record the song at a secret session inside of an abandoned power station. Footage of that recording session—including the bust by the police, and the subsequent al fresco performance—has been uploaded to YouTube and premiered by Consequence of Sound, along with an embedded Soundcloud stream of the complete EP.
None More than You has been released exclusively on translucent purple vinyl or as a digital download here. In addition, iTunes has bundled together a Prismatic Edition of the forthcoming My Brightest Diamond LP, This Is My Hand, that includes a download of this EP, a pre-order of the LP (due in September), and a special advance download of “Pressure,” the lead track from This Is My Hand. It’s all available now.
June 3rd, 2014 , by John Beeler
As the singer-songwriter and multi-intrumentalist behind My Brightest Diamond, Shara Worden has earned her reputation as a composer of popular songs with a chamber-music intimacy. The emotional intimacy of This Is My Hand, the new My Brightest Diamond LP, and None More than You, a companion EP coming out this summer, are unmistakable, but this latest iteration of the My Brightest Diamond project has opened the project up to vast new sonic possibilities.
My Brightest Diamond’s musical metamorphosis comes straight out of recent, radical transformations in Worden’s life as an artist. The songwriting on these records draw as much on top-40 pop as by Worden’s experiences in the cast of an experimental Matthew Barney film, in surprisingly direct and literal ways: the Walt Whitman poem that provides the words to None More than You’s “Whoever You Are” and the marching band–style arrangement of This Is My Hand’s “Pressure” were both inspired by elements in Barney’s The River of Fundament, but their dance-floor friendly tempo and singalong structure are borne out of Worden’s analytical thinking as a composer, mathematically breaking down her favorite radio hits.
But My Brightest Diamond still sounds like nothing else so much as My Brightest Diamond, refracting all of these influences through Worden’s inimitable, shamanic sense of artistry, and her equally inimitable singing voice.
Hear “Pressure” right now on NPR’s All Songs Considered here, or below.
None More than You, out July 15th, can be preordered from a strictly limited edition of 1000 records on lavender vinyl here, and preorders of the limited, translucent red vinyl edition of This Is My Hand come with “Pressure” as an instant download. Buy it here.
iTunes offers a preorder of the Prismatic Edition, including the LP, the EP, and an immediate download of “Pressure,” all for $11.99. Get that one here.
April 10th, 2014 , by John Beeler
For the price of an email address (and an optional tip), you can download Until Now, a concise compilation of the music of My Brightest Diamond since her debut album in 2006.
My Brightest Diamond will be playing in South Bend, Indiana, in Grand Rapids, and Indianapolis over the next few days. In May she’ll be touring a few select cities in Europe. See those tourdates on her website.
Expect more from MBD later this year. But for now, you can download Until Now on Noisetrade here.
December 23rd, 2013 , by John Beeler
Merry Christmas and happy holidays, from our family to you and yours! Whatever you might celebrating this season, and however you might be celebrating it, we hope you’ll enjoy some seasonal tunes our friends have put together for you.
Half-handed Cloud, Liz Janes, Danielson, and a heavenly host of other terrific artists have covered movements from the first part of Handel’s Messiah—that’s the Christmas part—to Familyre’s Messiah – Part 1, a charity compilation on Sounds Familyre Records. It only costs $4 to download the whole album here or send it as an instant gift, and all proceeds go to the Red Cross to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Another project featuring Half-handed Cloud’s John Ringhofer, The Season’s Glreekins, is also offering their very rare, self-titled 1998 tape as a present to you. Only 150 copies of the original issue were ever dubbed by the Glreekins, a seasonal band from Cattanooga, but the Glreekins are giving it away again here on bandcamp to celebrate its 15th anniversary.
My Brightest Diamond just released a cover of Bob Dylan and Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” which you can hear here.
So get someplace warm, and treat your ears to a little Christmas cheer. Here’s wishing you peace, joy and beautiful music this holiday season.
February 21st, 2013 , by John Beeler
As part of its new partnership with Brooklyn-based, artist-run label New Amsterdam Records, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s March 9, 2013 concert presents Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Ryan Lott of Son Lux in a performance that smudges the line between “rock” and “classical.” You can buy tickets here.
Ryan’s set features the music of Son Lux in new orchestral arrangements created by a trio of rising classical musicians: electro-acoustic composer Daniel Wohl, and acclaimed singer-composers Caroline Shaw (of avant-garde chamber choir Roomful of Teeth) and New Amsterdam co-founder William Brittelle. Shara will join the orchestra in a perfomance of Penelope, the “ravishingly melancholy” (New York Times), “quietly devastating” (Pitchfork) song cycle by Sarah Kirkland Snider, another co-founder of New Amsterdam.
Neither singer is a stranger to the world of classical music. Both have studied composition and collaborated extensively cutting-edge chamber sextet yMusic, and Shara was recently tapped by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang (of the Bang on a Can collective) to give voice to his eerie cycle death speaks.
Shara sees the chance to sing someone else’s music as a liberating opportunity. “One’s own songs are so personal, and so you know it and have an intimate way of singing those songs,” she says, but “sometimes ‘knowing’ means that you get stuck in a rut and can’t see your own tune in a new light, so you have to challenge yourself to approach your own material like an improvisation at times in order to stay fresh.”
The challenge is to inhabit another composer’s music as intimately as if she had written it herself. “When you go to sing someone else’s tunes,” says Shara, “you really want to apply that same level of investment to their work as you have to your own.”
Penelope‘s lyrics, by playwright Ellen McLaughlin, interweave the story of Homer’s Odyssey with that of a woman whose husband returns from a more contemporary war so damaged that he is no longer himself. Shara points out that the multilayered piece is also an opportunity to exercise the more dramatic side of musical performance.
“There are at least four different voices in this text,” she says, “and I’m enjoying approaching it from more with actor eyes, and allowing the characters and their journeys to really let something different happen in my voice.”
The concert takes place at 7:30 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. Edwin Outwater will conduct. Tickets are here.
January 23rd, 2013 , by John Beeler
My Brightest Diamond is playing played at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City Wednesday, January 23rd. Her blog promised a parade (!), new songs (!!), marching, dancing, party hats, and whistles.
May 4th, 2012 , by John Beeler
My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden will perform on her former home turf this weekend. Collaborating with New York-based indie-classical chamber ensemble supergroup yMusic, MBD plays Saturday at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry music fest, sponsored by Brooklyn Academy of Music. yMusic contributed to MBD’s 2011 release All Things Will Unwind.
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry is curated by brothers and musicians Aaron and Bryce Dessner (The National). The fest was conceived by BAM director Joseph V. Melillo, who also commissioned Sufjan Stevens’ cinematic suite The BQE in 2007.
Part of a festival lineup, including Beirut, St. Vincent, and Sharon Van Etten, MBD takes the stage with yMusic at the Howard Gilman Opera House this Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. Click here for tickets.
February 15th, 2012 , by John Beeler
February 11th, 2012 , by John Beeler
Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond is appearing on A Prairie Home Companion (With Garrison Keillor) Saturday February 11th. The show will be live from the beautiful Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. No doubt news from Lake Wobegan will also be available on the show.
EDIT: Listen to the segment here.
November 17th, 2011 , by John Beeler
So much My Brightest Diamond! So little time!
Firstly: today marks the start of My Brightest Diamond's EU tour! She'll play tonight with a full ensemble in London, then visit Milan, Zurich, Berlin, Cologne, Utrecht, Leuven, and Paris. You can get details on the tour here.
Back to the USA. Above is a lovely video of "High Low MIddle," directed by Murat Eyuboglu, filmed in Detroit and featuring dancers from RunJitRun and Jitting Jesus.
If you live in the US and spent your Saturday morning ritual relaxing on the couch watching the November rain fall outside, eating your bowl of cereal, and listening to NPR’s All Things Considered, then you likely heard a lovely surprise: the voice of My Brightest Diamond frontwoman Shara Worden echoing over the airwaves.
It’s a terrific piece, on one of our favorite all-time bands. EU, US, anywhere; all of us can hear the radio piece right here, along with a couple tracks from the album. And as far as the album goes, you can buy it right here in LP/CD/MP3, and even t-shirt form.