September 16th, 2014 , by John Beeler
“Before the words, there was the sound.”
Primal, cerebral, at times ecstatic or uncannily serene, the new My Brightest Diamond album is out today, a personal statement by singer/composer Shara Worden and a paean to the universal power of music. This Is My Hand is an album about reconnecting—with a community, with oneself, and with one’s own body.
The press is already raving. The Guardian dubs Worden an “operatic cult star”; NME says the new LP ought to mark Worden’s entry into the “US experimental pop pantheon.” Shara Worden has said that This Is My Hand is in part about reaching out to bring together a community of listeners. And Pitchfork.com insists that she has succeeded: “This Is My Hand works on a visceral level, conjuring Worden’s intended image of tribal, fireside collaboration through a rich diversity of texture, detail, and tone.”
Naturally, This Is My Hand—an album that explores communal listening and music-making—will also be bringing together crowds around the world all autumn long by fueling a forty-stop tour across the United States, as well as in Canada and Europe.
The tours kicks off with a hometown show in Detroit, MI on Sept 19, followed by an leg running south from Toronto, Canada to Atlanta, GA from Sept. 20-Oct. 1. After a trio of Austin, TX shows (one on Oct. 3 and two on Oct. 10) during the Austin City Limits Festival, My Brightest Diamond plays The Kessler in Dallas, TX on Oct. 12, then heads to Europe for a string of performances on the Continent from Oct. 17-Oct. 26, plus four shows in the UK and Ireland Oct. 28-31. Finally, the tour returns home to the Midwest to conclude with a second run of US dates all the way from St. Paul, MN on Nov. 8 to San Diego, CA on Dec. 13.
This Is My Hand is available as a digital download, on CD, on black or limited edition red vinyl, and in a VIP edition literally, personally stamped with Worden’s own handprint (ed: sorry, hand-stamped edition is sold out!).
September 8th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Finally, it can be heard in full: NPR is offering an exclusive First Listen of This Is My Hand, the latest stage in the ongoing metamorphosis of My Brightest Diamond.
We’ve gotten sneak peeks at My Brightest Diamond’s new LP before, in the form of a pair of streaming singles and a visually stunning new video for its lead track, the defiant pop anthem “Pressure,” but This Is My Hand takes on another layer of meaning when listened to from beginning to end.
Shara Worden, the singer-songwriter of the My Brightest Diamond project, composed the album out of a deeply personal, almost confessional emotional impetus, but constructed it note by note and song by song according to a rigorous formal intelligence.
NPR’s Katie Presley gets it: “Worden’s music feels simultaneously micro-orchestrated and entirely, ecstatically spontaneous,” she says, adding, “Every song here works as both a mission statement and a directive that’s propulsive and demanding of full attention—while Worden’s voice, particularly in the title track, provides a firm yet loving affirmation.”
This preview of This Is My Hand is only available for a limited time, but the album will be available as a physical LP, CD or digital download on Tuesday, September 16.
Listen to the preview here.
September 3rd, 2014 , by John Beeler
Rookie Magazine interviewed Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and premiered a brand new video for “Pressure.”
Did you find the answer to what the value of music is?
The answer came in not needing to answer the question anymore. In American culture, we have so much that communicates to us that art is superfluous. If something doesn’t have an immediate financial gain, then we say, “Well, that’s not valuable to us, and we’re not going to prioritize it.” In asking this question, I fell in love with making records again, and I fell in love with what music has meant to me. You can’t separate human beings from music. It’s always been with us.
Read the interview at Rookie here.
Derrick Belcham and Emily Terndrup directed the new video, which you can watch at Rookie or above.
My Brightest Diamond is making another video for the song “This Is My Hand” and you can be in it. See details here.
August 29th, 2014 , by John Beeler
You can now hear the title track from This Is My Hand by My Brightest Diamond. The song debuted today on Hitfix. Go here to listen, and to read an interview with Shara Worden of MBD. Says Shara:
This song is really about self acceptance and re-integrating the WHOLE self and there is so much happening right now across the globe, with body image, our sexuality, slavery, racism, that I just feel like this song belongs to “the larger tribe” and I want to open up this video format so that more people can have a “ritual” of sorts, accepting themselves and the tribe shows itself to be beautiful and varied as possible.
You can be in the music video for “This Is My Hand” by taking a photo that matches the lyrics and posting it on Instagram. See here for details. We hope you do.
Limited edition translucent red vinyl is still available, and we have a few hand-numbered, handstamped VIP editions left (only 150 worldwide). Get either of those here.
August 14th, 2014 , by John Beeler
New song out today from My Brightest Diamond’s forthcoming This Is My Hand.
Says Shara Worden of MBD: “‘Lover/Killer’ is based on the idea that we all have two sides: the lover, the warrior. We’re all capable of both. The lyrics started out with me singing ‘I am a lover and a killer’ over and over again. I was trying to channel ‘bad-ass,’ be the Karen O type, show off bravado. But as I sang it, I questioned why violence equals power. ‘At the wall in the mirror’ is the resolution of that. It’s facing your own demons and embracing the shadow of your character. It’s about embracing your own power and your own frailty.”
You can listen to the song over at Refinery 29 or above.
Preorder the album on iTunes, your local record, or from Asthmatic Kitty (or Paper Bag Records in Canada) here.
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.
[youtube width="542" height="305"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i-6wVYftgg&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]
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.
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