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.
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.”
January 23rd, 2015 , by John Beeler
To celebrate the release of his forthcoming album Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens will tour North America beginning in April, and several festivals abroad over the summer. The headline dates include stops at New York’s Beacon Theater and Washington, D.C.’s DAR Constitution Hall.
Click here to get details and tickets.
EDIT: Just added shows to Philly (April 9), Brooklyn (May 1).
EDIT2: Added second shows to Austin (May 13), and Seattle (June 11).
EDIT3: Added fests!
SUFJAN STEVENS FESTIVAL APPEARANCES
July 7 Eaux Claire Festival
August 14 Rocky Mountains Folk Festival
August 30 Edinburgh International Festival
September 6 End of the Road Festival
SUFJAN STEVENS US TOUR
April 9 Philadelphia, PA Academy of Music
April 10 Philadelphia, PA Academy of Music
April 11 New York, NY Beacon Theater
April 12 Hartford, CT The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
April 14 Portland, ME Merrill Auditorium
April 15 Albany, NY The Palace Theater
April 16 Cleveland, OH Cleveland Performance Arts Center
April 17 Columbus, OH Palace Theater
April 18 Indianapolis, IN The Murat Theatre
April 20 St. Louis, MO Peabody Opera House
April 21 Kansas City, MO Midland Theater
April 22 Minneapolis, MN Northrop Auditorium
April 23 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theater
April 24 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
April 25 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
April 27 Detroit, MI Masonic Temple
April 28 Grand Rapids, MI Covenant Fine Arts Center
April 29 Toronto, ON Massey Hall
April 30 Montreal, QC Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier / Place Des Artes
May 1 Brooklyn, NY Kings Theatre
May 1 Brooklyn, NY Kings Theatre
May 4 Boston, MA Citi Performing Arts Center – Wang Theatre
May 5 Washington, D.C. DAR Constitution Hall
May 6 Richmond, VA Altria Theater
May 7 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center
May 9 New Orleans, LA Saenger Theatre
May 10 Dallas, TX Majestic Theatre
May 11 Houston, TX Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
May 12 Austin, TX Bass Concert Hall
May 13 Austin, TX Bass Concert Hall
June 2 San Diego, CA Copley Symphony Hall
June 3 Los Angeles, CA Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
June 4 Los Angeles, CA Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
June 5 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
June 8 Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
June 9 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theatre
June 10 Seattle, WA The Paramount Theatre
June 11 Seattle, WA The Paramount Theatre
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.”
July 2nd, 2014 , by John Beeler
It’s been thirteen years since Asthmatic Kitty Records released Sufjan Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit, but we’d never pressed it to vinyl — until this year. Now that it’s available in limited edition, colored vinyl, we thought we’d celebrate by asking director and animator Geoffrey Hoskinson to create a video. We let him choose the song and the concept for the video. What he created is mesmerizing and beautiful.
We asked Geoff a few questions over email about the video.
What appealed to you about the song “Year of the Tiger?”
“Year of the Tiger” is a really outstanding track on the record. I love how it is like a soft ballad juxtaposed with noisy glitchy interruptions and a big climax. It is these dynamics that really appeal to me.
Could you talk a bit about how you made this video? It’s so vibrant and alive. What tools did you use?
The video was created with Photoshop and After Effects. I designed all of the pieces in Photoshop and then animated them in After Effects.
There’s some really interesting visuals here; obviously the tiger is important, but you even have tiger sperm swimming through to a sun-egg. Your work tends to address some life/death issues. Could you speak to that?
What mainly drove the visuals for the video was the concept of birth. This was inspired by the notion of the birth cycles of the Chinese zodiac and the (then) impending birth of my son. The vocal parts in “Year of the Tiger” sounded to me like a wordless lullaby for a baby. So in the video, I saw the tigers as spiritual beings who were calling a new soul into existence with their song.
You can buy Enjoy Your Rabbit here, or at your local record store.
June 17th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Chalk it up to good fortune: Sufjan Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit is finally coming out on vinyl.
Fourteen electronic instrumental tracks—one for each sign of the Chinese Zodiac, plus two—Enjoy Your Rabbit was first released on CD in 2001, and it was destined to enjoy a fruitful and prosperous future. The Osso String Quartet’s Run Rabbit Run album recreated Stevens’ pieces in arrangements for live, acoustic chamber ensemble, and choreographer Justin Peck’s acclaimed Year of the Rabbit ballet is set to an orchestral interpretation of the album.
On June 24th, 2014—the Year of the Horse—the original recording will be made available as a double-LP set, with lucky bonuses for anyone who picks up the limited-edition pressing.
Disc 2 is clear, but disc 1 could be pressed on either white, red, blue or green translucent vinyl. Only the Zodiac knows which color is hidden inside each copy of the album.
And no one can foresee who will receive one of two very special boxes of fortune cookies, containing fortunes penned especially for this occasion by Sufjan himself. (Check with your local record store too!)
A perennial favorite for fans of Sufjan Stevens’ electronic side, Enjoy You Rabbit‘s time has come around again. Preorder now, and we predict some very beautiful music headed your way.
Bonus: Order Enjoy Your Rabbit on vinyl with Osso’s Run Rabbit Run on vinyl for just $30.
February 17th, 2014 , by John Beeler
“Rhythm of Devotion” is out on Soundcloud. A lyrics video for “Alcohol,” another new single, is up for listening on Soundcloud.
Sisyphus will be on on March 19th, 2014.