Announcing Esther, a new album from The Welcome Wagon

September 7th, 2022 , by

We are thrilled to announce a brand new album from The Welcome Wagon: Esther, for release on November 4th, 2022. 

As a preview of the album, The Welcome Wagon (Monique and Vito Auito and friends) are releasing the first single “Isaiah, California,” which you can hear by clicking here, or watching the visual below. 

Esther is as much about homecoming as it is about making peace with—and a home in—uncertainty. “It became apparent to us that so many of these songs were about coming home, or leaving home, or reckoning with the homes we grew up in,” says Vito, “plus we wrote them in our home.” 

“Making a home in this world is one of the hardest and most beautiful things any of us ever do,” says Monique. “Our music helps us to do that—to make a home, together with our family and friends—and we hope that somehow our songs might help others to make a home wherever they are, too.”

You can read more about the album here.

Pre-orders for the album (translucent pink vinyl LP!) are here. Also available at that link are bundles, including a custom-screen printed tote, tickets to a very special Welcome Wagon release party livestream, a special hand-made cassette, and an archival quality 16″x24″ print of Monique’s artwork. 

“Remember Magic: A Tribute to Ray Raposa” in Portland, Oregon & San Diego

August 31st, 2022 , by

On July 30th we shared news from the family of Raymond Raposa, long-time Asthmatic Kitty band Castanets and Raymond & the White Freighter: “It is with great sorrow that the family of Raymond Raposa announce his passing today.  Raymond was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, friend, and musician. He will be greatly missed.”

On September 25th in Portland, Oregon at Polaris Hall and on October 9th in San Diego at The Casbah, friends, family, past band members, and collaborators will gather to perform and remember Ray. All proceeds will be donated to Central City Concern and Shoreline Community Services.

Ticket links:
Sept 25 – Polaris Hall – Portland, OR

Oct 9 – Casbah – San Diego, CA

New video for Sufjan’s “Fourth of July” April Base Version

July 4th, 2022 , by

Today, on July 4th, Sufjan has released a video of the new April Base version of “Fourth of July,’ directed by Michael O’Neal and Adam Prieto.

This follows last Friday’s release of two alternate versions of the song, “Fourth of July.”

Both versions were recorded around 2014: “Fourth of July (April Base Version)” was recorded in Eau Claire, WI at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio, and “Fourth of July (DUMBO Version)” was recorded in Sufjan’s old studio in Brooklyn, NY.

The original version of “Fourth of July” appeared on Sufjan’s 2015 album, Carrie & Lowell. As is (and was) his custom, Sufjan would often rework different versions of his songs while recording an album, and “Fourth of July” was no exception. (Other versions & remixes of the song were released on “The Greatest Gift” mixtape and on the “Exploding Whale” 7” single.) These two latest versions were recently found on old harddrives. The refrain of the song, “We’re all gonna die,” invokes a meditation on human mortality and fragility, even as it acts as an anchor of stoic hope. Its solemnity invites listeners to feel comfort, connection — even joy — wrought from great pain and loss. 

The song has recently had a resurgence with listeners — which may speak to a deep national grief and sense of loss. As we head into this Fourth of July weekend — a U.S. holiday marked by war (and death) — let us reflect on what it means to live in fullness in the face of death.

The limited run physical 7-inch in red will be released in December 2022, which marks the 10-year anniversary of Carrie’s death.

New versions of Sufjan’s “Fourth of July,” pre-order of 7-inch available now

June 30th, 2022 , by

Today, July 1, on his birthday, Sufjan Stevens is releasing two alternate versions of his song, “Fourth of July.” Listen here, or you can pre-order a red 7-inch with these two songs here or with your preferred record store. A Fourth of July T-shirt is available here, and a bundle including the shirt, the 7-inch, The Greatest Gift, the Carrie & Lowell Live 12-inch single, and of course the Carrie & Lowell LP is available here.  

A video of the April Base version, directed by Michael O’Neal and Adam Prieto, is available here.

Both versions were recorded around 2014: “Fourth of July (April Base Version)” was recorded in Eau Claire, WI at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio, and “Fourth of July (DUMBO Version)” was recorded in Sufjan’s old studio in Brooklyn, NY.

The original version of “Fourth of July” appeared on Sufjan’s 2015 album, Carrie & Lowell. As is (and was) his custom, Sufjan would often rework different versions of his songs while recording an album, and “Fourth of July” was no exception. (Other versions & remixes of the song were released on “The Greatest Gift” mixtape and on the “Exploding Whale” 7” single.) These two latest versions were recently found on old harddrives. The refrain of the song, “We’re all gonna die,” invokes a meditation on human mortality and fragility, even as it acts as an anchor of stoic hope. Its solemnity invites listeners to feel comfort, connection — even joy — wrought from great pain and loss. 

The song has recently had a resurgence with listeners — which may speak to a deep national grief and sense of loss. As we head into this Fourth of July weekend — a U.S. holiday marked by war (and death) — let us reflect on what it means to live in fullness in the face of death.

The limited run physical 7-inch in red will be released in December 2022, which marks the 10-year anniversary of Carrie’s death. Hear the songs here, or below.

New album from Half-handed Cloud, Flutterama, available now

June 17th, 2022 , by

Flutterama, the seventh album from Half-handed Cloud (John Ringhofer), is available for purchasing and listening now. Check your local record store for the Oxidized Tape Brown LP, or you can buy an LP bundle for $45 that includes the LP, a union-made sew-on patch, some Half-handed Cloud balloons, an 11×17 artwork poster, and a Half-handed Cloud made-in-USA tote bag here. The LP and CD and cassette (in Wild Bilberry Purple!) are also available.

Listen to the album here.

This release (and indeed every Half-handed Cloud record!) is a milestone for the label. Our second catalog release, AKR002, was the 2001 reissue of Half-handed Cloud’s 1999 self-released album, Learning About Your Scale. We’ve been putting out Half-handed Cloud music since then –  for over twenty years now! At a time when so many things feel so very ephemeral, we feel deeply honored to have been the long-standing home for Half-handed Cloud. John’s music is sobering and honest, but it is at the same time exuberantly joyful, profound, and ultimately hopeful. Flutterama is no exception. It’s in this spirit of great joy that we hear throughout the record that we release Flutterama into the world today — with the hope you receive it in the same way. 

Half-handed Cloud is also touring in the US. Since John and his family live in Finland, this is a very rare event! Be sure to check the tour dates below. (Note: some tour dates are still in progress, so stay tuned to Half-handed Cloud’s Instagram account.)

Half-handed Cloud Tour:

Tue June 21st – TBD (western Virginia?)

Wed June 22nd – TBD (Asheville, NC?)

Thu June 23rd – NASHVILLE, TN
The Well – Green Hills – 7pm / 7:30pm
4002 Granny White Pike – $10
@music_at_the_well
w/ Eve’s Curse
@evescurse

FRI JUNE 24TH – ATLANTA, GA
Bell Street Burritos – 9pm
Krog Street (facing the Beltline)
112 Krog Street #1A – $10
@bellstreetburritos

SAT JUNE 25TH – CHATTANOOGA, TN
Cherry Street Tavern – 10pm
@cherrystreettavern
719 Cherry St – $10 Cover
Opening for Taylor Hollingsworth
@shataytaytottingsturf

SUN JUNE 26TH – KNOXVILLE, TN
The Pilot Light
106 E Jackson Ave
(in Knoxville’s Old City)
8pm, w/ Maspeth

TUE JUNE 28TH – PHILADELPHIA, PA
Evangelical Church Of The Atonement
1542 E Montgomery Ave (Fishtown)
@atonementfishtown – $10
Doors 7:15 / Start: 7:30
Opening for The Chairman Dances
@thechairmandances

“Swallowing The Water You Walk On:” New Half-handed Cloud Single available now

June 1st, 2022 , by

“Swallowing The Water You Walk On,” the second single from Half-handed Cloud’s forthcoming album Flutterama, is available for listening now. You can hear it on your preferred platform here.

This song, a fuzzy and organically meandering tape machine bricolage, comprised primarily of vari-speed pianos, handclaps, and deflating latex balloons, peeks out from under the covers for a way through failure and ruin, by embracing transformational weakness and surrender.  “Swallowing The Water You Walk On” is very possibly the heart of Half-handed Cloud’s new Flutterama album.

Flutterama is scheduled for release in just a couple of weeks on June 17, 2022. It’s available for pre-order here (or check with your local or online record store) on LP in Oxidized Tape Brown vinyl, CD, or Wild Bilberry Purple cassette, alongside a limited-edition patch and a biodegradable balloon. 

A handcrafted artist’s book by John Ringhofer, limited to only 15 copies, is also available for purchase in a special LP bundle. (Note: we are currently sold out of these! But they’re still neat to look at – see below for video – and we have an almost-as-good bundle that includes balloons, a patch, and a poster here). These individually-numbered artist’s books, made with the 180-year-old cyanotype (architectural blueprint) process, utilize “genuine Finnish sunlight,” and incorporate moving parts and hand-painted sections. 

Half-handed Cloud (aka John Ringhofer) and AKR and our artists have been collaborating together for a long time (HHC’s first album is AKR002, our second release!). HHC posted a series of posts on HHC’s Instagram account a number of weeks ago that provide a lot of fun details, including a rare interview with John Ringhofer and Sufjan from 2002 at WBAR. Listen to that here, and be sure to follow HHC on Instagram here.If you missed it, you can watch and listen to the first single, “Handles,”alongside a video shot in John’s adopted home of Helsinki, Finland with Super-8 movie film here.

Finally, be sure to check out HHC on Markly Morrison’s Low Profile podcast, which includes an interview and a terrific cable access performance by John Ringhofer of several HHC songs both classic and new. You can listen and watch here

New Half-handed Cloud coming in June, “Handles” single & video available now

May 5th, 2022 , by

Also available now: a 2002 WBAR interview with Sufjan and John Ringhofer.

Read the Rest...

Half-handed Cloud Countdown to New Album Happening Now, Includes Photos of Sufjan and Other AKR Artists

April 19th, 2022 , by

Last week, Half-handed Cloud (aka John Ringhofer) posted some big news: a new Half-handed Cloud is on its way! 

Half-handed Cloud (HHC) has also started posting a countdown on his Instagram with posts documenting the story of Half-handed Cloud from then until now. Every few days he’s posting photos or material from his archive. Today he posted about meeting with Sufjan in 2001. 

HHC has been a big part of AKR from the start. In our catalog numbering system, Half-handed Cloud’s debut release, Learning About Your Scale, is AKR002, our second release ever (Sufjan’s A Sun Came is AKR001). As John describes in today’s post, HHC and Sufjan met when Sufjan was touring with Danielson. From then on, HHC and Sufjan toured together early and often, playing together at shows as far back as Cornerstone in 2001 (Stryper! Larry Norman! MC Hammer!), or an Asthmatic Kitty 9/11 benefit show in NYC in December 2001. 

HHC is promising all sorts of documentation in the next couple of weeks, including plenty of 35mm photo scans, possible sound clips & video, and stage history. Who knows what surprises are in that HHC archive! To stay tuned, click here.

Announcing American Foursquare Expanded Edition from Denison Witmer; LP & CD in stores now

March 21st, 2022 , by

Denison Witmer’s American Foursquare is now available in record stores on CD and LP. 

To celebrate the record store release of American Foursquare, Denison has released an expanded, deluxe edition of the record that packages together some previously released material, including simplified versions of several tracks, the song “Lancaster County,” and two previously unreleased remixes by Carl Granberg of “Catalina Love” and “Confident Sensitive Child.”

Those two new remixes are available for listening now. You can hear them here, or below.

Click here for a list of stores in Europe, or check with your local record store for ordering and availability. 

Sisyphus’ Beak & Claw Digitally Re-issued

January 14th, 2022 , by

Beak & Claw, the debut EP from Sisyphus is now eak & Claw, the debut EP from Sisyphus is now back on streaming and digital services after a hiatus.. You can listen to it on your preferred platform here.

Originally released under the moniker “s/s/s” by Anticon in 2012, the four-song EP culminated years of collaboration between Seregenti, Ryan Lott of Son Lux, and Sufjan Stevens. Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond provides vocals on “If This is Real.” doseone sings on “Octomom.”

In 2014, the three artists reunited for a self-titled full length album under a new name, Sisyphus, which is also available on all streaming and digital platforms.  You can read more about the making of the EP here.

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