January 10th, 2021 , by John Beeler
Denison Witmer follows up last year’s release of his album American Foursquare with a reframed look at four songs from that LP: “Birds of Virginia” (featuring Karen and Don Peris of Innocence Mission), “Simple and True,” “River of Music” (the first single from American Foursquare), and “Roseanne” (featuring Rosie Thomas).
To hear the Simplified EP, check your preferred digital streaming platform or click here.
The CD and vinyl for American Foursquare, delayed due to COVID-related supply chain issues, is tentatively set for release before the spring of this year. You can pre-order those formats here.
November 10th, 2020 , by John Beeler
Today, Denison Witmer returns with word of a first physical release for his twelfth album – and first in seven years – American Foursquare landing on Jan 8th. Released digitally during lockdown earlier this year, the album sees an expanded edition in January accompanied by brand new tracks, outtakes, stripped back versions and more.
Stream or share the song by clicking here.
To celebrate the announcement, Witmer is today sharing the new cut ‘Lancaster County‘, a soaring, country rock-tinged homage to Denison’s home county, directed by Reverie.
Of the track, he offers:
“The recording of ‘Lancaster County’ started out as something of an afterthought. When we were making American Foursquare, we ended up finishing drum tracking ahead of schedule on the final day of recording. Since I still had another 4 hours of studio time, I called my friend Jessica Dobson (Deep Sea Diver) and asked if she wanted to come to the studio. Jessica is the best guitarist I know – she can play anything really well – and I thought it would be fun to experiment with a live recording of this song. I usually write and record in isolation, so the opportunity to play in a band setting is always exciting. I love feeling/hearing the songs become something new in other people’s talents and headspace. This song unfolded exactly as it needed to: It’s a folk inspired country rock anthem. It’s the only song from the American Foursquare sessions that feels this way, and it’s the only one that was recorded live. In the end, it didn’t quite fit the overall vibe of American Foursquare, so I decided to release it as a stand-alone track.”
You can pre-order the CD and LP at our store here.
October 28th, 2020 , by John Beeler
“This is a song we wrote for people who have to cross great seas and bear great burdens.”Read the Rest...
October 26th, 2020 , by John Beeler
Angelo De Augustine is premiering his new self-produced single “Blue,” featuring Sufjan Stevens on vocals, piano and guitar, via Cool Hunting. The single is accompanied by a new video, directed and shot by De Augustine on Super 8 film:
Listen on your preferred streaming or digital platform by clicking here.
“‘Blue’ speaks of an admission in confidence to a friend,” explains Angelo. “The eternal and symbiotic bond of mother and child, and an inquisition into our inner pain, investigating if we are forever bound by it.”
The track is set to appear alongside Angelo’s recent single “Santa Barbara” on a limited edition, water-bottle-blue 7-inch single due later this year. You can pre-order the 7-inch here or at Bandcamp here.
In addition to the new music, Angelo has designed a limited-edition custom apparel line comprising hand-crafted overalls, a baseball hat, a pocket t-shirt and two enamel pins, available individually and also in various bundles, including with the new “Blue”/“Santa Barbara” 7” single. Pre-order is available now via Angelo’s new merch store here.
September 25th, 2020 , by John Beeler
The Ascension from Sufjan Stevens is available digitally now, and out on all physical formats on October 2. You can listen to The Ascension on your preferred streaming or digital service, or by clicking here.
We have t-shirts and CDs available in our store here. More black double LPs will be available there mid-October. Check your local record stores, or wherever you buy records, next week on October 2 for the limited edition clear double LP with tip-on gatefold and the standard black double LP.
September 15th, 2020 , by John Beeler
Today we debut “Sugar,” a new song from Sufjan’s forthcoming album The Ascension Listen here, and watch the video, choreographed by Kyle Abraham and directed by Ezra Hurwitz below:
Filmed in Brooklyn, the video features noted dancers Raymond Pinto, Samantha Figgans, Celeste Mason and Walter Russell III portraying a family as their world dissolves around them.
“‘Sugar’ is ultimately about the desire for goodness and purity (and true sustenance),” says Sufjan. “On the surface the song is just a string of clichés, but the message is imperative: now is the time to gather what is good and pure and valuable and make it your own, and share it with others. Feed your soul and speak new life into those around you. Give each other love, respect and sacrifice. Relinquish all the old habits, all the old ways of thinking and doing, all former practices—‘business as usual’—and bring new life to the world. This is our calling.”
“The way I approach choreography tends to blend elements of the everyday with moments of abstraction,” says Abraham. “I was compelled by the tempo and the tone of the song…especially when choreographing the duet material and solo material for Samantha Figgans and Raymond Pinto. This song and its undertones created a lot of really fun scenarios to play with choreographically.“
You can pre-order The Ascension here.
Please note that the physical release date for The Ascension has been moved from September 25 to October 2 due to unforeseen COVID-19-related manufacturing and logistics delays. We’ll still be releasing The Ascension on all streaming and download platforms, as scheduled, on September 25.
August 13th, 2020 , by John Beeler
Today Sufjan is debuting “Video Game,” the second single from his forthcoming album The Ascension. The video, directed by Nicole Ginelli, stars Atlanta-based dancer and choreographer Jalaiah Harmon, creator of the Renegade dance.
“The process of making this video compared to my other projects was a little more challenging because I was asked to create choreography for the whole song, instead of the 15-30 second song clips I usually get,” says Jalaiah. “I was a little nervous in the beginning, but once I really broke the song into parts and listened to the lyrics over and over, I just put moves together that connected to the words and felt natural for me to do. I think I’m still really trying to get used to this kind of success, so I can’t really define it just yet. I just know that when you work hard and you treat others with kindness and fairness, good things come back to you.”
“I was inspired by how much Jalaiah loves to perform,” says Nicole. “She brings such a powerful and specific energy, it’s infectious. I wanted to make something defiantly joyous, and to show what it looks like to reclaim agency, strength and moves in order to take control of one’s own projections and imagery.”
Here’s Sufjan on the song and video:
It’s unfortunate that we live in a society where the value of people is quantified by likes, followers, listeners and views. So many people are seeking attention for the wrong reasons. I think we should all be doing our best work without looking for accolades or seeking reward.
The main takeaway of “Video Game” for me is: your worth (invaluable) should never be based on other people’s approval (ephemeral). Just be yourself. Keep it real. Keep it moving. Do all things with absolute purity, love and joy. And always do your best.
Jalaiah epitomizes all of this and I’m truly inspired by her. So I thought, “what if we could get Jalaiah to star in a ‘dance video’ about not wanting to star in a ‘dance video’?” I’m so honored she agreed. She clearly owns it, and her work here is beautiful, poignant and true.
Her dance shows incredible energy, work-ethic and spirit. She is dancing for herself, not anyone else. Her choreography is sophisticated, nuanced, and fun. She is a star. She keeps it real. She keeps it moving. She keeps it true.
July 10th, 2020 , by John Beeler
“My Rajneesh,” the B-Side to the 12-inch single of “America” culled from the sessions for Carrie & Lowell, is out on digital platforms today. You can hear it below, or on your preferred digital platform by clicking here.
The 12-inch 45rpm is out in record stores on July 31st. Check with your local store for availability.
July 3rd, 2020 , by John Beeler
“America,” the album’s debut single, is out now alongside a video filmed by Sufjan.
Stream “America” and pre-order the album here.
Watch the video on YouTube here, or here:
“America,” and in turn The Ascension, is an indictment of a world crumbling around us—and a roadmap out of here.
Sufjan says the foundations of The Ascension are “a call for personal transformation and a refusal to play along with the systems around us.” And its first single stands as “a protest song against the sickness of American culture in particular.”
“America” may feel apt for the times, but it was written six years ago, originally worked on during the making of Carrie & Lowell (its forthcoming B-side, “My Rajneesh” was culled from these sessions as well).
“I was dumbfounded by the song when I first wrote it,” Sufjan says. “Because it felt vaguely mean-spirited and miles away from everything else on Carrie & Lowell. So I shelved it.”
“But when I dug up the demo a few years later I was shocked by its prescience. I could no longer dismiss it as angry and glib. The song was clearly articulating something prophetic and true, even if I hadn’t been able to identify it at the time. That’s when I saw a clear path toward what I had to do next.”
Sufjan then re-recorded the song and spent the next two years writing and recording the rest of the material on The Ascension almost entirely by himself on his computer, working mostly with a drum machine and handful of synthesizers, using “America” as its thematic template.
Sufjan says: “My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you. Question anything that doesn’t hold water. Exterminate all bullshit. Be part of the solution or get out of the way. Keep it real. Keep it true. Keep it simple. Keep it moving.”
The result is The Ascension, a “lush, editorial pop album,” as Sufjan describes it, that finds us all at a “terrifying crossroad.”
“America” with “My Rajneesh” on Side B is out as a 12-inch single July 31. We will be releasing “My Rajneesh” released digitally next Friday July 10.
We will have very limited quantities of the 12-inch for pre-order here at 9:30AM EDT.
Local record stores will also be stocking quantities.
Local record stores are also stocking the first-pressing edition with clear 2xLP vinyl and tip-on gatefold. Check for your store here. We’ll have some in stock at our store at 9:30AM EDT here. If you are in Europe please check our official store here to save on shipping.
June 30th, 2020 , by John Beeler
Important note: CD/LP/Tape release date moved to October 2nd due to COVID-19 related manufacturing and logistics delays. Digital and streaming is still set for release on September 25th.
- Make Me An Offer I Cannot Refuse (5:19)
- Run Away With Me (4:07)
- Video Game (4:16)
- Lamentations (3:42)
- Tell Me You Love Me (4:22)
- Die Happy (5:47)
- Ativan (6:32)
- Ursa Major (3:43)
- Landslide (5:04)
- Gilgamesh (3:50)
- Death Star (4:04)
- Goodbye To All That (3:48)
- Sugar (7:37)
- The Ascension (5:56)
- America (12:30)
All songs written, recorded and produced by Sufjan Stevens.
Cover art and album design by Sufjan Stevens.
Info and pre-orders for UK/EU available here.
Info and pre-orders for US and rest of world available here.
Subscribe to the YouTube Premiere of “America” here.