Posts Tagged ‘Anjimile’

Indie singer/songwriter Anjimile has announced his debut album “Giver Taker”, out on September. 18th via Father/Daughter Records. The quiet, sprawling lead single “Maker” is now. Self-discovery shines through on this soft, acoustic ballad—laden with exceptional harmonies and synths. On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth.

Giver Taker is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth. “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.”

Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Sufjan Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music

Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colors of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.”

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Giver Taker was recorded in Brooklyn, Boston, and New Hampshire by Goodman, thanks in part to the Live Arts Boston Grant by the Boston Foundation.
Released September 18th, 2020

All songs written by Anjimile Chithambo
Produced by Gabe Goodman & Justine Bowe

Anjimile From the album, Giver Taker, out September 18th, 2020. Father/Daughter Records

Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but ordinarily, artists who draw too hard from one source let down their own muse, and short-change the listener too. Not so Boston-based, Texas-raised Anjimile, whose debut album introduces a fully formed, confident voice – one that sounds slightly familiar.

Non-binary, trans and of Malawian heritage, this intense indie singer-songwriter identifies foremost as a Sufjan Stevens fan. Their hypnotic orchestral folk songs “Come Howling After” an unfathomable god. Like Stevens, Anjimile’s vocals can whisper, swoop and trill lines like “It’s a miracle to behold, it’s a miracle to be held in your arms”.

But derivation is not the whole story here. Tracks like “Maker” or “Ndimakukonda” boast compelling African instrumentation and cadences, putting significant stylistic space between Anjimile and Stevens. Throughout, the production – also by relative unknowns – is pin-sharp and generous.

Although the alternative take on masculinity provided by Moses Sumney might be another valid comparison, these nine songs chart Anjimile’s own self-development and recovery, both from a relationship (Baby No More, Not Another Word) and addiction; this is no one’s story but theirs.

Writing a song about a fading romance is never easy. Writing a song about a fading romance where you bear the brunt of the blame is even harder. Writing a song about a fading romance where you bear the brunt of the blame, but the song still simmers with the kind of alluring energy that makes it feel like it’s not a song about a fading romance at all feels practically impossible — but that’s exactly what Anjimile does on “Baby No More.” Anjimile first released an acoustic version of the song on his 2019 Maker Mixtape, but this new take streamlines the nimble pluck of its lead-guitar riff and buoys it with the pure dance-floor groove of shuffling drums, an elastic bass line, and some sublimely tasteful keyboard plunks. Anjimile balances the song’s bubbling energy and the suave tinge in his voice with lyrics that boast a brutally frank edge: “Am I dead? Must be dead/Am I sick in my head?/Am I wrong? Must be wrong/Best get gone/I can’t be your baby no more.”

The new track will appear on the Boston-based singer-songwriter’s upcoming album, Giver Taker, out September 18th via Father/Daughter Records. In a statement, he explained that he wrote the song a few months before getting sober, when the relationship he was in was suffering because he was no longer taking care of himself: “I quite literally felt like I was losing my mind, vis-à-vis alcoholism,” Anjimile said.

“Active alcoholism and committed romantic relationships generally do not mix well, and ‘Baby No More’ is more or less what happens when you’re not a good boyfriend,” Anjimile said. “Although it’s got a very groovy and relatively lighthearted musical vibe, some of the lyrics are quite dark.”

“Baby No More” is the second offering from Giver Taker, following, “Maker,” which was released in July. The album marks Anjimile’s label debut, though it does follow a string of independent releases he’s shared over the past few years.

Giver Taker is released on 18th September

Anjimile Chithambo, who records as Anjimile, is on a road to self-improvement on their debut album “Giver Taker”, and their folk-pop vibrancy certainly adds to that revitalizing spirit. There’s an earthy spirituality and youthful determination, boosted by radiant vocals and lyrics of patience and compassion. One highlight “Maker” blooms with nimble, bubbly guitars and rapturous percussion—it’s a symphony of wonder as Chithambo asks, “Have you ever seen anything quite like this?” Another key track, the reflective, downtempo “In Your Eyes,” grapples with identity and acceptance: “Was my body denied? / I can’t see what’s in your eyes / No, I can’t be what’s in your eyes.” Its warm rootsiness, indie-pop vivacity and African-influenced rhythms make for an incredibly inspired first LP.

“Maker” by Anjimile From the album, “Giver Taker”, out September 18th, 2020.

On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth.
Giver Taker is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth. “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.”

“Baby No More” by Anjimile From the album, Giver Taker, out September 18, 2020.

Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Sufjan Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colors of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.”