Posts Tagged ‘Asthmatic Kitty Records’

The Ascension

Sufjan Stevens is releasing a new album, “The Ascension”, on September 25th via Asthmatic Kitty. When it was announced on Tuesday it was promised that the album’s first single, 12-minute long closing track “America,” would be released today. Accompanying the song is a video of an American flag slowly blowing in the wind. With a title like “America,” its timed release the day before July 4th is no accident and in a press release Stevens says it’s “a protest song against the sickness of American culture in particular.” ‘The Ascension’, the eighth solo studio album from singer, songwriter and composer Sufjan Stevens – and the long awaited follow-up to ‘Carrie & Lowell’.

“Don’t do to me what you did to America,” Stevens sings in the chorus. “Don’t do to me what you do to yourself.” A press release further says the song “is an indictment of a world crumbling around us—and a roadmap out of here.”

Stevens says The Ascension is “a call for personal transformation and a refusal to play along with the systems around us.” Could this be his protest album?

And while “America” may seem written for these times, it was actually written six years ago, prior to the election of Donald Trump, when he was working on his last fully fledged studio solo album, 2015’s Carrie & Lowell.

“I was dumbfounded by the song when I first wrote it,” Stevens says in the press release. “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.”

Stevens then re-recorded “America” and used it as a jumping off point for The Ascension.

The B-side for the “America” single, non-album track “My Rajneesh,” was also written around the same time. The two songs will be released as 12-inch single on July 31, with “My Rajneesh” getting an earlier digital release on July 10th, Musically, “America” is much closer to the experimental and disorientating sounds of his 2010 album The Age of Adz, rather than the more delicate folk of Carrie & Lowell.

Stevens recorded most of The Ascension himself, on his computer, and basing it around a drum machine and synthesizers. Stevens calls it a “lush, editorial pop album,” one that finds us all at a “terrifying crossroad.” “My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you,” Stevens adds. “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.”

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Angelo De Augustine’s new single featuring Sufjan Stevens out now: Angelo De Augustine has shared a new track the beautifully contemplative “Santa Barbara,” released via Steven’s label Asthmatic Kitty. The track arrived in tandem with a music video self-directed by Augustine, featuring a glistening coastline and existential pondering. “‘Santa Barbara’ touches on the uncertainties and realities of being mortal in the landscape that we view through our experience; displaying ghostly apparitions, love, death, and a famous British novelist,” De Augustine told Rolling Stone. “It was a good experience to record this song with my friend Sufjan. I look forward to sharing more soon.”

Angelo De Augustine: “Santa Barbara” (Feat. Sufjan Stevens)

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Angelo De Augustine writes and records music in Thousand Oaks, California — a suburb north of Los Angeles, where he grew up. His self-released debut album, “Spirals of Silence”, and 3-song EP follow-up, “How Past Begins”, earned praise from The FADER, Stereogum, Vogue, My Old Kentucky Blog, and more. His next project “Swim Inside The Moon” Written in the aftermath of a devastating breakup, Angelo De Augustine’s hushed journal of the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that fill the silence when a gaping hole opens up, revealing that there never really was anything else. De Augustine whispers intimately.

 

“Swim Inside the Moon” out now

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine performing “Time”

Angelo De Augustin burst onto the scene at the back end of last year with his excellent second album, Swim Inside The Moon, a charmingly lo-fi record that was quite literally recorded in a bathtub. This week Angelo has announced details of his upcoming third album, Tomb, released again on Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty Records, as well as sharing the first single from it, Time.

Tomb is the first time Angelo has worked in a proper studio, collaborating with renowned producer, Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman, and listening to Time, it seems to suit him. Time loses none of the gorgeous simplicity and minimalism of Angelo’s previous work, but in Thomas Bartlett’s hands this sounds lusher and more ambitious than ever before. Described by Angelo as, “a lovelorn examination of heartbreak and moving on”, the addition of muted piano, gentle electronics, and even whistling (!) all just work to highlight his enviable songwriting instinct.

Equally good as the recorded version is live version, where Sufjan Stevens joins Angelo on Grand Piano. An album about heartbreak that ends up as a prayer for love, Angelo might sound broken, but he’s still dreaming, still open, still ready for love. the live version of his new track “Time” with Sufjan Stevens on piano. Watch their performance live from Manhattan’s Reservoir Studios

Out January 18th via Asthmatic Kitty.  From the album “Tomb,”