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Trumans Water

O Zeta Zunis

    One of the more esoteric bands from the indie rock world. Trumans Water are admired and questioned in equal measure but there’s an undeniable loveability about this soon-tocelebrate-their-20th-anniversary rock group.
    The band were so beloved by John Peel that he once played one of their records in its entirety on his Radio 1 show.


    Since Yesterday
    Bev Toxin
    Last Time
    Greased Water
    Blasphemous Cordialantlers Ride!
    2 Hands 4 Eyes
    Thew Eak Hen
    5-7-10 Split
    We Fish
    Radio Played
    You Live Out Loud
    Horsesplinter Wraparound

    Half-Handed Cloud


      The (seventh) new Half-handed Cloud album, ‘Flutterama’, is a record of 18 jubilant indie-pop songs by John Ringhofer that investigate spiritual incompetence with lively arrangements and radiant melodies that skilfully dissolve into deterioration using herky-jerky tape manipulation, analogue wow-and-flutter, and an animated orchestra of homerecorded sound effects.

      Ringhofer’s work on ‘Flutterama’ was inspired by Frances Mary Hunter Gordon’s adolescent liturgies (recorded at Abbey Road during The Beatles era), turbid sights and sounds in Guy Maddin films, audaciously bold forms in Sister Corita Kent’s devotional printmaking, the exquisite brittleness of Elizabeth Cotten’s voice, Alberto Burri’s stitched wound burlap assemblages, Alvar Aalto church design, Andrea Büttner’s poverty-informed artwork, Lou Barlow/Dinosaur Jr’s lo-fi ‘Poledo’ sound collage (which namechecks Jesus), Julie Canlis book ‘A Theology of the Ordinary’, Wallace Berman’s visual collage, and The Raincoats’ magnificently shaky DIY aesthetic.

      The album’s tape-fiddled tunes - recorded on the very same 16-track recorder last serviced by a sound technician who also worked with The Beach Boys in their home studio - employ surprisingly little synthesizer (“it felt like cheating,” says Ringhofer) - he preferred to craft most of the album’s effects the long way, frequently going behind the back of rock instrumentation by hand-feeding ½” magnetic reel recordings of chord organs, deflating balloons, some guitars, piano (occasionally tracked with a baby on his lap), brass, tablecloth swipes, and a quickly-cranked half-speed music box. He was assisted by long-time Half-handed Cloud contributor Brandon Buckner on drums, and single song backing vocals from Anacortes, WA songsmith John Van Deusen.


      Bustin' Stronghodes
      Swallowing The Water You Walk On
      Can Shadows Praise You?
      The Netherworld Squints At The Sight Of
      Trick Leash
      Asking For Fish
      I'm The Weakest Link
      Under Your Breath
      Handles 01:52
      What's Illumined Becomes Visible
      Someone You Can Use
      About Face
      Periodically Yours
      We Won't Survive This
      Project Yourself Alive Onto My Corpse
      We Belong To You, But How Now Is Soon?

      Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine

      A Beginner's Mind

        A Beginner’s Mind began when the two musicians and Asthmatic Kitty labelmates decamped to a friend’s cabin in upstate New York for a monthlong songwriting sabbatical. Watching a movie to unwind after each day’s work, they soon found their songs reflecting the films and began investigating this connection in earnest.

        The resulting album is 14 songs (loosely) based on (mostly) popular films—highbrow, lowbrow and everything in between. They wrote in tandem—one person writing a verse, the other a chorus, churning out chord progressions and lyrics willy-nilly, often finishing each other’s sentences in the process. Rigorous editing and rewriting ensued. The results are less a “cinematic exegesis” and more a “rambling philosophical inquiry” that allows the songs to free-associate at will. Plot-points, scene summaries, and leading characters are often displaced by esoteric interpolations that ask the bigger question: what does it mean to be human in a broken world?

        Stevens and De Augustine wrote everything with a deliberate sense of shoshin—the Zen Buddhist concept for which the record is named and an idea that empowered the pair to look for and write about unlikely inspiration without preconceived notions of what a film had to say (The I-Ching and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies also served as incentives along the way). The movies became rhetorical prompts, with the songwriters letting their distinct reactions and creative instincts govern their process. The underlying objective was empathy and openness, absent of judgment: to observe with the eyes of a child.

        The album’s artwork comes courtesy of Ghanaian artist Daniel Anum Jasper. In Ghana during the late ’80s, a novel “mobile cinema” culture emerged when enterprising film fans screened Hollywood blockbusters in the backs of pick-up trucks using portable generators. To advertise the movies, artists painted alternate posters inspired only by the scant information they had about each film. Sufjan and Angelo commissioned a pioneer of this form—Jasper—to paint a series of new works for A Beginner’s Mind (including covers for three 7-inch singles). Information about the project was deliberately kept vague so that Mr. Jasper could work without restraint.

        Sufjan Stevens is an artist, songwriter and composer living in New York. He has released nine widely lauded studio albums and a number of collaborations with fellow musicians, choreographers and visual artists from the New York City Ballet and the celebrated director Luca Guadagnino to his stepfather Lowell Brams and noted dancer Jalaiah Harmon.

        Angelo De Augustine is an artist and songwriter living in Thousand Oaks, California—a suburb north of Los Angeles, where he grew up. He has released three albums including his self-released debut, Spirals of Silence (2014), and two for Asthmatic Kitty Records, Swim Inside The Moon (2017) and Tomb (2019).


        Darryl says: Beautifully combining the distinct voices and instrumental styles of both performers into an intoxicating juxtaposition of folk and tenderly plucked indie balladry. It's haunting in parts, and elsewhere wonderfully melodic, a perfect outing for both performers.


        1. Reach Out 3:43
        2. Lady Macbeth In Chains 3:42
        3. Back To Oz 4:25
        4. The Pillar Of Souls 4:04
        5. You Give Death A Bad Name 5:11
        6. Beginner’s Mind 2:36
        7. Olympus 3:07
        8. Murder And Crime 3:43
        9. (This Is) The Thing 3:13
        10. It’s Your Own Body And Mind 2:27
        11. Lost In The World 3:20
        12. Fictional California 3:03
        13. Cimmerian Shade 5:01
        14. Lacrimae 2:05

        Sufjan Stevens

        The Ascension

          Sufjan returns with the long awaited follow up to Carrie & Lowell, featuring some of his most confident and varied work to date. We kick things off with the unassuming beginnings of 'Make Me An Offer I Cannot Refuse' before launching into a deeply electronic but airy Thom Yorkey vocal workout. It's this sort of rapid switch and thematic flexibility that both characterises the album and leads to the most surprising and satisfying moments of his career. 

          'Video Game' sees some haunting organy synth leading into a deeply rythmic and pop-led verse, showcasing Stevens' iconic voice, and dedication to variety in songcraft.  

          there are some more ambient moments at play, with 'Die Happy' and 'Gilgamesh' trading on the ambient electronic backdrop, but with long tailed reverbs and soaring echoes working their way around the stereo image. 

          Possibly the most satisfying moments on this collection comes as the flow of the album quietens down into the euphoric redux of the latter third of the album. 'Sugar' could easily have been the background to some of the earlier, skittering electronics of Múm or the Rós, while the title track encompasses everything we love about Stevens, but imbued with a mildly melancholic but wholly relaxed atmospherics. 

          It's a beautiful LP, and one that only goes to prove how essential Stevens continues to be on our musical landscape. 


          Javi says: From the opening choral glitches to the sea of ambience which sees the album out, ‘The Ascension’ is a patchwork of electronic experimentation, distorted lamentations, and intimate confession.

          Sufjan Stevens has long been a musical chameleon: from the alt-folk expression of ‘Carrie & Lowell’, to the meticulously-researched bombast of ‘Illinois’ and digital catharsis of ‘The Age of Adz’, he’s proven time and time again that whatever the instrumentation or subject matter, he can write rich, personal, spiritual songs like no one else. ‘The Ascension’ draws on all these and more, to create an album as fragile as it is grand, as despairing as it is defiant, and as inspired (if not more so) than anything he’s done before.

          ‘The Ascension’ is a predominantly electronic affair: huge, distorted drums pulse throughout the album, underscoring hordes of ghostly voices and shifting synths. Celestial car alarm effects argue with auto-tuned vocal cries, while album highlight “Landslide” sees Sufjan bow to a guitar solo, of all things, teetering in-between The Durutti Column’s understated beauty and wild math-rock frenzy. Lyrically, Sufjan seems desperate for a response, making demands and pleading with us, the listener, to soothe his anxieties. Faith and certainty are out; desire and anxiety are in. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the penultimate and titular track, which sees Sufjan explore those thoughts he “couldn’t quite confess” to gut-wrenching effect.

          Like Dante’s Inferno reimagined as a tour of purgatory, ‘The Ascension’ is a deeply conflicted, gloriously lost, and tentatively comforting album. It’s Sufjan’s finest hour (and twenty minutes) yet.


          1. Make Me An Offer I Cannot Refuse (5:19)
          2. Run Away With Me (4:07)
          3. Video Game (4:16)
          4. Lamentations (3:42)
          5. Tell Me You Love Me (4:22)
          6. Die Happy (5:47)
          7. Ativan (6:32)
          8. Ursa Major (3:43)
          9. Landslide (5:04)
          10. Gilgamesh (3:50)
          11. Death Star (4:04)
          12. Goodbye To All That (3:48)
          13. Sugar (7:37)
          14. The Ascension (5:56)
          15. America (12:30)

          Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams


            Aporia is a New Age album from Sufjan Stevens and his step-father and record label co-owner, Lowell Brams. In the spirit of the New Age composers who sanded off the edges of their synths’ sawtooth waves, Aporia approximates a rich soundtrack from an imagined sci-fi epic brimming with moody, hooky, gauzy synthesizer soundscapes. The album may suggest the progeny of a John Carpenter, Wendy Carlos, and Mike Oldfield marriage, but it stands apart from these touchstones and generates a meditative universe all its own. This is no mere curio in the Sufjan Stevens catalog - but a fully realized collaborative musical piece.

            TRACK LISTING

            ` SIDE A

            1.Ousia 2:33
            2.What It Takes 3:23
            3.Disinheritance 1:13
            4.Agathon 3:02
            5.Determined Outcome 2:12
            6.Misology 1:49
            7.Afterworld Alliance 2:47
            8.Palinodes 0:32
            9.Backhanded Cloud 1:26
            10.Glorious You 1:49

            SIDE B

            11.For Raymond Scott 0:34
            12.Matronymic 0:57
            13.The Red Desert 2:54
            14.Conciliation 1:20
            15.Ataraxia 1:12
            16.The Unlimited 2:14
            17.The Runaround 3:35
            18.Climb That Mountain 3:00
            19.Captain Praxis 2:13
            20.Eudaimonia 2:19
            21.The Lydian Ring 1:02

            Sufjan Stevens & Timo Andres

            The Decalogue

              Oscar- and Grammy-nominated composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens releases his acclaimed score for Justin Peck’s ballet The Decalogue via his own label, AKR. Performed by the pianist Timo Andres, the recording is the first time the score, premiered during the New York City Ballet’s 2017 season, is available to the public. 

              The Decalogue is the third collaboration between NYCB Resident Choreographer Peck and Stevens, following 2012’s Year of the Rabbit and 2014’s Everywhere We Go. The piece was widely praised upon its premiere; The New York Times lauded the “beauty and charm” of Peck’s choreography as well as Stevens’ “romantically modernist études.”

              Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Timo Andres is a Nonesuch Records artist, who has written major works for the Boston Symphony, Carnegie Hall, the Barbican, the Takács Quartet, the Concertgebouw, and elsewhere. He performs regularly with Gabriel Kahane, and has frequently appeared with Philip Glass, Becca Stevens, Nadia Sirota, the Kronos Quartet, John Adams, Ted Hearne, and others. As a pianist, Timo has performed at Lincoln Center, for the New York Philharmonic, the LA Phil, at Wigmore Hall, for San Francisco Performances, and at (le) Poisson Rouge. Upcoming highlights include a curated program for the Cincinnati Symphony (featuring Dance Heginbotham and a performance of Andres’s cello concerto, Upstate Obscura), and a solo piano recital for Carnegie Hall. Previous work with Sufjan Stevens includes the orchestration of “Principia” for Justin Peck and the New York City Ballet.

              A singer-songwriter currently living in New York, Sufjan Stevens’ preoccupation with epic concepts has motivated two state records (Michigan and Illinois), a collection of sacred and biblical songs (Seven Swans), an electronic album for the animals of the Chinese zodiac (Enjoy Your Rabbit), an expansive EP in homage to the Apocalypse (All Delighted People), a full length partly inspired by the outsider artist Royal Robertson (The Age of Adz) and two Christmas box sets (Songs for Christmas, vol. 1-5 and Silver & Gold, vol. 6-10). BAM has commissioned two works from Stevens, a programmatic tone poem for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE) and an instrumental accompaniment to slow-motion rodeo footage (Round-Up). Stevens’ Planetarium, a collaborative album with Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner and James McAlister imbued with themes of the cosmos, was released in 2017 to widespread critical praise.

              2015’s highly acclaimed Carrie & Lowell explored his relationship with his mother in the wake of her death; a companion collection of outtakes, remixes and demos, The Greatest Gift Mixtape, was released in 2017. The songs “Love Yourself” and “With My Whole Heart” were released in 2018 in celebration of Pride Month, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Ali Forney Center in Harlem, NY and the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit, MI. Stevens also contributed three much-lauded songs to Luca Guadagnino’s critically acclaimed film Call Me By Your Name, including the Oscar-nominated “Mystery of Love.”

              TRACK LISTING


              Sufjan Stevens

              Songs For Christmas

                As some of you may or may not know, for the past few years, as a holiday tradition, Sufjan has embarked on an extraordinary experiment to record an annual Christmas EP. It started in 2001, the year of Epiphanies, and continued onward (skipping only 2004), culminating into an odd and idiosyncratic catalog of music that has only existed in the Asthmatic Kitty archives (and on a number of file sharing sites). The recording process took place every December, for one week, usually at home, provoking collaborations with friends, roommates, and musical peers. Armed with a Reader's Digest Christmas Songbook (and a mug of hot cider) Sufjan & friends concocted a musical fruit cake year after year, implementing every musical instrument they could find lying around the house: banjo, oboe, Casiotone, wood flute, a buzzy guitar, hand claps, sleigh bells, Hammond organ, and some tree tinsel. Did we mention sleigh bells? It doesn't take much to capture that Creepy Christmas Feeling, does it? Recorded, mixed and mastered at home, the EPs themselves were often assembled in the kitchen, stapled together, and sent out with stickers and stamps to loved ones across the globe, year after year. Recording traditional favourites alongside unique originals, Sufjan has, over the course of five years, constructed an odd, impressive, and compelling collection of Christmas hits (and some misses) that will either warm your heart or make you throw up eggnog all over the bath mat (depending on your constitution). Asthmatic Kitty now releases ALL of the material (newly mixed and mastered) in one generous box set.

                TRACK LISTING

                Silent Night
                O Come, O Come Emmanuel
                We’re Goin’ To The Country
                Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
                It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad!
                Holy, Holy, Holy
                Amazing Grace
                Angels We Have Heard
                Put The Lights On The Tree
                Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
                I Saw Three Ships
                Only At Christmas Time
                Once In Royal David’s City
                Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!
                What Child Is This Anyway?
                Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
                O Come, O Come Emmanuel
                Come On! Let’s Boogey To The Elf Dance!
                We Three Kings
                O Holy Night
                That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!
                Ding! Dong!
                All The King’s Horns
                The Friendly Beasts
                The Little Drummer Boy
                Away In A Manger
                Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time!
                The First Noel
                Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)
                The Incarnation
                Joy To The World
                Once In Royal David’s City
                Get Behind Me, Santa!
                Jingle Bells
                Christmas In July
                Lo! How A Rose E’er Blooming
                Jupiter Winter
                Sister Winter
                O Come O Come Emmanuel
                Star Of Wonder
                Holy, Holy, Holy
                The Winter Solstice

                Carrie & Lowell, the new album from Sufjan Stevens, is released on Stevens’ own Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

                The album - named for Stevens’ mother and stepfather - is a return to Stevens’ folk roots. Thematically the 11 songs address life and death, love and loss, and the artist’s struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love.

                Carrie & Lowell was recorded by Stevens alongside Casey Foubert, Laura Veirs, Nedelle Torrisi, Sean Carey, Ben Lester and Thomas Bartlett and mixed by Stevens, Bartlett and Pat Dillet.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Death With Dignity
                2. Should Have Known Better
                3. All Of Me Wants All Of You
                4. Drawn To The Blood
                5. Eugene
                6. Fourth Of July
                7. The Only Thing
                8. Carrie & Lowell
                9. John My Beloved
                10. No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross
                11. Blue Bucket Of Gold

                My Brightest Diamond

                This Is My Hand

                  ‘This Is My Hand’ is a bold chapter in the unfurling My Brightest Diamond story. The album’s exploration of music and its rhythmic urgency escort Shara Worden’s chamber music aesthetic out of the chamber and back into the dance hall and rock bar.

                  Produced by Shara and Zac Rae, ‘This Is My Hand’ is the moment where the music achieves the brilliance of her huge ambition.

                  Sounding not quite like anything else but hugely accessible, ‘This Is My Hand’ will be the moment that My Brightest Diamond sparkles worldwide.

                  The wind blows hard. We need songs for shelter and Raymond Raposa can build a shelter from almost anything: the sun-bleached bones of a drum track and a couple of spare organ chords; a carpet of creeping synth arpeggios, a scaffolding of multi-tracked harmonies, a few scraps of alto sax to prop up the whole structure. ‘Decimation Blues’, Raymond Raposa’s sixth release as Castanets, marks a decade of scavenger architecture.

                  ‘Decimation Blues’ sees Raposa stepping out in front of the hermetic persona he’s crafted over ten years. There have always been shards of pop songs glinting in the dark corners of Castanets records. Here we get whole gleaming edifices.

                  ‘Decimation Blues’ is the music of a man who’s learned to live and build among the wreckage - twelve seemingly offhand, secretly meticulous tracks that we can hunker down in. “Still always good to be alone in someone else’s home,” Raposa sings. Come in out of the rain, put your shoes by the fire. The walls might shake and the wind might howl but you’ll be safe here a while.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  It’s Good To Touch You In The Sunlight
                  Be My Eyes
                  Thunder Bay
                  Out For The West
                  To Look Over The
                  Blackbird Tune
                  Pour It Tall And Pour It True
                  There Is A Place Up The Road There
                  My Girl Comes To The City
                  Tell Them Memphis
                  Somewhere In The Blue

                  Mozart’s Sister - the solo project of Montreal’s Caila Thompson-Hannant she started back in early 2011 - delights in making glittering, celebratory pop with an underlying strain of brittle, claustrophobic energy. By marrying the accessible with the decidedly off-kilter, she displays a similar vigor and charisma to female contemporaries Grimes and tUnE-yArDs, both of whom too learned their trade among the same fertile hometown scene as her.

                  Since attracting a ton of buzz for her entrancing live shows and for first EP ‘Hello’, Mozart’s Sister has been head-down in her bedroom writing her debut album. For anyone who’s been following her work - and for new listeners - ‘Being’ is Mozart’s Sister expressing macrocosmic ideas about life with panache and abundant hooks.

                  Inspired by ‘Discovery’-era Daft Punk, ‘Post’-era Bjork, and Betty Davis, Caila produced, recorded and wrote the album using a cheap soundcard and Ableton software, approaching it with a do-it-all-by-myself ideology.

                  Being is fundamentally a pop record. If you’re looking to catalogue her music more than that, you’re going to have a hard time; Caila describes Being as an intentionally fractured album. “It was far reaching. Things didn’t always connect, but that was part of the whole idea,” she says. Which is representative of the best music, and maybe the best of life: looking for order in chaos, not always finding it, and living with whatever happens next.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Good Thing Bad Thing
                  Lone Wolf
                  A Move
                  Bow A Kiss
                  Salty Tear
                  Do It To Myself (Run Run)
                  Don’t Leave It To Me
                  My House Is Wild
                  Chained Together

                  Half-handed Cloud’s ‘Flying Scroll Flight Control’ presents Dada interior-architectural songs, in the mode of Kurt Schwitters’ ‘Merzbau’, the sound of Robert Rauschenberg’s cardboard combines, interrupted by Futurist noise intoner music of collision. They’re integrated with the radiant flicker of Stan Brakhage’s domestic / personal 1960s art films, the mechanized music of Conlon Nancarrow, Mister Rogers’ avant-garde children’s operas and the methods of Grunge era hometaping alchemists Eric’s Trip, with scriptures giving voice to the unknown.

                  The album features a 5-person female choir, manipulated recording tape, fuzz bass, clarinet, some piano, a child’s Magnus air organ, rhythmic zipper, trombone, a cushioned Stylophone stick and intermittent backpacker guitar.

                  Mixed by Sufjan Stevens.

                  Mastered by John Dieterich (from Deerhoof).

                  “Sometimes, the songs have an appeal reminiscent of a hypercaffeinated Shins, with the addition of a refined sense of quirkiness that evokes a Mark Mothersbaugh score for a Wes Anderson movie.” - Pitchfork

                  “The usual intricate assortment of horns, pianos and marimbas return to fill out the sonic tableau but the synthesized textures push Ringhofer toward a delightfully idiosyncratic white-boy soul aesthetic.” - Paste Magazine

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Pneumatic Mystery Envelopes
                  Sensei Says
                  What Spins, By Your Hand Was Spun
                  Debtors To Greeks & Barbarians
                  Titus Three
                  We Toil And Struggle
                  He’s Already On Everyone’s Side
                  Psychic Failure, Utmost Patience
                  Enlightenment In The Way
                  Even If Angels Arrive With Plausible News
                  Fetus, I Am Not Out Of My Mind
                  He Can’t Deny Himself
                  We Speak Of What We Know
                  Live As The Children Of Light Inside Of You
                  Secret Wisdom Intervening
                  Tablets Breathing Their Last Breath
                  Now The Veiled Faces Can Breath
                  Flying Scroll Flight Patrol

                  Linda Perhacs

                  The Soul Of All Natural Things

                    This is one of the most incredible comebacks in the history of modern music - incredible because it is now 44 years since Linda Perhacs released her at the time overlooked but now seminal ‘Parallelograms’ album.

                    Who’d have thought that this many years later she would return at all, let alone with one of the most beautiful albums you will hear in 2014? Recorded in California with two local musicians and songwriters, and featuring collaborations with Julia Holter and Ramona Gonzales (Nite Jewel), this record is destined to become one of the most loved records of the year.



                      Sisyphus is the new name for the collaboration between Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti and Son Lux (formerly s/s/s), with a self-titled album partly inspired by the art of Jim Hodges.

                      Take the romantic stings and catchy choruses from the Illinois era, throw in some crazed electronic percussion, melted synths, rapped verses, and autotuned vocals, and stir.

                      ‘Psychic Temple II’ is a labour of love envisioned by Chris Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life - as he puts it, “a dream ensemble that could never actually exist”.

                      The ensemble’s sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.

                      ‘Psychic Temple II’ reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually unrestrained approach.

                      Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson’s ‘Steppin’ Out’, Frank Zappa’s ‘Sofa No. 2’ and Brian Wilson’s ‘Til I Die’, a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Ray Raposa (Castanets) and Nedelle Torrisi.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      Seventh House
                      The Starry King Hears Laughter
                      Solo In Place
                      Bird In The Garden
                      Til I Die
                      She Is The Golden World
                      Steppin’ Out
                      All I Want Is Time
                      Sofa No. 2
                      NO TSURAI
                      Hyacinth Thrash Quarter

                      Helado Negro

                      Invisible Life

                      Press play on ‘Invisible Life’ and you lose your season. Roberto Lange - Helado Negro - is talking to you in Spanish. He’s talking to you, perhaps with more volume, in the language he’s been teaching us all over the past three years through the lessons of the seductive full length ‘Canta Lechuza’, the sub-narrative exploration EP ‘Island Universe Story One’, and the all-in collaboration, ‘OMBRE’, with Juliana Barwick.

                      Jon Philpot, The Bear In Heaven frontman, is one of a few key contributions on the album, including more old friends like Eduardo Alonso (Feathers) and Matt Crum (Lange’s longtime bandmate in ROM), as well as kindred and vast spirit Devendra Banhart. Banhart’s guitar on ‘Arboles’ multiplies the whispered dream of Helado Negro into Technicolor parallel existences.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      Llumina Vos
                      Dance Ghost
                      U Heard
                      Catch That Pain

                      Sufjan Stevens

                      Silver & Gold

                        Who can save us from the infidels of Christmas commodity? Look no further, tired shopper, for your hero arrives as the diligent songwriter Sufjan Stevens, army of one, banjo in one hand, drum machine in the other, holed up in his room, surrounded by hymnals, oratorios, music charts, sacred harp books, paperclipped-photo-copied Readers Digest Christmas catalogs, singing his barbaric yawp above the snow-capped rooftops.

                        This deluxe 5CD boxset includes 5 CD EPs (‘Gloria’, ‘I Am Santa’s Helper’, ‘Christmas Infinity Voyage’, ‘Let It Snow’ and ‘Christmas Unicorn’), 2. Christmas stickers, temporary tattoos (non-toxic & safe for children), a paper ornament (self-assembly with directions), an apocalyptic pull-out poster, song lyrics and chord charts, hallucinogenic photographs and psychedelic graphic design (by Sufjan Stevens) and extensive liner notes (essays by Sufjan Stevens and Pastor Vito Aiuto).

                        The Welcome Wagon

                        Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices

                          ‘Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices’, The Welcome Wagon’s second full-length, is an apt sequel to their critically acclaimed 2008 debut, ‘Welcome to The Welcome Wagon’. Here, Vito and Monique simply throw those welcoming arms open wider.

                          Recorded by Alexander Foote over 5 days at the library of an old rectory in Brooklyn. Those who enjoyed the Welcome Wagon’s debut album will notice their distinct sound again here - loose, jangly, comfortable, a gathering of friends making music together.

                          At times jaunty and toe-tapping, at others quietly contemplative - an alt-folk gem.

                          A supercombo team-up between Simon Lord (ex Simian) and Rafter Roberts, the Roberts & Lord duo present their Asthmatic Kitty debut, ‘Eponymous’.

                          Roberts’ rough and grimy (yet complexly arranged) analog backing tracks paired with Lord's clean, digitally-recorded vocals gives these songs a tricky kind of depth that is immediately engaging. This effortless juxtaposition reigns throughout the album.

                          Influenced by nonsense verse poets like Ivor Cutler and Edward Lear, Lord gives us a simple, light-hearted return to innocence, the sweaty exuberance of a dance party with all your friends around you.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Mosquito
                          2. Wild Berries
                          3. Bottom Of The Bottle
                          4. Windmill
                          5. Oblique
                          6. Knots
                          7. Menuhin
                          8. Purple Doves
                          9. We Rise, We Fall
                          10. Interior Demon
                          11. Spem
                          12. The Same Love

                          Helado Negro is Roberto Carlos Lange, sometime collaborator of Scott Herren in Savath & Savalas and occasional conspirator with Jaytram of Yeasayer.

                          Whilst his last full length, ‘Awe Owe’, was a Funkadelican mega-opus, this is a more personal beast, a solo affair built lovingly from live instruments, percussion, and field recordings, all processed through electronics, computers, and synthesizers. It is an album with very defined songs, its song-structure has been laboured over; choruses count bigtime, confident breakdowns and digi-pop bridges are all part and parcel of the greater good.

                          His voice recalls ‘China Girl’-era David Bowie; a relaxed and tropical Peter Gabriel (or even Peter Murphy).

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Globitos
                          2. Regresa
                          3. 2º Dia
                          4. Lechuguilla
                          5. Cenar En La Manana
                          6. El Oeste
                          7. Obra Uno
                          8. Oreja De Arena
                          9. Con Suerte
                          10. Calculas
                          11. Alcanzar

                          Sufjan Stevens

                          The Age Of Adz

                            "The Age Of Adz" (pronounced Odds) is Sufjan Stevens’ first full-length collection of original songs since 2005’s conceptual pop opus "Illinois".

                            This new album is probably his most unusual, first, for its lack of conceptual underpinnings, and second, for its extensive use of electronics. The album almost entirely eschews the songwriter’s former tools of the trade - acoustic instruments that accompany an expansive narrative scope.

                            While the sounds on this record are distinctly “artificial” (drum machines and analogue synthesizers reign supreme), the proclamations of the songs are unabashedly visceral, sung loudly, with a backdrop of insistent orchestration.

                            The result is an album that is perhaps more vibrant, more primary, and more explicit than anything Sufjan has done before, incorporating themes that are neither historical nor civic, but rather personal and primal (if even a little juvenile). Love, sex, death, disease, illness, anxiety, and suicide make appearances in an aggressive (and sometimes danceable) tapestry of electronic pop, conveyed with the urgency, immediacy, and anxiety of primary colours.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Darryl says: No overall theme on this album but it's mainly concerned with love and loss. Subtle electronics take centre stage proving to be a perfect foil for his slightly mournful vocals, and giving the overall sound a spacey cosmic feel. This is Sufjan at his supreme best!

                            Continuing Asthmatic Kitty's penchant for an extremely diverse roster - rather than follow down the more, shall we say, abstract or experimental paths that some other recent artists have, Stephens delivers a true song-writers record. This is a lazy afternoon of a release, with beautiful vocals and melodies delivered over calm and tender acoustic, slightly country tinged, slightly jazzy backdrops. Its appeal is broad and its influences are myriad.

                            Fol Chen

                            Part 1: John Shade Your Fortune's Made

                            Fol Chen sound like Prince with Amon Duul II and a children's religious revival, not to mention Hot Chip, Pink Floyd, Gwen Stefani, Pere Ubu, Danielson Famile, Scritti Politti, Boards of Canada, The Blow and Pulp. Fol Chen features Samuel Bing, guitarist for The Liars, and appearances from Karin Tatoyan, Rafter, members of Castanets and Liars. Two of their songs have been featured in the major motion picture 'Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom'. Fol Chen will also soon be heard via their remixes of High Places, Frightened Rabbit and No Kids. Cryptic and Joyful and Asking you to Dance.

                            Various Artists

                            Achoo! An Asthmatic Kitty Sampler Volume 2

                              Asthmatic Kitty Records presents "Achoo!" their second sampler of music released on the label – 27 tracks for the price of a CD single! Featuring songs from every artist on the label and spanning the entire breadth of the catalogue, this gives a concise and exciting introduction to one of the most interesting independent labels in operation today.

                              Green Water - The Curtains
                              Henney Buggy Band - Sufjan Stevens
                              High Life - Shapes And Sizes
                              Adventurers - Rafter
                              Eyes Peeled - Half-Handed Cloud
                              We Were Sparkling - My Brightest Diamond
                              Sold To The Nice Rich Man - Welcome Wagon
                              So Gentle Your Arms - Shannon Stephens
                              Poison & Snakes - Liz Janes
                              Strong Animal - Castanets
                              Twilight And Ghost Stories (excerpt) - Chris Schlarb
                              Year Of The Boar - Osso
                              Encouragement - Rafter
                              Say You Will - Cryptacize
                              Future Past Perfect - Future Rapper
                              Sampler Song - Rafter
                              Sailing The Veil-Boat - Half-Handed Cloud
                              Climbing Texas - Belltower
                              Christmas In July - Sufjan Stevens
                              Dancing With Someone (Privilege Of Everything) - Castanets
                              A Feast - Royal City
                              Goldenhead - Shapes And Sizes
                              Yes/No - Bunky
                              Quail - Half-Handed Cloud
                              Careless Love - Liz Janes & Create
                              Golden Star (Alias Remix) - My Brightest Diamond
                              As You Do - Castanets


                              Sex Death Cassette

                                Inspired by influences as diverse as Guided By Voices, R Stevie Moore, Fela Kuti, Lightning Bolt, Fushitsusha, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Cody Chestnutt, "Sex Death Cassette" is an album full of hope, determination and chaos. It'll leave you with sweat dripping down your face onto your swelled lip; fresh, liquid salt, the quintessential flavour of late night post-disco parties and booty slinging good times. After dancing to this album, you're heavy with it, like too much cough syrup on a stomach full of hi-quality sushi. Rafter executes the helter-skelter boogie-down production so gracefully that it is no mystery why those in-the-know recruit him, including the likes of Fiery Furnaces, The Rapture, Arab on Radar, The Album Leaf, Rocket from the Crypt, Danielson, Black Heart Procession, The Peppermints, Hot Snakes, his own band Bunky, and fellow Asthmatic Kitty artists (Castanets, Liz Janes, and Sufjan Stevens).


                                In The Vines

                                  An album based on a Hindu fable about being trapped in an escapable fate, with death and the limitations of our physical lives closing in from all corners. "In The Vines" was written in the aftermath of a mugging, which was the climax of a year of depression and nomadic, nocturnal dislocation. But "In The Vines" is not all peril and darkness; the songs are sung with such intimacy and earnestness that it sways somewhere between the serpent, elephant, bees and rats, the honey representing a strange sense of hope and delight in the brief moments of beauty that sustain our lives. The record features guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens, Jana Hunter, Viking Moses and many others.

                                  Shapes And Sizes

                                  Split Lips Winning Hips A Shiner

                                    Shapes And Sizes return with their refined brand of experimental pop to create a cohesive, demanding and rewarding listen. Recorded with JC/DC Studios (Destroyer, New Pornographers) and mixed with Asthmatic Kitty's own Rafter Roberts (Fiery Furnaces, The Rapture) to forge a pristine decomposition. Don't turn it down – the overdrive provides the framework for equally aggressive lyrics that combine sensuality, violence and social critique. For fans of Fiery Furnaces, Deerhoof and Animal Collective.

                                    Sufjan Stevens

                                    The Avalanche

                                      Sufjan's last album, "Illinois" was originally conceived as a double album, culminating in a musical collage of nearly 50 songs. But as the project began to develop into an unwieldy epic, common sense weighed in – as did the opinions of others – and the project was cut in half. But as 2005 came to a close, Sufjan returned to the old, forsaken songs on his 8-track like a grandfather remembering his youth. Sufjan gleaned 21 useable tracks from the abandoned material, including three alternate versions of "Chicago". Some songs were in finished form, others were merely outlines, gesture drawings, or musical scribbles mumbled on a hand-held tape recorder. Most of the material required substantial editing, new arrangements or vocals. Much of the work was done at the end of 2005 or in January the following year. Sufjan invited many of the original Illinoisemakers to fill in the edges: drums, trumpet, a choir of singers. The centrepiece, of course, was the title track – "The Avalanche" – a song intended for the leading role on the "Illinois" album but eventually cut and placed as a bonus track on the vinyl release.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      The Avalanche
                                      Super Computer
                                      Chicago Acoustic
                                      Henney Buggy
                                      Saul Bellow
                                      Kaskaskia River
                                      Chicago AC
                                      Inaugural Music
                                      Your Land
                                      Pick Up
                                      Perpetual Self
                                      Chicago OCD
                                      Undivided Self

                                      Sufjan Stevens


                                        Sufjan Stevens scales dusty prairies, steel factories, and two hundred years of history to produce his newest album "Illinois" on Rough Trade. Invoking the muse of poet Carl Sandburg (and the musical flourishes of Rodgers and Hammerstein), "Illinois" ushers in trumpets on parade, string quartets, female choruses and ambient piano scales arranged around Stevens' emerging falsetto. Whereas 2003s "Michigan" (the inaugural album of 'The 50 States' project) was rooted in memory, and 2004s "Seven Swans" was rooted in the spirit, "Illinois" is rooted in 'the world, in society, invention, civilisation, in disease, in death, in education, in business', says Stevens. And unlike "Seven Swans", Stevens surmounted the heights of "Illinois" solo, employing guest musicians but recording, engineering, and producing the album entirely on his own.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
                                        The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You’re Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, “I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Till They Are Off Our Lands!”
                                        Come On! Feel The Illinoise! / Part I: The World’s Columbian Exposition / Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
                                        John Wayne Gacy, Jr
                                        A Short Reprise For Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But For Very Good  Reasons
                                        Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Step-Mother!
                                        One Last “Whoo-Hoo!” For The Pullman
                                        Casimir Pulaski Day
                                        To The Workers Of The Rock River Valley Region, I have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament, And It Involves An Inner Tube, Bath Mats, And 21 Able-Bodied Men
                                        The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
                                        Prairie Fire That Wanders About
                                        A Conjunction Of Drones Simulating The Way In Which Sufjan Stevens Has An Existential Crisis In The Great Godfrey Maze
                                        The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us
                                        They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!
                                        Let’s Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don’t Think They Heard It All The Way Out In Bushnell 
                                        In This Temple As In The Hearts Of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth
                                        The Seer’s Tower
                                        The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders / Part I: The Great Frontier / Part II: Come To Me Only With Playthings Now
                                        Riffs And Variations On A Single Note For Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The King Of Swing, To Name A Few
                                        Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My  Sandals As I Run

                                        Sufjan Stevens

                                        Presents Greetings From Michigan

                                          Sufjan's homage to his home state is a beautiful mix of Stereolab meets Philip Glass meets indie-folk - a delicate vocal with intricate instrumentation. 

                                          Although he plays all the instruments on the album himself, he enlists the help of fellow Danielson Famile members  Megan, Elin, and Daniel Smith on vocal duties.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          Flint (For The Unemployed And Underpaid)
                                          All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace!
                                          For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti
                                          Say Yes! To M!ch!gan!
                                          The Upper Peninsula
                                          Tahquamenon Falls
                                          Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)
                                          Alanson, Crooked River
                                          Sleeping Bear, Sault Saint Marie
                                          They Also Mourn Who Do Not Wear Black (For The Homeless In Muskegon)
                                          Oh God, Where Are You Now? (In Pickeral Lake? Pigeon? Marquette? Mackinaw?)
                                          Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)
                                          Vito’s Ordination Song

                                          Latest Pre-Sales

                                          200 NEW ITEMS

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                                          Yes, physical copies available July 1. Get your pre-orders in here 👇 @TheVintageCrop
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