Asthmatic Kitty Archive

2010 – Top 9

GoodMorninCaptn - Top 2010 - Have One On Me, Retold, All Is Falling, Church With No Magic, Until The Point Of Hushed Support, Constellations, The Calcination Of Scout Niblett, All Delighted People EP, I See The SignAND HERE FINALLY COME OUR FAVORITE 9 RECORDS OF 2010… MANY OF WHICH ARE NICELY ORCHESTRATED, SOME PURELY INSTRUMENTAL AND A FEW OTHERS WITH NOTABLE VOICES; SOME GREAT ALBUMS TO FALL ASLEEP TO AND A FEW MORE ENERGIZING ONES TO FUEL OUR MORNINGS… HOPEFULLY YOU’LL LIKE THEM AS MUCH AS WE DO; HOPEFULLY WE WON’T REGRET ALL THE RECORDS WHICH WE HAD TO OMIT, OR FORGOT, OR HADN’T HAD THE CHANCE TO LISTEN TO IN TIME… HOPEFULLY 2011 WILL BE FILLED WITH JUST AS MUCH INSPIRING MUSIC. IN THE MEANTIME, DON’T HESITATE TO SHARE (here or there) WHAT YOU HAVE LISTENED TO OVER AND OVER IN 2010.

Sam Amidon - I See The SignSufjan Stevens - All Delighted People EPThe Calcination - Of Scout Niblett

9) SAM AMIDON – “I See The Sign” (Bedroom Community)

Sam marries ageless folk songs to the avant-garde arrangements of label mate Nico Muhly, unveiling unexpected beauty.

8) SUFJAN STEVENS – “All Delighted People EP” (Asthmatic Kitty)

2010 has delighted fans of Sufjan with no less than 2 great new records: the rambling The Age of Adz, and a so-called hour-long “EP”, slightly more focused, but just as grand and luxurious.

7) SCOUT NIBLETT – “The Calcination of Scout Niblett” (Drag City)

Raw rock-and-roll songs to burn your heart down.

Listen to title-track “The Calcination Of Scout Niblett“:

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Read our review of The Calcination of Scout Niblett.

Balmorhea -ConstellationsGreg Haines - Until The Point Of Hushed SupportPVT - Church With No Magic6) BALMORHEA – “Constellations” (Western Vinyl)

Balmorhea’s compositions got more subtle, welcoming doses of pleasurable silence, and we’ve enjoyed this gentle evolution a lot.

Listen to “Bowsprit“, from “Constellations“:

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5) GREG HAINES – “Until the Point of Hushed Support” (Sonic Pieces)

Strings, church organ, piano, percussions and electronics turn into black magic in the hands of the young and gifted English composer.

Marc’s Descent by Greg Haines

Listen to Until The Point Of Hushed Support on Spotify.

4) PVT – “Church With No Magic” (Warp)

Although the addition of vocals to the Australian trio’s formula may have puzzled a few early fans, it has instilled a touch of immediacy to their music which more than made up for the lost vowels in the band’s name. “Pivot – vowels + vocals = PVT” may have been a winning equation indeed.

PVT – “Window“, directed by Clemens Habicht

Listen to Church With No Magic on Spotify.

James Blackshaw - All Is FallingNest - RetoldJoanna Newsom - Have One On Me3) JAMES BLACKSHAW – “All is Falling” (Young God Records)

Inspired with his new 12-string electric guitar, James Blackshaw has built a more orchestrated suite, which spins and spins, and speaks and sticks to our inner self.

Listen to “Part 7 (edit)“, from “All Is Falling“:

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Listen to All Is Falling on Spotify.

2) NEST – “Retold” (Serein)

Bare landscapes; quiet and haunting.

Retold by Nest

Listen to Retold on Spotify.

Read our review here.

1) JOANNA NEWSOM – “Have One on Me” (Drag City)

With her fingers running across magic strings (and keys, occasionally), and her voice flying high over lengthy compositions, Joanna keeps seducing crowds (and stuffed animals) with a triple LP, which for many towered high above 2010.

Joanna’s magic shall be experienced through analogical means only (i.e. sorry, no official song or video available online).

Read and listen to our top #30 to #19, and top #18 to #10.

New Year’s Label Interview: Asthmatic Kitty

Asthmatic Kitty 2009>2010

OUR 2009>2010 LABEL INTERVIEW SERIES WAS SUPPOSEDLY OVER, BUT TODAY BEING THE LAST DAY FOR 2010′S NEW YEAR’S WISHES, WE COULDN’T BUT OFFER YOU THIS LATE YET WORTHY CONTRIBUTION FROM ASTHMATIC KITTY. I’M NOT SURE THE LABEL THAT RELEASED THE FINEST RECORDS BY MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND OR DM STITH, AND WHOSE CO-FOUNDER AND “MINISTER OF AESTHETICS” IS NO OTHER THAN SUFJAN STEVENS, NEEDS ANY INTRODUCTION, SO LET’S HEAR OF WHAT MADE 2009 A MEMORABLE YEAR FOR ASTHMATIC KITTY ACCORDING TO ITS A&R MICHAEL KAUFMANN.

A) Which records released in 2009 do you wish you had released on Asthmatic Kitty?

I am not sure they would have been right for Asthmatic Kitty or not, but some of my favorite releases of 2009 were:

These Are Powers – All Aboard Future
Micachu & The Shapes – Jewellery
Serengeti And Polyphonic – Pterodactyl
Richard Swift – The Atlantic Ocean
Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
Julianna Barwick – Florine

B) Which artist(s) you wish you had signed will you keep an ear on in  2010?

Julianna Barwick, Slothpop, and the Burnt Ones.

C) What are you the most proud of for Asthmatic Kitty in 2009?

Fol_Chen_Part_I_John_Shade_Your_Fortune_s_MadeDM Stith - Heavy Ghost

Hermas Zopoula - Espoir

Helado Negro - Awe OweOsso - Run Rabbit RunShannon Stephens - The BreadwinnerRoyal City

Sheer volume of releases, we put out more records in 2009 than we ever have. it was exhausting, but we are very excited to have expanded our roster with such lovely folks as Fol Chen, DM Stith, Hermas Zopoula, Helado Negro, Osso, Shannon Stephens, and Royal City.

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Fol Chen “The Believers”, from Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made

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DM Stith “I Heart Wig” (feat. I Heart Lung), from Braid Of Voices EP

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Osso “Enjoy Your Rabbit”, from Run Rabbit Run

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Shannon Stephens “In Summer In The Heat”, from The Breadwinner

D) What are the label’s challenges for 2010?

Continuing to be long term focused, investing in careers as opposed to buzz!

Wild, Free, Noble, Heavy… 2009’s Best Half… So Far

As many labels are preparing their Fall line-up, let’s celebrate the launch of GoodMorninCaptn.com with a little look at the top 20 records 2009 has offered us so far. While a few established bands have released so-so albums, many promising young women have surprised us (Blue Roses’ Laura, Hildur, Anni, Soap&Skin’s Anja…), prominent indie figures have confirmed they were not only shooting stars (Grizzly Bear, Patrick Watson, Andrew Bird), hyperactive craftsmen have perfected their skills (James Blackshaw, Peter Broderick), and a shy songwriter has unexpectedly climbed straight to the top of this past semester’s podium.

Tortoise Beacons Of AncestorshipBlue Roses Blue RosesSonic Youth The Eternal
20) TORTOISE “Beacons of Ancestorship” (Thrill Jockey)
While trying to move forward with their first proper album in 5 years,  Chicago undergound heroes succeed in synthetising their 3 previous LP’s, dressing them up with drunken samba and retro-futuristic pop.
Listen to Tortoise – Prepare Your Coffin (MP3).

19) BLUE ROSES “Blue Roses” (XL Recordings)
Sweet, romantic debut album of the sweet, romantic Laura Groves from Yorkshire, England.

18) SONIC YOUTH “The Eternal” (Matador)
Everybody’s favorite art rockers are back to an independent label and try hard to prove they are as hip and young as in 1990. It does work… except they should have nothing to prove.

PJ Harvey & John Parish A Woman A Man Walked ByNLF3 Ride On A Brand New TimePeter Broderick - Music For Falling From Trees

17) PJ HARVEY & JOHN PARISH “A Woman A Man Walked By” (Island Records)
PJ woof-woofs and John clang-clangs.

16) NLF3 “Ride On A Brand New Time” (Prohibited Records)
Paris trio goes on experimenting on their 4th album, looping sounds in an electropical psychedelia.

15) PETER BRODERICK “Music for Falling From Trees” (Western Vinyl / Erased Tapes)
In the continuity of Float, only more minimalistic, Peter scored a contemporary dance to those 7 nice pieces for violin and piano.
Listen to Peter Broderick – The Path To Recovery (MP3).

Balmorhea - All Is Wild All Is SilentJames Blackshaw - Glass Bead GameLoney Dear - Dear John
14) BALMORHEA “All Is Wild, All Is Silent” (Western Vinyl)
Part post-rock, part post-classical, Balmorhea’s 3rd LP is an ode to early American settlers with epic strings and wordless choirs.
Listen to extracts from Balmorhea – Harm and Boon and Balmorhea – Rememberance.

13) JAMES BLACKSHAW “The Glass Bead Game” (Young God)
12-string British guitar-virtuoso James opens his timeless pieces to a fuller sound.
Listen to James Blackshaw – Cross (MP3).

12) LONEY DEAR “Dear John” (Polyvinyl / Parlophone)
Some will deplore the cheap cosmetic arrangements with which Emil Svanängen has wrapped its otherwise enthralling melodies on his 5th LP.

Akron Family - Set em Wild Set em FreeFever Ray Cover ArtAnni Rossi - Rockwell
11) AKRON/FAMILY “Set Em Wild, Set Em Free” (Dead Ocean / Crammed Discs)
As an answer to Tortoise’s Standards, this new LP freely ventures from psychedelic rock to experimental folk, with Afro rythms and vocals to sing along to around the fireplace.

10) FEVER RAY “Fever Ray” (Rabid Records)
Karin Dreijer Andersson from Swedish electro duo The Knife wanders through dark swamps on her first solo album.

9) ANNI ROSSI “Rockwell” (4AD)
In her collection of songs for viola and voice, backed with drums and cello, 23-yr old Anna, also a violonist with Carla Bozulich, proves she does not lack the creativity of Joanna, Tori, or Regina. Too bad this Steve-Albini-recorded Rockwell is hiding in such a doubtful packaging.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post PavilionHildur Gudnadottir - Without SinkingAndrew Bird - Noble Beast
8) ANIMAL COLLECTIVE “Merriweather Post Pavilion” (Domino)
A jolly merry mess.

7) HILDUR GUDNADÓTTIR “Without Sinking” (Touch)
After many collaboration with Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Pan Sonic, or Múm, Icelandic cellist Hildur releases her 2nd solo album, a wonderfully melancholic evocation of a peaceful shore.

6) ANDREW BIRD “Noble Beast” (Fat Possum / Bella Union)
Not as innovative as previous LP, Noble Beast progressively grows as a nice addition to Mr. Bird’s discography, with evident melodies.

Soap and Skin - Lovetune For VacuumElegi Varde5) SOAP&SKIN “Lovetune For Vacuum” (PIAS)
The cloudy moods of a dark, gifted child from Austria.

4) ELEGI “Varde” (Miasmah Recordings)
Norwegian composer Tommy Jansen imagined a striking soundtrack to Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic 1912 Antarctic expedition.

Patrick Watson - Wooden ArmsGrizzly Bear - VeckatimestDM Stith - Heavy Ghost
3) PATRICK WATSON “Wooden Arms” (Secret City)
A logical follow-up to Close To Paradise, maybe even closer, that reveals its full qualities on stage, where Patrick and his Wooden Arms band excel.

2) GRIZZLY BEAR “Veckatimest” (Warp)
Seemingly more self-confident, the Brooklyn quartet has achieved a big step forward with a luminous 3rd album, which clearly deserves all the critical praise you have read all over.
Listen to Grizzly Bear – Cheerleader (MP3).

1) DM STITH “Heavy Ghost” (Asthmatic Kitty)
New to the singer/songwriter scene, David already distinguishes himself through a deeply personal, touching touch, and luxurious instrumentation. A hauntingly beautiful debut.
Listen to DM Stith – Pity Dance (MP3).

Women first at Point Ephémère this week

My Brightest Diamond – Dragonfly

Shara Worden, whom we’ve heard alongside Sufjan Stevens, before she took her own solo path under the moniker of My Brightest Diamond, feels like a dragonfly and dreams of flying away. Mabe you could help her by attending her Point Ephémère gig in Paris tomorrow, to listen to her crystal-clear yet powerful voice, coupled with nice songwriting skills and a highly endearing personality.

We’re already quite excited about the announcement of A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, her 2nd album to be published on June 17 by Asthmatic Kitty, and for which Shara cites influences from Tricky, Tom Waits and Maurice Ravel, as well as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s movies and Alice In Wonderland.

Tujiko Noriko – 普通の日 (Dead Earth)

No wonder we are starting to see Tujiko Noriko more and more frequently booked at some of the best Parisian venues, as the Japanese-born singer and composer chose to live in our land of magical baguettes, as one can guess from the TV samples heard in her “Dead Earth“.

For us awaken Earthlings, the fairy Noriko-san will showcase her nursery rhymes, between well-written melodies and sharp experiments, Wednesday April 23rd at the  Point Ephémère, as part of the feminine festival Les Femmes s’en mêlent.