Tag Archives: Sufjan Stevens

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With a New Album, My Brightest Diamond Plays The Bowery Ballroom

September 23rd, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shara Worden has employed many of her considerable talents in mixing cabaret, chamber music, opera and rock as My Brightest Diamond for nearly a decade. The operatically trained vocalist’s debut full-length, Bring Me the Workhorse (stream it below), arrived in 2006 on Sufjan Stevens’ label, Asthmatic Kitty. Pitchfork noted the “accomplished, graceful music” in praising it. My Brightest Diamond (above, performing at the Haldern Pop Festival live on Rockpalast) has since made a bigger sounding album, 2008’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth (stream it below)— replete with 20 musicians including a string section—and a boundary-pushing LP influenced by her Detroit roots—2011’s All Things Will Unwind (stream it below). And on her fourth full-length, This Is My Hand (stream it below), out last week, she, again, moves in a different direction. NME gushes, “Shara Worden makes a bid to join the U.S. experimental pop pantheon.” And according to AllMusic, “this unlikely but captivating combination of high art and pop culture delivers some of Worden’s most creative and fully realized music.” The one-time New Yorker returns to play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday. Another talented genre-blending singer-songwriter, Doe Paoro, opens the show.

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Sufjan Stevens – The Bowery Ballroom – December 21, 2012

December 24th, 2012


Photo courtesy of Stephanie F. Black | www.flickr.com/photos/blackfrances

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Sufjan Stevens on 12/21

December 18th, 2012

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Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens recently released his second Christmas album, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10. And to that end, he’s coming to town to close out his Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice tour on Friday and Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. Both highly in-demand dates go on sale tomorrow at noon, but The House List is also giving away two tickets to Friday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. All you have to do is fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Sufjan Stevens, 12/21) and a brief message explaining your favorite nontraditional Christmas song. Eddie Bruiser, a sucker for the Yuletide stylings of Chuck Brown, will choose the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Sufjan Stevens Delights The Bowery Ballroom

October 6th, 2009

Sufjan Stevens – The Bowery Ballroom – October 5, 2009

Sufjan Stevens - The Bowery Ballroom - October 5, 2009Like all of his NYC appearances this month, Sufjan Stevens’ show at The Bowery Ballroom last night was sold out. He’s been heavily praised for every piece he’s created, and for good reason: Stevens has set an impossibly high standard that he lives up to every time. The set began with “The Mistress Witch from McClure,” with Stevens gently picking a banjo and accompanied by a French horn. You could hear the floorboards creaking beneath the shifting weight of hundreds of hushed fans, the silence interrupted only by roaring applause. During “Casimir Pulaski Day” a girl was so moved she asked the bartender for napkins to wipe away tears.

It was hard to not read into everything—the shirt Stevens wore, the phrasing of a verse, the humble offhand comments or every nuance—to decipher the complexity of what was happening onstage. Stevens’ band of at least eight rotating members, including Nedelle Torrisi from the opening band, Cryptacize, on backing vocals, crowded the stage with instruments and music stands. Stevens explained he was touring for the “first time in a while” and that he was “using it as an opportunity to workshop some new songs,” like “Impossible Soul,” which showcased his electronic side. He wasn’t singing in a falsetto whisper, but belting out echoed vocals over a hard-rock arrangement that featured him deconstructing a solo, seemingly trying to prove he’s capable of hitting a wrong note, making something ugly for once. (But just barely.)

Any sign of improvisation in the jazzed-up versions of songs like “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!” was always carefully composed chaos. Perfectionist Stevens obviously used the term workshop very loosely. I expected to see an artist in the studio, stretching canvas, working on half-finished abstract paintings. Instead, he unveiled completed, overwhelming masterpieces. As usual. —Jason Dean

Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | photography.notch.org/music