Tag Archives: Asthmatic Kitty

New Sufjan Stevens video: Tell Me You Love Me

Video: Sufjan Stevens – “Tell Me You Love Me”

Sufjan Stevens - Tell Me You Love Me [Official Music Video, dir. by Luca Guadagnino]

Directed by Luca Guadagnino. From The Ascension, out now on Asthmatic Kitty.

A bunch of skinny young people are squirming around in Soofy’s Valentines gift to us: a new video directed by the Italian filmmaker who made Call Me by Your Name. Meanwhile, a lonely fox looks on and dreams of eating all the tasty hipsters.

“Tell Me You Love Me” is an anthemic highlight of last year’s bloopy The Ascension.

My love, I feel myself unraveling
Tell me you love me anyway.

In addition to the video, Sufjan also issued a new t-shirt, so if you’re feeling a little needy, you can let everybody know without having to say a word.

Stevens likes to release his albums in five-year increments (Illinois in 2005; Age of Adz in 2010; Carrie & Lowell in 2015; Ascension in 2020), so I’ll be over here patiently hoping for another banjo record in 2025. Fingers crossed!

Sufjan Stevens: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Sufjan Stevens video: Tell Me You Love Me

New Sufjan Stevens: Video Game

Video: Sufjan Stevens – “Video Game”

Sufjan Stevens - Video Game [Official Music Video - feat. Jalaiah]

Directed by Nicole Ginelli. Starring Jalaiah Harmon. From The Ascension, due September 25 on Asthmatic Kitty.

Soofy doesn’t wanna play your video game. That’s a metaphor, of course, but I can’t really picture him getting down with some Mario Kart either. I dunno. Maybe he does, but I can’t see it.

Either way, he’s not out there posting selfies and guesting on America’s Got Talent.

Stevens said, “It’s unfortunate that we live in a society where the value of people is quantified by likes, followers, listeners and views. So many people are seeking attention for the wrong reasons. I think we should all be doing our best work without looking for accolades or seeking reward.”

Is Sufjan the last person in America who cares about selling out?

He continues, “The main takeaway of ‘Video Game’ for me is: your worth (invaluable) should never be based on other people’s approval (ephemeral). Just be yourself. Keep it real. Keep it moving. Do all things with absolute purity, love and joy. And always do your best.”

I suppose if he wanted to sell out, he’d crank out another 50 States album. He’s already done Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon, so: Three down, 47 to go! Get on it! Do your best!

Sufjan Stevens: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Sufjan Stevens: Video Game

New Sufjan Stevens video solidifies theory of 50 States Project

Video: Sufjan Stevens – “The Greatest Gift”

Sufjan Stevens - The Greatest Gift (Official Video)

From The Greatest Gift Mixtape – Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell, out now on Asthmatic Kitty.

The mention of Asa Lovejoy (founder of the city of Portland) in this song is further evidence to prove the theory that Carrie & Lowell was indeed the “Oregon” installment in Sufjan’s “50 States” project, despite the fact that in 2009 Stevens dismissed the project as “such a joke” and admitted it was a “promotional gimmick.”

Almost every song contains at least one specific reference to Oregon: the Death with Dignity Act of 1994, the Oregon breeze, Spencer’s Butte, Eugene, Emerald Park, the Tillamook burn, Sea Lion Caves, Cottage Grove, The Dalles, the Blue Bucket Mine.

The outtakes from this newly released collection keep it going: Wallowa Lake, Asa Lovejoy, the hidden river, Hathaway Jones, the City of Roses, Pig-n-Ford races, Nike, Beavers, Ducks, and Trailblazers.

I mean, come on. This is as clear and obvious as anything on Illinois or Michigan, right?

There was also a mention of Rogue River in “Mystery of Love,” one of the songs Sufjan contributed to the soundtrack of the film, Call Me By Your Name.

And just yesterday, he released the “Tonya Harding” single, about the unlikely skating star who many considered to be “Just some Portland white trash.”

You could easily compile the most Oregony of these songs into an “Oregon” playlist to get the full effect.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this, either. Tuneage wrote a post about it and found a 2005 interview where Stevens discussed Oregon as a likely contender as a follow up to Illinois. Local publications mapped out every Oregon reference on Carrie & Lowell.

Carrie & Lowell is unquestionably the third installment of Sufjan’s Fifty States Project. Three down, only 47 to go! Snap to it, Soofy!

Sufjan Stevens: web, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Sufjan Stevens video solidifies theory of 50 States Project

New Old Sufjan Stevens – Sofia's Song

Sofia's SongOver on the Asthmatic Kitty‘s Sidebar, Sufjan Stevens tells the story of how he almost changed his name, and how in college he started writing a “series of songs for names.” And he shares a charming little banjo song that’s well worth streaming.

My older self, glancing back over simple chords and hazardous poetry, likes to think I’m older, wiser, more mature, more eloquent, more artful, more poignant, more contemporary. But that’s unfair. The concept has changed but the approach has always been the same: to become so completely entrenched in something that it becomes a great big clumsy mummy outfit wrapped around all arms and legs: a metaphysical form of suffocation. Sure, back then, I was young, naïve, unenlightened, untraveled, virtuous, good-natured, and always on time. But the world of youth was where I tried on new ideas, new outfits, new names, and new rhyme schemes—a world where the banjo was my journal, where Sofia Coppola was my imaginary confidant, and where singing out of tune was perfectly OK!

Here’s hoping Stevens goes out on a solo banjo tour to promote this song!

Sufjan Stevens: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

Via the Fork.

Merry Christmas from Sufjan Stevens

sufjan_xmas3_dennyrenshaw.jpg

Sufjan Stevens and Asthmatic Kitty Records wish us all Happy Holidays with a fun little interactive mini-site where you can:

• Play Sufjan Stevens’ A Christmas Game

• Create a Sufjan Elf E-Card

• Print some ornaments for your tree

They’ve also got some free ringtones and the following MP3s:

Sufjan Stevens – “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever”

Sufjan Stevens – “Sister Winter”

Sufjan Stevens – Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State

Sufjan Stevens – Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State (Asthmatic Kitty)

Our introduction to Sufjan Steven’s Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State comes in the form of a progression of minor chords played on a piano. Almost cinematically, “Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)” evokes images of nature crippled by frosty decay. Michigan is entirely devoted to its namesake and while I’ve never been to Michigan, I have an idea of what it must be like—desolate and lonely, epic and vast, serene [I think you’re thinking of Montana – ed.]. These are the exact characteristics that blanket the album.

Stevens’ displays a gentle touch, delicately navigating through babbling rivers, grand forests and snowy hills with a sense of melancholy. His arrangements are understated, his voice rarely rising above a whisper. Acoustic guitars, bells, horns, and assorted vibraphones share space in the mix, creating a soft palate of tones for Stevens to indulge his brush in. It’s this decidedly fragile quiet that speaks the loudest, and when the end of “Oh God, Where Are You Now?” brings about an enveloping blizzard, it demands your attention. The album’s more upbeat moments, such as “All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace,” roll along like the run-off of melting snow into a stream. Stevens evokes the hushed beauty of nature in his music in a way only Phil Elvrum has been able to do recently.

Michigan‘s songs tell of a place where our “Celebrities Uncensored” cameras wouldn’t be caught dead—none of the decadence of metropolitan life is found in the defeated story of “The Upper Peninsula,” only a fledgling economy that is terminating blue-collar workers by the masses. “I live in America, with a pair of Payless shoes.” America has neglected its own—the factory worker that lost his job and cannot support his family, the less-fortunate who are given next to nothing and have to work harder and longer just to break even. Sufjan Stevens gives voice to these people.

Michigan is refreshing—it speaks of a true cause like any good album does. Sufjan Stevens takes you through Michigan and shows you it all, both the good and the bad—the rolling forests, the babbling rivers, the frost-bitten roads, the desolate mill-towns, the dejected workers. For capturing a forgotten piece of America and trying to solve its woes through spreading awareness, Sufjan Stevens is already successful. That Michigan does it earnestly and effectively and manages to make its themes palpable only ensures its place as one of the most touching albums in recent indie history.

For you Michigan natives who might like to know, Stevens went to Hope College and was in the band, Marzuki. You can download “Holland” via Insound.