From the fertile urban trench known as Glasgow, Scotland, comes a knight on horseback. He wears not the cloth of his more famous neighbors -- the Belle & Sebastians, Pastels, Arab Straps and Mogwais. No, this knight comes trotting out of camp with nary a stitch on his body. Bearded and weary, he's got the look of a convalescent after a long night of hard rain. This isn't your father's round table story. There's a new lord in town and his name is Alasdair Roberts. Most know him from the few beautiful records he's recorded with his band Appendix Out (THE RYE BEARS A POISON, DAYLIGHT SAVING and THE NIGHT IS ADVANCING). He also recently played a role on the debut International Airport full-length, as well as repeated appearances on Songs: Ohia records. On this, his debut solo album, he offers twelve traditional Scottish, English and Irish songs, unaccompanied by anything other than his voice and guitar.A word from Alasdair Roberts on THE CROOK OF MY ARM:When I began to gather together some of my favourite old songs with a view to making a record out of them, it didn't occur to me initially that most of them were love songs and ballads. I still don't know why I was, subconsciously or otherwise, drawn to such material. True, the love expressed in many of these songs is often unrequited or tragic (there are many deaths on this record), but they are love songs nonetheless: at times beautiful, at times sick, and frequently both at the same time.Moreover, it was only after the recording session that I could see how this record could be considered a "suite" of songs (although making a "concept album" in the conventional sense was not my intention at the time). With hindsight, the connections between songs became more apparent. It even seems as if the very same characters turn up again and again in different songs: is the Nancy of "Bonnie Lass Among The Heather" the same Nancy as in "Master Kilby"? Is the long-lost lover of "Standing In Yon Flow'ry Garden" the same young sailor feared drowned in "Lowlands"? The themes are age-old, the situations and characters universal, archetypal. They gain their power from the fact that we have all experienced the beauty and sickness of love; and so each listener breathes his or her own life into the phantoms which populate the songs. Similarly, the performer is charged with the task of reanimating their dark and ancient heart, and in this regard I am greatly indebted to the many fine Scottish, English and Irish singers whose interpretations of the songs inspired my own. For the most part, I have stayed fairly true to the songs as I first heard them, only occasionally modifying a tune or editing a lyric (and in the case of "As I Came In By Huntly Town", derived from the Aberdeenshire ballad "Bogie's Bonnie Belle", rewriting most of the melody). I also took the liberty of changing some geographical locations. Such tactics are, of course, likely to infuriate certain sections of the "traditional music" orthodoxy. On the other hand, underground rock music (a genre to which this record may or may not belong) places such a premium on the notion of artistic "originality" and "innovation" that many fans might dismiss the relevance of playing this supposedly long-dead music. In my own defence, I would cite Roland Barthes' point in "The Death Of The Author" that in some societies "the responsibility for a narrative is never assumed by a person but by a mediator, shaman or relator whose 'performance' -- the mastery of the narrative code -- may possibly be admired but never his genius." I would liken the subtle re- or de-formation of the songs in individual performances to the way years of footsteps gradually and imperceptibly wear down and remould a staircase.
My name is Alex Cameron and I won't waste your time. When you're talking about me and my business partner, Roy Molloy, you're talking about the online cowboys in the wild-west days of the World Wide Web. And if you want to know what we're really about just look at all the things you wish you'd done differently. All the things you stopped yourself from doing on account of the fear of failure, or rejection. Weigh that up against your ambitions. Think about your work ethic. We're reclaiming failure as an act of progress. An act of learning. Something to celebrate.
A word's meaning can change depending on who utters the thing; and so we present characters - shapes are morphed and stories are delivered. This is a collection of 4-minute tales written to provide you with insight into the inner workings of failed ambitions and self-destruction. Unedited, uncensored, and without inhibition. I've learned to reveal what I want to unlearn. I cast a light on the darkness and in doing so understand love and compassion. Fear is to be confronted, and to learn strictly requires failure - over and over. Celebrate failure with Jumping The Shark.
Up until 2014 I was an investigator's assistant in a public law office. I can't tell you exactly what my job was on account of I signed a shut your mouth agreement around the time I quit for stress related reasons. But what I can say is that I dealt with corruption and badness perpetrated at the highest levels of authority, daily. I clocked all these leads and I made a file. Because these aren't things you keep in the dark. You shine a light on the badness and you strive to understand it.
From a dossier on all things delicate and beautiful and sadly human. crimes of passion and victims of love. All contained in 10 hot songs. Who's the culprit? I've got my inklings and you can get your own. But first you need to listen to the thing, take it all in, stick photos to your walls and connect them with string, measure footprints in the yard, wear a suit made of reeds, track the migration patterns of birds, intercept whispered transmissions, learn to eat spiders with a hunting knife, sleep in air ducts, make the case.
Here it is, my album: Forced Witness.
On a front porch in Philadelphia in early 2004, Anand Wilder and Maxwell Kardon sat with a guitar and a banjo and busily fingerpicked to keep their hands from freezing. After a few false starts they settled on a dirge in d-minor and began improvising lyrics about a labor conflict in a Western Pennsylvania coal town that their fathers had learned about from an old folk song taught in Quaker schools in the '50s. The principal heroes and villains of the story were lost to history and buried in mineshafts and unmarked graves, and the particulars of the outcome were primarily recorded on newspapers lost in warehouse fires and floods. Neither can believe that what started with just the two of them huddled on a cold porch would grow to involve a once-in-a-lifetime cast of collaborators. A decade after its conception, they are proud to present to the public their vision of a classic story of betrayal, pride and lost love.
The revelry of 2016's Hopelessness helped reinvent Anohni (f/k/a Antony and The Johnsons) in the mold of staunch political agitator. Self-aware and self-flagellating, Anohni speaks of deep concern for our very livelihood, as a species and as a civil society. With critical acclaim from The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, FADER and many more, Hopelessness came to represent a new and necessary musical language.
Anohni's Paradise EP is the extension, into 2017, of a language of protest and distress. The songs on here - already featured in her arresting live performances - were made during the same sessions as Hopelessness, but rather than trimmings or bonus material, they are, instead, unique touch points for old problems and newly minted geo-political crises writ macabre.
1. HOPELESSNESS on 180 gram black vinyl LP 2. HOPELESSNESS on CD3. Limited edition double-groove black bag 12" EP Side A - '4 Degrees' (a capella + instrumental) Side B - 'Drone Bomb Me' (a capella + instrumental) 4. 11" x 17" poster featuring HOPELESSNESS cover art 5. Instant download of 'Drone Bomb Me' 6. Digital download code for the album (as a .zip file containing 320kbps mp3s) redeemable May 6, 2016
ANOHNI has collaborated with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke on the artist's latest work. The album HOPELESSNESS, to be released world wide on May 6th 2016, is a dance record with soulful vocals and lyrics addressing surveillance, drone warfare, and ecocide. A radical departure from the singer's symphonic collaborations, the album seeks to disrupt assumptions about popular music through the collision of electronic sound and highly politicized lyrics. ANOHNI will present select concerts in Europe, Australia and the US in support of HOPELESSNESS this Summer.
Antony & The Johnsons breakthrough album I Am A Bird Now has certainly touched fans and critics alike. His second full-length - released in February - stands as one of the most globally acclaimed albums of 2005. The album’s latest single is the anthemic and heart-rending “You Are My Sister”, presentedas a duet between Antony and Boy George. Together these two vocalists climb to the highest peakof emotional vulnerability, providing for the listener one of the most touching and uncanny duets of thepast decade. It’s heartbreaking when Antony sings, “You are my sister / we were born / so innocent, sofull of need / there were times we were friends / but times I was so cruel / at night I’d asked for to watchme as I sleep”. With soaring and world-weary intensity, Boy George utterly commands the refrain: “Youare my sister / and I love you / may all of your dreams come true.” In “You Are My Sister,” the pair singfrom the depths of their hearts for the world.This extended single also includes three new, unreleased songs recorded during the I Am A BirdNow sessions. “Poorest Ear” is a harrowing and complex vision from the perspective of an alienatedchild. Responding perhaps to “You Are My Sister,” Antony sings of a girl who wishes to save her imperiledbrother in “Forest of Love.” Finally, “Paddy’s Gone” is a choral lament to long-lost man. Thesetracks all seem to support Antony’s recent assertion; “Recently I have been imagining that we contain afamily inside us... a mother, a father, a boy, a girl and a baby. I Am a Bird Now represents a dialoguebetween some of these figures.”The esteemed NPR program All Things Considered recently reviewed I Am A Bird Now injectingone of the most illuminate and apropos assessments yet, “This is a fantastic record. It’s thoroughly modernbut feels lived in, it’s got an old soul...”
TURNING - A concert film documentary captured during the critically acclaimed tour of Europe by Antony and the Johnsons and Charles Atlas during the fall of 2006, it explores the heart and experience of that series of performances. Through its synthesis of Antony's songs and unfurling video portraiture of the 13 beauties who performed on stage, TURNING creates an intimate and cinematic experience exploring themes of identity, transcendence and the revelation of essence.
Also included in the deluxe package is the full TURNING concert recorded live at The Barbican, London, Nov. 2006 and contains songs across the first three Antony and the Johnsons' full length albums along with bonus tracks never before released songs - "Whose are These" and "Tears Tears Tears". The classic lineup of Antony, Maxim Moston, Rob Moose, Julia Kent, Parker Kindred, Jeff Langston, and Thomas Bartlett can be heard on these recordings as Charles Atlas's projected portraits of the girls light up the stage from behind the band for the duration of the concert.
Conceived as an introduction to Antony & the Johnsons’ new full-length I Am A Bird Now (due 2/1/05 on Secretly Canadian), The Lake consists of three songs, including the lead-off single to I Am A Bird Now. The song is “Fistful of Love” and is Antony & the Johnsons’ finest work to date. Featuring a scorching horn section and the legendary Lou Reed on vocals and lead guitar, the song’s clear star is Antony. His lead vocal performance is bone-chilling. Reminiscent to that of the late Otis Redding, he sings: I accept and I collect upon my body, the memories of your devotion. I feel your fist. And I know it’s out of love. He shifts from a tremble to a wail — a tempest of emotion. Antony and Reed are no strangers to one another. As a member of Reed’s band, Antony accompanied him on his 2003 world tour as a vocalist. There Antony was featured as the lead vocalist on the Velvet Underground classic "Candy Says" as well as Reed’s solo classic “Perfect Day”. These performances are documented on Reed’s latest double-live album Animal Serenade. Antony also contributed vocals for Reed’s most recent album, The Raven.
The Lake also features two previously unreleased songs. Starting off with the spare "The Lake," on which Antony breathes new life into a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. An in-concert favorite, a live version of this song was also featured on Devendra Banhart’s Golden Apples of the Sun new folk compilation (Bastet) from earlier this year. Less orchestrated than Antony & the Johnsons’ self-titled debut (recently re-released by Secretly Canadian on July 20, 2004), it shows a confidence & maturity that many fans in New York City have grown to love in his work. Closing with "Horror is Gone," Antony plays his darker imagery against a backdrop of hope.
Antony and the Johnson’s breakthrough second album “I Am a Bird Now” won the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005. The success that followed introduced many to a pioneering soul singer unafraid to explore themes that traversed darkness and light, life and death, male and female. Antony’s inimitable voice sparked the interest of artists ranging from Bjork to Hercules and Love Affair, resulting in a series of critically acclaimed collaborations. “The Crying Light” is the highly anticipated full-length follow-up to “I Am a Bird Now”. Here, Antony shifts the thematic focus and explores his relationship with the natural world. The intimacy of the Johnsons’ sound is enveloped by avant-classical composer Nico Muhly’s symphonic arrangements. The record’s centerpiece, “Another World” traces the singer’s dispair in the face of a vanishing landscape. Antony and the Johnsons’ music bridges the gap between avant-classical music and the blues, and the band’s sold out performances have resulted in standing ovations from Carnegie Hall to the Apollo. “The Crying Light” is a soul-stirring new work with its daring compositions and captivating vocal performances. Antony and the Johnsons have created a subtle and timely work that brings a magical and yet changing world to the forefront of our consciousness.
In anticipation of their new album, “Swanlights”, Antony and the Johnsons will release "Thank You For Your Love" as the first single / EP via Secretly Canadian in the US and Rough Trade in Europe and the UK. The EP will feature 4 additional non-album tracks including originals "You Are The Treasure," and "My Lord My Love" as well as a cover of Dylan's "Pressing On" and Lennon's "Imagine" in collaboration with experimental composer William Basinski. The CD will also contain the video for "Thank You For Your Love" made from archival Super 8 footage of Antony upon his first arriving in NYC in 1991, edited by David Boatman.
In the wake of 2010's “Swanlights,” Antony and the Johnsons will release the companion "Swanlights EP" for 2011's Record Store Day on 10" vinyl via Secretly Canadian in the US and Rough Trade in Europe and the UK. In addition to the title tack, the EP will feature 3 non-album tracks including originals "Find The Rhythm Of Your Love," and "Kissing Noone" as well as a haunting remix of "Swanlights" by Oneohtrix Point Never.
Antony and the Johnsons will release their new album, “Swanlights”, on October 12th in the US via Secretly Canadian. Abrams Image will simultaneously release a special edition of “Swanlights” which will include the CD inside a 144-page art book containing Antony’s paintings, collages, photography and writing. The album only version of “Swanlights” on Secretly Canadian will also include the song “FlÃ©tta”, a duet with Bjork. The album and book are a continuation of Antony’s work exploring environmental issues and his connection to the natural world.
While “I Am a Bird Now” was arresting in its simplicity and vision and “The Crying Light” is a masterpiece of austerity, “Swanlights” may be Antony's most wide-ranging emotional work to date. It is a record that is at moments excruciating and tender, and at other times has a wicked gleam to its teeth. Musically it’s the most maximal of his work to date. Whereas on “The Crying Light”, Antony paired everything back to its most distilled and essential, on “Swanlights” the vines have become overgrown and the sound palette has become more exotic, strange percussive elements, John Cale-esque string drones, heavily distorted guitars and symphonic voicings thread the song cycle together.
“Everything is New” opens the album with subtle piano and an insistence that each moment takes its own breath and is reborn. Strings and bursts of percussion carry the melody as it soars through a cacophonous wilderness. “The title track finds us navigating a primordial and seemingly amorphous plane of expanding guitar tones and an almost Eastern influenced melody, exclaiming the elusive, magical and perhaps ominous, even dangerous majesty of "the Swanlights on the water, on that shining face". On “Thank You For Your Love”, he repeats what at first seems to be a simple sentiment and infuses it with a gradually escalating sense of urgency, breaking completely from the 4/4, Otis Redding-esque structure of the song into much more intense. over.
The book is a collection of visual art, thought-provoking dreamscapes composed of paintings, drawings, photography, collage, song lyrics, and writings. Often fragmentary images, these pieces capture liminal states and elements of the unconscious. Some images are reclaimed and reconfigured in order to transcend their previous form. The intersecting mediums inform each other and create an interesting dialogue with Antony’s music, his creative muse, and personal mythology.
“Swanlights” is the fourth Antony and the Johnsons album and the follow up to the critically acclaimed smash “The Crying Light” which topped year-end best of lists across the globe in 2009. Antony burst into the international spotlight with his second album, “I am a Bird Now”, which won the UK’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize.
There is a myth that great artists operate in seclusion. One need look no further than to the ten songs of Antony and the Johnsons' new album, I Am A Bird Now, to realize this is an utter fallacy. To be sure, with his androgynous features, the singularly named Antony is an original. Have you ever heard a voice like this, imbued with the transcendental emotion of the blues, yet deployed with an unadorned simplicity reminiscent of medieval music practice, and graced with a top note of childlike wonder? Or songs that blur distinctions of gender and identity, yet which still summon up such powerful feelings: longing, love, lust, loss? No. Because Antony is one-of-a-kind. But he is certainly not alone. We are proud to present you with a record filled with one of the most gifted voices heard in a long time. Antony's vocals are almost inhuman, coming together to compile a creature that's as beautiful and enigmatic as the Peter Hujar photo, Candy Darling on Her Deathbed, that graces its cover. The lead-off single to I Am A Bird Now, "Fistful of Love" is perhaps Antony & the Johnsons' finest work to date. It features a scorching horn section and subcultural icon Lou Reed on vocals and searing lead guitar. In the tradition of subversive soul classics The Crystals' "He Hit me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" and Millie Jackson's "Hurts So Good," Antony sings this ode to getting the shit kicked out of you and learning to love every minute of it. The complex emotional undertow of this track reaches a cathartic roar by the song’s finale. Antony shifts from a tremble to a wail — a tempest of emotion. I Am A Bird Now also includes contributions from friends Boy George (duet with Antony on "You Are My Sister"), Devandra Banhart (vocals on "Spiralling"), and Rufus Wainright (lead vocals on "What Can I Do").
On the second single from Antony & The Johnson's “I Am A Bird Now”, Antony presents one of the strongest solo pieces in his staggeringly rich repertoire. The song “Hope There's Someone” is a rush of pure emotion, a true performance with every bit of hope, supplication, distress, horror, lament, agony, sorrow and accession, spanning the entire life-death experience. Pitchfork characterizes the song remarking, “It starts all atremble with a disarmingly naked prayer ("Hope there's someone who'll take care of me when I die, when I go"). As the song progresses that someone changes shape, and becomes a spectral double, as Antony sings for and against himself; the hoped-for someone is both a loving companion and an exterminating angel.” The esteemed NPR program All Things Considered recently reviewed “I Am A Bird Now” injecting one of the most illuminate and apropos assessments yet, “This is a fantastic record. It's thoroughly modern but feels lived in, it's got an old soul, and honestly for as often as the term “soulful” gets tossed around like table salt on so many flavorless records, for once, for Antony and the Johnsons the term aptly describes.” Two of the three songs are previously unreleased outtakes from the “I Am A Bird Now” sessions. The single also contains a new video for “Hope There's Someone” by the up-and-coming NYC director Glen Fogel. The video, and cover art, features a captivating portrait of the NYC legend Joey Gabriel.
"Epilepsy is Dancing” — the second single from Antony and the Johnsons’ The Crying Light — is one of the reasons Spin is raving that the band’s new material is “scarily intimate and irresistibly beautiful". Antony and the Johnsons have again crafted a consummate single with the most unlikely of subjects. The B-side “Where is My Power?" burns slowly throughout hinting at its epic climax anchored by the voice Rolling Stone has called “a voice of singular majesty, an instrument of delicacy and rapture in which Nina Simone, Morrissey, and Joni Mitchell seem to inhabit the same breath”. “Epilepsy is Dancing" is available as a CD single and 7" on Secretly Canadian.