February 27, 2009

The National Put Together May Tour

Other than the release of "So Far Around The Bend" for the Dessner-curated Dark Was The Night, things have been rather quiet for The National. Come spring, however, the band will resurface for a festival appearance in March and a short tour along the east coast in May. The cities and dates are: St. Augustine (3/8, for the Harvest of Hope Festival), Toronto (5/21), Montreal (5/22), Boston (5/23), Washington, D.C. (5/24, 5/25), Atlanta (5/27), Raleigh (5/28), and Philadelphia (5/29).

For venues and links to purchase tickets, be sure to visit our shows page. And stay tuned for more news from the band - we'll publish it as it gets confirmed.

February 22, 2009

Clogs and Nico Playing BAM This Week

If you check this site regularly, you already know both Clogs and Nico Muhly have events at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this week. Not to brag, but given The National's two-night residency at the venue in 2008, it starting to feel like BAM is Brassland's friendly neighborhood club -- albeit one that seats 2000 people and was home to legendary early works by artists like Philip Glass and Robert Wilson.

Clogs' performance, part of an event titled Shuffle Mode, takes place this Thursday (February 26). The band will play alongside the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Bell Orchestre in a "musical dialogue that defies the expectations for classical concert programming." Basically the two ba...

February 18, 2009

Nico In Top-Flight NYC, LA Venues (and Hollywood)

Mr. Muhly has had a quiet 2009. Not one to sit idle for long, it's only natural that he greet February with a series of high profile performances and pieces at high profile New York and Los Angeles venues.

Tonight, Nico will be appearing with his nearest and dearest collaborators (including Doveman, Sam Amidon, and illustrator Maira Kalman) at The Allen Room in Lincoln Center to perform Illustrated Music. Ten days later, Nico's arrangements for Grizzly Bear will be showcased at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a performance alongside the Brooklyn Philharmonic. After that, it's the world premiere of The Adulteress, a piece commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Jessica Rivera...

February 16, 2009

Bryce Dessner Composes "The Lincoln Shuffle" for 21st Century Abe

Today, of course, is President's Day. And since Abraham Lincoln was once a President, it's rather fitting that this piece of Brassland news be shared with you on Monday, January 16th. So, here goes: Bryce Dessner has composed a new series of short pieces, collectively titled "The Lincoln Shuffle," to celebrate Honest Abe and the music of his era.

Now streaming at 21st Century Abe, the suite includes pieces titled Rose of Lincoln, Lincoln's Dixie, Uncle Bob Ledbetter, Uncle Bob's Union Guitars, and Lincoln's Triumph (A Funeral March). Included on each page, below the picture, is a quote from Bryce that reveals his inspiration, thoughts, or general ideas regar...

February 9, 2009

Brassland Now Distributed Worldwide by Touch & Go (UPDATED)

In case you haven't heard (there's no reason you should have), Brassland has switched to influential label/distributor Touch & Go to meet its worldwide distribution needs, joining the ranks of notable upstarts like Love Pump United and Post Present Medium as well as classic labels such as Kill Rock Stars and Atavistic.

For a quick history, Touch & Go began in the early 1980's as a fanzine that started releasing 7" records. Then came Big Black, Slint, The Jesus Lizard, Shellac, and other bands that all aging hipsters know and love. As Touch & Go continued releasing albums, they began manufacturing and distributing records for other labels, including Merge and Drag City. Then came...

February 4, 2009

Brassland Roster Well Represented on Dark Was The Night Compilation

As previously announced on this site and elsewhere, Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National have produced a compilation for The Red Hot Organization in order to raise funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS. Titled Dark Was The Night, the compilation will arrive in stores as a double-disc or triple-vinyl package (as well as a digital download, of course) featuring 31 exclusive tracks by a who's who of the independent music world, including David Byrne, Arcade Fire, Spoon, Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, and Andrew Bird, among others. And as it just so happens, several members of the Brassland roster make up part of that exclusive group.

To be specific, The National contribute "Far A...

January 29, 2009

Doveman To Give One-Off Footloose Performance on February 4th

Doveman is currently in Britain finishing up his UK tour (for venue information on the remaining dates in London and Coventry, head over to our Shows page). However, he will soon be back in the good ol' US of A to give a one-time only performance of his now semi-infamous Footloose cover album.

The show will take place at 9:30 on February 4th at Joe's Pub in Manhattan. For tickets and venue information, head over to Joe's website. Be sure to buy your tickets soon before they're gone - as the posters on IMDB say, "One kid. One town. One Chance." (We figured such a tagline could metaphorically apply to you, the independent music consumer.)

Ok, take ca...

January 27, 2009

Bryce Dessner To Perform Darkness Visible

Over the next two nights, Bryce Dessner - guitarist for The National and Clogs - will perform Darkness Visible with visual artist Matthew Ritchie, Dessner's collaborator on the project.

The first night (1/28) will include a lecture and performance regarding Dessner and Ritchie's installation The Morning Line. The second night (1/29) will feature a performance of their multimedia project Raphael. Both events will be held at MIT's Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In other Dessner news, the Brassland Store is currently selling The Clogs Collection, which features the band's entire catalog. If you don't own any of Clogs' albums, now is t...

December 21, 2008

Doveman Gets A Nod in New York, Touring in January

As our previous news story on Nico Muhly illustrated, the end of the year means one thing for music fans - Best-of Lists! And as it turns out, Nico wasn't the only artist in the Brassland stable to receive a little recognition. Doveman's Footloose cover album received top prize for "Best Nutty Covers" in New York's The Year in Pop round-up. Listing Grizzly Bear's take on "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and numerous versions of "Umbrella" (including Mandy Moore's) as contenders for the title, the publication ultimately chose Doveman because, in creating the album, he made nine cover songs. Mandy, on the other hand, made only one, so whatever. No brainer there.

In o...

December 18, 2008

Nico Receives Year-End Love from New Yorker(s), Pitchfork

As you might have witnessed throughout the year, the Brassland roster had a hectic 2008 - The National toured with REM and Modest Mouse throughout June, Pela literally suffered for their art, and Baby Dayliner was busy being his sexy self. Amidst all this news, Brassland still managed to release a couple records, one being Nico Muhly's Mothertongue. With the holidays fast approaching and the year coming to a close, one prominent New York-based independent musician, one internet-based publication, and one quintessentially New York magazine are recognizing those efforts.

Big Apple resident Ed Droste (of Grizzly Bear fame) published his list of top ten albums from 2008 in various...

December 10, 2008

Doveman Tours the UK in January

Having finished a short, successful string of shows in England this past November, Doveman will again cross the Atlantic in January for an extended tour of the United Kingdom. The tour - sponsored by the UK Arts Council - will begin in Cheltenham on January 21st and span the island, making it as far north as Glasgow. It will feature both David Thomas Broughton and Doveman cohort Sam Amidon.

Similar to this summer's 802 Tour, each show will be played in a spirit of collaboration with the three guys swapping instruments and interweaving and interrupting each other's performances to create "a continuous flow of instrumentation." For more details on the tour, you can visit the...

December 5, 2008

Devastations Return in Fitting Form

After a brief hiatus filled with rest and recuperation, Devastations have announced their return via their MySpace page. Since they're articulate, intelligent human beings, we thought we'd let them speak for themselves. Their message is posted below in its entirety.

Posted on Friday, November 28, 2008

Title: Back From The Dead?
Current Mood: Amorous
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

So, Devastations now have a couple of things to announce after what has been a lengthy and not entirely undeserved break...

First off, we are very excited to be returning to Melbourne to play our ONLY AUSTRALIAN SHOW at the East Brunswick Club on Friday Feb 6,...

November 21, 2008

Baby Dayliner Named One of Ten Sexiest Everyday Men of 2008

Baby Dayliner was recently named The Tenth Sexiest Everyday Man of 2008 by Jezebel, a pop culture extension of the Gawker empire that handles "celebrity, sex, [and] fashion for women." Placed on the list behind Obama (understandable), Rahm Emanuel (questionable), and the Mac guy (wtf?), Baby D comes off looking like the suave man we know he is - praised for his resemblance to Kevin Bacon and his musical talent, Baby Dayliner "[puts] on a command performance with his clothes on." With them on!

If the man's got you all hot and bothered, be sure to check out High Heart & Low Estate and Critics Pass Away, which we feel is an undiscovered gem in the Brassland catalog. Both are a...

November 14, 2008

Clogs Emerge From Hibernation With BAM Show

As reported on Brooklyn Vegan, Clogs will re-emerge in 2009. In addition to their show tonight at Middlebury College, the band has scheduled a February 26th performance with Bell Orchestre, titled Shuffle Mode, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The show's format involves the two groups performing alongside the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a collaborative attempt to blend classical and popular music. Each band will play three to five original songs; the Brooklyn Philharmonic will then perform established classical works that share sonic parallels to the bands' originals, creating a musical dialogue that highlights the similarities between the popular and classical spheres.


November 7, 2008

More Details on Dessner Red Hot Compilation, Other Curation News

As you might well know, The National's Bryce and Aaron Dessner are helping The Red Hot Organization create a new compilation to raise funds and build awareness for HIV/AIDS. The compilation, titled Dark Was The Night, will be released in February 2009 by 4AD and will feature 32 exclusive songs by artists including The National with Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, Feist with Ben Gibbard, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne with Dirty Projectors, Spoon, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, and Bright Eyes (among many, many others). It's a great project for a great cause, and you can lend your support by simply buying great music. Win-win, for sure.

In other Dessner news, Bryce recently helped curate...

November 2, 2008

Sam Amidon Gives Word From Doveman UK Tour

As you might well know, Doveman is out and about on his very first tour of the United Kingdom. With the Manchester show now relegated to history, Britons have only Nottingham (11/2) and London (11/3) left to catch Thomas and the band in the flesh. (Visit the Shows page for venue information.) Despite the tour's brevity, however, there has still been ample time for chuckle-worthy memories to be made. The anecdote(s) for today are provided by Sam Amidon, Doveman collaborator and banjoist extraordinaire. So without further ado, Sam's thoughts from the former imperial power:

Doveman Tour, Manchester, UK (11/1)

we have arrived in Manchester. tonight doveman will pl...

October 20, 2008

The National Help Stir Obamamania, Tour Brazil

With November 4th rapidly approaching, there's been a lot of fuss lately regarding the Presidential election. And as patriotic Americans, The National have chosen to exercise their First Amendment rights by voicing their support for Democratic hopeful Barack Obama. First came the t-shirts cleverly punning on the band's perennial encore, "Mr. November." Then came the use of "Fake Empire" for an Obama commercial. And last week, the guys simply rocked out, playing a "Vote Early, Rock Late" benefit in their hometown Cincinnati on October 16th. Backseat Sandbar was there to cover the event - there's a nice review, streaming videos, and some high-quality pictures. You can watch t...

October 17, 2008

Doveman Tours UK & Europe, Footloose Receiving Digital Release

On November 1st (and fresh off a few dates with Antony & the Johnsons), Doveman will begin his first UK tour with a show in Manchester at the Cross Street Chapel. With shows only in Manchester (11/1), Nottingham (11/2), and London (11/3), the tour's certainly brief, so Britons take note - grab your tickets while you can. (For those on Facebook, socially network around the London show here.) Many thanks to The Local for organizing Thomas's little jaunt.

As for other Europeans wishing to witness Doveman in the flesh, there's good news - the band will be crossing the pond a second and third time to play the Tanned Tin Festival in Castellón on November 15th and Mains D...

October 4, 2008

Nico Muhly Interviewed At Length in The Believer

For the October issue of The Believer, "a monthly magazine where length is no object," music journalist Sean Michaels had dinner and an extended (because length is no object) interview with Nico Muhly at Nico's apartment. The result, like Nico's cooking, was delicious.

The piece covers a wide range of subjects including Nico's creative process, his approach to writing for film, what he means when he describes his music as "a vast feast," his initial impulses when walking into a grocery store, how he views composer-performer relationships, and even his first mp3 file (among many other subjects). We know it sounds exhausting, but it's well worth your readerly effort...

October 3, 2008

Nico Hangs With Sufjan and Brooklyn Youth Chorus At BAM Takeover

As reported on Pitchfork Media, Nico Muhly (with the page-turning help of Sufjan Stevens) showed up at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's TAKEOVER Party on September 27th to help the Brooklyn Youth Chorus perform his piece "The Sweets of Life." The event, curated by Stevens, also featured sets by St. Vincent, The Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens.

In other Pitchfork-related news, Nico was recently the subject of their regular feature The Guest List, a casual interview with a specific set of ice-breaker questions that can be, at times, interesting. If you were ever curious to learn Nico's opinions on the Sex and the City movie, how a cardigan can be "delicio...

September 25, 2008

Doveman Does The Lillywhite Sessions

Last week, Doveman went on NPR's World Cafe to showcase a few songs from his formerly-free, now-streaming Footloose.

The show features the Bacon-staples "Footloose," "Dancing In The Sheets," and "Almost Paradise," all re-recorded by Thomas with British producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Peter Gabriel, The Pogues, Psychedelic Furs) as part of NPR's The Lillywhite Sessions at Avatar Studios. Previous guests have included She & Him, Fleet Foxes, and Dr. Dog.

The show also includes an interview with Thomas explaining both the creation of the Footloose covers and the genesis of Doveman. In addition, Lillywhite gives a brief interview at the end, providing his British t...

September 9, 2008

Nico Muhly To Help Takover BAM With Sufjan

The Brooklyn Youth Chorus will perform "The Sweets Of Life" by Nico Muhly at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on September 27th as part of the Sufjan Stevens-curated music portion of the TAKEOVER Party. The event, which runs from 9 pm to 4 am, will also feature sets from St. Vincent, The Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens. In addition to music, the party will have three separate movie marathons, a video installation by Deborah Johnson, and a recreational room complete with Wii, Guitar Hero, and ping pong. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

In more immediate news, Nico will appear as a guest onstage with Icelandic composers Olof Arnalds and Skuli Sverrisson a...

September 5, 2008

802 Tour Wrap Up and Final Report From The Road by Nico Muhly

The 802 Tour has (sadly) ended. To wrap up the experience, we compiled some reviews from various sources - the Examiner, the Washington Post, and Bostonist all had nice things to say. Björk went on a spiel about the notorious lack of fact-checking in pop music journalism while bringing Nico's name and work up as an example. With all of that extra material for your reading pleasure, we're posting the final 802 Tour Report From The Road, this time from Nico. Enjoy.

Reports From The Road by Nico Muhly (802 Tour, Day Sixteen, 8/29)

We just played the second-to-last show of this tour, in Toronto. We compressed our show (which, in its ideal format is two 60-minute se...

August 26, 2008

Reports From The Road by Sam Amidon (802 Tour, Day Thirteen, 8/26)

Hello from Montreal! We are having some fun because TODAY is nico's birthday wohoo!! yay yay yay. we got to spend some time in beautiful vermont, wow it was so nice there. we have no actual vermont show for our vermont 802 tour, but we had a beautiful vermont DAY, and for us that was very nice. in the van we have a few activities: dan and nadia are learning chinese; nico and thomas are working through the complete discography of r. kelly and the-dream and cee-lo (not gnarls barkley, cee-lo's solo records - cee-lo is a BETTER producer/dj than danger mouse! cee-lo is a genius!), and oren and i have watched two movies on my laptop in the way back of the van: "pickpocket" (bresson),...

August 25, 2008

Nico Muhly "Takes Aim" at Atom Heart, Gets Interviewed by Gothamist and Reviewed in LA Weekly

To music journalists, Nico Muhly is many things - clever, engaging, smoking hot. One thing he hasn't been, however, is a warrior.

Until now. In a recent post on, Andy Whitman analyzes the "Breakfast Wars," writing that Nico has "thrown down the gauntlet, taking direct aim at [Pink Floyd's] Atom Heart Mother" in attempt to become "the undisputed champion of breakfast sound effects." Will Nico's butter scrapes top Floyd's bacon sizzles to conquer the breakfast sounds subgenre? Read for yourself to find out.

In more substantial news, Gothamist interviewed Nico about The 802 Tour, New Yorker music critics, and "only in New York" moments....

August 22, 2008

Reports From The Road by Nico Muhly (802 Tour, Day Six, 8/20)

On this tour, we have been variously staying in hotels and with friends - one of my favorite things about staying with people is when they have a dog. We have been very lucky on this trip: our hosts in Sebastopol, CA have a border collie/Australian cattle dog, Ace; our hosts in Portland have a frisky Weimaraner called Castle with googly eyes, and finally, our hosts Eddie and Willie (is there anything more fabulous than gay couples with matching names? I know a Nora and Laura in LA, too) have an eager pitbull, Rider. There is no better thing than being woken up by an eager dog's snout snuffling on one's person; I have been promised "big" dogs at our hosts' house in D.C. tonight an...

August 21, 2008

Owen Pallett, Drew Daniel, and The Washington Post Discuss Mothertongue

Following Pitchfork Media's rather tepid review of Mothertongue, Nico Muhly received praise on an I Love Music discussion thread from, among others, Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy and Drew Daniel of Matmos.

Pallett initiated the thread, lauding Nico's "way of writing score-paper-music in a way that sounds completely improvised, with every sound imaginable colliding up against each other in accidentally beautiful and hideous ways." Daniel then called attention to the album, writing that "the details that the reviewer holds up as weak points (whale fat, buttered toast) actually sound like positives anyway...surely I'm not the only person who wants to know what whale fat so...

August 20, 2008

Reports from the Road by Sam Amidon (802 Tour, Day Five, 8/19)

Life is wild. That is what we learned when we passed "Casa de Fruit," which turned out to be a sequence of stores to the right of the highway between san francisco and LA, the rest of which were called "Casa de Wine," "Casa de Diesel," and our favorite, "Casa de Restaurant." LA is wild. We played in Hollywood tonight, a lovely show at a tucked away little place near Amoeba records. I bought two DVDs at Amoeba records: "F for Fake" by Orson Welles, and "It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles" by some nice people including some of the remaining footage from said unfinished film. Okay watch this:

that's part two of three. (part one can be vi...

August 19, 2008

An 802 Tour Update - Online Attention and Venue Changes

As Sam Amidon, Doveman, and Nico Muhly finish up on the West Coast and prepare to invade the East, they've garnered some attention on the information superhighway. Fuck Bad Music wrote some kind words, stating that the Portland show went "above and beyond my expectations...the feeling you're left with after a show this intimate is simply that you want more." Heavy kudos! In addition, Portland newspaper The Oregonian published a positive review of the August 15th show on their website.

In other (very important) news, the venue for the Washington DC show on August 21st has changed. The show will now take place at the Episcopal Church of The Ascension in Silver Spring, Mary...

August 15, 2008

Reports From The Road (802 Tour, Day One 8/14)

While well aware that touring musicians are busy people, we were hoping - following the popularity of Bryan Devendorf's "Reports From The Road" earlier this summer - that Sam, Thomas, and Nico would write up some reports of their own while they trek across North America on The 802 Tour. Well, no worries! Sam's been kind enough to keep us up to date on what's happening out west. So without further ado, here's "Reports From The Road - 802 Edition."

Day One (8/14, Seattle)

hello people! we (nico: lead vox, harmonica, and tambourine; thomas: lead guitar; nadia: synth; oren: hair & makeup; dan bora: choreographer; and me: bus driver and massage therapist) a...