Monday, April 10, 2006

Proof that indie rock snobs DO have a sense of humor....

Straight from the lovely people at Pitchfork Media, we have the ultimate indie rocker/folk singer version of PUNK'D! And the best part is -- it's Pitchfork that gets punk'd. It's wonderful. Read through the first article, then the second, and then laugh along with me!

And for those people who actually ARE interested in how my personal life is going, an update of sorts will be coming soon.

Sufjan Stevens + Rosie Thomas = New Album, Baby

Matthew Solarski reports:

Ah, springtime. It turns the world of indie into a freakin' love-fest, drawing artists to one another like bees to flowers. To make music, naturally. And sometimes...other things.

The latest salsa-hot collabo comes courtesy of lovable former Sub Pop songstress Rosie Thomas, who has recruited two fellow lovable, wholesome folkies to spruce up her latest batch of recordings. The boys in question: Sufjan Stevens and Philly singer-songwriter Denison Witmer.

The trio shacked up at Suf-jeezy's pad in New York City for three days, ate junk food, had pillow fights, and wound up recording some Thomas-penned songs on Witmer's laptop. According to Witmer's blog, Rosie played classical guitar, Sufjan plucked banjo, and Denison rocked the electric. All three sang.

In an email to Pitchfork, Thomas said, "[Sufjan and I] both decided that it would be refreshing and fun to just record some songs together on a whim and we did. The songs came out so good that we decided to finish the project this winter, and what I hoped would be an EP surprisingly turned into a full length." For the winter wrap-up, Rosie enlisted Witmer to add instrumentation and engineer.

"It was all a very organic process," mused Witmer via email. "The three of us have toured together a lot in the past, and I'm sure that had something to do with planting the idea in [Rosie's] mind. She (well, all of us) just wanted to have a fun, stress free, relaxing time recording with friends. As far as I know, that's our only real agenda at this point."

Rosie echoed his sentiments: "Somehow along the way the very thing I loved became more about touring and record labels and record deadlines and ordering tee shirts on time and press releases," she observed. "It was almost as if the business side of things took over the passion side, you know? And I desperately needed to work on something that brought me back to my core.

"Working with Sufjan reminded us both of how we used to love to write for our own sense of well being, not by any other expectation."

Since Thomas is no longer signed to Sub Pop, there's no word yet who will put out the joint recording or when the adoring masses can hear it. "Perhaps," suggested Rosie-- who also has plans to record with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam sometime soon-- "it will end up being a record we give to our families for Christmas."

And that's not all Rosie and Sufjan have been collaborating on, as the two lovesongbirds are having a baby together. Serious! For once, Pitchfork is not joking.

"Sufjan and I are also expecting and that is something we both are beaming about," wrote Rosie. "Life is good."

Awwwwwwwww-- I mean, congratulations! And somebody please phone the Guinness Book, as the world is about the embrace the Cutest Kid Ever.

And the conclusion to this great story....

Sufjan to Deliver New Album, Not New Baby

Amy Phillips reports:
Folks, we've got good news and bad news.

The good news: There's a new Sufjan Stevens album coming out!

The bad news: Sufjan and Rosie Thomas are not having a baby together.

Actually, on second thought, it's all good news. While the progeny of Sufjan and Rosie might have theoretically been the Cutest Kid Ever, raising a child takes a lot of time and energy-- time and energy that could be spent writing songs! Since Sufjan's got 48 more states to go, and Rosie has all sorts of projects in the works, we're glad they will be focusing on birthing musical offspring, rather than the crying-and-bedwetting kind.

So what's the explanation for this whole crazy mess? Well, it seems that Rosie and her and Sufjan's friend and musical collaborator, Denison Witmer, decided to pull a prank on Pitchfork and poor Sufjan. We fell for it-- hell, our information came directly from the source (Rosie), was corroborated by a close friend (Denison), and even Sufjan's publicist was being slippery about it. On second thought, maybe a publicist being slippery isn't that out of the ordinary. We feel a bit silly, but think the whole thing is pretty hilarious-- and we're still confused about why this particular story would be harder on us than it must have been on Rosie and Sufjan.

Yesterday, two weeks after the rumor was floated, all three came clean.

"I kid around so often, I forgot that some one might take me seriously," Rosie wrote in an email to Pitchfork's Matthew Solarski, who originally reported the story. "Suf and I are good buddies and I just meant it in good fun."

"The response from friends and fans has been so great, it made me actually wish I really was pregnant and I swear I got so convinced myself even that I thought I was starting to experience symptoms of morning sickness. I'll be sure to thank everyone who has been so very sweet and make sure no one feels duped. I really am very sorry, please forgive me, it was all meant in good fun I swear. Please tell people if they still want to bring diapers just to make sure that they are adult size."

Sufjan issued the following:

"First of all, I would like to thank everyone who called or sent notes of congratulations about the news of my baby. I am so proud.

"Secondly, the baby is a hoax. I had nothing to do with the baby hoax. I was as shocked as everyone else about the baby. Matthew's story was so convincing I almost believed it myself.

"Thirdly, something you need to know about Rosie is that she's really weird and she's really funny. So it's no surprise that she could pull this off, this imaginary baby. But the fact is, Rosie is not carrying my baby. As far as I know, we spent quality time in the studio, not in bed. If Rosie's pregnant, it's not my baby. Maybe it's Denison's baby. Maybe it's an alien baby. I don't know. All I know is that the baby is probably going to grow up to be a clown, or a mime, or a bassoon player or something funny like that. Most babies come out crying, but Rosie's baby is going to be born laughing its butt off."

Denison added, "Rosie, Sufjan, and I are constantly joking with each other. The recording was a circus to say the least. There was more laughing than recording. It's been this way with us since the day we met.

"Pitchfork is always humorous in your writing... so we figured if you can dish it, then you can take it in good fun. I mean, out of any website to joke with, I personally think Pitchfork is the one who can successfully laugh at yourselves about it and still be taken seriously when you write other important news. That's a good thing."

Aww shucks, thanks, dude!

ANYWAY, let's get back to the truly exciting matter at hand, namely, the new Sufjan album.

Last night, Asthmatic Kitty announced that on July 25, it will release The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album. The disc collects material originally written for Pitchfork's favorite album of last year, revisited by Sufjan in late 2005 and early 2006. It includes three versions of standout track "Chicago", songs concerning Saul Bellow, Ann Landers, Adlai Stevenson, and Henry Darger, and musical contributions from drummer James McAlister, trumpeter Craig Montoro, singers Shara Worden and Katrina Kerns, and, of course, Rosie Thomas.

In typical Sufjan fashion, the tracklist is an adventure unto itself:

01 The Avalanche
02 Dear Mr Supercomputer
03 Adlai Stevenson
04 The Vivian Girls Are Visited in the Night by Saint Dargarius and His Squadron of Benevolent Butterflies
05 Chicago (Acoustic Version)
06 The Henney Buggy Band
07 Saul Bellow
08 Carlyle Lake
09 Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair
10 The Mistress Witch From McClure (Or, The Mind That Knows Itself)
11 Kaskaskia River
12 Chicago (Adult Contemporary Easy Listening Version)
13 Inaugural Pop Music for Jane Margaret Byrne
14 No Man's Land
15 The Palm Sunday Tornado Hits Crystal Lake
16 The Pick-up
17 The Perpetual Self, or "What Would Saul Alinsky Do?"
18 For Clyde Tombaugh
19 Chicago (Multiple Personality Disorder version)
20 Pittsfield
21 The Undivided Self (For Eppie and Popo)

In related news, Asthmatic Kitty (which Sufjan co-runs), recently signed the Canadian band Shapes and Sizes. Their self-titled debut album arrives in stores July 25, the same day as The Avalanche. Shapes and Sizes also have a split 7" with the Weird Weeds due out August 8 on Asthmatic Kitty.

As far as we know, no members of Shapes and Sizes are pregnant.


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