An eclectic record label based in Wyoming, Indianapolis and New York, Asthmatic Kitty stands out among other independents. Its headline artist, Sufjan Stevens, is a wacked-out pop guy who is two albums into a planned run of 50 albums, each celebrating a different state. The rest of the bands on the label, including artists like Liz Janes, Half Handed Cloud and Shapes and Sizes, are all different, yet equally wacked out, and in a very good way.
If all that wasn’t enough, the label has launched a series of musical collaborative events, called Unusual Animals, which pairs an Asthmatic Kitty-signed band with a local band in the event’s city, as well as a cool, homegrown local business. Now the Unusual Animals brand is looking at the world of art.
On Halloween evening, Asthmatic Kitty will open its Unusual Animals Project Space at the Harrison Center for the Arts in Indianapolis. The Project Space will highlight installation art from various artists, both starving and established, national and local. It will be the first project of its kind in the country.
Underneath the Project Space, four bands will provide the soundtrack. Bronze Float, a band started by local painter David Brant, will perform songs from their recently released debut album, Notice. Secondly, Deer Tick describes their music as Southern rock and Western swing mixed with showtunes. The effort sounds humorous, but it really does describe their music. It also doesn’t suck!
The two Asthmatic Kitty bands on the Indy bill, San Diego’s Castanets and Cryptacize, from the northern ’burbs of the San Francisco Bay area, offer similarly down-beat tunes. Cryptacize comes off as fractured pop with elements from auto-harps, cowbells and African percussion. And the Castanets’ new album, In the Vines, sounds like the children of the Manson family may have recorded it. The music exudes impending doom and gloom, pulling you into a quietly anxious soundstorm.
Asthmatic Kitty will give Indy a treat, instead of a trick, this Halloween. It’s just one of the many perks of having an über-hip indie rock label represented in our fair city.