Viva! New Amsterdam Records 2010


2010 was a big year for New Amsterdam Records. You might even call it a breakthrough year. But more than anything, it was a year of firsts: 2010 saw debut albums from Ted Hearne, janus, Matt Marks, Newspeak, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Victoire (as well as sophomore releases from William Brittelle, Corey Dargel, itsnotyouitsme and the third installment of Sam Sadigursky’s Word’s Project series). And thanks to our partnership (new in 2010) with Naxos of America, the world’s largest classical music distributor, we’ve been able to bring this fantastic music to a much wider audience than ever before. On the live music front, our first season-length concert series, Archipelago, came to a triumphant conclusion at Galapagos Art Space back in May. More recently, we joined the Kaufman Center in announcing the Ecstatic Music Festival, an innovative concert series featuring collaborations between some of the brightest minds working in music today (including a number of NewAm artists). The festival is presented in association with New Amsterdam Records and curated by NewAm co-founder Judd Greenstein. Between all of that, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society’s Grammy Award nomination, and the NewAm-heavy Time Out NY Best of 2010 list (not to mention the numerous other lists that have featured our artists), it has been a great year indeed.

The critics agree that 2010 was a big year for NewAm. In a recent NPR Morning Edition story called Indie Classical Blossoms on Small Labels, the venerable radio institution featured several NewAm artists and noted that “2010 was a good year for a musical hybrid that might be called ‘indie classical.’ ” NewAm was also featured in the Denver Post as one of the forces of revitalization for classical music and was the only label mentioned by name in NPR’s Best Classical Music of 2010 list. Then, in Time Out NY’s Best Classical Albums of 2010, writer Steve Smith listed NewAm’s entire 2010 concert lineup along with Le Grand Macabre and The Nose as among the best live music events of the year. Smith wrote, “this vital local label mounted a steady stream of trailblazing live events.”

Here is a brief, artist-by-artist rundown of some of the great press and honors received in 2010:

Television Landscape The sophomore album from William Brittelle, Television Landscape, was named one of the Top 20 Releases of the year by eMusic, one of the Top Albums of 2010 by The Awl writer and Newsweek contributor Seth Colter Walls, and was included in ALARM Magazine’s list of 100 Unheralded Albums from 2010. The album received a 4/5 star review in Time Out NY in which writer Hank Shteamer said, “Like the finest AM gold, Television Landscape soothes even as it dazzles.” Brittelle himself was the subject of an in-depth NY Times article about his return to live singing after a vocal chord injury left him unable to perform for several years.
William Brittelle: Television Landscape

Someone Will Take Care of Me Corey Dargel’s sophomore double album Someone Will Take Care of Me was included in music writer (and ex-Hold Steady member) Franz Nicolay’s Top 5 Albums of the year. The album was also featured in The Big City, The Indie Handbook, 17 dots, NewMusicBox, and in eMusic as an Editor’s Pick. On WNYC’s New Sounds, host John Schaefer called the album a “brilliant collection,” while Indie Handbook writer Eric Robertson said, “like all things of true beauty, [SWTCoM] teeters on the brink of madness.”
Corey Dargel: Someone Will Take Care of Me

Katrina Ballads, the debut NewAm album from composer Ted Hearne, was included in Time Out Chicago’s Top 10 of 2010 and was listed by Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette as one of her favorite releases of the year. The album has been the subject of features on WNYC’s Soundcheck, WQXR’s Q2, and in the New York Times and All Music where the album received 4.5/5 stars and a glowing review from writer Stephen Eddins who called it “an important and maybe even seminal work.”
Ted Hearne: Katrina Ballads

fallen monumentsitsnotyouitsme released their sophomore album, fallen monuments in 2010. The duo have received rave reviews for the gorgeous follow-up to 2008’s highly acclaimed walled gardens. The Village Voice called the album a “gorgeous drifter” and a “doleful soundtrack for rainy days and crumbling cities,” while WNYC Culture said the music would “would make Brian Eno, Philip Glass and the members of Radiohead all nod in approval.” The album was also featured in new music blogs Sequenza21 and NewMusicBox.
itsnotyouitsme: fallen monuments

i am not The debut album from flute/viola/harp trio janus has received a number of excellent reviews. Since being released on New Amsterdam in November, i am not has been featured in NPR, Time Out NY, NJ Star Ledger, Sequenza21, and many many more. NPR also recently featured the album in their annual Director’s Cut Gift Guide and Time Out Chicago named it one of their Top Ten Classical Albums of 2010, with writer Doyle Armbrust calling i am not, “one of the prettiest albums of 2010.”
janus: i am not

The Little Death: Vol. 1 Matt Marks’s debut album and post-Christian nihilist pop opera, The Little Death, Vol. 1, was listed as one of the Best Classical Albums of 2010 in Time Out New York , and as one of the Top Albums of 2010 by The Awl writer and Newsweek contributor Seth Colter Walls. Writer Daniel Kushner also included a song from the album in his list of Top 10 Alternative Art Songs of 2001-2010 for the Huffington Post. The stage version of the work was featured in a New York Times review, in which writer Steve Smith called The Little Death, Vol. 1 “a vibrant, enigmatic new work.”
Matt Marks: The Little Death

Newspeak has received some rave reviews for its debut album, sweet light crude. Since being released on NewAm in November, the album has been featured on WNYC’s New Sounds, in the NJ Star Ledger, on NewMusicBox blog, and many more. The music blog Lucid Culture, called the album “fearlessly aware, insightfully political, and resolutely defiant” while NewMusicBox noted the album is “…not afraid to explore the possibilities and push past the boundaries of the zeitgeist’s brave new sonic world.”
Newspeak: sweet light crude

Words Project III Early in 2010, Sam Sadigursky issued the 3rd volume in his Words Project series. Called miniatures, the album is the most musically rich and stylistically diverse member of the series. The album was featured in All About Jazz, Pop Matters, All Music, and was the subject of a NY Times Podcast. Doug Ramsey, writing for All About Jazz, had this to say: “Jazz and poetry never really became a movement. Over the past 90 years or so, the hybrid form has had a few peak periods and some embarrassing lows. On the strength of Sam Sadigursky’s work, we may be at one of the peaks.”
Sam Sadigursky: words project iii miniatures

Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope topped Time Out New York’s list of the Best Classical Albums of 2010, with critic Steve Smith calling it “the year’s most affecting creation.” Penelope was also deemed one of the Best 5 Genre-Defying Albums of the Year by NPR, the #3 Album of the Year by Textura, one of the Top Albums of 2010 by music writer Seth Colter Walls, and one of the Top 20 Albums of the Year by eMusic. The song The Lotus Eaters from Penelope was also selected by Huffington Post writer Daniel Kushner as one of the Top 10 Alternative Art Songs of 2001-2010. The album has received some serious radio attention recently as well, with an appearance on the CMJ Radio Top 200 chart, a highly influential list that tracks the number of plays an album receives each week on college radio.
Sarah Kirkland Snyder: Penelope

Victoire’s beguiling Cathedral City was chosen by NPR as one of the Top 10 Classical Albums of 2010, by Time Out New York as one of the Best Classical Albums of 2010, and by the NY Times for their Classical Gift Guide, and by Alex Ross of the New Yorker as one of the Most Memorable Recordings of the year. Cathedral City was also recently reviewed on influential music website Pitchfork. “Victoire condense moments of focused beauty and quiet conviction from the pandemic distractions of modern life,” Pitchfork writer Brian Howe said of the album.
Victoire: Cathedral City

New Amsterdam Records is a non-profit-model record label and artists’ service organization that supports the public’s engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres. Our diverse catalogue reflects New Amsterdam’s commitment to supporting and nurturing projects that wholly fulfill the intent of their creators, resulting in music without walls, without an agenda, and without a central organizing principle. Since the label’s inception, New Amsterdam and its artists have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Studio 360, in prominent print publications such as Newsweek, the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Alarm Press, the Village Voice, and Time Out New York, and in tastemaker online magazines such as The Awl, PopMatters, and BlackBook. Newsweek’s Seth Colter Walls called New Amsterdam “an upstart label that’s been releasing one quality disc after another since its founding”, and the Sunday New York Times lauded our first slate of releases in two separate year-end best-of articles. New Amsterdam has also given over 40 concerts of groundbreaking new music over the past three years. Highlights include 2009’s Undiscovered Islands series and the 2009-10 Archipelago chamber music series. As part of its ongoing programming, New Amsterdam has made a priority of forming partnerships with other like-minded organizations, including Cantaloupe Records, MATA, Galapagos Art Space, Minneapolis’s Southern Theater, Nonclassical (UK), the Manhattan New Music Project, Search and Restore, and AMC’s Counterstream Radio.