Antony and the Johnsons

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Antony and the Johnsons
Antony-6.jpg
Antony Hegarty performing in 2008
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, United States[1]
Genres Chamber pop, art pop[2]
Years active 1998–present
Labels Secretly Canadian, Rough Trade
Website antonyandthejohnsons.com
Members Antony Hegarty
Julia Kent
Parker Kindred
Jeff Langston
Rob Moose
Maxim Moston
Doug Wieselman
Thomas Bartlett

Antony and the Johnsons is a music group presenting the work of Antony Hegarty and his collaborators.

Career[edit]

British experimental musician David Tibet of Current 93 heard a demo and offered to release Antony's music through his Durtro label. Antony started the band, its name inspired by the transgender rights activist Marsha P. Johnson.[3] The debut album, Antony and the Johnsons, was released in 1998. In 2001, Hegarty released a short follow-up EP, I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy, which, in addition to the title track, included a cover of "Mysteries of Love", a David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti song and "Soft Black Stars", a Current 93 cover.

Producer Hal Willner heard the EP and played it to Lou Reed, who immediately recruited Hegarty for his project The Raven. Now gaining more attention, Hegarty signed to US-based record label Secretly Canadian, and released another EP, The Lake, with Lou Reed guest-performing on one of the tracks. Secretly Canadian also re-released Hegarty's debut album in the United States to wider distribution in 2004.

Antony's second full-length album, 2005's I Am a Bird Now, was greeted with positive reviews and significantly more mainstream attention. The album featured guest appearances by Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Boy George and Devendra Banhart, and circled themes of duality and transformation. I Am a Bird Now featured arrangements by Maxim Moston and Julia Kent and was mixed by Doug Henderson. In September 2005 Antony and the Johnsons were awarded the Mercury Prize[4] for the best UK album of 2005. Rival Mercury nominees, and favorites for the prize, the Kaiser Chiefs suggested that Antony got in on a technicality; despite the fact he was born in the United Kingdom he spent much of his time in the US – although they later apologized for the suggestion that he wasn't a deserving winner.

Sample of Antony & the Johnsons Blue Angel

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Antony and the Johnsons collaborated with experimental film-maker Charles Atlas and presented TURNING in November 2006 in Rome, London, Paris, Madrid, and Braga. Thirteen women from New York City were presented in intimate live video portraits during the course of the concert.[5] The Guardian called the piece "fragile, life affirming, and truly wonderful (five stars)". Le Monde in Paris hailed TURNING as "Concert-manifeste transsexuel".

Antony and the Johnsons' 5-song Another World EP was released on 7 October 2008. Antony and the Johnsons' third album, The Crying Light,[6] was released on 19 January 2009 and went to #1 on the European Billboard charts.[7] Antony has described the theme of the album as being "about landscape and the future".[8] Nature, death, love and the role of the artist were explored across ten tracks, which included the single "Epilepsy Is Dancing." The album was mixed by Bryce Goggin and included arrangements by Nico Muhly.

Ann Powers wrote of The Crying Light for the LA Times online, "it's the most personal environmentalist statement possible, making an unforeseen connection between queer culture's identity politics and the green movement. As music, it's simply exquisite – more controlled and considered than anything Antony and the Johnsons have done and sure to linger in the minds of listeners."[9]

After touring throughout North America and Europe in support of their new album, Antony and the Johnsons presented a unique staging of The Crying Light with the Manchester Camerata at the Manchester Opera House for the 2009 Manchester International Festival. The concert hall was transformed into a crystal cave filled with laser effects created by installation artist Chris Levine. Antony and the Johnsons went on to present concerts with symphonies across Europe in Summer 2009, including the Opera Orchestra of Lyon, the Metropole Orchestra, Roma Sinfonietta and the Montreux Jazz Festival Orchestra. At Salle Playel in Paris, Antony appeared in a costume designed for him by Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy.

After two sold out concerts at the Sydney Opera House, Antony and the Johnsons ended their recent touring in February 2010 in Tokyo. Antony, Johanna Constantine and William Basinski performed at the Sogetsu Hall with butoh master Yoshito Ohno, the son of the 103 year-old dancer Kazuo Ohno, whose image graces the cover of The Crying Light.[10] Kazuo Ohno died in June of that year, and Antony wrote an obituary for the dancer in The Guardian.[11]

In interviews around the world in 2010, Antony described his work on Swanlights and The Crying Light as "a collision between joy and a sense of hopelessness". Antony said he was struggling to come to terms with the idea that he was part of a society that was having a "virulent" impact on the earth.[12] He suggested that the degradation of nature was partially a result of the subjugation of women and earth-based spiritual systems.[12] Antony also blamed the collapse of humanity's sustainable relationship with the earth in part on the rise of patriarchal religions that suggest the destiny of humanity to be "a paradise elsewhere". Interview Magazine describes Swanlights as "an emotional personal call for global, collective change".[13]

September 2010 saw the release of the Thank You For Your Love EP which includes covers of Dylan's "Pressing On" and Lennon's "Imagine". The Sun listed Thank You For Your Love as single of the week on 27 August 2010.

Antony and the Johnsons released a 4th album Swanlights on 12 October 2010 through Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade Records. Simultaneously, Abrams Books published a book edition of Swanlights featuring Antony's drawings and collages with photography by Don Felix Cervantes. Antony and the Johnsons performed "Thank You For Your Love" on both the Late Show with David Letterman and Later... with Jools Holland in support of the album’s release. In October 2010 Antony was invited to "takeover" The Guardian's music and arts page that ran for weeks leading up to the release of Swanlights.[14] Stereogum placed Swanlights in its Top 50 Albums of the year at #8.[15]

In tribute to Kazuo Ohno, Antony and the Johnsons performed on 30 October 2010 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and featured the film "Mr. O's Book Of The Dead" directed by Chiaki Nagano and starring Kazuo Ohno.[16]

In January 2011, Antony was a guest on "Winterguest", a program on Dutch Television's VPRO channel and was interviewed by Leon Verdonschot.

In 2010–2011, the song "Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground" from the album The Crying Light was chosen as one of the five stimuli that the International Baccalaureate Organization chose for the IB Theatre Arts PPP.

On 26 January 2012, the Museum of Modern Art in New York produced a sold-out performance by Antony and the Johnsons, entitled "Swanlights" after their fourth studio album, at Radio City Music Hall, a collaboration with laser artist Chris Levine and set designer Carl Robertshaw. The event was prefaced by a speech from Dr. Julia Yasuda, who said: "I am concerned about nature changing and dying. Won't you please help her? Otherwise the world will be too lonely". The New York Times described the concert as "Cries From the Heart, Crashing Like Waves".[17] This collaboration was later staged at the Royal Opera House in London in 2013.[18]

Antony and the Johnsons released a live symphonic album in August 2012 entitled Cut the World; it features a track called "Future Feminism", which consists of a speech in which Antony disparages patriarchal religions and advocates for a shift towards feminine systems of governance as part of an effort to avert global ecological disaster.[19]

In popular culture[edit]

Band members[edit]

Current members include:

Previous members have included:

Bibliography[edit]

  • Antony and the Johnsons, Swanlights, Abrams Image, 2010
  • Jerome Solal, La Voix d'Antony, Le Mot et le Reste, 2011

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Studio albums
Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
AUS
AUT
[22]
DEN
[23]
FRA
[24]
GER
NED
[25]
NOR
[26]
SUI SWE
[27]
U.S.
2000 Antony and the Johnsons
  • 1st studio album
  • Label: Durtro
118[28] 59
2005 I Am a Bird Now 16 69 71 38 45 58 4 22
2009 The Crying Light
  • 3rd studio album
  • Label: Secretly Canadian
18 33 21 3 4 15 4 4 7 2 65
2010 Swanlights
  • 4th studio album
  • Label: Secretly Canadian
28 70 30 20 16 29 10 4 32 9 122
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.
Live albums
Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
AUS
AUT
[22]
DEN
[23]
FRA
[24]
GER
NED
[25]
NOR
[26]
SUI SWE
[27]
U.S.
2003 Live at St. Olave's
  • 1st live album
  • Label: Durtro
2012 Cut the World 41 24 31 20 27 2 11 27 28
2013 Del suo veloce volo[30][31]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.
Soundtrack albums
Year Album details Chart peak positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
AUS
AUT
[22]
DEN
[23]
FRA
[24]
GER
NED
[25]
NOR
[26]
SUI SWE
[27]
U.S.
2014 Turning
  • Soundtrack for Turning by Charles Atlas
  • Format: CD and DVD
146 70

Singles and EPs[edit]

Year Single / EP Chart peak positions Other charts Record
Label
Album
(main single /
main track on EP)
UK
UK
Budget

U.S. FRA
[24]
1998 "Cripple and the Starfish" (single) Antony and the Johnsons
2001 I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy (EP)
* "I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy" /
* "Mysteries of Love" /
* "Soft Black Stars"
Durtro
2003 "Calling for Vanished Faces" /
"Virgin Mary"
(7" Promo split single, 500 copies)
Current 93
2004 The Lake (EP)
* "The Lake" /
* "Fistful of Love" /
* "The Horror Has Gone"
Secretly Canadian "Fistful of Love" from
I Am a Bird Now
2005 Hope There's Someone (EP)
* "Hope There's Someone" /
* "Frankenstein" /
* "Just One Star"
44 Secretly Canadian "Hope There's Someone" from
I Am a Bird Now
2005 You Are My Sister (EP)
* "You Are My Sister" /
* "Poorest Ear" /
* "Forest of Love" /
* "Paddy's Gone"
39 Secretly Canadian /
Rough Trade
"You Are My Sister" from
I Am a Bird Now
2006 I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy (EP, reissued) Rebis Music
2008 Another World (EP)
* "Another World" /
* "Crackagen" /
* "Shake That Devil" /
* "Sing for Me" /
* "Hope Mountain"
6 179 36 AUS #31
FIN #14
SWE #33
ITA #10
Secretly Canadian "Another World" from
The Crying Light
2009 "Epilepsy Is Dancing" (single) 79 Secretly Canadian The Crying Light
"Aeon" (Double A-side single)
* "Aeon" /
* "Crazy in Love" (Beyoncé cover)
Secretly Canadian "Aeon" from
The Crying Light
"Crazy in Love" (single) NED #14 Secretly Canadian
2010 Thank You for Your Love (EP)
* "Thank You for Your Love" /
* "You Are the Treasure" /
* "My Lord My Love" /
* "Pressing On" (Bob Dylan cover)
* "Imagine" (John Lennon cover)
SWE #54 Secretly Canadian "Thank You for Your Love" from
Swanlights
2010 Swanlights (EP) Secretly Canadian
Rough Trade
Swanlights
2012 "Cut the World (live)"
(with Danish National Chamber Orchestra) (single)
188 NED #88 Secretly Canadian Cut the World
2013 "Fistful of Love" 58 I Am a Bird Now

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Antony and the Johnsons". Allmusic. Retrieved December 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons". Pitchfork. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Marsha P. Johnson (1944 - 1992) Activist, Drag Mother." A Gender Variance Who's Who. May 2, 2009. Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
  4. ^ "Antony and Johnsons win Mercury". BBC News, 7 September 2005. Retrieved on 25 October 2008.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Barclay, Michael."Antony and the Johnsons Transformed", Exclaim!, February 2009.
  7. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons news". Antonyandthejohnsons.com. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  8. ^ "Exclaim!". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "'Wretches and Jabberers' documentary on autism draws support (and music) from Scarlett Johansson, Antony, Bob Weir, others [Updated]". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Progress Report". Stereogum. February 23, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Kazuo Ohno Obituary". The Guardian. June 7, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "Antony and the Johnsons". Vogue Italy. 27 October 2010. 
  13. ^ "Antony Sees the Swanlight". Interview Magazine. 2 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons Takeover". The Guardian. 11 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "2010 Top 50 Albums". Stereogum. 8 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "Fluid Voice With a Fluid Persona Firmly Attached". New York Times. 31 October 2010. 
  17. ^ Pareles, Jon (27 January 2012). "Cries from the heart, crashing like waves". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  18. ^ Betty Clarke. "Antony and the Johnsons – review". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons Announce Live Album | News". Pitchfork. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  20. ^ "Trinidad (2008) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Meltdown | 2012: Antony's Meltdown". Meltdown.southbankcentre.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  22. ^ a b c AustrianCharts.com Antony and the Johnsons discography (Austria)
  23. ^ a b c DanishCharts.com Antony and the Johnsons discography (Denmark)
  24. ^ a b c d LesCharts.com Antony and the Johnsons discography (France)
  25. ^ a b c DutchCharts.com Antony and the Johnsons discography (Netherlands)
  26. ^ a b c NorwegianCharts.com Antony and the Johnsons discography (Norway)
  27. ^ a b c SwedishCharts.com Antony and the Johnsons discography (Sweden)
  28. ^ Tobias Zywietz (2009-04-12). "Chart Log UK". Zobbel. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  29. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje". Ifpi.no. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  30. ^ "DEL SUO VELOCE VOLO". Amazon.it. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "Franco Battiato - Official Website". Battiato.it. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 

External links[edit]