Sufjan Stevens is one of the most respected names in indie music today, so perhaps it’s only fitting that the label he’s signed to (and for whom he is also the official Minister of Aesthetics), Asthmatic Kitty Records, possesses a similar reputation. Recent releases from new upstarts The Welcome Wagon and My Brightest Diamond only solidify the label’s image as a hotbed for high-quality indie folk and pop. It’s good to see that the trend is continuing with the new single “Pity Dance” from DM Stith, appearing on his new album Heavy Ghost, which drops on March 10th.
If you’re looking for something to shake your ass to, you’re miles away. “Pity Dance” starts off with a delicate, minor-key guitar and slowly builds momentum amid lyrics of self-loathing and depreciation. The climax swells into a creepy symphony replete with handclaps, wailing vocals, strings, horns, chimes, and probably more. The result is something that is satisfying yet eerily and subtly disturbing. Top 40, this ain’t.
All of the atmospheric background noises really add to the haunting ambience of this song, and it also hints at a staggering amount of hard work on the technical side of things. The intricacy of the mixing and production in this song is stunning, especially towards the end, where so much is going on without it ever feeling cluttered.
Fans of Sufjan Stevens and Department of Eagles will very much appreciate this tune. The video below is simple in concept, but like the song was almost certainly harder to pull off than it looks. On a lighter note, the actor in this clip looks like the lovechild of Robin Williams and Sean Penn. Enjoy!