First off, we have some scintillating photos for use in your esteemed publications.

Also, we have the ASM is the Future of Everything Press One Sheet and ASM is the Future of Everything Radio Track Information for you press types to download.

Now on to the lovefest:

From Aiding & Abetting

Anti-Social Music
Sings the Great American Songbook

Um, no. Just in case you were wondering, the title is, indeed, a joke. Anti-Social Music is a collective of NYC-area musicians who like to play. Sometimes it's avant-garde classical kinda stuff, sometimes it's fairly abstract, improvisational-sounding (though rarely actually improvised) stuff and sometimes it's just stuff that doesn't fit into neat little label boxes.

A lot of people wander through a given Anti-Social Music album. A total of 23 folks (if my counting is correct) contribute to the 18 tracks, but each piece has a decidedly different lineup. This might lead to radical shifts in feel--the pieces themselves are often quite distinct--but every time I came away thinking, "Yeah, that's an ASM bit."

Perhaps it's the cheekiness. The band drops a number of mottos within the liners, but one is most telling: "New music with moxie."

Moxie. That's it. A playful sense of adventure, or something like that. Without that sense of "Whoops, let's see what's around this corner," these pieces would simply be technical exercises in unusual music. But with the right touch, they become otherworldly. Get ready to be transported.

- Jon Worley, Issue #270

From Pitchfork
Hold Steady Moustache Guy Plays Chamber Music

Zach Vowell reports:

Ever since Perry Farrell opened his big mouth and proclaimed that not much is shocking, or something, it's been increasingly hard to freak people out with music. Wolf Eyes is on Sub Pop for fuck's sake! Fortunately, there are talented people out there currently working on this very problem.

On the cutting edge of making your friends and neighbors feel awkward is the New York City collective Anti-Social Music (the A is an anarchy symbol, by the way). Founded by a group of forward-thinking sound scientists including the Hold Steady's mustachioed multi-instrumentalist Franz Nicolay, ASM specializes in bringing new chamber music compositions to the unsuspecting masses. In addition to expanding the boundaries of the conservatory, its members have also collaborated with rawk bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, His Name Is Alive, Ida, Songs:Ohia, World/Inferno Friendship Society, and, of course, the Hold Steady.

Anti-Social Music's first album, ...Sings the Great American Songbook, will be released on December 13 (and is currently available through ASM's website), but unlike Rod Stewart's career-reviving schmaltzfest, the LP will feature original songs written by eight of the group's 11 members.

What, chamber music played by accomplished New York musicians doesn't sound like anything too off-putting? Well, just try spinning these ditties at your next tea party and see how everyone reacts:

01 Fracture II - composed by Pat Muchmore
02 "...Hero Cops & Olympic Gold" (SymphonASM No. 1), Part 1 (We're All Winners) - composed by John Wriggle
03 "...Hero Cops & Olympic Gold" (SymphonASM No. 1), Guitar Interlude (You're a Winner, Too) - composed by John Wriggle
04 "...Hero Cops & Olympic Gold" (SymphonASM No. 1), Part 2 (Somebody Is Losing) - composed by John Wriggle
05 Kilter - composed by Peter Hess
06 Song - composed by Ken Thomson
07 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (Overture/The Indian) - composed by William Brittelle
08 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (Commandment Dude-or- onomy) - composed by William Brittelle
09 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (Beez in the Treez) - composed by William Brittelle
10 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (OOOOEEEEAAAAEEEEOOOOEEEEAAAA) - composed by William Brittelle
11 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (Teen Steam) - composed by William Brittelle
12 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (Bahamamama) - composed by William Brittelle
13 Seven Songs of Zen, Love, and Longing (Nova (Girl from Planet of the Apes)) - composed by William Brittelle
14 Lycanthropy of a Poe Poem - composed by Dan Lasaga
15 Breakbeat - composed by Andrea La Rose
16 Each Today Is Yesterday's Tomorrow (for Moondog) - Part I - composed by Franz Nicolay
17 Each Today Is Yesterday's Tomorrow (for Moondog) - Part II - composed by Franz Nicolay
18 Each Today Is Yesterday's Tomorrow (for Moondog) - Part III - composed by Franz Nicolay

Also on the ASM horizon is a full-length release documenting the collective's December 2004 collaboration with avant-hip hop group Dälek, which will include a recording of the performance as well as a batch of Dälek remixes of ASM music. That release is expected to be out in Spring 2006.

Now considering that six Anti-Social Music members have played in an orchestra, and six have played in a jazz band (including four of the orchestra alumni), it makes sense that the collective would get out and play live. And they won't just be performing at that new kitschy-kool venue in the gentrified neighborhood. Oh no. These folks are playing in some high-falutin' establishments.

Opera glass requirements may vary from show to show:

11-12 Philadelphia, PA - University City Arts League
12-17 Brooklyn, NY - Chashama (CD release party)
02-23 New York, NY - Merkin Hall

From Real Detroit Weekly:

5-star review
Anti-Social Music
Sings the Great American Songbook

Stirring strings, guitar squonks, meandering horns and fluttering flutes — and that’s just the first two minutes. This is indie and post-rock’s version of an orchestra. Noisy and cluttered, then awkwardly beautiful. Accordions, tubas, free-jazz sax, noise-punk guitars, dancing pian-y and tender singing going to and fro. Nothing else like it. Ever. — BK

From Em P Me Music Blog:

Making Friends With Music

Every so often, as a person, you find yourself growing and exploring new areas of your personality. I’m currently engaged in one of those transformations with regard to my musical development. While most personal transformations spring from some sort of revelation, I have none other than this here blog to thank for my current metamorphosis. Through the blog I have recieved loads of great CD’s recently that completely shake up the idea of song, composition, arrangement and melody. There was the People disc I got, as well as the absolutely remarkable disc from the Degenerate Art Ensemble. Today I offer up another disc for you all that has helped me to redefine my accepted song-writing methods and forms of execution.

Link to excerpt: Anti-Social Music - Song from the Sings the Great American Songbook CD on Peacock Recordings

To start out with, here’s an explanation of what the group is, from their website:

[our description]

When I first popped in the disc, I was a bit nervous. The appeal of most performance art groups such as the Anti-Social Music organization is in the uniqueness of each performance. how the performance adapts to it’s venue. It wraps itself around that moment in time. it becomes an audible mirror of the alignment of those in attendence and their internal clocks. No two performances are alike and it makes each and every performance all the more special. How would such a philosophy translate to CD? The trepidation soon subsided as I quickly made my way from track to track on Anti-Social Music Sings The Great American Songbook. Much in the same way that their performances envelope the venue in which they are performed, the sounds contained on the 8 songs in 18 tracks seem to be specially suited to take advantage of the confines of the plastic case in which it resides. What the group is losing in not being able to adapt to changes in its audience on the drop of a dime they make up for in exploring every possibile combination of sound within their reach.

The group fuses classical instrumentation, avant garde abandonment and punk rock idealism into a package that is surprisingly accessible to even the most skittish of listeners. After having listened to the CD a few times I realized that Anti-Social Music were one of the few bands that would be able to bring the avant-garde to mainstream music fans in a way that wouldn’t turn them off. As a test I put the album up on my shared library at work, a children’s text book publisher where Madonna and Brittney reign supreme in the loads of libraries that invade my iTunes sidebar every day. I sent out an e-mail asking people to take a listen in their spare time and let me know their thoughts, and their shared library name so I could see what they listened to on a regular basis. The results were pretty remarkable. Over 100 people got back to me. Of that, about 2/3 of those that wrote me back enjoyed it, half of those that enjoyed it asked me for website information so they could find out more and 14 people asked me for links to purchase the album. All 14 who wanted to purchase the album had at least one track from either Madonna or Brittney. In fact, the only overly negative response I got was from someone in the design department that had 200 tracks of Arcade Fire live bootlegs in his library, but we know his taste sucks based on that fact alone.

Unscientific studies aside, the disc hasn’t left my recently played list in iTunes for the past two weeks. And to top it all off, members of The Hold Steady, Ida and World/Inferno Friendship Society are all part of the group, so it’s got the indie cred that we all seek to obtain. What are you waiting for?

From Joe Maneri after our concert of his music:

"Finally my Anti Social music friends - Bringing overflowing light full love, bringing me to me! You profound missfits unveiling the missfits (misfits)? Or mrfits? Your quiet thunderous way showing messinger Jean, Cooks and microwaves. To you - walking the extra mile performers of my music notes. Extraordinary seekers of spirit. You even thanked me -*AND KNOW* ALL THE YEARS OF MY LIFE In THIS one and only concert my life and being have had a HEALTHY RESTORATION AFFIRMATION with a joyous forever"

- Joe Maneri