6.15.2005

Sufjan Stevens

FEATURED: Sufjan Stevens


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No musician has in recent memory has grabbed my attention like Mr. Stevens has. Over the last few weeks I've searched out almost every recording he's participated in (yes, even those elusive Marzuki ones). His songs are as eclectic as they are beautiful, acting like poetry to your ears (call it cliche', but it's the truth). Stevens' use of vocal melody is absolutely incredible, in that his voice alone almost pushes along every one his songs (although he does have nice accompaniment from the Illinoise Makers! (formerly the Michigan Militia)), giving them each a sense of hushed sincerity reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith. His new album (out July 5, unless you pre-ordered it and got it in the mail already) Come On! Feel the Illinoise! is an aural masterpiece, churning out beautifully rendered folk songs ("Casimir Pulaski Day") along side indie/pop gems ("Chicago") and wonderfully charming instrumental interludes ("To The Workers Of The Rockford River Valley Region, I Have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament, And It Involves Shoe String, A Lavender Garland, And Twelve Strong Women"). As the second chapter of his ambitious 50 States Project (in which he will release a record for each of the 50 States over the next fifty years or so), it doesn't seem like Ilinois can ever be topped. His first entry in the 50 States series, 2003's Greetings From Michigan!, is almost equally outstanding, portraying everything from the sorrow and hopelessness of those living in run down urban regions like Flint ("Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)") to the quirky stereotypes applied to "Yuppers" ("The Upper Peninsula"). Last years Seven Swans, while a brief tangent from his abitious project, is just as beautiful. Dealing directly with the stories of the bible and his youth, Seven Swans is a lot more subtle and personal then Illinois or Michigan, but just as well done. It's not often you find such a personal and yet universal record dealing with religion. But Stevens' biblical folk masterpiece does just that. It moves you in a way that doesn't make you think about his faith and his beliefs, but it makes you look at your own through his elegant and often metaphor-filled songs. He puts himself into each of his songs and it really does show. Sufjan Stevens is one of the premier song writers of the day. Hands down. His music is worth every moment of your time.

From 2003's Greetings From Michigan!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comHolland
Image hosted by Photobucket.comRomulus

From 2004's Seven Swans
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe Dress Looks Nice On You

From 2005's Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comCasimir Pulaski Day
Image hosted by Photobucket.comChicago

From 2000's 8.21 A Blue Bunny Compilation
Image hosted by Photobucket.comWoman at the Well

From an unknown live performance
Image hosted by Photobucket.comChicago (Banjo Only) (Live)

Please, buy his music here or here. Also, check out his website.
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Odds and Ends


Tom Cruise just keeps getting creepier and creepier (via Pink is the New Blog).

Maybe this will stop some of the Terry Shiavo controversy. Then again, maybe not.

Al Franken's Radio Show + iTunes Music Store?

Borrowed Tunes has a review of the new White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan. I agree whole-heartedly.

Sufjan Stevens has expanded his Illinois Tour. Pitchfork has the dates. I already have my tickets to the 9/14 show in Newport, KY. It's only June and I can't wait.

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Daily Torrents

The Arcade Fire - The Arcade Fire EP
Sin City OST
Mastodon - 9 Song Demo [FLAC]**
Morrissey - Live in London (1991)**

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Random Downloads

Say Hi To Your Mom - 'The Twenty-Second Century"(from Ferocious Mopes)
Dressy Bessy - "Side 2" (from Electrified)
Camera Obscura - "I Love My Jean" (from I Love My Jean Single)