FEATURED: Sufjan Stevens
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
, 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!
From 2004's Seven Swans
The Dress Looks Nice On You
From 2005's Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
Casimir Pulaski Day
From 2000's 8.21 A Blue Bunny Compilation
Woman at the Well
From an unknown live performance
Chicago (Banjo Only) (Live)
Please, buy his music here
. Also, check out his website.
Odds and Ends
Tom Cruise just keeps getting creepier and creepier
(via Pink is the New Blog
will stop some of the Terry Shiavo controversy. Then again, maybe not.
Al Franken's Radio Show + iTunes Music Store?
has a review
of the new White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan
. I agree whole-heartedly.
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.
The Arcade Fire - The Arcade Fire EP
Sin City OST
Mastodon - 9 Song Demo [FLAC]
Morrissey - Live in London (1991)
Say Hi To Your Mom
- 'The Twenty-Second Century"
(from Ferocious Mopes
- "Side 2"
- "I Love My Jean"
(from I Love My Jean