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Sufjan Stevens?!? (update: interesting review)


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Asthmatic Kitty just can't wait...

We couldn't contain our excitement. We know the record does not come out for another few weeks, but we decided to go ahead and let you hear the thing. Follow the link below to listen to the first quarter of Sufjan's new album The Avalanche. We will be putting up another part of the record end of next week and each week after that until the release on July 11th.
Avalanche Preview, Part One

I've heard some of it already, but the version of "Adalai Stevenson" is a decidedly wackier arrangement than the one that leaked a few weeks ago. Not transcendent stuff, certainly, but still enjoyable enough.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Finally bought Illinoise yesterday; wife's wanted it for a while. Haven't been able to give it a good listen yet, however I like what I hear thus far.

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Give it a few listens (maybe months, or a year, like me) before you decide, Chashab. It's one of those albums that grows over time. Shouldn't be reviewed upon a first listen.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I got an email yesterday from Sufjan's website with new tour dates for this fall, as well as a link to buy up to four tickets in a "pre-sale" for those shows (starting yesterday), so if you're interested, check out the asthmatic kitty website for info...

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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Sufjan is listed for two dates at the Paramount in Austin Texas during the weekend of ACL festival.

Note he is not listed in ACL listing, but rumor has it that he is the surprise artist who may close the festival on Sunday night!!! Whoowoo. I wasn't gonna go unless he was there.

New Pornos (hopefully Neko will do some solos), Shins, Sufjan....

www.aclfestival.com

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Sufjan is listed for two dates at the Paramount in Austin Texas during the weekend of ACL festival.

Note he is not listed in ACL listing, but rumor has it that he is the surprise artist who may close the festival on Sunday night!!! Whoowoo. I wasn't gonna go unless he was there.

New Pornos (hopefully Neko will do some solos), Shins, Sufjan....

www.aclfestival.com

Hmm. New Pornos, The Shins, and Sufjan do not appear in the Lineup section of the web site to which you linked. Do you know something we don't know?

In any event, I think I'm going to be there. If any other A&Fers are going to be in Austin between September 15th - 17th, let me know.

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Wow... Stephen Thomas Erlewine makes "A Case Against Sufjan Stevens."

But for me, Illinois was a breaking point, the place where I could no longer take Stevens and his music seriously. True, he doesn't make my skin crawl the way that Conor Oberst does, but oddly that's part of the problem. Oberst's strained hyper-sincerity at least provokes a strong reaction, ranging from love to hate. Conor gives the impression that he really means it, man, which isn't something that is easy to say about Sufjan. Quite appropriately for an artist who is building his career on a schoolboy's conceit of writing albums about every one of the 50 states, there is a delicate artifice to Sufjan that doesn't inspire such a strong reaction. He's quiet and refined, aching with an earnest ambition and an overt pretension that can seem admirable when compared to his lackadaisical indie peers, or the endless parade of punk-pop jokers and relentlessly gloomy emo rockers.

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Dudes, we need a new rule. New record = new thread. Who's with me? From now on I mean.

I got the Avalanche in the mail the other day, which was a pleasant surprise. I'm not in love with it -- I like the sound of the Illinois sessions a lot, but isn't this about 43 songs now? That is a lot of songs.

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Just thought I'd note a quick Sufjan shoutout from the screening of Little Miss Sunshine I saw tonight - Chicago was used (sans vocals) as roadtrip background music. Good stuff.

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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3 Questions for Sufjan Stevens, but first you have to watch an advertisement for vodka.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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The remarkable thing about The Avalanche is how Sufjan's heated up leftovers are better than many an artists albums. I should be content with that. But like, say, Thom Yorke, it is virtually impossible to evaluate it on its own merits. You can't help but hear what preceded it. In Sufjan's case: you hear Illinois, and it just doesn't reach the same heights. Yet, it is good, it is really, really good. My only issue is its lengh - 75 dense minutes makes for a daunting listen. I could also do without three versions of "Chicago" peppered throughout the album.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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My only issue is its lengh - 75 dense minutes makes for a daunting listen. I could also do without three versions of "Chicago" peppered throughout the album.

Sounds like a perfect album for the iPod.

You can break up the tracks into various playlists and make your own version of Illinoise.

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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My only issue is its lengh - 75 dense minutes makes for a daunting listen. I could also do without three versions of "Chicago" peppered throughout the album.

Sounds like a perfect album for the iPod.

You can break up the tracks into various playlists and make your own version of Illinoise.

No kidding. It's interesting how an i-pod has changed my listening habits. I did the same thing with Illinois-proper. At about 15 songs and 55 minutes each, my edited versions rule!

I guess this means Sufjan should probably hire me to produce his next album, or at least pick the songs and put them in order. :D

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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There is actually a fifth recording of Chicago, besides the one off Illnoise, and the three off of Avalanche. I remember hearing it a while after Illnoise actually came out. Kind rough compared to the others. I tried the link, but it's dead now. Did anyone else hear this? Am I just making this up?

Listen to my tunes by visiting my website, or come say hello on Facebook and Twitter

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There is actually a fifth recording of Chicago, besides the one off Illnoise, and the three off of Avalanche. I remember hearing it a while after Illnoise actually came out. Kind rough compared to the others. I tried the link, but it's dead now. Did anyone else hear this? Am I just making this up?

I think the vinyl version of Illinois contains two bonus tracks - "The Avalanche" and "Chicago (To String Remix by Jongalloway)". They were both available via download at i-tunes. I'm not sure if that is the "Chicago" you were refering to, but that does make five version.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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I've heard an mp3 of a live performance of Chicago, featuring (mostly) solo guitar. It's my favorite iteration so far, which is why I mention it, though it's also probably not what you're looking for, Joel C. (It used to be found here, as referenced by zalm earlier in this thread).

A pdf from Filter (music magazine?) features an interview with Sufjan. Pretty standard stuff, until you get to the end, where Sufjan is asked:

Do you have a plan as to where you want to go next with the state project?

and the reply,

I finally do, yes. But I probably shouldn't say.

I hope I can take this to mean that: a] he'll be working on another album soon, and b] it's going to be another state concept album. He's touring now, though, and this info is waaay too general to cause much of a stir, if any. Still, I can't let self-naysaying and insubstantial evidence prevent my own wild speculation and anxious anticipation from beginning...now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

:blink:

Huh.

I like Avalanche a lot too, but I think it sounds like... well... exactly what it is: A bunch of songs that were good but not quite good enough to stand with the others. I think he chose the best version of "Chicago" for Illinois--the others sound like he's feeling around and looking for the right mix.

Please do say more!

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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