“Museum Day” - s / s / s
We haven’t joined the s / s / s chorus yet (though we did cover Sufjan’s Record Store Day split 7” with Rosie Thomas), but now that Sufjan Stevens/Son Lux/Serengeti collaborative’s EP Beak & Claw is streaming [link] and up for purchase purchase [link], I have another chance at a well-timed blurb.
While this peculiar assemblage of artist is already remarkable after only listing the names involved, listening adds another layer of intrigue. The press release’s comparison to “the cracked futurisms of Shabazz Palaces” aren’t totally off-base, though this has a much brighter, above-ground atmosphere, unsurprisingly. The meandering path of “Museum Day,” stutter-stepping along with it’s odd blips and sounds, is a rather challenging opener with its steadfast dedication to odd sounds and being off-kilter. It’s actually the most challenging of the four tracks; though it does have a traditional chorus/verse structure and the choir-and-percussion-heavy ending do bring a warped bit of cohesion, the other three tracks are initially easier to follow. It’s fun to study the ins and outs of Beak & Claw. It might even be one of my favorite EPs of the year (though nothing has arisen as a serious threat to Kindred yet).
- Tyler Hanan
“Where Were You?” - Rosie Thomas & Sufjan Stevens
I really could care less what that small, vocal crowd of naysayers poo-pooing the corporate push behind part of Record Store Day has to say. Record Store Day is a great excuse for me to blow money I don’t have on records I inexplicably want - many of these being on unique releases and so-awesome-it’s-like-out-of-a-dream collaborations that are unique to this day. While I’m not quite as obsessive as many Sufjan fanboys (I use that term with love, I really do), I can’t help but be really freaking excited by the news that he and Rosie Thomas would be collaborating once again on the split 7” Hit and Run Vol. 1 for Record Store Day. This track, a re-imagining of “Where Was I” off Thomas’ full-length With Love, will be backed with the brand-new response track from Sufjan, “Here I Am.”
Oh, as for this song - I enjoy the hell out of it. You were expecting analysis? Well, I like the part where they sing “all the way home” a lot.
- Tyler Hanan
“Grow Up” - Danielson
Danielson is a shifting collective headed by Daniel Cristopher Smith, accompanied by various family members and a number of other musicians, including Sufjan Stevens. Best of Gloucester County will be released on Smith’s own Sounds Familyre label on February 22nd. It’s a wonderful album full of folksy, home-grown music that is well-composed and given a unique trait with Smith’s squeaky vocals. The album is available on cd and lp here, and as a cassette from Joyful Noise here.
- Tyler Hanan
DJ Sabzi has been hard at work with his Blue Scholars counterpart MC Geologic completing the duo’s upcoming LP Cinematropolis. In the mean time it looks like he’s also had his hands in playing the production half in another duo. “Skylark Interabang?!” is the Sufjan Stevens sampling opening track from their Winter Pigeons EP. Go add this release to your growing pile of christmas gifts and download it for free from Made In Heights’ bandcamp.
- Malcom Lacey
- Malcom Lacey
Sufjan Stevens hasn’t released any singer-songwriter material since 2005’s Illinoise, so this should come as a surprise to many fans. Today he dropped a new EP (which runs an hour in length), All Delighted People, which is available for full streaming and purchase on his bandcamp page.
All Delighted People is built around two different versions of Sufjan’s long-form epic ballad “All Delighted People,” a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s “Sounds of Silence.” Sounds delightful, yes! The song was originally workshopped on Sufjan’s previous tour in the fall of 2009. Other songs on the EP include the 17-minute guitar jam-for-single-mothers “Djohariah,” and the gothic piano ballad “The Owl and the Tanager,” a live-show mainstay (and Debbie Downer if you ask us; what’s it doing on a “Delighted” EP?).