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REVIEW: Sufjan Stevens presents the Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice @ Aladdin Theater (Portland, OR – 12/6/12)

7th Dec 12 (Fri) 5 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Sufjan's 2012 hristmas Sing-a-long Tour

I hate Christmas music.  There are a few rare instances where it doesn’t make me cringe.  Over the Rhine’s Darkest Night of the Year and Monk’s How Like A Winter are rare exceptions.  One of my favorite artists, Sufjan Stevens, has put out Christmas EPs each year for his closest group of friends, and then they eventually make their way out to the public via now two EP boxsets (Songs For Christmas & Silver and Gold).  While some of the more standard Christmasy songs from Sufjan make me cringe (it’s not his fault), he finds a way to have some experimentation and wild unique new songs that makes the boxsets fully enjoyable… even for a bah-humbug like me.  And the boxsets also include cool arts and crafts…

Sheila Saputo (aka Rosie Thomas)

Despite my dislike of Chrtistmas songs, when I found out that Sufjan was bringing his 2012 Christmas Sing-a-Long tour (the Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice) through Portland’s Aladdin Theater, I knew I needed to go.

His opener / tour co-hort is Sheila Saputo… the quirky comedic alter ego of singer-songwriter Rosie Thomassee her trailer here.

Sheila put on a 20 minute set of fairly ridiculous, self-depricating humor.. partially eating a carrot throughout the set, making balloon “animals” (term used very loosely), and spelling out the important aspects of the acronym CAROLS: Carnal Treasures, Armageddon, etc (see photos at the bottom).

At 8:45pm, Sufjan and his band hit the stage (including the de-frocked Sheila Saputo/Rosie Thomas in a snowman suit).  They started things off in front of the stage curtain with a gentle acappella version of “Christmas Time Is Here,” then… curtains up and behold the majesty of the Wheel of Christmas!!!

The set was obviously going to be full of Christmas songs.  Some on their setlist and some chosen “randomly.”  For many of the Wheel of Christmas Sing-a-Long tunes, they brought up members of the audience to spin for the selection.  Near the end, some rigging of the wheel had to be done to fit in some we hadn’t done yet.  I think we hit everything on the Wheel except for “Silent Night.”

They also threw in a few non-Christmas tunes throughout the set and at the encore…

Setlist: 2 hrs 10 mins

  • Christmas Time Is Here (acappella) [Vince Guaraldi]
  • Christmas Woman
  • Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!
  • Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • Justice Delivers Its Death*
  • Joy to the World (Wheel of Christmas Sing-A-Long)
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Wheel)
  • A Holly Jolly Christmas (Wheel)
  • Jingle Bells (Wheel)
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Wheel)
  • Vito’s Ordination Song*
  • Put the Lights on the Tree
  • How Shall I Fitly Greet Thee?
  • I Am Santa’s Helper
  • “Frosty” (improv rock, chant, Rosie cutting santa up with plastic chainsaw)
  • Sister Winter*
  • Ah Holy Jesus
  • The Child with the Star on His Head*
  • Sleigh Ride (Wheel, noted as “Slay Ride”)
  • O Holy Night (Wheel)
  • We Need a Little Christmas (Wheel)
  • Auld Lang Syne* (Wheel)
  • Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (Wheel)
  • For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti*
  • Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!*
  • Christmas Unicorn*
  • Encore: Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois*
  • Futile Devices*
  • Chicago*
  • Come On! Feel the Illinoise!*
    *-
    personal favorites from the night

I truly hate most Christmas music, but this was a FUUUUUUUUUUUUUN show!  Sufjan and his band make the music fun, the original tunes (even if Christmasy) are spectacles of greatness or touching, gentler tunes, and the overall party factor of this tour is truly astounding.  I’d hate to have been on the clean-up crew… confetti, streamers, popped balloons, and random blow-up animals and santas…

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Charlie Hunter @ Mississippi Studios (12/7) and Antibalas @ Hawthorne (12/8).

~Dan – np: John ZornRimbaud
John Zorn - Rimbaud

SUFJAN STEVENS CHRISTMAS SING-A-LONG PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Sufjan Stevens Fall 2012 Tour Dates

  • Fri Nov 23, 2012 – Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
  • Sat Nov 24, 2012 – Washington DC 9:30 Club
  • Sun Nov 25, 2012 – Saxapahaw NC The Haw River Ballroom
  • Mon Nov 26, 2012 – Athens GA The Georgia Theatre
  • Tue Nov 27, 2012 – Chattanooga TN Track 29
  • Wed Nov 28, 2012 – Oxford MS The Lyric Oxford
  • Fri Nov 30, 2012 – Dallas TX Granada Theater
  • Sat Dec 01, 2012 – Austin TX Emo’s East
  • Mon Dec 03, 2012 – Tucson AZ Rialto Theatre
  • Tue Dec 04, 2012 – Los Angeles CA The Fonda Theatre (formerly The Music Box)
  • Wed Dec 05, 2012 – San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall
  • Thu Dec 06, 2012 – Portland OR Aladdin Theater
  • Sat Dec 08, 2012 – Seattle WA Neptune Theatre
  • Sun Dec 09, 2012 – Missoula MT Wilma Theatre
  • Wed Dec 12, 2012 – Minneapolis MN Mill City Nights (Formerly The Brick)
  • Thu Dec 13, 2012 – Milwaukee WI Turner Hall
  • Fri Dec 14, 2012 – Indianapolis IN Deluxe @ Old National Centre
  • Sat Dec 15, 2012 – Chicago IL Metro
  • Sun Dec 16, 2012 – Cleveland OH Beachland Ballroom
  • Tue Dec 18, 2012 – Buffalo NY Asbury Hall @ Babeville
  • Wed Dec 19, 2012 – Providence RI Fete
  • Thu Dec 20, 2012 – Boston MA Royale
  • Fri Dec 21, 2012 – New York NY Bowery Ballroom
  • Sat Dec 22, 2012 – New York NY Bowery Ballroom

Sufjan Steven’s horror/christmas claymation “Mr. Frosty Man”

29th Oct 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

Three Sufjan Stevens posts in a row?  Sorry… I promise I’ll get an October concert recap (Aimee Mann, Nellie McKay, Peter Mulvey/Kris Delmhorst, Dan Deacon) up soon… in the meantime, this new claymation/stop motion music video for Sufjan’s “Mr. Frosty Man” is perfect for both the Christmas & Halloween crowds…


Animation by Lee Hardcastle

Pre-order his upcoming Silver and Gold (Christmas EP boxset #2) on 5 CDs or 58 mp3.  The 5-vinyl set appears to be sold out (via bandcamp).

~Dan – np: TomahawkTomahawk

Sufjan Stevens – Nov/Dec 2012 Tour

10th Oct 12 (Wed) Leave a comment

As reported last week, Sufjan Stevens is releasing a new Christmas boxset this winter – and now, he just announced a tour in the U.S….

Sufjan Stevens’ 2012 Tour Dates with Sheila Saputo

aka The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long
Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant
Variety Show Distaster

  • Fri Nov 23, 2012 – Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
  • Sat Nov 24, 2012 – Washington DC 9:30 Club
  • Sun Nov 25, 2012 – Saxapahaw NC The Haw River Ballroom 
  • Mon Nov 26, 2012 – Athens GA The Georgia Theatre
  • Tue Nov 27, 2012 – Chattanooga TN Track 29
  • Wed Nov 28, 2012 – Oxford MS The Lyric Oxford
  • Fri Nov 30, 2012 – Dallas TX Granada Theater
  • Sat Dec 01, 2012 – Austin TX Emo’s East
  • Mon Dec 03, 2012 – Tucson AZ Rialto Theatre
  • Tue Dec 04, 2012 – Los Angeles CA The Fonda Theatre (formerly The Music Box)
  • Wed Dec 05, 2012 – San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall
  • Thu Dec 06, 2012 – Portland OR Aladdin Theater
  • Sat Dec 08, 2012 – Seattle WA Neptune Theatre
  • Sun Dec 09, 2012 – Missoula MT Wilma Theatre
  • Wed Dec 12, 2012 – Minneapolis MN Mill City Nights (Formerly The Brick)
  • Thu Dec 13, 2012 – Milwaukee WI Turner Hall
  • Fri Dec 14, 2012 – Indianapolis IN Deluxe @ Old National Centre
  • Sat Dec 15, 2012 – Chicago IL Metro
  • Sun Dec 16, 2012 – Cleveland OH Beachland Ballroom
  • Tue Dec 18, 2012 – Buffalo NY Asbury Hall @ Babeville
  • Wed Dec 19, 2012 – Providence RI Fete
  • Thu Dec 20, 2012 – Boston MA Royale
  • Fri Dec 21, 2012 – New York NY Bowery Ballroom
  • Sat Dec 22, 2012 – New York NY Bowery Ballroom

Sufjan Stevens will jingle-jangle his way across America, bringing yuletide cheer to your local music club, sharing reverent hymns and pop carols from his upcoming Christmas album Silver & Gold. “The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Distaster” will be a tragic-comedic feast for the ears and eyes.

Sufjan will be joined by a 5-piece band (including Rosie Thomas, Nedelle Torissi, Casey Foubert, James McAlister, and Ben Lanz) playing all the hits from both Christmas box sets. Send us your song requests!

All Grinches be forewarned: the show will consist entirely of Christmas music, inviting audience participation.

Extra-special guest Sheila Saputo—the hottest ticket from Gary, Indiana—will be opening all dates with her indelible ice-breaking pizzazz.

General admission goes on sale on Friday (10/12). Check your local venue for ticket links and availability times.  A very limited number of presale tickets will go on sale Wednesday October 10th at 10am (in whatever timezone the venue is in). Don’t worry if you don’t get a ticket on Wednesday – general admission goes on sale on Friday.  Click here to buy presale tickets (available at 10am on October 10th in the venue’s timezone).

Pre-order his upcoming Silver and Gold (Christmas EP boxset #2) on 5 CDs or 58 mp3.  The 5-vinyl set appears to be sold out (via bandcamp).

~Dan – np: Charlie Hunter & Scott AmendolaNot Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead

Sufjan Stevens’ Silver & Gold (Xmas EP #’s 6-10)

2nd Oct 12 (Tue) Leave a comment

Update: the stop-motion Lego video is at the bottom.

Pre-order his upcoming Silver and Gold (Christmas EP boxset #2) on 5 CDs or 58 mp3.  The 5-vinyl set appears to be sold out (via bandcamp).

“Happy Holidays! On November 13, 2012, Asthmatic Kitty Records will release (another!) Christmas box-set extravaganza by the implacable singer/songwriter Sufjan StevensSilver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10, a compilation of 5 EPs recorded between 2006 and 2010.

Expanding on the tradition of the first box-set (Songs for Christmas, Vols. 1-5 from 2006), Silver & Gold is a generous document of five more years of holly-jolly jubilee — Christmas caroling, sleigh-bell-ringing, collaborative songwriting — undertaken by Sufjan and his various musical cohorts. Originally intended as gifts for family and friends, these musical snapshots have been re-mixed and re-assembled for the public in an exquisitely-designed gift box containing all the Yuletide pleasures money can buy: Christmas stickers, temporary tattoos, lyric sheets and chord charts, a paper ornament, an apocalyptic pull-out poster, photos, illustrations, and extensive liner notes—a veritable Christmas feast for the eyes and ears.

The album features collaborations with a running line-up of friends and musical peers, including Aaron and Bryce Dessner (The National), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Cat Martino (Sufjan’s right-hand woman on all things Age of Adz), Sebastian Krueger (Inlets), Gabriel Kahane, Vesper Stamper, and members of Danielson (Daniel, Elin, Lilly, and Ida). Sufjan’s own indelible aesthetic and his tireless oblique strategies (in vain pursuit of the perfect Christmas song) maintain the album’s center of gravity, resulting in an abundant compilation (nearly 60 tracks) that investigates the canon of devotional hymns and holiday pop songs with reckless abandon (totaling nearly three hours of music).

Silver & Gold surpasses its predecessor both in style and scope by taking a wider stance and embracing a more liberal ethos. The box-set sails through musical fashions as various as ornaments on a Christmas tree (covering songs from John Dowland to Johnny Marks). The folksy old-world renaissance of Gloria (Vol. 6) gives way to bi-polar impertinence on I Am Santa’s Helper (Vol. 7). Christmas Infinity Voyage (Vol. 8) looks to the cosmos (and the drum machine) for inspiration, while Let It Snow (Vol. 9) and Christmas Unicorn (Vol.10) show a giddy return to form, unselfconsciously reveling in all the bubble-gum show tunes from the 1950s and 60s (“A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” to name a few).

There are also 18 original songs intermixed throughout (some of them co-written or wholly composed by guest collaborators). Sufjan’s contribution to the Christmas canon exhibits an ever-expanding canopy of approaches: there’s the moody and affectionate Christmas ballad (“Happy Karma Christmas”), an ecclesiastical take on the Burl Ives classic “Silver & Gold” (re-titled here as “Justice Delivers Its Gift”), the rowdy, garage-rock, rumble-in-the-snow-bank (“Mr. Frosty Man”) and the psychedelic pop-anthem (“Christmas Unicorn”) that attempts to reconcile new age magic, fantasy fiction, and the commodification of Christmas with expository deftness.

Silver & Gold is more than just another Christmas album, but an ongoing exercise in theme and variation, an annual tradition that offers this songwriter a chance to experiment with fashion and technique without taking himself too seriously. Sufjan’s playful (yet purposeful) expedition through the superficial landscape of sugar plum fairies and marshmallow fluff has produced an exuberant musical account of “all things Christmas” in the pursuit of the sublime. What distinguishes this project from the glut of Christmas albums saturating the market today are Sufjan’s unguarded enthusiasm for the genre itself (the sense of freedom he shows in celebrating with reverence and rebellion) and the belief that Christmas music contains a multiplicity of sacred and secular significance (from Baby Jesus to Babes in Toyland) that is ultimately ours for the taking. It’s safe to say that no one has taken it further than Sufjan, for better and for worse.

Thanks for listening and may all your Christmas dreams come true.

Silver & Gold will be available in digital download, a CD box-set available November 13th, with a limited edition of 2000 vinyl box-sets available later this year or early 2013.

A special edition of the vinyl boxset, which will include some extra surprises, is available to US/Canada/EU for pre-order:

http://sufjanstevens.bandcamp.com/album/silver-gold

The CD Boxset includes: (price not listed yet)

1. Five CD EPs

2. Christmas stickers

3. Temporary tattoos  (non-toxic & safe for children)

4. A paper ornament (self-assembly with directions)

5. An apocalyptic pull-out poster

6. Song lyrics and chord charts (sing along with your friends and enemies)

7. Hallucinogenic photographs and psychedelic graphic design (by Sufjan Stevens, drug-free since 1975)

8. Extensive liner notes (introductory salutations and an essay on the Christmas tree by Sufjan Stevens, and a few theological words on the End Times by Pastor Vito Aiuto)

The vinyl boxset includes: ($120 + S/H)

1. Five EPs on 6 vinyl discs

2. Christmas stickers

3. Temporary tattoos

4. A paper ornament

5. A 40-page Christmas songbook with vocal and piano reductions

6. A Christmas coloring book

7. Hallucinogenic photographs and psychedelic graphic design

8. Extensive liner notes

Whoa!

Sufjan Stevens Lego Movie

~Dan – np: Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias BossiNiagara Falling: Tales for the Stage, III

Sufjan/Son Lux/Serengeti “Museum Day” & Björk “Hollow (video)

7th Mar 12 (Wed) Leave a comment

As previously announced, Sufjan Stevens will team up with Anticon artists Son Lux and Serengeti under the name s / s / s for an EP, Beak & Claw, that will drop on March 20th (the vinyl is available for pre-order now).

Yesterday, they posted a song from the release called “Museum Day,” a slow-building jam with some big, auto-tuned hooks from Sufjan.

Hear it below:

Yesterday also saw the release of the official music video for Björk’sHollow” (from Biophilia)…quite colorful and science-y… HD video below:

Talking about the video, Björk says:

It’s just the feeling when you start thinking about your ancestors and DNA that the grounds open below you and you can feel your mother and her mother, and her mother, and her mother, and her mother 30,000 years back. So suddenly you’re this kinda tunnel, or trunk of DNA… All these ghosts come up so it ended up begin a Halloween song and quite gothic in a way… It’s like being part of this everlasting necklace when you’re just a bead on a chain and you sort of want to belong and be a part of it and it’s just like a miracle.

Which is what we were all thinking, of course.

~Dan – np: John ZornMoonchild: Songs Without Words

The evolution of Shara Worden

18th Oct 11 (Tue) 3 comments

Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond has a new album out today… Oct 18th.  All Things Will Unwind is only her third studio album under the MBD moniker, but she’s put out a ton of other material (pre-MBD bands, side projects).  Here’s a full (but not necessarily complete) chronological video walk through her career.  And a quick & easy link on how to get her FANTASTIC new album at the bottom…

AwRy
Brave Elephant” (2001)
song only, not official music video

My Brightest Diamond
Dragonfly” from Bring Me the Workhorse (2006)

Magic Rabbit” from Workhorse

We Were Sparkling” from Workhorse

Something of an End” from Workhorse (2006)

Disappear” (remix) from Tear It Down (2007)

Inside a Boy” from A Thousand Shark’s Teeth (2008)

From the Top of the World” from Shark’s (2008)

Apples” (live) from Shark’s (2008)

Crazy On You (Heart cover)” with the Decemberists (live 2009)

The Lotus Eaters” from Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope (2010)

The Sea” from Letters to Distant Cities (2011)

I’m On Fire” with Stateless (2011)

Be Brave” from All Things Will Unwind (2011)

We Added It Up” from All Things Will Unwind (2011)

Hopefully now you see why I love her so… if you like what you hear, swing by the Amazons and pick up her newest album.  CD, vinyl or mp3 download (on Asthmatic Kitty).  It came out today…

~Dan – np: PusciferConditions of My Parole

Sufjan Stevens “Futile Devices” on WNYC

27th Jul 11 (Wed) Leave a comment

One of the most gorgeous songs from The Age of AdzSufjan Stevens plays “Futile Devices” on WNYC Soundcheck.

The video for “Pleasure Principle” was posted earlier this week.  The full show (audio) is available as a podcast and on WNYC.com.  On the audio, he also performs “Heirloom” and talks with host John Schaefer.  The album, which came out last year, is for sale on Amazon for only $5 (digital version).

~Dan – np: Wadada Leo Smith & Jack DeJohnetteAmerica

Sufjan Stevens “Pleasure Principle” on WNYC

26th Jul 11 (Tue) 1 comment

Sufjan Stevens and his winning smile playing “Pleasure Principle” (a portion of “The Impossible Soul” on The Age of Adz) on WNYC Soundcheck with Bryce Dessner of The National

The full show (audio) is available as a podcast and on WNYC.com.  On the audio, he also performs “Heirloom” and “Futile Devices” and talks with host John Schaefer.

~Dan – np: IncubusIf Not Now, When?

Sufjan Stevens & Gaspar Claus collaborations

17th Feb 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

Some new collaborative pieces from Sufjan Stevens and cellist/experimental music Gaspar Claus have shown up on an official.fm artist site.

Sufjan meets Gaspar

Click the song names for streaming mp3s of the electronic meets cello of “Romance Cave,” the noisy experimentation of “Invalid Skin,” and the rain & electronic monstrosity that is “Alien Vs Predator.”

~Dan - np: MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die,  But You Will

2 Sufjan & The National & Arcade Fire Xmas songs…

21st Dec 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

Thanks to Between Hipsters and God… two Christmas rarities of Sufjan Stevens (from 2006) have been unearthed.  They are off the still unreleased Songs for Christmas Volume 6 (Gloria!) featuring The National‘s Aaron & Bryce Dessner as well as The Arcade Fire‘s Richard Reed Parry.  They were out via the National & Arcade Fire DJ set on BBC6.

The 6th Christmas EP is yet to be released officially… Xmas EP #8 came out in 2008… so, maybe next year, Asthmatic Kitty will release another 5 EP boxset?  We can only hope…

~Dan – np: Ty TaborTrip Magnet EP 

Sufjan Stevens “Too Much” (music video)

22nd Nov 10 (Mon) Leave a comment

Sufjan Stevens made his network TV debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Friday 11/19 (), and now the release of the “official music video” for “Too Much” from The Age of Adz today…

It is the video that played behind his band during the recent tour (my photo from the Portland show above).  The video is as energetic and enigmatic as the Fallon performance.  I’m digging it.

~Dan – np:  MúmYesterday Was Dramatic – Today Is Ok 

Sufjan plays “Too Much” on Jimmy Fallon

20th Nov 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

Sufjan Stevens and his Age of Adz band hit Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night.  Quirky, to say the least.  I love it… check the video over on Stereogum (sorry wp.com doesn’t support all flash video formats):

http://stereogum.com/583011/sufjan-plays-fallon/video/

Check out photos from the Portland Oregon show a few weeks ago…

~Dan – np: Peter MulveyThe Trouble with Poets

REVIEW: Sufjan Stevens @ Schnitzer (Portland, OR – 10/29/10)

30th Oct 10 (Sat) 12 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

So, the last few months has been a flurry of unexpected, yet superbly exciting information coming from Sufjan Stevens and Asthmatic Kitty.  First was the tour announcement (on Aug 9th), then a week and a half later came the immediate release of the All Delighted People EP, and less than a week later came the news of the new full length album The Age of Adz (pronounced ‘odds’).  Outside of the orchestral The BQE piece, Sufjan had been silent for a couple years (which we recently found out was due to nervous system health issues).  Within the past two months, he came roaring back in 2010 with a North American-spanning tour and two new adventurous albums (the “EP” is 58+ minutes).

The new music from Delighted and Adz is a little less accessible compared to Seven Swans or his “State” albums, but a little more poppy/accessible compared to BQE or Rabbit.  I think the new music strikes a nice balance between the adventurousness and electronic-ness in his past music… possibly “A Sun Came! updated for the Sufjan listener in 2010.”  While I don’t think it’s a repeat of A Sun Came! (at all) – that’s the best Sufjan repertoire comparison I can muster.  It’s sweeping and glitchy, quiet and loud.  But how would it translate into a live show?

Before we could find out, labelmate DM Stith hit the stage.  He only played 20 minutes, but was a good warm-up.  Nice singer-songwriter fare, with Sufjans’ horn section on “Thanksgiving Moon.” I’d heard DM’s music via AK samplers and free downloads.  It never struck me as solidly as Sufjan has, but in the live setting, he seemed to carry himself well.  After he did his tunes, he left to go put on shiny pants for Sufjan’s band.  I was slightly disappointed that he left after only 20 minutes, but that disappointment soon went away as the anticipation for Sufjan mounted.

Sufjan and his 10 piece band hit the stage around 10 ’til 9pm in shiny outfits.  His band was comprised of DM Stith on keyboards, two drummers, a 3-member torn section, a guitarist, bassist, and two backup singers/dancers.  After a short hello, they went immediate into “All Delighted People” and didn’t stop with the new material until 10:30.  I’d been listening to the new material for the past week, and glad they played some personal favorites: Heirloom, Futile Devices, The Owl and the Tanager, and the 20+ minute Impossible Soul.

Sufjan’s “slow jam” dancing to “I Walked” was charming.  The projected graphics and dark, hallowed lighting during “Vesuvius” made my friend mention that it seemed like a weird, ancient worship service.  The auto tune hip-hop near the end of “Impossible Soul” is one of my favorite parts, and it really worked in the live setting. I wish cameras had been allowed near the end, as a large luminescent diamond descended*, and Sufjan busted out the jams in front of the back-lit, strobe-diamond facade.  While that was his most “rockstar moment,” most of the show, he was talkative, yet unassuming and grateful to the audience.

* Amanda McAuley got some photos of it (some shown below), plus I found an “Impossible Soul” part 2 video snippetsee alphaleonis’ youtube for more from the show.

Setlist: about 2 1/4 hours

  • All Delighted People
  • Too Much
  • Age of Adz
  • Heirloom
  • I Walked
  • Futile Devices
  • Vesuvius
  • The Owl and the Tanager [Sufjan solo with backing vocals]
  • Get Real Get Right [with story about Royal Robertson]
  • Enchanting Ghost
  • Impossible Soul
  • Chicago
  • Encore: Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois [Sufjan solo piano]
  • Casimir Pulaski Day

It was a brilliant show.  He was quirky and subdued, gentle and cacophonous, amusing and bewildering, and all around charming.  He saved the old tunes for last, and only three Illinois tracks made the cut.  I got goosebumps as he hit the intro for “Concerning the UFO Sighting.”  While the older tunes were nice (and I wish there had been more sprinkled in), I can honestly say that the new tunes hold their own.  There’s a reason Sufjan has a piece of our hearts.  Seeing the new songs live definitely elevated those albums to being amongst my favoritesfor 2010.  After seeing them performed live, I think they fit better within his catalogue, too.  I hope it’s not another 3+ years until I get to see Sufjan and his band of musicians again.

Sidenote: Sufjan’s one of the only artists who could have pulled me away from a reported, equally awesome Nellie McKay show in Eugene (check back tomorrow for Nellie McKay photos from Margaret O’Brien – who went in my place).

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan -Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of Being: Expand

SUFJAN STEVENS PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Sufjan’s 2010 Tour Dates

  • Tuesday, 12 October – Metropolis Theater, Montreal QC
  • Wednesday, 13 October – Massey Hall, Toronto ON
  • Thursday, 14 October – Royal Oak Music Theater, Royal Oak MI
  • Friday, 15 October – Chicago Theater, Chicago IL
  • Saturday, 16 October – Orpheum Theater, Minneapolis MN
  • Sunday, 17 October – Uptown Theater, Kansas City MO
  • Tuesday, 19 October – The Long Center for the Performing Arts, Austin TX
  • Wednesday, 20 October – McFarlin Memorial Auditorium, Dallas TX
  • Friday, 22 October – Mesa Arts Center – Ikeda Theater, Mesa AZ
  • Saturday, 23 October – The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA
  • Tuesday, 26 October – The Paramount Theater, Oakland CA
  • Thursday, 28 October – Orpheum Theater, Vancouver BC
  • Friday, 29 October – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland OR
  • Saturday, 30 October – The Paramount Theatre, Seattle WA
  • Monday, 1 November – Kingsbury Hall, Salt Lake City UT
  • Tuesday, 2 November – Paramount Theatre, Denver CO
  • Thursday, 4 November – Hilbert Circle Theatre, Indianapolis IN
  • Friday, 5 November – Bijou Theater, Knoxville TN
  • Saturday, 6 November – The Tabernacle, Atlanta GA
  • Sunday, 7 November – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville NC
  • Wednesday, 10 November – Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA
  • Thursday, 11 November – Orpheum Theatre, Boston MA
  • Sunday, 14 November – Beacon Theatre, New York NY
  • Monday, 15 November – Beacon Theatre, New York NY

 

Sufjan Stevens reveals health problems

22nd Oct 10 (Fri) 1 comment

New info from Sufjan Stevens during his recent Toronto show…

“I probably shouldn’t go into the gory details of what I went through, but I will say that I did get very sick last year and had some serious health issues that were really confusing and mysterious and debilitating. For several months, I couldn’t really work and was forced to focus on my physicality and restoring myself. It took several months before I could even get back to working again and recording music…It was a virus I had that affected my nervous system and I no longer had control of my responses to circumstances and events…It was really bizarre.”

Read the rest over at Exclaim.

His Fall 2010 tour is underway now.  One week until the Portland show… squeeee…

~Dan – np: Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz

no free download of mp3 flac torrent on this site, ever.  if you like music, support it.  buy it.

Shara Worden & Sarah Kirkland Snider – Penelope

12th Oct 10 (Tue) 4 comments

On October 18th, at (le) Poisson Rouge in NYC, Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) will be performing the music of Sarah Kirkland Snider backed by yMusic, a six piece chamber ensemble with violinist Rob Moose at the helm (who has played on MBD’s albums).

The album, entitled Penelope (which comes out on October 26th) is a 60-minute song cycle composed by Snider for Worden and the orchestral group, Signal, based on texts by playwright Ellen McLaughlin, derived from the music theater piece of the same name she and Snider wrote together in 2007-2008.

Here is a free taste: “This is What You’re Like” mp3

Penelope is up for pre-order on the Amazons

The songs loosely tell a story: A woman’s husband appears at her door after an absence of 20 years, suffering from brain damage. A veteran of a modern war, he doesn’t know who he is and she doesn’t know who he’s become. While they wait together for his return to himself, she reads him Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, and in the journey of that book, she finds a way into her former husband’s memory and the terror and trauma of war.

Oh, and sorta related to My Brightest Diamond… her labelhead, Sufjan Stevens‘ new album The Age of Adz comes out today, and it’s on special deal over at the Amazons.  $3.99 for the download version (for a limited time).

But it’s also out on CD & vinyl, and you know those are better for your diet anyway. :)

~Dan – np: Holy FuckLatin

no free mp3 download or flac torrent ever. if you like music, support it by buying it

Sufjan’s AGE of ADZ (in its entirety)

26th Sep 10 (Sun) Leave a comment

The entire Sufjan Stevens‘ album The Age of Adz is streaming over at NPR until its release date (October 12th).

THE NPR LINK

You can pre-order the record here: CD / VINYL / digital

~Dan – np: Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz

no free flac torrent of mp3 download here ever.  if you like music, support it – buy it

Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

26th Aug 10 (Thu) 1 comment

Last week they announced the All Delighted People EP. And the week before the fall tour was announced. And today, Asthmatic Kitty announced the upcoming release of The Age of Adz (pronounced Odds), the first song-based full-length from Sufjan Stevens since 2005′s Illinois.

8/27 update: Preview of “I Walked” HERE.

http://asthmatickitty.com/the-age-of-adz

The Age of Adz tracklist
1. Futile Devices – 2:11
2. Too Much – 6:44
3. Age of Adz – 8:00
4. I Walked – 5:01 preview
5. Now That I’m Older – 4:56
6. Get Real Get Right – 5:10
7. Bad Communication – 2:24
8. Vesuvius – 5:26
9. All for Myself – 2:55
10. I Want To Be Well – 6:27
11. Impossible Soul – 25:35

The Age of Adz will drop on October 12th (CD, MP3) with a double-LP following on November 9th. For the next three weeks you can pre-order the CD or LP, and receive an MP3 download on September 28th, two weeks before the release date.

Per Asthmatic Kitty:

It’s much too soon to cast descriptive lots, but we can say the new album sounds nothing like the All Delighted EP (although it shares similar themes of love, loss, and the apocalypse). Nor is this new album built around any conceptual underpinning (no odes to states, astrology, or urban expressways). We can say it shows an extensive use of electronics (banjos and acoustic guitars give way to drum machines and analog synthesizers), and an obsession with cosmic fantasies (space, heaven, aliens, love), to create an explicit pop-song extravaganza, augmented by heavy orchestration, and maybe even a few danceable moments. Enjoy Your Rabbit meets the BQE. But with songs. Verse, chorus, bridge, backbeat. Gated reverb. Space echo. Get your boogey on. The ‘Adz’ of the title loosely refers to the apocalyptic paintings of outsider artist Royal Robertson (1930-1997), whose work is used for the album cover, interior design, and as general inspiration for the tone of the album.”

Wow… 2010 is the Year of the Sufjan.

~Dan – np: John Zorn, Bill Frisell/Marc Ribot/Tim SparksMasada Guitars 

no free mp3 download or flac torrent here ever.  if you like music, support it.  buy it.

Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People

20th Aug 10 (Fri) 2 comments

So, announced and released today, August 20th… Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People EP…

http://sufjanstevens.bandcamp.com/

1. All Delighted People (Original Version) 11:38
2. Enchanting Ghost 03:39
3. Heirloom 02:55
4. From The Mouth Of Gabriel 04:03
5. The Owl And The Tanager 06:38
6. All Delighted People (Classic Rock Version) 08:07
7. Arnika 05:13
8. Djohariah 17:02

A near hour-long “EP”… yippie… also from Asthmatic Kitty:

The EP, 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 (oh we hate making workshop a verb, but time is money!) 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?). If you don’t have five dollars, you can stream the EP for free right on Bandcamp. Or if you’re into tactile sensations, we are making All Delighted People available on single-CD and double-LP formats later in 2010 (we’re aiming for December, fingers crossed). 180-gram vinyl.

~Dan – np: MasadaLive at Tonic 2001

no free mp3 download or flac torrent here ever.  if you like music, support it.  buy it.

Sufjan Stevens on Tour 2010

9th Aug 10 (Mon) 3 comments

Sufjan Stevens, who has been on an extended touring hiatus as of late, is returning to the road in October / November 2010.  A double scoop of dates, playing larger theatres.  Pre-sale tickets go on-sale Tuesday, August 10th at 1pm EST (10am PST).

  • Tuesday, 12 October – Metropolis Theater, Montreal QC
  • Wednesday, 13 October – Massey Hall, Toronto ON
  • Thursday, 14 October – Royal Oak Music Theater, Royal Oak MI
  • Friday, 15 October – Chicago Theater, Chicago IL
  • Saturday, 16 October – Orpheum Theater, Minneapolis MN
  • Sunday, 17 October – Uptown Theater, Kansas City MO
  • Tuesday, 19 October – The Long Center for the Performing Arts, Austin TX
  • Wednesday, 20 October – McFarlin Memorial Auditorium, Dallas TX
  • Friday, 22 October – Mesa Arts Center – Ikeda Theater, Mesa AZ
  • Saturday, 23 October – The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA
  • Tuesday, 26 October – The Paramount Theater, Oakland CA
  • Thursday, 28 October – Orpheum Theater, Vancouver BC
  • Friday, 29 October – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland OR
  • Saturday, 30 October – The Paramount Theatre, Seattle WA
  • Monday, 1 November – Kingsbury Hall, Salt Lake City UT
  • Tuesday, 2 November – Paramount Theatre, Denver CO
  • Thursday, 4 November – Hilbert Circle Theatre, Indianapolis IN
  • Friday, 5 November – Bijou Theater, Knoxville TN
  • Saturday, 6 November – The Tabernacle, Atlanta GA
  • Sunday, 7 November – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville NC
  • Wednesday, 10 November – Kimmel Center, Philadelphia PA
  • Thursday, 11 November – Orpheum Theatre, Boston MA
  • Sunday, 14 November – Beacon Theatre, New York NY
  • Monday, 15 November – Beacon Theatre, New York NY

His last record, The BQE (an instrumental affair dedicated to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), came out in October 2009… so perhaps this tour is a ramp -up for a new studio album?  We can only hope.

~Dan – np: MasadaSanhedrin

Shedding Light on New Sufjan Stevens LP

15th Jun 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

From Exclaim.ca

The National’s Bryce Dessner Sheds Light on New Sufjan Stevens LP
6/10/2010 By Ian Gormely

Sufjan Stevens’s Axl Rose-like recording pace is enough to get even casual fans wondering if the guy’s got another record in him following the triumph of 2005’s Illinois. In the five year’s since its release, he’s managed to produce an outtakes disc, an album of Christmas tunes and even a tribute to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. But he also admitted his 50 State project was just a promotional gimmick. And despite sneaking some new tracks into set lists last fall, in November he told Exclaim! that “I don’t really have as much faith in my work as I used to,” leaving a proper follow-up looking ever more doubtful.

Well, good news, kids: according to The National’s Bryce Dessner, Stevens is indeed hard at work on a new album and is currently recording in the band’s Brooklyn studio.

“We’ve played on some of the tracks and been listening to some of the stuff as he’s been working on it,” Dessner told Exclaim! in a recent interview.

Dessner, who described Stevens as “very solitary in what he does” and “one of my closest friends” didn’t want to reveal too much about the new as-yet-untitled Stevens album. But when asked if the new material sounded like Stevens’s older records, Dessner offered a resounding “no.”

“It’s going to be incredible,” he adds. “It’s going to probably blow people’s minds.”

I consider this to be most excellent news… any new Sufie on the horizon is a-OK with me.

~Dan – np: John LennonAcoustic

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