Archive

Posts Tagged ‘sufjan stevens’

ha’fway 2017

4th Jul 17 (Tue) Leave a comment

Happy 241st birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Ah, the annual halfway through the year music recap where I rarely post an end of year recap. *eyeroll* Eh… I don’t blog much anymore… regardless, here goes for my Top 10 of 2017 so far…



Artist Album (style)

  1. Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Mulhy & James McAlisterPlanetarium (indie rock)
  2. Burning GhostsReclamation (jazz metal)
  3. KXM (Doug Pinnick / George Lynch / Ray Luzier) – Scatterbrain (hard rock)
  4. Peter MulveyAre You Listening? (singer-songwriter)
  5. SexmobCultural Capital (jazz)
  6. David BazanCare (indie rock)
  7. Ani DiFrancoBinary (singer-songwriter)
  8. Future IslandsThe Far Field (indie pop)
  9. Mostly Other People Do the Killing (with Steven Bernstein of Sexmob) – Loafer’s Hollow (jazz)
  10. Incubus8 (rock)

Honorable mentions…

  • Albums by Lydia Ainsworth, Alt-J, Brian Marsella Trio’s Masada Book Two, Aimee Mann, Dave Douglas’ Riverside, and Throttle Elevator Music (Kamasi Washington).
  • EP – ANOHNI’s Paradise
  • Live – ISIS’ Live VII: 2.25.2010
  • Re-issues – Pink Floyd early years boxset(s), the Beatles Srgt. Pepper’s 50th, U2 The Joshua Tree 30th, Radiohead OK Computer 20th
  • Novelty – A**l Trump’s If You Thought ********* **** Was a Lot of People, You Should Have Seen My Inauguration 5″ vinyl (in “Seth Putnam form,” shall we say).

What’s still to come in 2017…

Claypool-Lennon Delirium 12″ (RSD wider-issue), Spotlights, Antibalas, Steven Wilson, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Mogwai, Radiohead OKNOTOK (physical), Failure live vinyl, Lo Tom (David Bazan, TW Walsh & Starflyer 59 folks), Celldweller, The National, Secret Chiefs 3, Weird Al boxset, plus much more, I’m sure.

Will I continue with blogs in the future? I don’t know. :P

Dan – np: Critters BugginMuti -EP-

ha’fway 2015

2nd Jul 15 (Thu) Leave a comment

Happy 239th birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I don’t blog much. Not much time. I haven’t even put out my Favorites from 2013 or 2014… well, here goes for my Top 10 of 2015 so far…

The Heart Is A Monster

Carrie & LowellSol InvictusGoliath
Hand. Cannot. Erase.TalkSong Project Live at Lpr
https://i2.wp.com/artistxite.com/imgcache/album/004/501/004501077_300.jpghttp://o.scdn.co/cover/ac550bf091effa553d4b043ae338e563f29347e7Purge

 Artist Album (style)

  1. FailureThe Heart is a Monster (rock)
  2. Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell (indie rock)
  3. Faith No MoreSol Invictus (hard rock)
  4. Steve Taylor & the Perfect FoilGoliath (rock)
  5. Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) – Hand. Cannot. Erase. (progressive rock)
  6. Daniel Johns (of Silverchair) – TALK (pop, dance, rock)
  7. John Zorn’s The Dreamers with Mike Patton, Sofia Rei & Jesse HarrisThe Song Project Live at Le Poisson Rouge (jazz, avant garde, pop)
  8. Dave DouglasHigh Risk (jazz with electronics)
  9. Nellie McKayMy Weekly Reader (cheeky 70s rock tribute)
  10. DRKWAV (Skerik, Medeski & Deitch) – The Purge (doom, jazz, electronic, all over)

What’s still to come in 2015…

Ben Folds with yMusic, Holy Fuck (no release date, but they recorded it in late 2014), John Zorn (about every month), Puscifer (teaser on their Instagram?), TOOL (music done, lyrics nearing completion?), Charlie Hunter, and based on kickstarters/pledgemusic that I’ve supported: Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5 has a couple more EPs due, Dweezil Zappa, Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate, Jude Christodal, Dylan Carlson of Earth, and Fleming & John.

Will I continue with blogs in the future? I don’t know. :P

Dan – np: Critters BugginStampede

Favorite Concerts of 2012

31st Dec 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

Well, this year was once again good to the Pacific Northwest on the concert front… 366 days, 85 shows, 144 artists, many long nights driving home, and a lot of photos… my best albums lists will likely push off into mid-January (due to being busy & heading out on vacation), but here are my favorite concerts of 2012…

My favorite concerts of 2012:

  1. Secret Chiefs 3 :: WOW Hall :: Eugene, OR {6 Feb} [review with photos] – I saw them twice on this tour, and both shows were great. The Eugene show gets the nod mainly because it was first in the order. :)
  2. Roger Waters presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall:: Rose Garden :: Portland, OR {22 May} [review with photos] – Wow. I don’t even think The Wall is in my Top 5 of Pink Floyd albums, but holy cow, this was an amazing show.  Truly stunning.
  3. Radiohead :: Key Arena :: Seattle, WA {9 Apr} [review with photos] – A phenomenal band that keeps making me drive multiple hours anytime I want to see them!  I’ll gladly continue, though.
  4. Sufjan Stevens presents the Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice :: Aladdin Theater :: Portland, OR {6 Dec} [review with photos] – I hate Christmas music, but this spectacle of wonderment warmed me over.
  5. Puscifer :: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall :: Portland, OR {14 Mar} [review with photos] – A wine tasting and a concert from rock’s favorite frontman? Yes, please.
  6. Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 :: WOW Hall :: Eugene, OR {18 Mar} [review with photos] – I love Nigerian music, and anyone with the last name of “Kuti” should come with a mandate that you go to the show.
  7. “Weird Al” Yankovic :: Lane County Fairgrounds :: Eugene, OR {18 Aug} [review with photos] – A long, many be-suited set of songs.  Saying it was a “fun time” would be an understatement.
  8. Over the Rhine :: The Triple Door :: Seattle, WA {17 Nov} [review with photos] – It had been too long since seeing Over the Rhine (a year).  I got spoiled when I lived in Cincinnati; so now Ive got to get my OTR fix when I can.  This was a gorgeous night.
  9. Levi Weaver :: my house :: Eugene, OR {16 Jul} [review with photos] – Going to an intimate house concert is great.  I recommend it.  Hosting an intimate house concert – doubly so!
  10. Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst :: 3 venues :: 3 Oregon cities {17-19 Oct} [recap with photos] – Story time from two stupendous singer-songwriters.
  11. Dan Deacon :: Hawthorne Theatre :: Portland, OR {25 Oct} [recap with photos] – Dancing some asses off.
  12. Sigur Rós :: Edgefield :: Portland, OR {9 Aug} [review] – This was my first time at Edgefield and also my first time seeing Sigur Rós in an outdoor venue.  Plus side on a great venue, but a slight knock for loving how Sigur Rós works within a theater setting.  A great show regardless of venue, though.
  13. Fiona Apple :: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall :: Portland, OR {26 Jul} [review] – A bit spastic, but a phenomenal performer.  A mix of her new and old tunes, truly great show!
  14. Nellie McKay :: The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts :: Eugene, OR {2 Mar} [review with photos] – I saw her four times this year, and they all rank well.  I’ll see Nellie any time she comes through.  She’s always a delight!
  15. Portland Cello Project plays Radiohead’s OK Computer :: The Majestic Theatre :: Corvallis, OR {21 Sep} [setlist] – While I would have gone a different route than a men chorus for the vocal aspect (i.e. the one song with a regular vocalist was the best one), this was a very special night.

Runners-Up: My Brightest Diamond in Tacoma (Sep) – only because it was a short set, Penn & Teller in Vegas (Jan), Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity in Vegas (Jan), Trevor Dunn & Travis LaPlante at the Wandering Goat (Jan), and Skerik’s Bandalabra at Cozmic (Mar).

Disappointment: the absurd volume of Jack White at the Hult Center (May).

My favorite concert photos of 2012: (in chronological order)

 

(all images are free to use under a creative commons designation,
simply identify Daniel Temmesfeld with a
photo credit and link to pacificlectic.com.

Past Favorite Concerts Lists:

Favorite music of 2012 will be coming in a few weeks (unless I can squeak them out sooner)… EPs/DVDs/etc, vocal albums, instrumental albums

~Dan – np: George HrabCoelacanth
George Hrab - Coelacanth

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

ha’fway 2012

4th Jul 12 (Wed) 3 comments

Happy 236th birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So, here are my faves of the first half of 2012… and outside of the Top 5, it’s all kind of random order on how I feel today… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):

Artist Album (style)

  1. OSI Fire Make Thunder (glitch prog)
  2. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (jazzy pop)
  3. Peter Mulvey The Good Stuff (indie songwriter playing standards with a band)
  4. Damien Jurado Maraqopa (indie rock)
  5. Celldweller Wish Upon A Blackstar (electronica)
  6. Sigur Rós Valtari (ambient icelandic)
  7. Emily Wells Mama (chamber hip-pop)
  8. Floratone Floratone II (jazz)
  9. s/s/s (Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Serengeti) – Beak & Claw -EP- (interesting)
  10. Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson & Mikael Akerfeldt) – Storm Corrosion (ethereal proggy departure)
  11. John Zorn The Gnostic Preludes (jazzy experimental)
  12. John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron) with John Medeski – Templars (noise rock)
  13. Earth Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 2 (drone)
  14. The Chance Brothers Growing Concern (indie rock)
  15. Regina Spektor What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (pop)
  16. Ani DiFranco Which Side Are You On? (folk pop songwriter)
  17. Buckethead Electric Sea (gentler instrumental guitar)
  18. Bad Veins The Mess We’ve Made (indie rock)
  19. Cosa Brava (Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, etc) – The Letter (rootsy jazz adventure)
  20. David Krakauer plays Masada Book Two Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas) (klezmer jazz)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet) and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2012 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Mike Patton & Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II, Ben Folds Five’s reunion studio album, Ric Hordinski’s Arthurs Garden (physical CD, though the download came out a bit ago), the Dusted debut from Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt, Erin McKeown’s kickstarter, and I’ve heard rumors of a new Nellie McKay disc for the Fall.

Favorite concerts of 2012 (so far):

  • Penn & Teller and Cirque’s Zumanity in Las Vegas, Jan 18th & 20th
  • Secret Chiefs 3 in Eugene & Portland, Feb 6th & 7th
  • Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! in Eugene & Portland, Mar 2nd & 4th
  • Puscifer in Portland, Mar 14th
  • Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 in Eugene, Mar 18th
  • Radiohead in Seattle, April 9th
  • Roger Waters presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Portland, May 22nd
  • Beck in Bend, May 27th
    (click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: CelldwellerWish Upon A Blackstar

Fiona’s new album & Sufjan’s RSD 7″ with Rosie Thomas

8th Mar 12 (Thu) 1 comment

Fiona Apple has a new album that’s about to pop (late June 2012 on Epic) The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw, And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.  Here it is written out, presumably in her own pen, from her FB page…

So, hunch… we’ll just call it The Idler Wheel

or… The Screw And Whipping…? ;)

Much like When the Pawn being adopted for the much longer named 2nd album – When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king what he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight and he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring there’s no body to batter when your mind is your might so when you go solo, you hold your own hand and remember that depth is the greatest of heights and if you know where you stand, then you know where to land and if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right.

Some more new music news… Sufjan Stevens and Rosie Thomas are putting out a collaborative 7″ vinyl single for Record Store Day 2012 (4/21/12).  The A-side of the single is a re-imagined version of “Where Were You?,” a song from Thomas’s album With Love. On the B-side, Sufjan offers up an answer song called “Here I Am!”  Sufjan recorded and mixed both tracks, and both artists show up on both songs.

The new version of “Where Were You?” is streaming below:

~Dan – np: John ZornMoonchild: Songs Without Words

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

Sufjan Stevens to Collaborate with Son Lux, Serengeti EP

27th Feb 12 (Mon) 1 comment

Sufjan Stevens is set to release his first set of new music since 2010’s The Age of Adz with a new project titled s/s/s. The project also includes Son Lux and the rapper Serengeti. The group’s four-track EP, which is titled Beak & Claw, is set for a March 20 release through Anticon.  (It’s available for pre-order on vinyl now.)

The six-minute track “Museum Day” features Sufjan singing Auto-Tuned lines alongside rap verses from Serengeti.

The EP features vocal contributions from Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond on “If This Is Real“, while Doseone from Subtle & Themselves appears on the closer, “Octomom.”  Stevens and Serengeti collaborated in 2009 on a track for the Dark Was the Night compilation.

Beak & Claw Tracklist
1. Museum Day
2. Beyond Any Doubt
3. If This Is Real
4. Octomom

~Dan – np: John ZornFrom Silence to Sorcery

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?

My Brightest Diamond ‘All Things Will Unwind’ (Oct 18, 2011)

12th Jul 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

So, if I could have a blog solely dedicated to the music of Shara Worden/My Brightest Diamond, I would.  I ‘found’ her via her opening slot for Sufjan Stevens’ Avalanche tour (Indianapolis 2006?).  Her voice amazed me, and she has quickly become one of my favorite vocalists.  She has operatic voice training, a clever wit, charming lyrics, and an indie-rock DIY mentality.

Her third studio album under the My Brightest Diamond moniker* has been announced… All Things Will Unwind will be released October 18, 2011.

For those unfamiliar, MBD creates some fantastic orchestral indie pop.  She’s offering a FREE download of a song from the forthcoming album…

Free mp3 Download:
Reaching Through to the Other Side

All Things Will Unwind track list
01 We Added It Up
(Studio 360 live video)
02 Reaching Through to the Other Side
(MusicNow 2011 video)
03 In the Beginning
04 Escape Routes
05 Be Brave
06 She Does Not Brave the War
07 Ding Dang
08 There’s a Rat
09 High Low Middle
10 Everything Is in Line
11 I Have Never Loved Someone

*– She has a few MBD precursors under the band name “AwRy” (harder to find), plus a few remix EPs, several cover tunes on compilations, and several fantastic side-projects like Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope, the spoken word Letters From Distant Cities, and the upcoming Kickstarter for her backing band yMusic’s debut album – Beautiful Mechanical.  All worth checking out as well.

~Dan – np: Eddie VedderUkulele Songs

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #1

29th Mar 11 (Tue) 3 comments

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “F**k You” by Cee-Lo Green (from Gnarls Barkley).  I’m at work; so I haven’t had a chance to listen yet… but I’m looking forward to it! Part of me thinks Derek is solely doing this for the “Christian singer-songwriter singing ‘Fuck You’” aspect of it, but whatever… that aspect has no bearing on my views.  I like Cee-Lo’s unconventional pop song, and I like Derek Webb.  The combo should prove interesting – even if he recently tweeted that he muted the F-word, since he couldn’t sing an asterisk.

If Derek covers the song live on his current tour with Jars of Clay… well, that would be excellent…  but unlikely.

Update: listening to it now… personal preference would be for it to not be self-censored.  Vocals also sound kinda muddy, weirdly buried in the mix.  Keyboards don’t seem synched up with the guitars & drums. I applaud his moxy, just perhaps not the execution.  Still enjoyable, though – all things considered.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year.  The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied.  Here’s what he did back in 2010 (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Fans of Derek may also want to check out his contribution (amongst other great covers) of Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans.  The tribute album put out by On Joyful Wings is called Seven Swans Reimagined.  Derek does In Devil’s Territory.  Other musicians include some Asthmatic Kitty favorites, and some newbies to the fold – including the Gregory Brothers (autotune the news) and Inlets.

~Dan – np: On Joyful Wings (various artists) – Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans Reimagined

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

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

2011 anticipated albums

30th Dec 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

So, the year end recaps are in process (instrumental list maybe later today or Friday) … I needed something to fill the gap… here are some artists who are expecting to release new material in 2011 (some are carryovers from 2010’s anticipation), all of which I’m looking forward to…





Kevin Moore‘s Shine (digital out now, CDs en route), dredg has one due at the end of March, Over the Rhine‘s The Long Surrender, Earth‘s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (in February), Iron & Wine‘s Kiss Each Other Clean, Mogwai‘s Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will, Reptet‘s At the Cabin, My Brightest Diamond‘s as of yet untitled (she’s in the studio), a bunch of new stuff from John ZornDerek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 2 (10 cover songs for 2011), maybe the Secret Chiefs 3 will finally release Book of Souls (it’s their “Chinese Democracy”), Eisley‘s The Valley, Jelly Jam with Ty Tabor of King’s X/John Myung of Dream Theater/Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs, Goddamn Electric Bill‘s Jazz, A.N.M. featuring Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, Ken Andrew and Co’s Digital Noise Academy (maybe), Silverchair are working on one (didn’t hit in 2010), Radiohead have put in studio time in 2010 (maybe something out by year’s end), Glen Phillips likely has a few in the hopper (RemoteTreeChildren #2?  new Toad?  new WPA?  new solo?), Opeth is in the studio, Steven Wilson with Mike Portnoy & Mikael Akerfeldt (of Opeth) too, Sufjan Stevens tribute album (due out in March), more chapters from Celldweller‘s Wish Upon a Blackstar, new tracks from Billy & Maynard’s A Perfect Circle, Mike Patton‘s electronic Fantômas or Peeping Tom #2, and… Ani DiFranco – I mean, it’s inevitable… right?  Well, not always, she totally missed 2010 (as of now, no studio albums out in 821 days / 257 since a live EP on Record Store Day 2010).

Plus many more great albums due out in 2011, I’m sure.

~Dan – np: Kevin SmithRed State of the Union (podcast)

* Favorite Vocal Albums of 2010 *

29th Dec 10 (Wed) 7 comments

Disclaimer: No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 120 of them, which makes me at least 98.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2010. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2010. And you might be right. And, I while I generally agree with John Roderick about Year-End Lists, I still find it quite fun to compile my own.

I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my third year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. For that reason, the favorite vocal albums list goes first this go ’round. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, SpaceBook & MyFace pages, yadda yadda yadda. A lot of these also made it on to my 2010 Mix CD.

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Honorable Mentions: Finger Eleven‘s Life Turns Electric, Gnashing of Teeth‘s Walking the Appian Way, Kaki King‘s Junior, Kim Taylor‘s Little Miracle (out late Dec ’09 digitally), and That1Guy & the Magic Pipe‘s Packs A Wallop!

The WeepiesBe My Thrill (Nettwerk) :: Lush singer-songwriter husband/wife duo from Northern California. Syrup-y sweet & poppy, but regardless of my penchant normally against those types of things – The Weepies do it up right. A superb piece of well-crafted pop.
Chali 2NaFish Market Part 2 (Decon) :: Another great solo outing from my favorite rapper from Jurassic 5. This is Chali’s 3rd solo album, and while the sound and vibe hasn’t changed much – his consistency is most what I like about him. Hard hitting, booming voice, witting lyricism, and generally moving into more positive territory (he’s not a “bitches and hoes”-type of rapper).
Caedmon’s CallRaising the Dead (INO) :: I’ve been a fan of Caedmon’s Call for going on fifteen years. I’ve stuck with them through some (personal opinion) lackluster lyricism after the departure of my favorite Caedmon’s songwriter – Derek Webb. He came back to produce and be in the band for this one; and quite frankly, I think this is their best record since 40 Acres. Lyrically, it still has a religious bent; but being in a minority of “non-Christian Caedmon’s Call fans,” I still didn’t find it cringe-worthy like most “contemporary Christian music.”
RedbirdLive at Café Carpe (Signature Sounds) :: Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault, Kris Delmhorst and David “Goody” Goodrich put out a great studio album of covers and originals in 2003. At the recent Mulvey/Foucault live shows this fall, they announced this new release. This new release is the live equivalent of the debut seven years ago (but different material) – a great mix of covers of people that influenced them, as well as a few of their own originals. Vocal duties split between Mulvey, Foucault & Delmhorst. I hope they are able to tour behind this in 2011.
Ty TaborSomething’s Coming (Molken) :: I’m a big fan of King’s X. As a trio, they put out a wall of sound, and a big component of their brilliance is Ty Tabor’s stellar guitar-work. His solo work also features his Beatles-esque vocals on top of his southern-grungy-rock sound. 2010 also saw the release of Ty’s Trip Magnet side solo project, Jelly Jam’s Additives bonus material, and the studio time with Jelly Jam (with John Myung & Rod Morgenstein) for their upcoming 3rd record. Whew, he’s been busy.
Ben Folds & Nick HornbyLonely Avenue (Nonesuch) :: I’m ambivalent about Ben Folds. I never know if I’ll like it; so I put off getting it. Then I get it and love it. This record was a collaboration between Ben and author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, etc). The lyrics are a little jumpier to me (Nick’s style versus Ben’s style), but it still feels very much like a Ben Folds record. They also feature a bonus song (iTunes version) with “video song” heroes Pomplamoose.
Jeanne CherhalCharade (Barclay FR) :: I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004. Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot). I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.
S (Jenn Ghetto)I’m Not As Good At It As You (Own Records) :: Carissa’s Wierd [sic] front woman promised this 3rd ‘S’ record back in… oh, 2007?? It was worth the wait. Haunting lyrics and vocals, simple yet complex acoustic guitar (that hearkens back to Elliott Smith). Bright emo and depressing pop music. Carissa’s Wierd also put out a retrospective (with a couple new tunes) and a small handful of West coast dates. Who knows – maybe they’ll get active again in the near future? I could dig it…
Greydon SquareThe Kardashev Scale (self) :: A little more mature in lyricism compared to The CPT Theorem. Perhaps it’s due to putting some of the ‘Rational Response Squad’ fighting behind him. Greydon, the foremost atheist rapper, made his 3rd record into what I think to be his most consistent. It’s solid, smart and superlative-worthy.
Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian) :: I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan). While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music. Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre. At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did. That’s a testament to his craft.
ClogsThe Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland) :: I first saw Clogs at MusicNow 2007 (in Cincinnati). Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner (of The National) know how to make some interesting chamber pop. The album (as with the live premiere in 2007) features Sufjan Stevens and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). It’s quite a lush record – as the title suggests.
Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People (Asthmatic Kitty) :: Two albums in 2010, Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” hit us first. Beautiful and haunting in “The Owl and the Tanager” and primarily experimental and adventurous throughout, especially compared to his older material. Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month. I’m bummed Sufjan nixed future “State” albums, but I’m still glad with his 2010 output.
George HrabTrebuchet (self) :: George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast. It’s not about geology. It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA. He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well. Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint. One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar. I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song). Bravo!
Damien & Drake JuradoHoquiam (St. Ives) :: Short and sweet and beautiful. My only gripe with this record… well, it wasn’t made available on CD, and the vinyl didn’t include a free download code for the mp3’s. Industry standard practice aside, the Jurado brothers put out some fantastic music. I borrowed a vinyl-to-mp3 device from my friend; so I could enjoy it on my iPod as well. So, my gripes have been abated.
ElleryThis Isn’t Over Yet (Set Adrift) :: Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face). Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame). This album, they switched it up with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).
Nellie McKayHome Sweet Mobile Home (Verve) :: Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her. They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next. HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her. The album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune. The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future. She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late. This is greatly welcomed.
JónsiGo (XL) :: Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions). Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancellation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow). This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.
Sarah Kirkland Snider & Shara WordenPenelope (New Amsterdam) :: Chamber pop featuring Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) is a theme this year (see #10). Quite frankly, I think Shara Worden has one of the best voices in indie rock. Period. Sarah Kirkland Snider is a new musical force for me… she originally wrote Penelope as music for a theater piece and then debuted it as a song cycle with Signal in May 2009. When Shara came aboard, Sarah revised and expanded the songs yet again, tailoring them to Shara’s talents and arranging them for a 25-person orchestra of strings, harp, percussion, drums, electric guitar and bass, and electronics (with sound design by Michael Hammond). It is gorgeous.
Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty) :: His second album of the year, The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly. At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album. For those previously familiar with Sufjan, this album may not fit easily in with his prior albums – but I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.
Mike PattonMondo Cane (Ipecac) :: Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare. With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records. Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs. He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo. The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous. This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.

Top 20 instrumental albums coming up later this week…

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine

* Favorite EPs / Vinyl / Live Albums & more of 2010 *

28th Dec 10 (Tue) 5 comments

This is sort of a precursor to my “official” Favorites of 2010 blogs. Up later this week, I’ll post my favorite vocal and favorite instrumental albums of 2010. Anyway, on with the music pimping

Favorite EPs of 2010

  • Holy Fuck+Ghost (bonus disc with Latin)
  • AuragamiResistance (thanks, Michael)
  • Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People
  • Owen PallettDemo (with Shara Worden – FREE)
  • Haftor Medbøe GroupBox of Monkeys (technically 2009, but I got it late)
     

Favorite Vinyl-only Release of 2010

  • My Brightest Diamond & Dayna KurtzGone Away / Postcards from Downtown 7″
  • Erik FriedlanderAlchemy 10″
  • Isis / Melvins split 12″
  • Damien & Drake JuradoHoquiam 12″
  • John Zorn’s The DreamersThe Gentle Side 12″
    fave non-vinyl-only issue
    :
    Mike Patton‘s Mondo Cane 12″ (is luscious)

Favorite DVDs of 2010 (I didn’t really get any outside of music-related and an old H.Potter)

  • Porcupine TreeAnesthetize: Live in Tilburg
  • Steven WilsonInsurgentes
  • JónsiGo Quiet & Go Live
  • John Zorn & Richard ForemanAstronome: A Night at the Opera

Favorite Internet Only Releases of 2010

  • KembweKembwe
  • Derek WebbDemocracy Vol 1 (monthly series)
  • My Terrible Friend EP (a folky Pomplamoose spin-off)
  • CelldwellerWish Upon a Blackstar (a few chapters)
  • PuyaAreyto EP
  • Ty TaborTrip Magnet & Jelly Jam‘s Additives
  • Asthmatic Kitty‘s Library Catalog Music Series (I think they also put some of these out as vinyl)
  • Glen PhillipsTornillo
  • Kevin MooreShine (late, late 2010 – CD in early 2011)
  • RafterAnimal Feelings (maybe it came out on CD, too?)

Favorite Live Albums of 2010

  • King’s XLive Love in London
  • JónsiGo Live
  • Redbird (Peter Mulvey / Jeffrey Foucault / Kris Delmhorst / David “Goody” Goodrich) – Live at Café Carpe 2008 & 2009

Favorite Podcasts in 2010 (they’re free, yo! Search for them on iTunes)

  • George Hrab Geologic Podcast
  • Keith Olbermann’s Countdown on MSNBC
  • The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC
  • Bill Maher‘s New Rules
  • The Adam Carolla Podcast
  • Kevin Smith & Scott MosierSModcast
  • Kevin Smith & Ralph Garman – Hollywood Babble On
  • Starfucking with Kevin Smith (OK, not free – proceeds for charity, though)
  • SMoviemakers with Kevin Smith
  • The Skeptics Guide to the Universe

Best Cover Art & Packaging in 2010 (all vinyl, but the CDs were cool, too)

  • Mike Patton Mondo Cane
  • Jónsi Go
  • John Zorn’s The DreamersGentle Side (vinyl, designed by Chippy)

Favorite Local Releases in 2010 (PacNW represent)

  • KembweKembwe (Ashland-based ambient, vocal alchemy)
  • I suck… that’s all the local-ish stuff I got this year…

Best Re-issues in 2010

  • Carissa’s Wierd‘s first three albums (Ugly But Honest / You Should Be Home Here / Songs About Leaving)
  • Mr. BungleCalifornia (on vinyl)
  • Frank ZappaGreasy Love Songs (deluxe re-issue of Cruisin’ with Rueben & the Jets)
  • Elliott SmithAn Introduction to… (career spanning compilation)

Best Not-for-Profit Release in 2010

  • Medeski Martin & Wood – The Stone Issue Four (for The Stone NYC)

Worst Music News in 2010 (for me)

  • Cincinnati rock band Noctaluca broke up.  Here’s hoping Jason Ludwig goes on to do some more interesting stuff.
  • Faith No More‘s reunion tour didn’t hit the U.S. proper.  Argh.

Best Late-Getter in 2010 (something that came out before 2010)

  • Abagail’s Ghostd_letion (from 2009)
  • Fever RayFever Ray (also from 2009)

Best Musical Novelty / Ingenuity

  • Tristan Perich1-Bit Symphony

Best Music Videos

  • Holy Fuck “Red Lights”
  • Turf Fienz “Rain Dance”
  • Cee-Lo Green “Fuck You” (original)
  • The Gregory Brothers & Antoine Dodson “The Bed Intruder”

So, yeah, this was the catch-all post… check back later this week for the more traditional year end wrap-up festivities…

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Anakronic Electro OrkestraSpeak With Ghosts

%d bloggers like this: