09 May 2005

New Sufjan Stevens album in July

Sufjan Stevens' second album in his daft-but-charming 50 States project (i.e., record an album about each state) will be released in July, and has the awesome title Come On Feel The Illinoise.

I first found Stevens' music well after his Greetings From Michigan, The Great Lake State had made a splash in the indie world. It's full off-kilter pop played on banjos and glockenspiels, at times sounding like Stereolab played by a high school music class, and at others sounding so tender and intimate that you can hardly stand it.

Last year's Seven Swans left behind the 50 States concept for a bit, and was darker, spookier, and more religious. It was also one of my favorites of 2004 (in a three-way tie with A.C. Newman and John Frusciante's CDs from last year).

Now, I'm completely geeked about the new album after hearing this, a leaked track from Illinoise called Chicago (MP3 link). I've had it on repeat in Winamp for the last 45 minutes... it's terrific. I know you can't judge a whole CD from one track, but it sounds like Illinoise continues Stevens' experimentation around a central hub of a sound- new and different, but consistent. Too cool.

Incidentally, Pitchfork Media has posted a track listing for the album, and it looks like Stevens still enjoys wacky song titles that mask how subtle and affecting the songs themselves can be:

01 Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, IL
02 The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience But You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, "I have fought the Big Knives and will continue to fight them until they are off our lands!"
03 Come on! Feel the Illinoise!
-Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition
-Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream
04 John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
05 Jacksonville
06 A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But for Very Good Reasons
07 Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step Mother!
08 One Last "Woo-hoo!" for the Pullman
09 Chicago
10 Casimir Pulaski Day
11 To the Workers of the Rockford River Valley Region, I have an Idea Concerning Your Predicament, and it involves shoe string, a lavender garland, and twelve strong women
12 The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
13 Prairie Fire That Wanders About
14 A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze
15 The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
16 They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhhh!
17 Let's Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All the Way Out in Bushnell
18 In This Temple, as in the Hearts of Man, for Whom He Saved the Earth
19 The Seer's Tower
20 The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders
-Part I: The Great Frontier
-Part II: Come to Me Only With Playthings Now
21 Riffs and Variations on a Single Note for Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, and the King of Swing, to Name a Few
22 Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I shake the dirt from my sandals as I run


Anonymous Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

Listening to the MP3 right now... man, so far, this is _awesome_. I mean, I'm only about a minute in to the song, but.. yeah. This is grand. I might have to pick up this album!

When you mentioned the project, I thought it was going to be like John Linnell's State Songs project, but this is a lot wider in scope, which is pretty cool. (And I think some of the State Songs being instrumentals is kind of cheap, heh. Not that the ones with lyrics are actually about the states, but oh well. Actually, that album was OK, but a little bit of a letdown, I think, mainly because of all the Band Organ stuff; I can see getting obsessed with an instrument, and it IS a pretty neat one, it's just that it can only do so many notes of a scale, so the songs tend to sound all kinda similar. It'd be great if there were one or two band organ songs, but there's like, four. Out of maybe 15? Which is too many, I'd say.)

12:14 AM, May 10, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

This is off-topic, but speaking of band organs, you've heard what our buddies the Residents did with carousel music a few years ago, haven't you?

When I play this CD it feels like the HOUSE is spinning. :D

12:26 AM, May 10, 2005  
Anonymous Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

Oh, yes! When I got it, I actually got a little bit of motion sickness from it. You wouldn't think that'd be a recommendation, but...

I actually did write a review for my college paper of it when it came out. I don't think it got published though. Probably because I referred to the whole "comes-in-a-giant-dealer-bag" thing.

1:04 AM, May 10, 2005  

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