Thursday, December 02, 2010

Let's Hear it from Sufjan!

It is a good time to say something about Sufjan Stevens (pronounced 'soof-yawn') again. This year he came out with an album called 'The Age of Adz' (pronounced 'awds') and an EP called 'All Delighted People' which are both as unusual as they are enjoyable. Furthermore, his cathartic attempt to come to grips with Christmas music has become a source of refreshment for the December playlists everywhere. You can listen to (and purchase) these here. And be sure to check out Sufjan's fascinating performance on Jimmy Fallon. Talk about visuals and music being in sync!

Be sure to listen carefully to 'That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!' and his version of the traditional song 'Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming'. Both are beautiful. Stevens has singlehandedly made it possible for me to listen to Silent Night again, which is quite a feat, as long time readers might recall.[You also have to love songs called 'Get Behind Me Santa' and 'Did I Make You Cry on Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)']

This one hasn't stuck out to me as much as the full album has, but the song Djohariah is a many-layered feast for the ears and mind. I read that somewhere someone thought it was an apocalyptic sequel to many of the themes on his previous (and amazing) album, 'Seven Swans'.

After a few listens I particularly like the opening song, 'Futile Devices', as well as 'Too Much' and 'I Walked' (both of which you can download for free). 'Vesuvius' is catching me lately as well.


ErinOrtlund said...

I'll have to check these out!

Brett Gee 英 明 said...

These albums are great, of course, but I've been listening to the Christmas ones for at least 5 years now.

Have there been any other artists with similarly fresh sounding Christmas sounds lately?

Brett Gee 英 明 said...

Just watched that Fallon video. I like Sufjan, but the whole getup annoys me. Even a cool dude like him looks silly once in a while, I guess. Distracts from the song.

Jon Coutts said...

Yeah his Christmas stuff is old now but I never really had it until this year. I don't know of other 'fresh' Christmas music but I'm sure it is out there. I mean, that's what people are trying to do all the time right? I just wouldn't know where to start looking for it, and am tired enough of Christmas music as it is that I wouldn't want to bother. So as long as Sufjan's album is newish to me (which it is), its just the thing.

I do like the jazz CD from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. That's good too.

I was sort of taken aback by Sufjan's get up, but I thought the opposite: I thought it was interesting visually the same way that the song was aurally. So I like it.

I think that rock music used to be different. Now being a rebel rocker is banal and meaningless. There is no way to rebel except maybe the eccentricity of being a normal person putting on a unique show.
Quirky rock, I think I'll call it.

Jon Coutts said...

I just showed it to my kids and they couldn't stop talking about the dancing chicken in the background, which I hadn't noticed.

By the way, there is a musician in my sidebar named Brock Tyler who did a great Christmas EP. I don't know how to get it other than to go to his site and contact him though. He was giving it away via email. It is great.

Brett Gee 英 明 said...

I still like listening to Sinatra, Crosby, and Martin these days. Actually, even Amy Grant reminds me of my childhood, which adds to the spirit of the season.

I know Brock. We have his Christmas stuff. Great stuff. Actually, he wrote a song for a short film I made.

The film itself isn't very good but the song fits nicely.

Jon Coutts said...

yeah, i thought you knew Brock but wondered if I was misremembering.
I'll check out that film.

Tony Tanti said...

listening to it now, great so far

Tony Tanti said...

just watched the Fallon video, that's awesome! Totally worked for me.

Jon Coutts said...

the kids loved it. and the kids are alright.

Dave M said...

I have that same shirt!

My favorite Christmas song for the year:

I think it's an old SNL song.

Jon Coutts said...

Brett: That's some nice whistling on his part!

Dave: yeah that song sounds very familiar.

The Hansens said...

I think I could grow to like the song "Too Much" if I can ever successfully get the visual of that performance out of my head..