In House #1660: Sufjan Stevens' The Avalanche; New Bishop Allen, Long Winters
The uncontainable songwriting force that is Sufjan Stevens returned this week with The Avalanche, a second helping of songs culled from the sessions for last year's Illinois release. Aside from the fact that Stevens apparently writes songs like most of us breathe (or is it the Protestant work ethic?), the other remarkable thing to be found here is how solid the majority of the 21 "outtakes and extras" happen to be. Most songwriters wish they could have keepers like these, let alone throwaways. Once again, Stevens' songs are littered with historical references and figures, Illinois style: everyone from Adlai Stevenson, to Ann Landers, to Saul Bellow (where there were before Andrew Jackson, John Wayne Gacy, and Carl Sandburg) gets the treatment. Musically, nothing really diverts wildly from the lush, baroque indie-pop established with Illinois, though "Springfield" finds a welcome and dissonant blues guitar riff-- all the more dissonat given its surroundings. Is it too much of a good thing? Perhaps, and there are detractors lining up for the backlash, but The Avalanche is easily a step above anything that might be labeled "fans only."
In House #1660.
Focus: New release from Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche, plus new music from Bishop Allen, the Long Winters, Hidden Cameras and more.
BONUS MP3 from today's show-
Bishop Allen, from the new June EP: "The Same Fire" (MP3)
In House PODCAST #136