Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz Review


It’s been five years since Sufjan Stevens last released a song-based full length album, and much pressure has been put on the Detroit born folk-rocker in the wake of the success of 2005 hit Illinois. Despite announcing that he would release 50 concept albums based on each of the American States, Stevens seems to have abandoned this idea, instead choosing to take a new direction with his music.

His latest effort breaks away from his signature baroque sound in favour of heavy electronics and drum machines. There are still the various instruments quintessential to Stevens’ style, such as flutes and horns, and these are incorporated into the automated modulation to varied effect.

Supposedly the album’s title (mysteriously pronounced “Age of Odds”) is a reference to the apocalyptic artwork of schizophrenic artist Royal Robertson and the album itself reflects this, being somewhat darker than his previous work both in terms of  its themes and sound.

The album itself begins very safely with “Futile Devices”, a beautiful expression of love, created through the medium of guitars and keyboards combined with Stevens’ ethereal vocals. The following track “Too Much” offers a gentle easing into Steven’s new electronic sound as, despite being heavily orchestrated with blips and punchy synths, it contains a highly catchy melody. Here, the combination of sweeping flutes with synthesizers and drum machines works surprisingly well.

As the album progresses it becomes increasingly experimental, ending with the epic 25 minute “Impossible Soul”, which represents the pinnacle of his tentative exploration and contains fetching melodies and a multitude of instruments; from some rather avant-garde guitar to truly bizarre strings.

Stevens is evidently multi-talented with his incredible instumental versatility. This is not his first electronic endeavour; his 2001 album Enjoy Your Rabbit, based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, was entirely electronic. However, in some instances there is a feeling that his eccentricity has gone slightly too far.

Many of the songs are just too obscure, making them inaccessible and in some cases chaotic and disorganised: more of a cacophony than a symphony. For those into the likes of highly experimental music, this is definitely an album to explore, but for the standard Stevens fan the song title “Too Much” may be an apt summary of his latest effort.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Oct 19th 2010.

Listen To Arcade Fire’s New Album For Free

Arcade Fire’s new release Suburbs is one that reiterates why they are such a successful  band. Their signature blend of queer instruments fronted by husband/wife duo Win Butler and Régine Chassagne shows a mature development in their sound since Neon Bible. Produced by Mark Dravs who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Bjork and Coldplay, this is arguably their best LP yet.

Thanks to NPR Music the album has been made available for streaming but please make sure to buy the album as well.

Arcade Fire will be headlining Reading and Leeds Festival at the end of this month.

Suburbs was released today on Merge

More New Broken Social Scene

‘World Sick’ from the Canadian musical collective’s upcoming album ‘Forgiveness Rock Record’ was all over the blogosphere a few weeks ago and already the band have given us more tracks to get salivating over. ‘Forced to Love’ and ‘All to All’ will also feature on the album and you can hear them right here:

‘Forgiveness Rock Record’ will be released on May 4th

First Track From Black Keys New Album

I announced details in an earlier post about the Ohio blues-rock music duo ‘The Black Keys’ upcoming album ‘Brothers’. Their last album ‘Attack, Sustain, Release’ came out two years ago although many of you would have been aware of the collaboration they did towards the end of last year with various hip-hop and R&B artists entitled ‘Blackroc’.

The band have recently uploaded the first track from the album ‘Tighten Up’ on their Myspace page. The only track on the album to be produced by Danger Mouse this definitely comes through with the addition of whistling and his signature upbeat tempo and groovy guitars. Even though Danger mouse isn’t producing the whole thing i’m sure it will be very good.

Hear it right here and judge for yourself

‘Brothers’ will be released on May 18th

Listen to New MGMT Album Now

Despite ‘Congratulations’ not being officially released until next month, the Brooklyn band have made the entire album available to stream on their website here following its accidental leak where they stated: ‘Hey everybody, the album leaked, and we wanted you to be able to hear it from us. We wanted to offer it as a free download but that didn’t make sense to anyone but us’.

If you like the album make sure to buy it when it is actually comes out.

‘Congratulations’ will be released officially on April 13th

New Dead Weather Album

Jack White’s latest band ‘The Dead Weather’ who presented us with the excellent ‘Horehound’ last year have announced at South by Southwest the details of their second album. ‘Sea of Cowards’ is set for a May 7th release date whilst the first single ‘Die by the Drop’ is to be released tomorrow along with its b-side ‘Old Mary’.

I have no idea how he has managed this seeing how he is currently on tour with the band and has just spilled the beans on a a collaboration he has done with Jay-Z where he has stated:

“I just did a record with Jay-Z… We did a song together a few weeks ago. It was incredible. I played him something that I’ve been kicking around for a while and he immediately came out with words for it. It’s unbelievable-sounding.”

In an interview with MTV, White has mentioned that the tour has not only yielded new songs but has also informed the older tunes. “It’s changing every day, and we want it to change even more. We’ve got a lot more material going and changing a lot of the songs from the first record. We have a lot more cover songs than when we started too.” Which covers have they been playing around with? “It ranges from Christian metal to Christian gospel.”

Information About New LCD Soundsystem Album Revealed

According to an interview on Pitchfork , the follow up to 2007’s incredible ‘Sound of Silver’ is a nine-track album that runs for 65 minutes. Apparently, Murphy is currently deciding between two tracks: “Drunk Girls” and “Change” for the first single.

Despite what may have previously been thought the track ‘Bye Bye Bayou’ which was released in December last year will not be featured on the album, neither will ‘Oh You (Christmas Blues)’ which features on the soundtrack for the upcoming Noah Baumbach film ‘Greenberg’.

Track listing for the album is as follows:
1) Dance Yrself Clean
2) Drunk Girls
3) One Touch
4) All I Want
5) Change
6) Hit
7) Pow Pow
8) Somebody’s Calling Me
9) What You Need

LCD Soundsystem play the Barrowland, Glasgow on April 28th & 29th

Listen To Elite Force’s ‘Revamped’ For Free

London dj Elite Force seems to effortlessly blend breakbeat, electro, house and dubstep in a fashion that breaks boundaries for dance music. His latest album ‘Revamped’ which was released this week sees remixes of some of the biggest names in dance music from differing genres presented with Elite Forces own eclectic spin. Remixing the likes of Popof, Hugg and Pepp, Deadmau5, Calvertron and Meat Katie among others, this is definitely an album to check out.

Luckily courtesy of Noiseporn the album has been made available (at least temporarily) for your streaming pleasure:

N.B if you enjoy this album please make sure you purchase it from iTunes, Beatport etc

First Song Off MGMT’s New Album Revealed

Psychedelic Brooklyn duo MGMT have just given us an insight into the sort of thing we should expect from upcoming album ‘Congratulations’ which is set for an April 13th release as they have unveiled its first song ‘Flash Delirium’. The first in what the band described as “a collection of nine individual musical tours de force sequenced to flow with sonic and thematic coherence.” As expected it sounds very psychedelic and drug induced whilst at the same time combining indie riffs and electronic synths.

Download the song NOW! via the band’s website

Gogol Bordello Release Information About Forthcoming Album

Multi Ethnic Gypsy-Punk band Gogol Bordello have released details about their forthcoming album entitled ‘Trans-Continental Hustle’. The band’s fifth studio album it has been produced by the legendary Rick Rubin who has worked with artists from Slayer to Neil Diamond to the Beastie Boys to Run DMC.

Tracklisting is as follows:

1) Pala Tute
2) My Companjera
3) Sun Is On My Side
4) Rebellious Love
5) We Comin’ Rougher (Immigraniada)
6) When Universes Collide
7) Uma Menina Uma Cigana
8) Raise The Knowledge
9) Last One Goes The Hope
10) To Rise Above
11) In The Meantime In Pernambuco
12) Break The Spell
13) Trans-Continental Hustle

‘Trans-Continental Hustle’ will be released on April 26th

Gogol Bordello play ABC, Glasgow on May 9th