Without a hint of irony, malice, or contempt Sufjan has taken it upon himself to pen a biographical snapshot of Tonya Harding. In the most direct way possible; this is the type of song writing that Sufjan is known for. He does his research, he’s meticulous, and above all else he’s earnest in his endeavor. Both versions of the track are great (although my personal favorite is Tonya (In Eb Major) which is listed first below.
After seeing a live show by Time for Three recently I’ve been wandering through YouTube checking out other non-traditional acts featuring violin. The track below, from The Trouble Notes, is amazing. Things get crazy around the 5 minute mark, but don’t skip ahead; it’s worth the ride. Play this for the in-laws at Thanksgiving.
If you’ve been following The National on YouTube you’ll know they’ve been slowly releasing tracks from their upcoming album. The latest is Day I Die and it follows the formula of the past three in being pure uncompromising signature The National.
The new album is titled Sleep Well Beast and you can preorder it in multiple formats on Amazon.
I can’t quite figure out if I like the collaborative album that Sufjan, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister put out. It wanders and soars and contains a few standout tracks, but in large it seems to be an exercise in musical exploration that doesn’t truly hold my attention.
A quick breakdown on the group.
Bryce Dessner is the lead guitarist for The National – and has collaborated with Sufjan before (Suf has done background vocals for The National and Dessner has done studio guitar work and compositions with Suf)
As near as I can suss out; essentially in 2011 a concert hall in the Netherlands commissioned Nico Muhly (composer) to write a piece about the Solar System. He reached out to Sufjan and Dessner who helped assist with that composition which debuted in 2012 (Sufjan has also composed music for his own short film The BQE and Dessner writes/composes music for film frequently).
So this album is essentially an evolution of that group of buddies now writing pop/synth/folk together about the planets and associated mythologies.
And in true Beatles format – “And James McAlister is the drummer”
One thing is clear – It’s amazing to me that Sufjan Stevens can still sing so effortlessly. The new group album isn’t for everyone, but there are amazing moments throughout if you’re willing to give it a listen. Here’s my favorite track (probably because it sounds the most like a natural Sufjan song).
So I might start blogging again. But it will need to be here. Not on my own paid for server. Outside of a few random months back in 2012 I never made enough money through ads and affiliate links to pay for hosting anyway.
So now TWF lives here. Maybe there will be new music posted. Maybe there won’t.
If you’ve been a reader here on TWF over the years you know that I have long been a proponent of Zach Williams. His current band is The Lone Bellow and their sophomore album is widely available starting next week. If you’d like to take a listen before you buy NPR’s First Listen is streaming the album now.
I highly recommend seeing them in a live setting as their energy and harmonies are infectious. I’ve never again witnessed someone signing so passionately as I did when The Lone Bellow played a small concert venue here in Indianapolis. For a hint at what you can expect take a second and watch their Tiny Desk Concert.
Kishi Bashi has a fantastic new album called Lighght which is hard to describe. Essentially it’s pure fun. At times during the album you can hear influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and Phoenix. If that doesn’t pique your interest know that he used to play violin with Of Montreal. Oh, he also sings ~20% of the lyrics in Japanese. What more could you want?
John Roderick is the lead singer and creative force behind the band The Long Winters. You’re forgiven for not knowing who they are due to the fact that they haven’t had a proper album, tour, or really any output in roughly six years. I was bored the other day and decided to look into what had happened. To be blunt, not much.
One gem I did stumble upon is that John has been going on entertainment cruises and performing his music as a solo acoustic act. And if you listen to enough of the bootleg live from a cruise boat sets you eventually stumble upon a new track. A track that he explains is the first new music he’s created in four years. A track that he calls Same Song. It’s a gem of a song that I became so addicted to I looped the Youtube video on solid repeat throughout an entire work day last month. For those that are new to John’s style this is a perfect slice of an introduction. Hopefully he puts out a proper album sometime in the near future.