BOTR vol 16

Here is volume 16 of my Best of the Remix series here on The World Forgot.  Consider it my Christmas gift to you all.  Get some rest, spend time with family, and most of all enjoy the music.  To see all previous volumes just click here.

mp3 : 2Pac vs Gary Jules – Against a Mad World (Brenton Duvall Remix)
This remix needs no pithy introduction; no clever phrase could encapsulate all that it is.  Just look at the title.  It’s classic 2Pac and one of the best cover songs in the history of man rolled into one remix.  Merry Christmas indeed.

mp3 : Amadou & Mariam – Sabali (Miike Snow Remix)
Miike Snow somehow finds a way to make an already amazing song even more amazing.  It’s a Christmas miracle.

mp3 : Blackbird Blackbird – Hawaii (Niva Remix)
To be fair I’ve never heard to Blackbird Blackbird or Niva before this track.  I have, however, heard of Hawaii, but for decidedly different reasons.  Mostly because they have luaus for Christmas.

mp3 : Ellie Goulding – Your Song (Blackmill Dubstep Remix)
My younger brother, who at one point in time actually posted (once) on TWF, always seems to be fascinated with dubstep.  This remix is my Christmas present to him.  It’s a good one.

mp3 : Imogen Heap – Hide And Seek (Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise Remix)
Hide And Seek was definitely not intended to be a club staple, but Tiesto changed that as he usually does.  There’s nothing really Christmasy about this track other than it reminds me of Chrimahanukwanzmakuh from The O.C. (don’t be a crazy Oliver and pretend like you didn’t watch).

mp3 : Lady Gaga – Just Dance (Worship Remix)
Is she still relevant?  Will she be in 2011?  Will people remix her pop drivel regardless?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Just drink some proper eggnog and dance.

mp3 : Lady Gaga – Paparazzi (Redlight Remix)
Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is this; every Gaga remix from here until eternity should prominently feature hand claps synched with drum beats.  Oh, and world peace.

mp3 : Pixies – Where Is My Mind (Bassnectar Remix)
Bassnectar takes possibly the only song by Pixies that I genuinely like and turns it into something that would fit on the greatest Christmas movie soundtrack of all time (that being the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy).

mp3 : Pixies – Where Is My Mind (Refracture Remix)
I’m including this remix because it’s so distinctly different from the previous Bassnectar one.  As the stop motion episode of Community taught us, Christmas is a time to celebrate diversity.  And awesomeness.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens vs Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps to Chicago (Remix)
There are points in this remix/mashup where I wish the arrangement were as clever as the song title.  But I always associate Sufjan with Christmas and to be fair Maps is the best song Yeah Yeah Yeahs have ever done.  It’s a win win.

mp3 : The Killers – Spaceman (The Knocks Remix)
In the future children will be told the story of a man, dressed in a flaming red positively pressurized suit (that’s why he looks fat, it’s the pressure suit), that flies through the cosmos to deliver toys to good girls and boys.  This will be the song that powers his magical spaceship.

mp3 : Two Door Cinema Club – Undercover Martyn (Passion Pit Remix)
Passion Pit takes one of the purest pop songs of 2010 and envelopes it in a glittering, shimmery, trance infused, best of both worlds wrapping paper.  They tie it up with a bow of awesome and set it below a Christmas tree topped with a disco ball.

mp3 : Wale (feat Lady Gaga) – Chillin (The Knocks Remix)
Wale always makes me feel like 1) Gaga can be relevant and 2) it’s the 80s.  And I grew up in the 80s.  And Christmas is awesome when you’re a kid.  And that’s a stretch, but if you’re still reading then you’re more than ready for ramblings.

mp3 : William The Vanish Russ Chimes – Hold On My Momma (White Panda Remix)
I love it when a remix takes a bunch of terrible tracks and makes us all realize that it is often the sum of parts that really makes art beautiful.  I will not talk about Christmas in this description.  Eat it.

mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Dull Life (Professor Purple Remix)
If they ever update It’s A Wonderful Life (and I mean really update, not retell it like they did with The Family Man – which is coincidentally one of seven Nic Cage movies that were actually worth watching) they need to have a club scene where this track is playing.  Playing loud.

Merry Christmas.  Enjoy the music.

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Wedding Music vol 06 : Reception

With this installment of my reception background music we shall begin moving farther into the territory of “You really played that at your wedding?”  Granted, some of these songs aren’t typical wedding fodder, but they are all amazing songs.  They also all fit the mood of singer songwriter music that is both interesting and captivating while also being of a similar aural aesthetic.

Enjoy the music.  I know I did.  One of the greatest comments I received throughout my wedding and reception was a frequently repeated phrase, “This music is really good.”  It gave an already amazing day an even more special shine.

mp3 : Josh Ritter – The Temptation of Adam
mp3 : Simon and Garfunkel – Bleeker Street
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (Acoustic, Live at KCRW)
mp3 : The Weakerthans – Left and Leaving

If you’d like to see all of the music from our wedding follow this link.

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The Good Natured cover Sufjan Stevens

To be fair I’m not really a fan of The Good Natured.  I’m not entirely sure where they fit into the whole electro-pop eighties revival that is currently sweeping the nation (and on top of that the mall goth chic that front lady Sarah McIntosh seems to be cultivating is, well, lame).  But I digress.  I was recently tipped to this cover they have of one of the greatest Sufjan Stevens tracks that he has ever recorded.  It might not save their career, but it’s nice to see a potential up and coming act reach out and pay homage to a true genius.

mp3 : The Good Natured – For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti (Sufjan Stevens Cover)

As always, enjoy the music.

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Sufjan Stevens album The Age of Adz

Sufjan Stevens has released his latest epic album, The Age of Adz (amazon) (itunes), into the world and it has been met with generally favorable although somewhat mixed reviews.  What many negative reviews seem to be forgetting is that it has been a full five years since we’ve heard any new music from Sufjan.  Quite simply this is not the same man who gave us Illinois and Michigan.  This is a new variation on the old beast.

The best way I can describe the new album is to think of it as your 10 or 20 year high school reunion.  It is instantly recognizable and familiar, but there are moments, places, phrases, etc., that are completely unexpected.  As you listen through the entire album (which you can do for free here) it is inescapably a sprawling Sufjan soundscape.  But this is Sufjan equipped with a copious amount of electronic noisemakers and enough fame and fortune to indulge in a 25 minute multi-act track that ends the album.  This is Sufjan outside of the confines of writing idiosyncratic historical and biographical songs about state history.   Essentially this is Sufjan doing whatever he wants to do, and succeeding unabashedly.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Futile Devices
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – I Want To Be Well

Futile Devices is the opening track on the new album and it sounds like it could have been lifted straight from the Sufjan archives.  I Want To Be Well, my personal favorite on the album, still contains a lot of the signature Sufjan flourishes (a slow building song, repeated choral effects, intricately layered musical composition, flutes, and a glorious crescendo; the final two minutes of the song are divine), but also showcases how he’s matured and pushed himself.  Sufjan has brought with him all of the wonderful qualities apparent on Illinois, Michigan, and the Christmas albums and he’s continued to evolve as a musician and modern day composer.  It might not look or sound exactly how you remembered Sufjan, but it’s still Sufjan nonetheless.

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Sufjan Stevens Announces New Album, The Age of Adz, and Releases First Single

This has been a glorious week.  First Sufjan released an EP (8 songs, and a full 60 minutes of new music) last week and today even more good news.  On October 12th Sufjan Stevens will release his first full length studio album since 2005.  It will be titled The Age of Adz (pronounced odds) and the album is largely introspective in nature.  Gone is the folk narrative and historic tales.  Here Sufjan will turn the lens upon himself and let his musical imagination trip out on whatever he finds entertaining.  Just listen to the first track.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – I Walked

That, quite decidedly, does not sound like standard Sufjan Stevens music.  It also, quite decidedly, has me very interested in what the rest of the album will sound like.  Head over to Sufjan’s bandcamp website to preorder the album and get a digital copy two weeks in advance of the street date.

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Sufjan Stevens new album All Delighted People EP

From somewhere beyond the poetic grave Sufjan has seen fit to grace us all with a brand new EP.  There are only eight tracks on the album but it totals just a shade under a full hour of newly recorded music.  For the impatient types amongst you, fear not, you can buy or stream the entire album at Sufjan’s website.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Heirloom

The album starts off with a track that Sufjan was experimenting with last year on his brief (much too brief) tour of the midwest.  It’s long, it rambles, but it does appear as if his tour helped him understand this title track much better than when it was a sprawling mess of sounds a year ago.  To be sure it is still a massive song experiment, but it has become much more worthy of the Sufjan brand as it has matured.

Following the title track (all 11+ minutes of it) are a trio of tracks which I will affectionately label the bread and butter of Sufjan.  There is finger picking, there are multiple floating vocals, and each song is an affectionate story told by one of the masters of the singer/songwriter genre.  If you loved Sufjan Stevens on his trip through Michigan or Illinois or even if you first found him around Christmas these three songs will feel immediately recognizable.

The fifth track is a song that Sufjan has long been playing in a live setting.  It has, in the past, been labeled Barn Owl Night Killer, but now as it receives a proper studio recording it too receives a proper studio name; The Owl And The Tanager.  The harmonies on the vocals are chilling on this studio version.  After hearing the live version recorded at PENultimate Lit from a few years back I wasn’t sure that this song would ever need to changed.  On this studio track Sufjan proves me wrong.

The sixth track is a repeat of the title track, All Delighted People, but it is played it what Sufjan deems a “classic rock version.”  Surely the phrase “classic rock” means something different to Sufjan than it does to me, because this sounds a lot less like Queen (my go to classic rock act) and a lot more like Simon and Garfunkel.

The final Sufjan Standard (TM) on the album is track seven Arnika.  It’s a sparse song that has ultimately depressing lyrics “I’m tired of life / I’m tired of waiting for someone / I’m tired of prices / I’m tired of waiting for something.”  Sufjan proves yet again that he is the master of taking the melancholy detritus of life and transforming it into a musical delight.

The last song on the album, a 17 minute rambling guitar jam called Djorhariah, is the only oddball in an otherwise solid new album by the artist we’ve come to know and love as Sufjan.  And even as this track starts off in a different direction form what our ears have gotten used to over the previous seven tracks there are still Sufjan Stevens fingerprints littered throughout this sprawling mess of sounds.

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Sufjan Stevens Apparently Not as Dead as His Musical Career – Lends Some Help to The National

I’ve been listening to an advance copy of The National’s upcoming album High Violet and let me first say, before digressing into a boring diatribe, that it is a masterpiece.  Quite simply it is brilliant and will feature prominently in almost all best of 2010 lists.  That being said let the wild rant commence.

Sufjan Stevens could be dead for all we know.  He hasn’t served up a proper album since his Illinois themed masterpiece went on sale in July of 2005.  That’s almost five full years without even so much as a hint that a new album is coming.  Now sure, you can argue that he gave us The Avalanche in 2006 (but that’s just extra material and b sides for Come on Feel the Illinoise) or his Songs for Christmas box set (but that’s mostly old recordings and group material that was officially put in a set) or his latest incarnation The BQE (but that’s hardly a Sufjan album by any stretch of the imagination).  In the general scheme of things our dear Sufjan has largely disappeared.

Occasionally he surfaces to play a small string of live shows, but those are few and very far between and serve mostly to push a new band his label, Asthmatic Kitty, has signed.  And let’s be honest, no band on Asthmatic Kitty comes close to living up to the guy who signs their checks.  Granted he’s randomly dropped a few new songs (or rather song ideas) during some of these shows, but not a single one has been properly recorded to date.

A year ago I posted an open letter to Sufjan Stevens here on TWF.  I never received a reply, a hint, or even a rumour that things were moving forward.  I did, however, receive a small gift.  Later that year Sufjan went on a mini tour in US and I was able to attend a show.  He played for us a few new songs scattered amongst a solid set and then promptly disappeared into the night.  Today, again, we get rare proof that Sufjan Stevens is not dead.  On the upcoming album from The National, High Violet (amazon), Sufjan lends his haunting vocals and harmonies to

mp3 : The National – Afraid of Everyone

The track is gorgeous, dark, and layered in a way that fits perfectly with The National.  And yet in the background there is the cathartic and haunting vocal track provided by our elusive hero.  Is this enough to sate Sufjan fans?  Probably not.  But at least we can rest assured that he’s still alive and still interested enough in quality music to lend a helping hand to his friends.

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Anders Ponders album Nodes of Overtones

What would you get if you blended together the compositional sounds of Sufjan Stevens with modern day sing song pop folk and then poured that topping over a cake made out of Final Fantasy?  (And I guess I should clarify here; this Final Fantasy cake is the live version of Owen Pallet’s shows, not the quasi lame studio albums he continually puts out).  Stumped?  Well you won’t be for long.  What you get is Anders Ponders (and coincidentally one great album that I simply didn’t get to listen to last year.  It might have wormed its way into my best of 2009 list if I had just given it a listen last year.  Sigh).

mp3 : Anders Ponders – The Discus Incident
mp3 : Anders Ponders – Slowest Motion Miracle

From the start of the album, 2009’s Nodes of Overtones (amazon) (itunes), the similarities to Final Fantasy should be evident.  Every track contains ample amounts of violin (or possibly viola, never could tell them apart), a depth of arrangements, and the lyrics on each song tell a catchy story.  The one main deviation from the parallel comes in the content of those lyrics.  Where Final Fantasy sings songs about random events, (such as on He Poos Clouds), Anders Ponders tells short vignettes about Icarus (track 4) or his favorite fruit, Pomegranate (track 2).  In his own words he describes his sound as “A Fairy Home Companion” and I would definitely agree with that.

The allusion to Sufjan Stevens becomes more and more apparent the longer you listen to the album and culminates on the last track, Slowest Motion Miracle, where if you weren’t listening closely you could easily mistake it as a Sufjan song.

The bottom line is that Anders Ponders has created an infectious debut album that all readers of The World Forgot should listen to as soon as they can.

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Sufjan Stevens Apparently Not Dead and Still Somewhat Interested in Music : I Think

So a few weeks after I wrote a rambling letter imploring Sufjan Stevens to return to his fans and release a new album he has sorta, kinda, maybe responded by teasing us a little bit.  On his blog {which is really just a slice of his label’s website, Asthmatic Kitty}, he occasionally drops a stream of consciousness post about his past.  On August 24th he talked about his name, how he tried to change it when he was young, and how as an  undergrad at university he wrote an entire album about names.  Apparently the other day he stumbled upon some old recordings and he graciously decided to allow us to hear a track he penned about Sofia Coppola.  Although it’s not technically new music from Sufjan it is new to all of us.  Enjoy.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Sofia’s Song

And who knows, maybe if I keep writing open letters on the internet we might see a new album before 2012.  Which would be good, because that’s when the world ends.

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To Sufjan Stevens : We, Your Faithful Fans Miss You, Please Come Back To Us

Dear Sufjan Stevens,

Every single day that I am at work I find a way to listen to music.  Some days I find myself drifting along to whatever John Richards of KEXP has to offer, other days I browse random websites, myspace pages, and other forms of online media like youtube, and on a few days each month I dive into old albums and songs that I’ve always loved.  I love music and I love to hear random tracks, brilliant live covers, and new music from artists that I genuinely appreciate.

Today at work I received an email that had a link to a youtube video.  It was an artistic piece filled with clips of World War II stock footage and it was set to one of your songs.  I immediately fell in love with the track and began to search, in earnest, for what the track was called and upon what album I could purchase it.  In all honesty this song is quite brilliant.  I went to your website, I visited your label’s website, I spent part of my lunch hour googling your name and reading every abstract blog post containing the words Sufjan or Stevens that I could find.

And I finally found the song.  It was from a performance you did awhile back at PENultimate Lit and the song has never been properly recorded or released.  The bigger issue, though, is where I found the track in question.  You see I found it on my very own blog.  From a post I made almost a full year ago.  It has been so long since I last listened to this random collection of rare Sufjan Steven’s tracks that I literally forgot that I had already posted the song Barn Owl, Night Killer.  It has been this long because you, my friend, have disappeared.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Barn Owl, Night Killer (Live at PENultimate Lit)

You have disappeared and we, your faithful fans, don’t know where to go to find you again.  We miss your voice and your clever storytelling.  We want another album, or even a live show for which we can purchase tickets.  We would even settle for a rumour that you’re again in the studio working on something that might, possibly, become a song.

I was inspired by you five years ago and it is largely your music that first made me interested in blogging.  I remember how torrents and peer to peer file sharing networks didn’t have your music but there were blogs all over the world that were infatuated with your trademark sound.  They trolled through hours of live recordings to find the newest rare Sufjan track and they cleaned it the best they could before releasing it onto the hungry masses.  I remember checking almost daily on hype and elbows to see if there were any new songs of yours that I could listen to; and I remember being rewarded for that persistence.

At one time I believed that you might yet fulfill the dream of releasing a full album for each of the fifty states.  When other people claimed that the Fifty States Project was too much for any one man to handle I promptly and disdainfully retorted “obviously you don’t know how prolific Sufjan really is.”  I mean you’re the man who created Illinoise and then realized you had cut enough amazing material from that already sprawling epic album that you dropped another full album, The Avalanche, that was filled with just your leftover genius.

But where have you gone?  Where have you disappeared to?  I loved the BQE, and I know you were busy composing, recording, performing, and filming that entire process.  I was overjoyed when I heard you were putting a new song on the compilation the boys from The National cobbled together.  But there is only so long a man can sustain himself on mere scraps that fall from the master’s table.

So I ask you this.  Please let us know that you’re working on a new album and that a massive national tour will follow.  We all miss you.  We are your faithful fans.  Please come back to us.



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