Posts Tagged ‘sufjan stevens’

INAUDIBLE’S BEST OF 2015

December 20, 2015

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Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The long-awaited, seventh annual INAUDIBLE best of 2015 listy list! I hope you enjoy it!

BEST EP’s, SINGLES and 12″s of 2015

(click album cover to sample a track)

Palms Trax - In Gold

Palms Trax – In Gold

Route 8 - This Raw Feeling

Route 8 – This Raw Feeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palms Trax and Route 8 are two young producers that have been making huge strides in the techno scene over the last few years thanks to consistently awesome releases on Lobster Theremin, Dekmantel, and Nous Records. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2016!

Pender Street Steppers

Pender Street Steppers

Jack J - Thirstin'

Jack J – Thirstin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vancouver, BC is having a major moment right now and these two Mood Hut heroes are leading the way with their quality spliffed-out stompers that play just as well on the couch as they do on the dance floor. Check ’em, son.

Junktion- Monologue

Junktion – Monologue

Andrés - Believin'

Andrés – Believin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junktion is a relative newcomer from the Netherlands, and Andrés is a 20 year veteran from Detroit, but both of them got that deep soulful groove thang on point. These aren’t just club tracks, they’re proper songs to get the party started and keep you in the moment all night…

Art Crime - Obsession

Art Crime – Obsession

Various - Workshop 21

Various – Workshop 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although very different, both of these albums pack an emotional wallop. Art Crime makes you wanna lose yourself on a black as pitch dance floor, while Workshop 21 highlights four different artists and four different moods, and in doing so has crafted one of its finest releases. Left of centre house jams!

Green Kingdom - Vapor Sequences

The Green Kingdom

Lnrdcroy - Unthank 008

Lnrdcroy – UNTHANK008

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Kingdom never fails to disappoint with his take on hushed dub-tinged ambience, while Lnrdcroy returned with three tracks to remind me why I loved Much Less Normal last year. Yet another young and talented Vancouver artist to keep your ears on…

 

Thundercat

Thundercat – The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam

When I first heard Thundercat’s “Them Changes”, I played it six times in a row. It had an Isley Brothers sample that was infectious as hell and a Steely Dan vibe that I just couldn’t resist. It was summer and the sun was shining through the kitchen window and with each listen I turned up the volume a little more.

Yet, when I finally started to focus on the lyrics I realized that although the song was as bright as that July sun, there was something more sombre under the surface. And to be sure, the album is actually about grief and mourning and an attempt at catharsis for Thundercat. The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam actually sounds more like a post-rock record than funk or soul or hip-hop, but all I can say is that it’s Thundercat’s strongest statement to date…

 

HONORABLE AUDIBLES

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dog – Bush (Columbia Records)

Does Snoop just keep getting smoother and cooler with age? With the help of Pharrell, I’d say the answer is hells to the yes.

Bush was conceived as a tribute to the funk and R&B of the 1970’s that has always inspired Snoop’s music, yet it is so much more than that – it places Snoop back up on the West Coast pedestal he briefly left for his turn as a Lion. And even though he didn’t sound half bad on his Rasta tip, it’s the G-Funk vibe that’s his real wheelhouse.

Bush is a feel good album from start to finish and shows that Snoop and Pharrell can still drop it like it’s hot.

Snoop Dog: “This City

Deerhunter

Deerhunter – Fading Frontier (4AD Records)

Deerhunter returned this autumn with Fading Frontier, a subdued yet more pleasant album than their 2013 effort Monomania. Yet even though it’s the band’s catchiest album to date, with great hooks and choruses, I feel like it falls short of their earlier releases.

Deerhunter have always outdone themselves with each album, and this feels more like a revisiting of Halcyon Digest rather than a reinventing of. That said, I’ve still listened to it tons of times and find Cox and Pundt’s guitar work fantastic, I was just hoping for a little more…

Deerhunter: “Carrion

Bersarin Quartett

Bersarin Quartett – III (Denovali Records)

Thomas Bücker resurfaced this year with the third album under his Bersarin Quartett guise and offers up another collection of rich neo-classical ambience. Bersarin Quartett’s music is minimal but it’s also really emotive, and he’s a natural at exploring textures, mood, and atmosphere in an abstract way. Yet with III we find him at his most cinematic with some of these tracks actually reminding me a bit of J. Swinscoe himself, albeit at his most quiet.

All three Bersarin Quartett releases are excellent and Bücker’s music should be enjoyed by more listeners. Check it.

Bersarin Quartett: “Ver Flossen Ist Das Gold Der Tage

 

INAUDIBLE’S TOP 11 ALBUMS OF 2015

Flo Po - Elaenia

11. Floating Points – Elaenia (Pluto Records)

In my very first end of year list in 2009, I dubbed Sam Shepherd my “Fave New Artist”. Fast forward seven years, and he’s finally released his full-length debut album, Elaenia. And in many respects a debut it is, as it offers up a much different Flo Po than the house boogie hero I was championing back in 2009.

Shepherd flirted with jazz and orchestral arrangements a few years ago with his Floating Points Ensemble project, but now that vision is truly realized, and with Elaenia we have a full-blown production of mature nu-jazz numbers recorded with a live band.

These tracks go from swirling to quiet to jazzy to funk with synths holding the whole thing together – in fact, it’s not until the last track (where a John McEntire-esque drum beat blasts its way through six minutes) that the album really lights up, building to a wild climax and ending right in the middle of it. It’s a jarring way to end the record, but it leaves this listener wanting to hear where he’ll go next…

Floating Points: “Silhouettes (I, II & III)

 

DJ Richard

10. DJ Richard – Grind (Dial Records)

Judging from earlier releases on his White Material label, I figured Grind was going to be a noisy and scrappy affair, yet DJ Richard’s jump to Dial Records for his first full-length shows him turning down the grit a bit for more melody and the results are excellent. Grind is analogue in feel, melancholy in mood, and rough around the edges, yet it’s still elegant.

DJ Richard’s style is all his own, with tracks like “Nighthawk” and “Bane” being great examples of how he can work stuttering drums and several different synth lines at once, and have the effect be both harsh and enveloping, depending on his listener’s mood. Bottom line: he’s definitely one to watch in the years to come.

DJ Richard: “Vampire Dub

 

Jamie XX

9. Jamie xx – In Colour (Young Turks)

“I go to loud places to search for someone to be quiet with…”

That lyric has been drifting in and out of my head since the beginning of summer, when Jamie xx’s long-awaited solo album In Colour dropped to great acclaim. It’s been pretty much lauded by everyone, and even though it took me a few spins, it was Jamie’s skill at tapping into nostalgia that completely won me over. He’s put out some great jams leading up to this, slowly honing his skills as a first-rate producer, and In Colour is the culmination of the last six years, gathering up elements of everything he’s done – moody ballads, floor-filling bangers, and off-kilter collaborations with vocalists – and jamming them all into a tight bright package.

In some respects, even album cover wise, this record reminds me of Caribou’s Our Love from last year, as it mines the same wistful aural territory. And what’s nice is that it offers a couple tracks that might as well be songs by the xx, with Romy singing on “Loud Places” and “See Saw” which are both excellent, and Oliver staying moody and chill on “Stranger in a Room”. And how can I leave out “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”? The smashing yet unlikely collab with Popcaan and Young Thug. That track has gotten me fired up and feeling fine many a time since I first heard it and will continue to do so well into 2016.

In Colour is an album you can play at the height of the party or walking home from work on a Monday evening in the rain, and in both settings it plays out just as smooove.

Big tings still ahead for this bloke!

 

Project Pablo

8. Project Pablo – I Want To Believe (1080p)

Montreal via Vancouver producer, Patrick Holland, makes hazy funky soulful house under the moniker Project Pablo, and like his contemporaries Pender Street Steppers, he stepped up his game in 2015. With the cassette version of “I Want To Believe”, Holland has released a collection of songs that are deep and groovy and filled with an innate sense of fun.

This album was a slow burner and didn’t fully grab me from the start, yet with each successive listen it only continued to sound better and better … and here’s hoping for more of the same in 2016!

Project Pablo: “Movin’ Out

 

Kurt Vile

7. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… (Matador Records)

Philly’s everyman Kurt Vile is at his most Kurt Vilest with his latest long player b’lieve i’m goin down… showcasing a perfect mix of lo-fi rock and roll and Americana. The beauty has always been in the subtlety and strength of his songwriting, yet here he’s toned down the rock just a bit, showing a little more restraint than on Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze. Vile’s lyrics are dark and lonesome and occasionally funny, delivered in a laconic style that’s all his own. He tends to drag out words or syllables providing the perfect counterpart to his skilled finger-plucking or guitar strums.

The album starts off on a high note with the fantastic “Pretty Pimpin”, in which Vile contemplates his existence in front of the bathroom mirror, however, for me it’s the slower more meditative tracks that highlight his finger-plucking skills that are the big winners for me, like “All in a Daze Work”, which shows him at his most patient – just a dude completely lost in the moment of playing his guitar.

What’s a bit different is that there’s a bit more banjo and a lot more piano on display in these tracks, the best example being “Lost My Head There”, which has a great outro with a vibraphone flourish and the occasional “Wooh!” from KV. Not a huge departure here, but that ain’t a bad thing at all…

 

DJ Koze

6. DJ Koze – DJ Kicks (!K7 Records)

I’m pretty sure DJ Koze and I would get along. I’ve always been a fan of his style both as a music producer and label head, so it makes sense that I’d like a DJ Kicks mix of his as well – I just never thought I’d dig it so much.

It’s definitely more for home listening than the club, but it has a steady trajectory to keep your head bobbing. Koze kicks things off with a Dilla-inspired original “I Haven’t Been Everywhere But It’s On My List” before sliding into some great obscure hip hop tracks and then a slowed down mid-section featuring the classic “Tears In The Typing Pool” from Broadcast and a spoken word piece from William Shatner that is oddly powerful. It isn’t until the last five songs where Koze really heats it up and provides a selection of perfectly mixed house numbers, nailing the vibe with penultimate track, “Surrender” by Portable.

What a beautiful song. What a beautiful playlist. DJ Koze just keeps getting better with time. Check this mix please and thank you.

 

Tame Impala

5. Tame Impala – Currents (Interscope Records)

Kevin Parker has come a long way from down under in the last half decade or so since his band Tame Impala started making waves with the still excellent Innerspeaker. No longer is he just that long-haired barefoot Aussie stoner dude who sounds like John Lennon and riffs like Tony Iommi . . . well I guess he still is, but he’s also become a veritable production artist not unlike George Martin.

The first single to be released off of Currents was the 8-minute psych-rock jam “Let it Happen”, and I dug it upon first listen, however, the first time I listened to the album all the way through, I remember thinking “where’s the fuzz, yo?” And so my initial reaction was that it definitely sounded good but I wasn’t totally feeling it.

Fast forward two or three weeks later and cue up four king cans of beer, a joint, and some headphones. I was typing away on my laptop working on a story when “Eventually” came on, and everything immediately clicked – I stopped typing and stared at the screen like a doe-eyed deer about to get hit by a truck. The production! Holy shit! Everything sounded so crisp and alive! How did I miss this before? And of course, once I had heard it like that, I couldn’t unhear it, and I was officially obsessed and listened to the album on repeat for weeks.

The best part of the songs is the little flourishes Parker is so adept at adding, like the chiming synth line at the end of “Eventually” or the soft Fender Rhodes tinkle in “The Less I Know The Better” or the vocal delay in the chorus of “The Moment” that really make the songs stand out. Great album!

 

Cascade

4. William Basinski – Cascade (Temporary Residence)

The prolific William Basinski has made a career out of decaying audio tape – a fitting foil for our accelerated times and the proliferation of all things digital. And by now I think it’s safe to say his name belongs up there next to Eno and Budd as one of the finest ambient artists ever.

It’s been over fifteen years since The Disintegration Loops, and it’s arguably still his finest piece of music to date. I can put that record on at any time and be immediately lost, an hour can go by in the twitch of an eye, or can feel drawn out like the setting sun on the horizon. It’s timeless.

With “Cascade”, Basinski offers up about twenty seconds of piano and loops it for 40 minutes. That’s it. It sounds too simple to be effective, but as the loop repeats itself endlessly it morphs into something more murky and broken as the tape loop slowly decays, and in doing so creates a feeling of calmness and peace in the listener.

This is my top morning album of the year by far. Sometimes I play it twice in a row and have to stop myself from hitting play again.

Scrolling through the comments section on YouTube, two comments stuck out in between the “Beautifuls!” and “Profounds”. The first was: “It’s so odd to think that these works are simply just tape looping and decaying, with textures added over top, but this seemingly simple art form has the power to bring you to tears and think deeply on the past.”

And the second: “I was listening to this for 10 minutes before I even actually noticed I was listening to it and then I was like HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THIS?” My thoughts indeed, my thoughts indeed.

William Basinski: “Cascade

 

Freddie-Gibbs

3. Freddie Gibbs – Shadow of a Doubt (ESGN Records)

Gangsta Gibbs keeps up the hot streak he started by teaming with Madlib last year for the fantastic Pinata and released three records in 2015. Earlier in the year he put out two EP’s, The Tonight Show and the hot as fire Pronto, before releasing the unexpected full-length Shadow of a Doubt in early November. And since it’s dropped, I’ve listened to it at least once a day. I wake up with the hooks and rhymes in my head and can’t seem to get enough.

Unlike DJ Koze, who I honestly think I could be buds with, I’m not sure the same thing would apply with Freddie Gibbs. I imagine him taking one look at me, smirking, and thinking to himself “who’s this phony silver foxin’ ass nigga?” before turning around and never acknowledging me again. He drops the n-word so many times during Shadow of a Doubt, I figure he would have to use it when he saw me, even though I’m whiter than Marshall Mathers.

But if he’d turn around again, I’d tell him the reason why I’m so drawn to his shit is because he’s a storyteller who just so happens to be a rapper who just so happens to sound like no one else in the game right now. On Shadow of a Doubt, all the songs tell some sort of story, either about his drug-dealing past, a pill habit, or the deepened sense of purpose he’s felt since the birth of his daughter in April. So even though I can’t really relate, I can totally relate, you know what I mean?

He makes his listeners feel his struggle regardless if they’re young kids on the corner in Gary, Indiana, or some white Canadian dude in his mid-thirties bumping Freddie in his kitchen while he and his girlfriend make dinner. They’re ain’t a shadow of a doubt that Freddy Corleone is one of the freshest voices in hip hop in 2015.

Essential tracks: “Fuckin’ Up The Count”, “10 Times” and “Packages

 

To Pimp A Butterfly

2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Dawg)

How do you know if you’ve really made the big time? By getting eleven Grammy nominations for your sophomore record? Or having the President of the United States say that one of your songs is his personal favourite of the year? Or being in the top three of virtually every end of year list being written in 2015 (including even this highly respected blog)?

Yes and oui and si, I’d say.

Kendrick Lamar returned this year trying to outdo the accolades bestowed on his last album good kid, m.A.A.d city, and pretty much blew the roof off of everything with To Pimp A Butterfly. A fusion of old school and new school, funk and soul, R&B and jazz, a swirling collaboration with so many artists from Snoop to Bilal to Fly Lo to Thundercat to Boi-1da, Pharrell, Kamasi Washington, the ghost of 2Pac and more.

At the centre of it all is Kendrick, sounding more determined than ever to highlight what it’s like to be black in 2015 in America. Yet even though he may be on top of his game, it seems like Kendrick still be climbin’, and searching for guidance, trying to figure out where exactly he fits in the world around him, both as music superstar and lil homey from Compton. Unlike Kanye who has called himself “Walt Disney, Shakespeare, Nike and Google”, all in the same breath, there’s a humbleness to Kendrick’s personality that’s refreshing. And while Drake is dancing around, waiting for some girl to call him on his cell phone, Kendrick’s figuring out how to be a better person out in the world and a better rapper in the industry.

During the song “Momma”, Kendrick repeats the line “I know everything”, in between telling us what that everything is: Compton, morality, street shit, wisdom, karma, history, bullshit, highs and lows, loyalty, clothes, hoes, money, generosity, until he goes home and sits at the kitchen table with him Momma and realizes he doesn’t know a goddamn thing.

Earlier on the album, during “Institutionalized”, Kendrick reminds himself of some great advice his Grandma gave him when he was young: “Shit don’t change until you get up and wash yo’ ass, nigga!”

It seems to me like Kendrick knows that real change starts from within and with To Pimp A Butterfly he’s trying his damnedest to promote this idea and act on it and let everyone know that hopefully everything’s gonna be “Alright”.

To Pimp A Butterfly is a challenging listen to be sure but ultimately a very rewarding one.

Kendrick Lamar: “Untitled” (from The Colbert Report)

 

sufjan

1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

Stripping away the bells and whistles, the orchestration, the back-up singers, the electronics, the gimmicks, and the technicolor spectacle, Sufjan Stevens returned this year with just his guitar, a piano, and his voice, and released Carrie & Lowell, the best album of his career.

We all know the album’s premise by now, it’s titled after his mother and step-dad. In 2012, Sufjan’s mother died of cancer and although their relationship was strained (she left when he was young), she’s still his family, and this album focuses on how Sufjan coped with the aftermath of those early years, and the emptiness his mother’s death left in him.

In the last two years, I’ve had two friends lose a parent, and I’ve watched them struggle to make sense of life without them. They’ve grieved in their own ways, some healthy some not, and because of their losses, I can’t help but think of my own parents and my girlfriend’s parents and the fact that we ain’t getting any younger … and it’s scary and makes me want to press pause or somehow go back in time, because I don’t want it to ever happen. Carrie & Lowell has a similiarly sobering effect, and by looking inside himself, Sufjan is able to really connect with his listeners.

So as soon as I found out he was touring I immediately bought tickets for the show. I’ve seen him before and knew it would be stupid to miss him. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the date, only to realize later that the show was on the same weekend we were going to be at a wedding in Yosemite National Park. I was surprised at how upset I was about having to miss the show. But Yosemite … damn, what a special place.

On our last morning there, I had to go pick up some things at the bride’s cottage, which was a 45-minute drive through the Yosemite valley. I put on Carrie & Lowell as I drove through the park, the early morning sun glinting off the Half Dome and El Capitan, and every view worthy of Ansel Adams’ camera.

I barely made it through opening track “Death With Dignity” before the tears came. And there was a lot of them. And I couldn’t stop. But they weren’t sad, they were joyous and oddly powerful. Two tracks later in “All Of Me Wants All Of You”, Sufjan sings “Landscape changed my point of view”, and as he said that I cheered. I put my arm out the window and pumped my fist in the air. I laughed through my tears. I realized it was a perfect spring day. I realized how much I loved the people in my life. I looked around at the dense forest and the giant rocks and shivered …

It was the closest thing to a spiritual experience I have ever had, and so that is why Sufjan Stevens tops my list for 2015.

Carrie & Lowell is an album of memories and stories. It’s covered in the dust of a turbulent family life and how one man, one child, learned to deal with it all. It may well be our first insight into the real Sufjan. It’s heavy, but so very beautiful.

Sufjan Stevens: “Blue Bucket of Gold

yosemite

Yes! I made it to the finish line! Thanks for reading! Have a fantastic 2016, my friends!

Love,

ml

INAUDIBLE’S BEST OF 2010

January 5, 2011

INAUDIBLE is overjoyed to unveil his 2nd annual end of year listy list!

 
TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2010

25. Luke Abbott – Holkham Drones (Border Community)

Norfolk England producer Luke Abbott offers up a strong selection of electronic tracks that are modest yet immediately rewarding. Similar in a way to Boards of Canada, it’s rare that music primarily composed on a computer can also move a listener emotionally, striking between the invitation to dance or the opportunity to deliberate without diluting either approach’s effect. Abbott’s songs build in linear fashion, exploring psychedelic melody and synth-fuelled beats. I guess you could call it IDM, if people are still tossing that moniker around. Either way, it’s a smooth listen that works whether you’re both bobbing your head at a party or sunk comfortably into the couch.

Fave track: “Brazil”

 

24. Pausal – Lapses (Barge Recordings)

Pausal are a duo from Hampshire UK, and they create warm and impressionistic ambient soundscapes. Like Stars of the Lid, Mountains, and Marsen Jules, Pausal’s music has a sense of weightlessness and calm that washes over the listener, and the result is immersive and reflective. Lapses has sailed me off to soft slumber on many a night, and greeted many a morning with me as well. Warm and welcome layers of drone that pulse subtly and beautifully.

 

23. Pantha du Prince – Black Noise (Rough Trade)

Hendrik Weber made a strong return this year with the follow-up to his much acclaimed This Bliss avec Black Noise and it does not disappoint. With chimes and marimba acting as aural touchstones throughout, Black Noise shows the further evolutions of Weber’s melodic-robotic dichotomy and his penchant for deep and infectious bass. And speaking of infectious, “Stick To My Side”, Weber’s collaboration with Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox will leech itself into your memory banks and have you humming and singing it for days. Weber does a great job of melding 4/4 hitters alongside of more sedate and moody tracks, and the effect is captivating.

 

22. Toro Y Moi – Causers of This (Carpark Records)

2010 truly was a breakout year for chillwave and glo-fi musicians. I still find these names for sub-genres absolutely ridiculous, but Chad Bundick’s debut as Toro Y Moi is a slowburn of an album that just kept growing on me until I was completely smitten. I love his use of tape-hiss loops, cheap homemade beats, familiar samples, deep bass, and voice (not for the actual lyrics but for they way he uses his voice as added layers of sound). And although there are many other artists in the genre doing relatively the same sort of thing, Causers of This was the album I returned to most throughout the year. Fun, sunny, haphazard, and guaranteed to put a smile on any a hipster’s mug.

 

21. Bonobo – Black Sands (Ninja Tune)

Simon Green aka Bonobo released his fourth full length album and managed to somehow breathe new life into the weary genre of “chill out” and/or “downtempo”. Black Sands is no radical departure from his earlier musical palette, but Smith incorporates his love of world sounds, great string arrangements, a little dubstep, and amazing vocals from Andreya Triana, and fills the void left in the absence of new material from The Cinematic Orchestra. Black Sands is a groove-laden album that is sexy and introspective. Perfect for romantic dinner dates at home, where after the second bottle of wine, you’re up and shaking booty in the kitchen, making room for dessert. Check it.

Fave tracks: “Stay The Same”, “Kong”, and “Animals”

 

20. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp Records)

Let’s be honest here, Fly Lo’s space odyssey is pretty damn dope and sprawling and ambitious, but it just never got the heavy rotation on my stereo that Los Angeles did. I know he felt he needed to rise above the countless producers who’d been biting on his style since 1983 and Los Angeles came out, and also wanted to create an aural homage to his musical family tree, and overall I think he was successful in those two realms, but in the end his late 2010 EP Pattern+Grid World had me more excited than Cosmogramma. That said, I still think he does a helluva job meshing drum-n-bass, hip-hop, jazz, psychedelia, and house to smashing effect, but at the end of the year, it just didn’t blow my head up the way I had originally anticipated. And to be honest, I think a lot of it just sounds like Squarepusher. There I said it. I’ve somehow managed to diss one of the most creative electronic artists alive today. But let me give him props by saying I look forward to all his future evolutions, be they missteps or the right steps.

 

19. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

Baltimore’s Beach House followed up the lovely Devotion with Teen Dream and revealed the perfect evolution of their sound, adding steady drums to the mix and offering up a mature collection of groovy and sexy tunes. Victoria Legrand’s voice has never sounded stronger or more emotionally assertive. The interplay between Alex Scally’s guitar and Legrand’s keyboards is smooth, gloomy, and warrants repeat listens. “Norway”, “Take Care”, and “Lover of Mine” are my favourite tracks, and what’s perhaps most telling is that the album is a generational crossover smash, inspiring teens and seasoned adults alike. Dream pop at its finest.

 

18. Onra – Long Distance (All City)

Onra changes things up with Long Distance, casting aside the old world samples that became his trademark in Chinoiseries, and 1.0.8, and adopts a smooth 80′s vibe instead. I imagine it being the sound of the 1980′s New York underground, and Onra lays it on thick and chilled. Dirty funk bass, hand clap beats, soul breaks, old skoool scratching, Lionel Ritchie guitars, moments reminiscent of J.J. Fad and bad 90′s muzak, plus some great guests makes this definitely one to check out. His live show in Toronto with Buddy Sativa was a bass-heavy throwdown and a live highlight of the year for me. I love everything this man has put out and look forward to his next shit.

 

17. Mount Kimbie – Crooks and Lovers (Hotflush)

While not quite as absorbing and heart stopping as their earlier EP’s Maybes and Sketch on Glass, Mount Kimbie‘s full-length debut still found itself on heavy rotation in my living room this year. I just kept putting it on again and again. It’s one of those albums that you can choose to either get completely absorbed in or just have on in the background as you do your thang, and its slowed down dubstep inflect is just right. As dubstep continued to grow, Mount Kimbie were a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated genre, because the young duo have their own definitive style which makes them stand out. Seeing them play live also revealed their strengths as they chose to play without laptops and did a fantastic job of recreating their bass-laden style in front of a crowd. Dig it!

 

16. Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils (Captured Tracks)

Beach Fossils emerged out of the hipster muck of Brooklyn and crafted a beautiful self-titled debut album, that effortlessly played out as the soundtrack of the summer. Comparing them to the xx seems a bit of a stretch, but just as the xx’s debut was the soundtrack to the grey days of last summer, Beach Fossils’ debut plays out as a pristine pop album for your pool party on a sunny day. There’s a bit of a surf rock feel, a bit of indie rock, Halifax pop, and a touch of Joy Division, making it an incredibly easy and fun record to listen to. That said, it breaks no new ground or boundary, but it’s a definitive grower of an album and comes highly recommended for a day at the beach or with a few drinks in the backyard.

Fave tracks: “Wide Awake” and “Daydream”

 

15. Scuba – Triangulation (Hotflush)

Hotflush head honcho Paul Rose aka Scuba continued his label’s thrilling run with a proper full-length of fluid, melodic dubstep that sounds beautiful and aggressive in equal measure. The album flows brilliantly building on dark mood, melodicism, and grimy beats. “Three Sided Shape” works alongside the territory Burial carved out, using cavernous bass drops and haunting vocals, while “You Got Me” leads in with propulsive bass that is perfect for crowded and dark dancefloors. “Lights Out” could find itself on any Echochord release or even as an old Theorem B-side and is the perfect closing track. Scuba’s had a great year, also putting out his Sub:stance mix in the early months of 2010, which is a fantastic set and a perfect primer into the world of dubstep, bass heavy music, and Hotflush records.

 

14. Darkstar – North (Hyperdub)

James Young and Aiden Whalley take a bold leap forward and backward with their debut album North, and help their label Hyperdub diversify in the process. The two-step beats and funky grime you’ve come to expect from Darkstar, have been replaced with cold synth lines and dark pop vocals courtesy of James Buttery. Essentially what we have here is a synth-pop album in the style of Junior Boys, yet where Junior Boys have worn their formula ragged, hackneyed, and thin, Darkstar add new life in the genre. Early standout track “Deadness” illuminates this quite well, with smooth synth, gently processed vocals, and an amazing darkwave guitar-line coda that evokes plenty of emotion and rainy day pathos. North is an emotional album full of slick production and great vocals.

 

13. Foals – Total Life Forever (Sub Pop)

UK scenesters, Foals, returned with Total Life Forever, the follow-up to their 2008 debut Antidotes and offered up a softened version of their sound with a fairly mature collection of songs. The first four tracks start the album off at a great pace, mixing moments reminiscent of Talking Heads with the earlier Foals sound to great effect. “Black Gold” is my fave track on the album and reveals the band’s new found maturity when it comes to composition. “Spanish Sahara” is their breakout hit, a slow-downed, mournful seven-minuter, that blasts into a cathartic emo kick in the end. Although, it was not where I expected their sound to go, I have returned to it many times during the year, and find it packs an emotional punch, while still retaining the inherent groove of a good rock album.

 

12. Crystal Castles – II (Fiction)

I don’t care about any of the hype or the bad press or the douchebaggery or the hoopla, I just care about the songs. Crystal Castles’ sophomore album is punk rock electro clash awesomeness. 8-bit beats and dirty and gorgeous analogue. Their sound is slightly less abrasive and a bit more poppy here than on their debut, but I find it a solid evolution of their Aphex-inspired DIY punk rock aesthetic. Alice Glass’ vox sounds great meshed in with Ethan Kath’s haphazard yet infectious production. The album was recorded at various locations, including a church in Iceland, a cabin in northern Ontario, and an abandoned convenience store in Detroit. This adds to the DIY pulse I dig so much. They can keep pissing off whoever they like, and I’ll just keep on listening.

Fave tracks: “Suffocation” and “Violent Dreams”

 

11. Pawel – Pawel (Dial Records)

Pawel’s self-titled long player was years in the making, but well worth the wait, because it’s a surprisingly tight and refreshing collection of smooove tech-house beats reminiscent of Audion, Theorem, and his Dial buddies Sten and Pantha du Prince. Tracks like “Coke” and “Dawn” get things cooking with that classic Kompaktesque four on the four vibe that’ll have you up and dancing, until he slows it all down with “Mate”, a beautifully atmospheric and subdued composition marking the album’s middle. He then turns it right back up with “Muscles” and “Crillon”, the disc’s heaviest hitters, and closes shop with two excellent tracks: the emotive and pulsing “Kramnik” and the fantastic, vocally-charged, “Wasting My Time”, which may actually be the album’s highlight. Dial Records has been incredibly relevant this year and Pawel started it off just right. More please.

 

10. The Fun Years – God Was Like, No (Barge Recordings)

Ben Recht and Isaac Sparks, the duo that make up The Fun Years, returned this year with the follow-up to the much revered Baby It’s Cold Inside with the excellently titled God Was Like, No. From the opening minutes of this album, when the minor chord guitar begins you immediately get pulled into their world — and it’s a bleak place, full of moody drones and post-rock guitar. This is a dark album, one that sucks you in and holds you there, yet never by force, because once it starts you want to hear it through to the end.

The album is broken up into eight tracks, but the whole thing flows as one 40 minute movement into the darkest post-rock and sensorial abduction. One could argue The Fun Years sound like a slowed down, pitch dropped Mogwai circa their Come on Die Young days. However I guess more genre specific references would be Ben Frost or Fennesz — still the post-rock vibe flows throughout, and may be one reason why I love it so much. Like their debut Baby it’s Cold Inside, God Was Like, No is unsettling music, but all I can say is, as the weather’s grown colder this album’s been on steady rotation. Here’s to a frozen and bleak next couple of months…

 

9. The Green Kingdom – Prismatic (Home Assembly)

Michael Cottone has been quietly making music under The Green Kingdom moniker since 2006, and with each release he further refines his brand of introspective ambient bliss. Cottone skillfully uses digitally enhanced acoustic guitar, strings, bells, and a myriad of samples and field recordings to create his compositions. Within his arrangements, melody and space work in tandem in an attempt to manifest what Cottone has called an “optimistic nostalgia” for the listener — an aural experience that can provide a momentary reprieve from the frenetic, fast-paced world that surrounds us. And indeed his music is perfect for contemplative mornings and quiet evenings, where the vibe is to “slow down” and to “reflect”. Prismatic is one of the finest ambient albums of 2010, and a prime example of electronic and organic sounds working together so effortlessly. Fans of Helios, Nest, The Boats, Kiln, and Susumu Yokota should check out The Green Kingdom immediately.

Fave tracks: “Wetlands” and “Radiance Reflected”

 

8. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor (Frenchkiss)

Local Natives appeared on the scene early in 2010, and at year’s end feel as if they’ve been around for years. Upon first listen, their influences seemed a little too apparent. They sounded a bit like Fleet Foxes, a bit like Grizzly Bear, with a touch of Pinback and Band of Horses — but after a few more spins, one quickly realizes Gorilla Manor possesses a dark, spiraling beauty. The band is perfectly capable of delivering big anthems strong on memorable hooks — the likes of “Shape Shifter” and brilliant opener “Wide Eyes” are sure to swim around the listener’s head for days. The rhythm section is tight, the guitars interweave wonderfully, yet the young band’s best asset are their strong and varied vocal talents. Quieter tracks like “Cards and Quarters”, “Cubism Dream”, and “Who Knows Who Cares” reveal their voices best, remind me of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and offer up some lovely and emotional hooks.

Seeing them live made me appreciate their debut even more, as they presented their songs without a hint of pretension or rock-star attitude. They were just five young dudes having a fucking blast on their first headlining tour, and they played an amazingly tight set. In the end, Gorilla Manor is no classic — it’s still too indebted to its makers’ influences for that. But it is a strong, striking debut that exceeds expectations and should open enough doors for the band to ensure that their second album be one of the most anticipated records of the year. Lovely.

 

7. Nest – Retold (Serein)

Otto Totland, one half of neo-classicist duo Deaf Center, teamed up with Serein label head Huw Roberts and released Retold, a subtle masterpiece in piano-based ambience. Even on first listen, this record excels on every level as a piece of cinematic, modern classical composition. Each song is slow and deliberate evoking mood and solitary wonder. Using piano as the cornerstone for each song, samples, and strings are gently meshed to startling result. “Trans Siberian” features the distant blare of a locomotive, wintry drones, fractured strings, and what sounds like drops of rain hitting a piece of paper and the crackle of a fire, as it swirls moodily along. Retold is truly a special album and one that you must discover for yourself, as it grows with each successive listen and yet always sounds fresh. I’ve returned to this album time and time again, and consider it the finest in the genre of modern-classical released this year.

 

6. Wild Nothing – Gemini (Captured Tracks)

I’ve really loved the indie pop 80’s revival that has been becoming more and more prominent in the last year or so, and no one does it better than Virginia native, Jack Tatum, the man behind Wild Nothing. So often in these cases, where bands are attempting to sound like the heroes of their youth, I end up saying to myself, well shit, I’d really just rather listen to The Smiths or New Order, than some dudes who are trying to sound like them. But with Wild Nothing, even though his influences are startlingly apparent, there’s still something riveting about it. Because after I recognize the outside influence on a track (The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, The Cure, New Order, Belle and Sebastian, et al.), I forget about it and it becomes all Wild Nothing.

Gemini and the recently released Golden Haze EP are pure pop genius. Tatum possesses a keen ear for melody and composition and plays the bass just as well as the guitar. Chugging and veering basslines in “Confirmation”, “The Witching Hour”, and “Your Rabbit Feet” from Golden Haze carry the tracks from really good to fucking awesome. His guitar work is also worth mentioning as he tends to use two weaving guitar lines accentuated by synth and he uses distortion and reverb to great effect.

The fact that Tatum plays all the instruments on the album, allows him to always stick to his musical vision, and also reveals his uncanny ability to write songs that stick in your head but never get stale. I’ve listened to Gemini so many goddamn times this year it’s embarassing, and yet I keep going back again and again. “Pessimist”, “Chinatown” and “The Witching Hour” are fantastic pop songs that everyone should have stuck in their heads. I look forward to new material in the coming year, as well as, his first live show in Toronto in February. Shoegazers unite!

 

5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)

I have a lot of guilty pleasures when it comes to mainstream music. Rihanna: Love her. Aaliyah: Would’ve died for her. Katy Perry: Secret shame. Usher? Craig David? Justin Timberlake? Jay-Z? They’ve been known to set me off as I get ready to go out for the night. I can’t help it. I grew up listening to cheesy pop music and bad R&B, so how can I turn it off now? I cannot and I will not.

Now, I’ve always had a soft spot for Kanye West. Ever since College Dropout came out you could occasionally find me blasting his tunes, learning his weak rhymes, and dancing to his ever slick production. And even though with each release he was becoming more and more a caricature of himself in the media, his music kept getting stronger and stronger. The man is a sponge, sucking up influences from all over and he’s got the money to make it happen. When I moved from Montreal to New Brunswick, Late Registration was my soundtrack, and when I left NB to move to Toronto, it was Graduation that I was playing as my outro from the Maritimes.

Flash forward to 2010. Kanye’s media attack has really been nothing short of brilliant. From his impromptu a-capella rap at Facebook HQ, to his “Power” it’s not a video it’s a painting, to his incessant Tweets, to his 30 minute beautifully shot, terribly acted, yet no less captivating short film, “Runaway”. And with each one of these media plugs he slowly gave us tastes and snippets of his new opus, and in the process he effectively sucked me in.

The excitable folks over at Pitchfork decided to give Fantasy a perfect 10, and while it’s a far cry from a perfect album, it is still one of the most exciting listens of the year. “All of the Lights” is an absolute banger, that is so undeniably thrilling I truly cannot believe it. The second half of “Runaway” reveals some of the most innovative work written with Auto-tune thus far. “So Appalled” is fucking ridiculous but I still love it. Opener “Dark Fantasy” features a perfect hip-hop beat and helps us all find bravery in our bravado. “Lost in the World” with Bon Iver is an amazing crossover hit and a fitting closer. And overall, the album plays out smooove from start to finish. Truly, the “Runaway” short film helped make this album what it is — its viewers craved the best moments of the album before it was released, and it revealed Yeezy is more than just a musician, he really is an “artist”, even if he has an entire team of people helping him become one.

At the end of the day, I don’t care, yo. I still love this album.

To paraphrase CyHi Da Prynce from the album: “If God had an iPod, Ye’d be on his playlist.”

 

4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge Records)

The Suburbs is an album that blossoms a bit more with each successive listen, and one that is full of dynamic and proper indie rock songs that subtly recall your favourite musicians from the last 30 years. A small list: The Boss, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Who, The Doors, Heart, Cyndi Lauper, U2, Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene, Bon Iver, David Byrne, oh yeah, and Arcade Fire. It is an amazingly calculated and mature collection of songs that immediately churns up a strong sense of nostalgia and emotion. But for this listener, the reason The Suburbs is such a genuine winner, and the reason it rests near the top of my list for 2010, is the lyrics. They really resonate with me.

I am unsure if a twenty-year old listener would feel the same way, but I wonder: what contemporary album has had lyrics that actually, truly speak to my generation? “A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido?” I think not. The Suburbs is the Nevermind of twenty years later, where we no longer want to oh well, whatever, nevermind — now what we want to do is remember the past, and take hold of all the stupid mistakes and amazing strides we made to get to exactly where we happen to be now. To reflect on the past and laugh and shake it all off and keep on keeping on whatever good paths we’ve set for our futures…

“Month of May”, “Ready to Start” and “We Used to Wait” are solid and tight rockers that you can blast in your living room and get swept away in. “Modern Man” and “Rococo” are also great songs with strong lyrics, and “The Suburbs”, “Deep Blue”, “Suburban War”, “Sprawl I / II” pack the emotional wallops with tight changes and great orchestral accompaniment to boot. And then the lyrics of the end reprise sums it all up beautifully:

If I could have it back
All the time that we wasted
I’d only waste it again
If I could have it back
You know I’d love to waste it again
Waste it again and again and again

 

3. Ben Swire – From Here to There (Preservation Records)

San Francisco based musician Ben Swire came out of nowhere this year and released the gorgeous From Here to There — a sweeping album of enveloping ambience and thoughtfully processed acoustic instrumentation. Swire skillfully weaves electronic elements, field recordings, and conventional instruments (guitar, bass, percussion) into fluid, meticulously arranged set-pieces that retain an experimental edge without losing sight of musicality and melodicism.

There’s a jazz motif and a minimal techno pulse that runs throughout the album as well, making it by far the smoothest album of the year for me. From Here to There has been my soundtrack to writing essays for school, studying, reading, waking, sleeping, long walks, trudging streetcar rides, and more. It’s an album that defies defintion, being moody, dark, light, airy, and carrying a strong pulse and steady rhythm throughout. Not surprisingly, it is my most listened to album of the year according to my computer’s playlist, and one that will continue to be played wholeheartedly in 2011. L’amour it!

 

2. Autechre – Oversteps / Move of Ten (Warp Records)

In honour of the fact that Autechre have been making robots dance for two decades, Rob Brown and Sean Booth released twenty new tracks in 2010 split onto two separate albums, both just as equally captivating and haunting. Oversteps and Move of Ten are melodic and strangely emotive records that emit far different sonic vibrations than the duo’s last three full-lengths.

There’s no conscious way one can fully understand the compositional mind of Autechre, you just put them on and know that patience will reward. But with their new work, the duo’s vibe will immediately pull you in and have you convinced machines must feel love before Oversteps opener “r ess” is done. Their signature klings, klangs, and syncopated rhythms are in full effect here, and with repeated listens they become infectious, full of darkened corners strobed with light. Autechre is one of the reasons I fell in love with electronic music in the first place. Tri Repetae, along with Music Has the Right from Boards and Aphex’s Richard D. James album (the Warp trifecta), effectively helped foster my love of electronic music, and helped me push the boundaries of my own musical pallette. Music need not be linear or have build-ups and crescendoes, it just needed to eke out emotion, and somehow Autechre’s always been able to do that for me, even though their methods have been completely methodical and computer-based.

Years ago, Jake Mandell put out an album entitled Love Songs for Machines, and with Oversteps and Move of Ten, Autechre have truly done exactly that. Two decades of pushing the boundaries of composition and leaving hundreds of copycat artists in their wake, none even remotely close to them in style and execution and fear and emotion.

Both Oversteps and Move of Ten are not beat heavy albums at all, in fact the tempo is more subdued and textured throughout, which reveals a definite maturation of the duo’s sound and synthesis. As usual, both albums are not the easiest of listens, yet will reward the patient listener and become much more than just the sum of their parts, in fact they become Autechre’s strongest output in half a decade. Furthermore, in many ways Autechre have put out homages to the other heroes of the Warp trifecta — “nth Dafuseder.b” sounds very much like a BoC track, while “M62” could have been mined from Aphex’s archives. Still, their strongest tracks are ones that are abstract and build on the strange digital emotion they are able to pull out of the wireless air. Tracks like “O=0”, “see on see”, and “iris was a pupil”, reveal this the best.

I hope to see Autechre on my top list again in another decade, and wonder if their music will have morphed into an inaudible sensation that one experiences remotely from space. Thank you Ae and Warp for twenty years of groovy mindfuck. More please. New Boards in 2012 is my friend Mat’s call. Let’s hope we make it there.

 

1. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty)

I was really quite surprised not to see this album on many top lists this year. I wonder if Sufjan had instead released a sprawling opus to Massachusetts or Wisconsin or Texas and stuck to his earlier indie-rock sensibility and sensitivity if this album wouldn’t be resting high on the top of the big lists this year. But alas, it is not, and I can only believe it is because listeners didn’t give it enough of a chance. And to be sure, I remember feeling overwhelmed and spent after my first complete listen of The Age of Adz. Like the title of the album’s second track, it really felt like “too much” — but I knew it was full of magic and amazing production and uncompromising emotion on a grand scale. And so I kept listening.

The new material from Adz is above and beyond anything Sufjan has produced thus far, mixing folk, electronica, pop, cinematic orchestra and indie rock, and filtering it all through the sensibilities of a Broadway musical. Its production value is what makes it a challenge, as it’ll take a few listens for you to take it all in, but what makes it brilliant is that by the second listen, you’ll already find the melodies glued to your brain. You’ll wake up humming the chorus to “I Walked” and end up singing the coda of “Vesuvius” in the shower. The repetitive nature of the lyrics and the simple melodies hidden under the surface makes Adz a highly accessible album, yet some may still find it too “electronic” or “layered” for their tastes, but for me I couldn’t have asked for a better amalgamation of my ear’s favourite things — electronic production smashed together with perfect pop melodies.

The album is book-ended brilliantly, beginning with “Futile Devices”, Sufjan alone with his guitar, pulling at your heartstrings immediately, before the album veers off into more abstract territory. At the end of the 25-minute “Impossible Soul”, the old Sufjan resurfaces out of the esoteric splendour, and closes the album alone again with just his voice and guitar. In five minutes out of seventy, he effortlessly reveals he is still one of the finest singer-songwriter’s out there, with the uncanny ability to make you want to cry, yet cheer for the future. But he has bigger aspirations, and no longer needs to write an album full of emotive ballads anymore.

Highlights for me are “Get Real Get Right”, “Vesuvius”, Too Much” and “Impossible Soul”. “Impossible Soul” is my favourite song of the year, as it embraces and exploits practically every genre of the last fifty years — from 60′s rock to Disney-esque orchestra to hip-hop to techno to simple folk. What other song features a raunchy guitar solo, an inspirational sing-a-long, and some kick ass Autotune? And more importantly, what other song smashes all these genres together and does it so effectively? I’ve yet to find any other.

My attempt to describe this album falls way short of articulating the true grandeur of what occurs throughout the span of the record. His live show was the best concert of the year for me, just as The Age of Adz is my favourite album. It’s not an album I can put on at any time of the day or night, but it’s one that will be played time and again for the rest of my life. Give it a real listen and discover its beauty.

Yes! I made it to the fucking end!

 
HONORABLE AUDIBLES

Loscil – Endless Falls (Kranky)
Marc Houle – Drift (Minus Records)
Pop Ambient 2010 (Kompakt Records)
Donato Dozzy – K (Further Records)
Erik K Skodvin – Flare (Sonic Pieces)
The Besnard Lakes are The Roaring Night (Jagjaguwar)
Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal (Editions Mego)
Ikonika – Contact, Love, Want, Have (Hyperdub)
Shed – The Traveller (Ostgut Ton)
The Chap – Well Done Europe (Lo Recordings)
The Sight Below – It All Falls Apart (Ghostly International)

 
R.I.P. Jay Reatard (1980-2010)

 
Thanks for reading everyone!
Best wishes for 2011!

Love,

ml

Sufjan Stevens at Massey Hall in Toronto

October 19, 2010

13 October 2010

Sufjan Stevens played the venerable Massey Hall in Toronto on Wednesday and skillfully showcased material from his brand new album The Age of Adz. Toronto was his second stop in a 23 city North American tour, that finds Sufjan and his band playing in beautiful historic venues across the United States. The tour will then move on to Australia and Europe at the start of 2011.

And what a spectacle it was. Flanked by two drummers, bass, guitar, keyboards, synths, horns, and two back-up singers/dancers (11 people in all on stage), Sufjan and his band held me in rapture from the opening moments of the 12 minute epic “All Delighted People”. Yet, it wasn’t until they played “Too Much” from The Age of Adz, that I became fully immersed.

The new material from Adz is above and beyond anything he has produced thus far, mixing folk, electronica, pop, cinematic orchestra and indie rock, and filtering it all through the sensibilities of a Broadway musical. So then for me, everything he played off of Adz was an immersive and amazing adventure in live music. In short, the new stuff kicks ass — it is inspiring, off kilter, and very emotional. The show was backdropped with an impressive visual performance as well, finding inspiration and using artwork from eccentric American artist Royal Robertson.

The Age of Adz is a brilliant and challenging album. Its production value is what makes it a challenge, as it’ll take a few listens for you to take it all in, but what makes it brilliant is that by the second listen, you’ll already find the melodies glued to your brain. You’ll wake up humming the chorus to “I Walked” and end up singing the coda of “Vesuvius” in the shower. The repetitive nature of the lyrics and the simple melodies hidden under the surface makes Adz a highly accessible album, yet some may still find it too “electronic” or “layered” for their tastes, but with repeat listens it is quite rewarding…

The album climaxes with the 25-minute “Impossible Soul”, which Sufjan dubbed a “love cycle”, as there’s 5 different movements within the song. And yes, they played it live, and barely missed a beat. “Impossible Soul” is my favourite song of the year, as it embraces and exploits practically every genre of the last 50 years — from 60’s rock to Disney-esque orchestra to hip-hop to techno to simple folk. What other song features a raunchy guitar solo, an inspirational sing-a-long, and some kick ass autotune? And more importantly, what other song smashes all these genres together and does it so effectively? I’ve yet to find any other. And the fact that they pulled it off so well live was absolutely fantastic. I was singing along word for word as Sufjan started up a little dance party on the stage.

Those who showed up actually expecting him to play old songs from Illinois and Michigan, when he had just released two albums of new material, seemed a bit disappointed to have to sit through an hour and a half of unfamiliar material, yet for me (who had Adz in my possession the minute of its digital release) it was hands down the best live show of the year.

*photos courtesy of Mateusz Garbulinski

SET LIST
1. All Delighted People
2. Heirloom
3. Too Much
4. Futile Devices
5. The Age Of Adz
6. I Walked
7. Now That I’m Older
8. Vesuvius
9. Get Real Get Right
10. Enchanting Ghost
11. The Owl and The Tanager
12. Impossible Soul
13. Chicago
–Encore–
14. Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
15. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

I Walked – Sufjan Stevens

August 27, 2010

Quick to get the hype machine started for the October release of The Age of Adz — Sufjan’s first full-length release in half a deck — he has kindly leaked a track for us. It’s called “I Walked” and I gotta say I’m loving the mix of electronic and organic production going on. I’ll be seeing his show in Toronto at Massey Hall in the fall, and this new song has got me pumped already. Have a listen below. Peace.