My new album, Held Momentarily, is now available. You can find it at your favorite digital music spots (here are a few examples):
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Things have been a little crazy on this end lately (still). I can't really talk about it publicly yet, for reasons that will be all too clear very soon...
I'll be playing a pretty significant show in just over a couple weeks at Rockwood Stage 3, April 16th at 7PM. You can buy tickets for $10 here. I'm going to play some songs from my new rekkid and some of my favorite covers (possibly including a cover of James Bay's Let It Go).
085: Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
This album came out my first year of college. It came out long before my appreciation for The Beatles blossomed (i.e. last year). I loved the song Wonderwall--I even performed a cover of it with a band at my cafe show at Berklee in back in 1996 (it was awesome). But beyond that, I never really got into Oasis.
I've heard of some of the rock-and-roll antics of the Gallagher brothers. And they pretty much faded not too longer after the height of this record.
So it was interesting to take a listen back to it this week.
That The Beatles influenced these guys is undeniable. Their songwriting is solid--I'm just saying that the template is unmistakable (as it has been for some other rock greats I've listened to over the past year and change). Roll With It is early Beatles. Don't Look Back In Anger is later Beatles/Lennon. And so on.
I had never heard Cast No Shadow--and didn't know it was written about Richard Ashcroft. I'm not sure I understand it lyrically...but I do like the song.
084: Sufjan Stevens – Illinois (2005)
From the opening eeriness of the piano rhythm in Concerning the UFO--with its odd and complex time signature--and his soft voice, I am hooked.
I've heard this record before--several times...though several years ago now.
After a few more listens, I still feel oddly about this album.
It is masterful. No doubt.
But there's something about it that still exhausts me. Maybe it's those long-ass, yes clever, titles...
The piano part on Come On! Feel the Illinoise! is super cool (two exclamation points). Am I the only one who hears the Peanuts theme here?
John Wayne Gacy, Jr is one of my favorite songs ever. I don't know what that says about me. The lyrics are so spare, yet so effective. He tells a rich story with an economy of evocative words. His piano playing is so beautiful. I could hear this song a million times, and still get chills each time.
According to wikipedia, here is what Sufjan contributed to this album:
acoustic guitar; piano; Wurlitzer; bass guitar; drums; electric guitar; oboe; alto saxophone; flute; banjo; glockenspiel; accordion; vibraphone; alto, sopranino, soprano, and tenor recorders; Casiotone MT-70; sleigh bells; shaker; tambourine; triangle; electronic organ; vocals; arrangement; engineering; recording; production
Yeah. I'm impressed. Not to mention writing and composing every song. So, I guess, one should forgive some excessive titleage.
The next song that really does something for me, is The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us. That vocal melody. That oboe. The pulsing accordion. "There on the walls in the bedroom creeping I see a wasp with her wings outstretched." Damn.
The bass line on They Are Night Zombies!! The staccato vocals...spelling ILLINOIS (I never paid enough attention to get that before).
I guess what I'm learning that I only like Sufjan when he's at his creepiest.
Another example would be the wonderfully sinister The Seer's Tower--it starts so hushed, but slowly becomes more and more anguished. "Oh, my mother she betrayed us...but my father loved and bathed us...still I go to the deepest grave where I go to sleep alone..." Woah. Gut wrenching.
I liked (What's The Story) Morning Glory, but didn't love it. Not for me.
The parts of Illinois that I love--I love deeply (the creepy bits). But, overall, I think the album is too long with so much that doesn't excite me. At the end of the day though, Sufjan made a masterpiece that holds up very well ten years on.
Coming the first week of March:
080: Radiohead – The Bends (1995)
079: The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)