Results for Sufjan Stevens

interviews

St. Vincent

This week Jim and Greg welcome singer and musician Annie Clark, otherwise known as St. Vincent. After making a name for herself by touring and recording with Sufjan Stevens and The Polyphonic Spree, she recently released a second solo album called Actor. St. Vincent blew our hosts away at this year's SXSW festival, and Greg is already calling Actor one of the best albums of the year. They were excited to have St. Vincent along with her band into the studio for a live performance and conversation about dirty tour buses, digital oboes and Disney cartoons.

Go to episode 189
reviews
A Tribute to Joni MitchellA Tribute to Joni Mitchell available on iTunes

Joni Mitchell & Elvis Costello & James Taylor & Sufjan Stevens & Prince & Caetano Veloso A Tribute to Joni Mitchell

The last album up for review is A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. On this album, tracks penned by the famous songwriter are performed by Prince, Sufjan Stevens, James Taylor and Elvis Costello among them. Greg explains that Joni Mitchell is a difficult artist to cover, and with the exception of singers like Caetano Veloso, many of the artists on this tribute just simply aren't good enough to tackle her work. Jim agrees, noting that all of the artists on the album are on the Nonesuch roster. He predicts that the record would have been stronger if more obscure performers were chosen. Therefore A Tribute to Joni Mitchell gets two Burn Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 79
Carrie & LowellCarrie & Lowell available on iTunes

Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens has developed a huge fanbase of people who love his orchestral compositions and plaintive lyrics. However Jim and Greg have never counted themselves among those people. With the release of his new album, Carrie & Lowell, he seems to have converted Greg. Mr. Kot was deeply moved by Stevens's frank talk about the death of his mother and compares the album to that of the late great Elliot Smith. He gives the album a Buy It rating. Jim, however, has not changed his mind. He thinks Stevens is boring musically and wishes he wrote short stories and poems rather than releasing albums. He gives Carrie & Lowell an emphatic Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 496
Actor (Bonus Track Version)Actor available on iTunes

St. Vincent Actor

One of Greg's favorite acts at this year's SXSW was St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark. After performing with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, she's released her 2nd solo album Actor. Greg finds this sophomore effort to be a big step up. Clark wrote and produced the material all on her own, and the arrangements blow Greg away. He thinks it's one of the year's best records so far. Jim agrees, noting that while Clark may look like a Disney heroine, her songs are full of dark, subversive images. Actor gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 181
Once AgainGet Lifted available on iTunes

John Legend Get Lifted

The second album up for review this week also charted high on Billboard. John Legend's new album, Once Again, debuted at number three, following My Chemical Romance. Legend received a lot of acclaim, as well as a number of Grammy Awards, for his first release, Get Lifted. So, the pressure was on for this sophomore effort. Both Jim and Greg think Legend is a really wonderful songwriter who brings R&B back to its heyday. And both critics find tracks like "Show Me" (which had surprising inspirations in Jeff Buckley and Sufjan Stevens) to be standouts. But neither felt that Legend was really doing anything new. Therefore Jim only recommends listeners Burn It. Greg agrees that Once Again gives listeners much of the same, but he thinks the same is pretty good. He gives it a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 49
dijs

Jim

“Raymond Chandler Evening”Robyn Hitchcock

Although Jim is no fan of his new record, Sufjan Stevens got Jim thinking about rock music that has a literary vibe. Taken from his 1986 album Element of Light, "Raymond Chandler Evening" by Robyn Hitchcock is an excellent example of a novel in song form. Not only is the title a reference to the great American crime writer Raymond Chandler, but the general mood of the song also evokes the mysterious atmosphere of noir fiction. Some Hitchcock fans who were expecting more of his trademark surrealism might have been surprised by the lack of humor in the song, but Jim thinks it ranks right alongside the best of Dylan.“Raymond Chandler Evening”is his pick this week for the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 496
lists

The Best Albums of 2015

Go to episode 524
news

Music News

The week's first news story concerns two different markers of achievement in the music industry: The Grammy Awards and the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll. Everyone, of course, knows about The Grammys—the annual awards given by the Recording Academy—but Jim and Greg argue that a better indicator of who deserved praise this year is the Pazz & Jop poll, which was taken by almost 800 music critics. There aren't many crossovers on the list of Village Voice winners and Grammy nominees, except for the critical and popular favorite Kanye West. The other musicians who finish out the top five—M.I.A., Sufjan Stevens, Sleater-Kinney and Fiona Apple—definitely don't appear on the Grammy ballot for "Album of the Year." The artists honored in that category include Mariah Carey, U2, Gwen Stefani and Paul McCartney.

Go to episode 10