Quick Review (LP): Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens
Age of Adz
Asthmatic Kitty; 2010

My Rating: B

Best Tracks: “Too Much”, “I Walked”, “Impossible Soul”

Not so sure about this. All Delighted People was great, but Sufjan’s best quality, his tunefulness, is downplayed here. The “Adz” fella has an interesting backstory, a very eccentric artist and all, but for all of Sufjan’s love of obscure and obtuse hyper-weirdness, it’s always his ability to take that which is obscure and distill into emotional and musical greatness that keeps the kids coming back for more. That being said, I’m not ruling this one out. If KID A can grow on me and become one of my all time favorites, then I suspect that Age of Adz can too. Still, in some ways, this seems more like something Sufjan needed to get out of his system than something he should have unleashed upon the world. “Impossible Soul” is something to behold, but as far as epic goes, Sufjan has done far better in the past (“All Delighted People”, “Djohariah”, “Detroit”, “You Are The Blood”). I’m hoping Sufjan has more up his sleeve in the near future, and I’m hoping it sounds a little more like the All Delighted People EP.

Pitchfork review
Paste review
Metacritic reviews

Quick Review (EP): All Delighted People by Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens
All Delighted People EP
Asthmatic Kitty; 2010

My Rating: A

Best Tracks: “All Delighted People”, “Djohariah”, “Heirloom”, “From the Mouth of Gabriel”

“My EP’s are longer than your double LP’s.” Just who does this Sufjan character think he is? Following on the heels of one of the most productive “non-productive” runs in rock and roll history, the man who made the best record of the last decade makes a grand return, opening this hour-long affair with one of the best tracks of the year. The title track sounds just fine coming out of speakers, but it should be listened to with big Leia-style headphones at an appropriately high volume for maximum effect. “You Are The Blood”, his offering on last year’s Dark Night of the Soul compilation, showed we should expect something different yet epic and great in the future. Here we have it, with more where that came from. Yeah, I could have done without the alternate version of “All Delighted People” and the track that follows it, but those are minor complaints and there really ain’t a stinker to be found. I can only think of a few other artists that make such consistently inspired and transcendent music, and most of those names are so iconic that it would be silly to list them here. If All Delighted People is any indication, Sufjan is going to own this decade like he owned the last.

Listen to it and buy it here
Pitchfork Review
Metacritic Review

Worth Shouting About: SUFJAN, SUFJAN, SUFJAN!

via Asthmatic KittyFirst we get a new “EP” (All Delighted People, with an emphasis on the “extended”), now we get news of a new LP (The Age of Adz, so much for the 50 states project???), and a sample track from the album. Give it a listen below:

The Asthmatic Kitty website has this to say about the album:

“It’s much too soon to cast descriptive lots, but we can say the new album sounds nothing like the All Delighted EP (although it shares similar themes of love, loss, and the apocalypse). Nor is this new album built around any conceptual underpinning (no odes to states, astrology, or urban expressways).

We can say it shows an extensive use of electronics (banjos and acoustic guitars give way to drum machines and analog synthesizers), and an obsession with cosmic fantasies (space, heaven, aliens, love), to create an explicit pop-song extravaganza, augmented by heavy orchestration, and maybe even a few danceable moments. Enjoy Your Rabbitmeets the BQE. But with songs. Verse, chorus, bridge, backbeat. Gated reverb. Space echo. Get your boogey on.”

Gotta admit, I’m still holding out for My Olde Kentucky Home: Colonel Sanders’ Mutant Fried Chicken Extravaganza, if for no other reason than to hear some cosmic, hardcore bluegrass from Dr. Stevens’ lab.

For a guy who has supposedly been “all quiet” for a few years, Sufjan in reality has remained surprisingly prolific. This will be his fourth major release in two years (BQE, Rabbit, All Delighted, and Age of Adz). Dude is anything but lazy!