This past weekend, St. Vincent released MassEducation, her radically reworked new version of MASSEDUCTION, the album that she released last year. Where MASSEDUCTION was an experiment in bright, intense day-glo pop music, MassEducation takes all those same songs and transforms them into minimal torch-song ballads. Both versions, it turns out, can … More »
Over the weekend, St. Vincent performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Annie Clark did a stripped-down set for the Rhode Island institution, with Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett accompanying her on piano. During the set, she covered Joni Mitchell’s “Court And Spark,” off the legendary musician’s 1974 album of the same name. More »
The last time we heard from jazz-pop superstar Norah Jones, she was singing a joke song about how ladies don’t poop. She’s in a much more serious mood on her new single “My Heart Is Full,” her first new material since 2016’s Day Breaks, which finds her confronting society’s ills over a swelling, heartbeat-like … More »
Say what you will about the bloated pomp of the Oscars, but if they get Sufjan Stevens to perform with St. Vincent, Moses Sumney, and Chris Thile on a national telecast, then they’re doing something right. There’s some precedent for this kind of indie underdog story at the Oscars, of course, with Elliott Smith’s “Miss … More »
The expanded universe around Sufjan Stevens’ excellent — some might even say seventh best album of 2015 — Carrie & Lowell continues to grow. After translating that album’s intimate melancholy into an electric (in multiple senses of the word) live show with this year’s appropriately titled Carrie & Lowell Live, Stevens has now announced The Greatest Gift.
A companion to the live album and album proper, The Greatest Gift is a mixtape, combining song remixes, alternate song versions, demos, and outtakes (like mixtapes do) into one “Available in Translucent Yellow” package. Remixes come courtesy of Helado Negro (Roberto C. Lange), Doveman (Thomas Bartlett), 900X (James McAlister, with whom Stevens collaborated on this year’s Planetarium), and Sufjan Stevens (Sufjan Stevens).
In addition to announcing The Greatest Gift, Stevens has also shared “Wallowa Lake Monster,” one of four Carrie & Lowell outtakes on the mixtape. Outtake or not, any time we can get a new near-seven minute Sufjan track, it’s worth it. It’s not quite there yet, but maybe one day this song can reside in the pantheon of actual lake monsters, right alongside Nessie from Loch Ness, Champ from Lake Champlain, and Big Blue from season three, episode 22 of The X-Files.
The Greatest Gift is out November 24 via Asthmatic Kitty and can be pre-ordered physically here and digitally here. A portion of the proceeds from the mixtape’s sale will benefit Cancer Support Community, the world’s largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support. Listen to “Wallowa Lake Monster,” and check out the cover, full tracklist, and a few choice fan reactions, all down below.
The Greatest Gift tracklisting:
01. Wallowa Lake Monster
02. Drawn to the Blood — Sufjan Stevens Remix
03. Death with Dignity — Helado Negro Remix
04. John My Beloved — iPhone Demo
05. Drawn to the Blood — Fingerpicking Remix
06. The Greatest Gift
07. Exploding Whale — Doveman Remix
08. All of Me Wants All of You — Helado Negro Remix
09. Fourth of July — 900X Remix
10. The Hidden River of My Life
11. City of Roses
12. Carrie & Lowell — iPhone Demo
I once got busted trying to steal a magazine from my hometown library. The 8/8/91 issue of Rolling Stone apparently had one of those sensors on the last page and it beeped from my backpack on the way out. I was gonna bring it back. I just wanted to take it home to read the … More »