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Music, All Shook Down Six Notable Acts From Outside Lands 2016

Six Notable Acts From Outside Lands 2016

This year's Outside Lands was about as memorable and successful as one could ask for. In between the fancy, albeit ridiculous food stands — think ramen burgers and donut burgers — there were standout performances from Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem,…
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Music, All Shook Down Sufjan Stevens Plays The Fox, Shares Bacteria with a Stranger

Sufjan Stevens Plays The Fox, Shares Bacteria with a Stranger

Sufjan Stevens Helado Negro June 5, 2015 The Fox, Oakland Better Than: Seeing a gas station across from the Fox offering $2.78/gallon for gas and getting pretty excited until get closer and realize part of the neon on the number…
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Music, All Shook Down Happy Holidays! Here Are the Least Awful Christmas Songs of 2012!

Happy Holidays! Here Are the Least Awful Christmas Songs of 2012!

It's a well-known fact that the worst time of year for music is Christmas. Christmas songs, by and large, stink to high heaven. They reek of sleigh bells and Santa references and tree dressing and mistletoe. They are overly sentimental…
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Calendar, Night&Day The Slav Trade

The Slav Trade

Many of us are cultural orphans, ethnic mutts at least a generation removed from the music that coursed through our ancestors' veins. We've stood in the shadows at nightclubs, arms crossed, heads nodding meekly, waiting for the sound that would…
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Music, The most egregious holiday money grabs in music history

The most egregious holiday money grabs in music history

Indie-rocker Sufjan Stevens is akin to the bell-ringing charity man you sidestep while entering the neighborhood drugstore: holiday perennial, purveyor of a sound that's an exercise in patience, and effervescent with so much Christmas cheer you want to poke him…
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Music, Reviewed Okkervil River

Okkervil River

Forget Andrew Bird and Sufjan Stevens — Okkervil River's Will Sheff is one of the indie underground's strongest songwriters. Although he's toiled under the radar for years, with 2005's critical darling Black Sheep Boy (and its subsequent appendix), Sheff broke…
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Music, All Shook Down Polyphonic Spree/ Sufjan Stevens Homie, St.Vincent  Debuts: New CD Review

Polyphonic Spree/ Sufjan Stevens Homie, St.Vincent Debuts: New CD Review

St. Vincent Marry Me Beggars Banquet Out 7-10-07 In town 8-3-07 at Café Du Nord “ … If listening to Megadeth and Bikini Kill as a pubescent girl left any lasting impression on her, it is not evident on…
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Music, Reviewed Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Why isn't anyone bringing up the Violent Femmes? It's because the Violent Femmes aren't cool. The Talking Heads are cool, which is why anyone who wants to knight a new band Artful and Cool reaches for the Talking Heads mantle.…
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Music, Hear This Sufjan Stevens and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble sing for the states

Sufjan Stevens and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble sing for the states

Aside from Elvis Costello, there are few performers as all-inclusive as Bill Frisell. A jazz musician and electric guitarist, at 55 Frisell has earnestly embraced a greater array of musical contexts than most artists would in two lifetimes. He's engaged…
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Music, Reviewed Various Artists

Various Artists

Traditionalist, experimentalist, American primitivist, and overall legend John Fahey influenced a wide swath of musicians, and not just acoustic guitarists. But here he's remembered by a rabble of Americana all-stars, and their contributions follow the usual disjointed pattern of a…
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Music, Reviewed Ester Drang

Ester Drang

Multi-instrumentalists James McAlister and Jeff Shoop, who constitute two-thirds of Ester Drang, spent much of the past year and a half recording Illinois with Sufjan Stevens, backing the lauded troubadour in concert, and no doubt lobbying Young Soofy to make…
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Music, Reviewed Castanets

Castanets

Anyone looking for something akin to Asthmatic Kitty founder Sufjan Stevens' full-blown orchestra pop will be sorely disappointed by Castanets' sophomore effort. Instead, Raymond Raposa plays "derailed psychedelic country," a spooky, dark-night-of-the-soul kind of Americana that's full of desultorily plucked…
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Music, Art of the States

Art of the States

I want Sufjan Stevens to heal our fractured nation. And when his latest record, Illinois, starts up, I'm convinced he can do it. His ensemble parades like a marching band, walloping the drums with gusto while the brass and woodwinds…
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Music, Reviewed Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

While far more stripped down than the multitimbre grandeur of Sufjan Stevens' last full-length, Greetings From Michigan, Seven Swans is just as ambitious. Stevens starts his indie-folk compositions with a sparse banjo or acoustic guitar and whispered fictions about dragons…
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