- The Village Voice snarks on the NYC Book Eaters show, drawing an unfavorable comparison between the sets of John Roderick of the Long Winters and Sufjan Stevens:
So there's John onstage, playing to several more thousand people than he is perhaps accustomed, singing gorgeous grad-school folk ballads in a high, keening voice, but also looking a bit menacing at six-foot-plus, lumbering around like he'd wandered in between bar fights. He noted that he'd bumped into Sufjan and his crowd of prim and proper accompanists backstage—"They seem happy and full of life, and their clothes fit so well." The crowd was clearly unnerved. Was this a compliment? Is this guy gonna beat someone up?It's about time the Stevens backlash began in earnest. "Emotionally distant" is as good a description as any for how most of Stevens' catalogue sounds to these ears, and it's time the press gave more ink to other folks.
He played three songs.
Should've played 30.
Sufjan and his daisy Mafia played five. Should've played . . . well, actually, five's about right. You gotta admire the intricacy and anthemic power of his best tunes—"Chicago" especially. And he doesn't force his backing crew of horns and violins and tambourines to dress like cheerleaders anymore, thank God. But there's still no threat of his beating anyone up. Too bad. His tunes are little dollhouses of orchestral splendor, ingeniously complex but emotionally distant. Model railroad vistas with no actual locomotion. Tea that isn't brewed too strong. His last tune was entitled "That Dress Looks Nice on You." Right.
- Pitchfork gives M Ward's Post War an 8.2, calls it "consistently rewarding".
- Pop Matters goes maybe a little bit overboard in dubbing Lambchop's Damaged "their greatest achievement", rewarding it a 9.
- Dusted Magazine's excellent college chart is back after a month-long hiatus. Dusted's charts are valuable because they survey a select group of stations most dedicated to pumping out great music and less likely to be bought by promo reps; Dusted's lack of any advertising gives extra sheen to their reliability. The first charts of the semester see M Ward at #2, Six Organs of Admittance at #3, and the Mountain Goats at #4. Sady, Dave Pajo's excellent new album is lagging at #40 - c'mon, DJs, give this another listen.