Watch Sufjan’s dance rehearsal

Lady Gaga. Justin Biber. Black Swan. Sufjan Stevens.

Vulture stopped by Sufjan Stevens’ dance studio to chat with him about his upcoming Prospect Park shows, dancing and being influenced by huge stage shows. (Think: What Would Beyoncé Do?)  The theatrical implements in his shows in the past have always been impressive and super fun, but after watching this video, I am so excited to see this show next week.

The Most Blogged About Shows Of The Week

Twin Sister

Twin Sister (via Paste)

The trifecta of Flaming Lips, Weezer and Yeasayer at Jones Beach handily leads our list of the most blogged-about shows this week. Toss in Sufjan Stevens, Lykke Li and Death Cab for Cutie and you’ve got seven days dominated by indie rock. Tickets for these shows may be $30+, but it’s hard not to enjoy a little late-nineties/early-aughts nostalgia.

Beyond the old faves, we hope you’re checking out some of the great free shows this weekend: Fucked Up, Cro-Mags, Screaming Females and Pissed Jeans is one of the best lineups of the summer — and free entry plus free Heineken at the House of Vans will almost guarantee you a great hardcore evening. You also don’t want to miss the Mad Decent Block Party at South Street Seaport. Diplo may not show up, but Gang Gang Dance, Zeds Dead and others will certainly do their best to make up for it.

Still want more options? Check out My Social List’s database of FREE & OUTDOOR concerts.


10. Sufjan Stevens @ Prospect Park Bandshell w/ My Brightest Diamond
Tuesday, August 2nd at 6pm – All Ages, $35 -> tickets

9. Summerscreen @ McCarren Park w/ Twin Sister and Your Youth
Wednesday, July 27th at 6pm – All Ages, FREE!

8. Students from So Percussion’s Summer Institute (SOSI) play the music of Dan Deacon
Monday, August 1st at 7pm – All Ages -> tickets

7. Warm Up @ Glasslands Gallery w/ Prince Language, Das Racist DJ Set, Vockah Redu, Holy Other and XXXY
Saturday, July 30th at 2pm – All Ages, $15 -> tickets at the door

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Craft time with Sufjan Stevens

Last year’s The Age of Adz was inspired by Royal Robertson, an American artist/recluse/prophet (?), who Sufjan apparently became obsessed with. If you’ve been to any of the live shows on the Adz tour, you will recognize a lot of the imagery as being Robertson’s. In his newest video, Stevens painstakingly hand animated some cut-ups of the paintings that inspired him. It’s impressive to think of how long this stop-motion masterpiece actually would’ve taken to animate.

Sufjan Stevens is playing at Prospect Park on August 2 and 3, tickets for the latter are still available.

Sufjan Stevens played Beacon Theater

I can hardly think of anything more joyful than dancing in a downpour of balloons in a beautiful old theater. Similarly, I can hardly think of a more joyful backdrop to this scene than Sufjan Stevens. The night ended with people kicking and tossing multiple-colored balloons into the air, the firework-like sound of several rabble rousers frantically popping them and hundreds of voices collectively repeating “All things go.” It was like the feeling of standing in the middle a casino floor – the euphoric chiming and colors and bright lights and the prospect that something great may be just ahead in your future.

The night was made up of a set of mostly material from the new LP The Age of Adz, Deborah Johnson’s projections of artist Royal Robertson’s drawings, neon body paint and some serious choreographed dancing. I had no idea Suf had these kinda of moves, but it was like some kind if futuristic soulful vogueing as he belted out tunes. The crowd welcomed the band back home to New York City and they seemed equally appreciative of this and gave a show that has been road-tested and perfected.

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Sufjan Stevens, 'The Age Of Adz'

NPR is currently streaming the new Sufjan record in its entirety. You can check it out here.

Don't call it a comeback: New Sufjan Stevens jam

I, for one, am glad Sufjan Stevens is back in the public eye. And to be back in the way he currently is – releasing a ton of stuff in a short period of time that is, for the most part, un-gimmicky – is such a relief. I’m not sure how many more encyclopedic albums about state history or masturbatory opuses about highways I could handle. With the All Delighted People EP, as well as this new song, he is back to just saying to us, “Hey, remember how good I am at writing songs? That’s right: Way better than most people.”

With this electronically crackling new song “Too Much,” Suf allows us deeper into the forthcoming The Age of Adz, and returns to a place where he croons plaintively relatable lyrics. It’s easy to say this electronic wave is a new direction for the guy, but remember the two albums before Michigan (A Sun Came and Enjoy Your Rabbit)? He is now able to combine the chaotic machine sounds on those records with crazy good melodies and emotional weight. Halfway through the track, a marching band horn section erupts amidst the glitches and the composer muscles are flexed in full force to create a cinematic, emotional swell.

The song is available for free at Sufjan’s Bandcamp pageThe Age of Adz is coming out October 12.

Sufjan Stevens: "I Walked"

Last week, Sufjan Stevens surprised us with his All Delighted People EP. Now, he’s starting our weekend off right with a free track from his upcoming record, The Age of Adz. Grab “I Walked” here. Asthmatic Kitty has the 411 about his upcoming record, due out October 12:

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 Rabbit meets the BQE. But with songs. Verse, chorus, bridge, backbeat. Gated reverb. Space echo. Get your boogey on.

The “Adz” of the title loosely refers to the apocalyptic paintings of outsider artist Royal Robertson (1930-1997), whose work is used for the album cover, interior design, and as general inspiration for the tone of the album.

Sufjan Stevens: 'All Delighted People' EP

You can listen to a stream of the 5 song EP below, or buy it for 5 bucks here.

<a href="">All Delighted People (Original Version) by Sufjan Stevens</a>