Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy Jr.
Another someone who fell off my radar. Perhaps this was due to Stevens not releasing a follow-up proper to his 2005 album Illinois until 5 years after; in the interim releasing a record of outtakes (The Avalanche) and a mixed medium artistic exploration of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE). You never think you’re one of those fans who the musician / band intends to shed after a critically lauded album, but perhaps in this instance I was. Anyway, I’ve been revisiting the albums Seven Swans and Illinois. This is the devastating ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’ from the latter.
Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
It’s twenty years this year since Spiritualized released their album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. An anniversary I was reminded of by Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour, and a recent Quietus feature, but confusingly marked by the band last year, a decision which Jason Pierce explains in The Quietus interview.
I loved this album when it was first released, listening to it constantly. From Kate Radley introducing the album on this the opening song (a suggestion of a state in which to maybe consider listening to what comes next) to the twenty-minute ‘Cop Shoot Cop’ that finishes it, this is an album that is ambitious, experimental, simple (the last two not incompatible with each other), and one which has become, in the twenty years since its release, one of my favourite albums of all time.
Iron & Wine – Call it Dreaming
After an album (2013’s Ghost on Ghost) and a couple of collaboration albums (Sing Into My Mouth and Love Letter For Fire) which left me nonplussed, I’m looking forward to the release of the new Iron & Wine album Beast Epic, after hearing ‘Call it Dreaming’, the first song taken from it.
The song, for me, encapsulates what Iron & Wine do, which is to create this intersection between a world we recognise and a world summoned up by the words of Sam Beam and the music of the band.