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  • Who Wants To Be A Radio Star?

    Abr 27 2007, 19h24

    Public Radio is looking for the next best national host, somebody with "hostiness". (For those who don't know Public Radio, it's the monotonous voices and jazz music you always skip over on the left side of the dial.)

    Could it be you? Could it be me? Enter your best 2-minute audio segment and find out! Or, just surf over and listen to the hundreds of people who think they're all that.

    Oh, what fun!
  • Bored-Again podcast #52: People Get Ready

    Abr 21 2007, 23h45

    People Get Ready because BAC podcast number 52 is out, jam-packed with hot, sexy, boring music from The Brothers Martin, Lost Ocean, Ecstatic Sunshine, The Frames, Casados, Edison Glass, Anberlin, My Morning Jacket, Rafter, Guided by Voices, Rue Royale, Ryan Alexander, Sleeping at Last, the northern coast, and The Series.

    Subscribe in iTunes now!

    SHOW REVIEWS:

    "There's always something there to remind me."
    —Thompson Twins

    "We will continue to move forward with this."
    —George W. Bush

    "Are you finally done recording that thing? Could you go mow the lawn now?"
    —NASA Janet

    Find out what everyone is talking about:
    http://www.BoredAgainChristian.com
  • C'mon, Feel the Illinoise!

    Abr 3 2007, 12h37

    Reposting of http://users.livejournal.com/_citizen_insane/9375.html - courtesy of Citizen Insane:

    Come On Feel The Illinoise!
    As previously stated, I recently saw Sufjan Stevens at Calvin College this past Friday. I took the time to write up a review. It was an awesome show.

    Live: Sufjan Stevens
    Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI; 30 March 2007

    On Friday, indie sensation Sufjan Stevens pulled double duty playing a 6:30 show for participants of Calvin College’s Festival of Faith & Music and another at 9:30 for the public. Fans began lining up for the late-night Sufjan show three hours before doors even opened. The fans that were lucky enough to be first in line were treated to echoes of the Sufjan concert already going on inside Calvin’s Fine Arts Center, a venue that barely held 1,200.

    Once the audience was herded into the auditorium, Sufjan teased his fans by coming out onto the stage and tuning his banjo and guitar. Anticipation grew as audience members spoke aloud: “I hope he plays ‘Decatur,’ or “I wonder what outfits they’ll be wearing.” Then, as if rain hit a barren desert, Sufjan and his band of nine musicians took the stage at 10 o’clock, armed with instruments, butterfly wings, and feathered masks.

    Upon the band’s entrance, Sufjan was greeted with delightful applause. However the audience did not burst out into thunderous yells, but rather maintained a sense of civility as they sat still in the auditorium’s seats. Sufjan and his band opened with an epic-sounding “Majesty, Snowbird.” The song was without error; its sheer volume overpowered the senses of each person in the crowd and although the venue was small, neither Sufjan nor band held back. The beauty of the song was deliberately broken down at its ending, as Sufjan and his band let out booming sonic chaos: Sufjan kicked out his chair and began pounding the keys of his grand piano, his brass section let loose a fever of notes, and his guitar players entered their instruments into a feedback frenzy.

    After the noise died down, Sufjan took the microphone, introduced himself and his band, and then claimed that his next song was dedicated to an American legend: the Chevy Avalanche. Sufjan’s performance of “The Avalanche” was upbeat and boisterous, seeming to signal Sufjan’s comfort with his audience and his native state of Michigan. After a clear-cut “Superman/Super Computer Medley” where inflatable Supermen were distributed and flew around the auditorium, Sufjan began his first lone performance of the night: “Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois.” The song was both sobering and beautiful as Sufjan’s voice and piano sounded as if he were alone with each member of the audience. Instead of his band entering at the end the Illinois opener, Sufjan finished the song on his own. Upon its completion, his band erupted into “[track='The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them' artist=Sufjan Stevens]The Black Hawk War…[/track],” an effort that strayed very little from its source material.

    Sufjan then played “[track='Oh Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)' artist=Sufjan Stevens]Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head![/track]” after dedicating it to his grandmother. Although Sufjan complicated the song by changing its arrangements, the results were flat. The brass section was unfortunately unable to fill their space effectively and each band members’ additional vocals were overpowered by their instruments. In a concert of mostly hits, “Detroit” was a definite miss.

    Periodically, Sufjan would begin each song with a short story or verbal introduction. He began “[track='The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!' artist=Sufjan Stevens]The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us![/track]” with a recall of everything he was afraid of as a child; the list included adults and bottle caps. It was in these moments, dressed in giant bird wings, that Sufjan capitalized on the small size of his venue. He was able to interact with the crowd, responding playfully to their shouted sentences, poking fun at his temporarily-broken wings, and telling stories meant to spark laughter.

    It was as if Sufjan ping-ponged back and fourth from being emotionally heavy (as in his solo performance of “[track='John Wayne Gacy, Jr.' artist=Sufjan Stevens]John Wayne Gacy, Jr.[/track]”) to vibrantly playful (as in “The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders,” where the crowd clapped along with the music). He verbalized his concern for sounding too overbearing and would compensate by cracking a joke and playing a fun, upbeat song. Although Sufjan was successful in his transitions from heavy to soft, his lighthearted performances seemed to suffer and did not connect with audiences as much his more fervent material.

    Following “The Tallest Man,” Sufjan embarked on his most powerful performance of the night: “[track='Seven Swans' artist=Sufjan Stevens]Sevens Swans[/track].” He began by telling a light hearted story from his past (his father compiling his family’s garbage and the back yard and setting it on fire), but even this story turned passionate as Sufjan recalled seeing seven swans of black smoke form in the clouds above. The song was certainly the most ambitious and impressive of the night. It sounded much darker than the studio recording (due, no doubt, to the additions of his brass section) and by its end, became beautiful dissonance as horns roared, guitars reverberated, and piano crashed.

    Sufjan continued his sway of serious/happy by following with “Jacksonville” and then closing with “Chicago.” Both performances were straightforward, up-tempo renditions, but came off as tired, barring Sufjan’s choice of decorative sunglasses during his performance of “ "Jacksonville.”

    Hopes for an encore were high. Applause never ceased as Sufjan thanked his audience and left the stage. Within minutes, Sufjan retook stage and began to play a solemn, but traditional “[track='The Dress Looks Nice On You' artist=Sufjan Stevens]The Dress Looks Nice On You.[/track]” By its end, the rest of his band had reentered and was accompanying him, although this barely added a new dimension to the Seven Swans song. “Casimir Pulaski Day” followed and was significantly less somber. Although the song was made more heartfelt by Sufjan’s meek vocals, its ending was made more optimistic by the upbeat additions of his band. The happy ending suited Sufjan’s performance well; after all, he was afraid of sounding too dreary.
  • Faith and Music Festestacular

    Abr 1 2007, 5h07

    Fri 30 Mar – Festival of Faith and Music

    I'm at the Festival of Faith and Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's a festival that explores the intersection of faith and culture, yada yada yada. I guess the catch is that they ACTUALLY do a good job of it, especially doing it honestly.

    Yesterday, I heard lectures from Lauren Winner (writer and professor), The Psalters (Exodus-era musicians), and some guy who wrote his senior thesis on Relevant magazine (and how they use pseudo-subversive facade to sell conservative, evangelical ideas).

    The day was topped off by an outstanding concert from Anathallo and Sufjan Stevens. The latter performed for 2 hours with elaborately kitschy outfits and stage decoration, as well as an ostentatious, immersive film experience. The concert was filmed and, perhaps as a result, was robust in instrumentation and energy. And piano-pounding. His performance was a sprinkling of all his albums, including Seven Swans (Seven Swans), To Be Alone With You (Michigan), Chicago, Jacksonville, John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (Illinois), Majestic Snowbird (NPR), and That Was the Worst The Worst Christmas Ever (Sufjan Christmas album).

    Anathallo had a decidedly shorter show, clocking in at approximately 30 minutes. They played A Great Wind, More Ash and a couple others from Floating World and a new song from an upcoming album they're recording in Chicago. A title evades me at the moment.

    INDIE CELEB SPOTTING: Daniel Smith (Danielson), his wife Elin, and his dad Lenny Smith; John Ringhoffer (Half-Handed Cloud); Andrew Beaujon (author Body Piercing Saved My Life); Josh Jackson (Paste Magazine).

    Today will prove just as interesting, I'm sure, with lectures from Sufjan, Daniel Smith, Neko Case and Liz Janes. Tonight's concert series is Neko Case and Emmylou Harris. More later.
  • DIARY: Festival of Faith and Music: Day 1

    Mar 31 2007, 14h09

    I'm at the Festival of Faith and Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's a festival that explores the intersection of faith and culture, yada yada yada. I guess the catch is that they ACTUALLY do a good job of it, especially doing it honestly.

    Yesterday, I heard lectures from Lauren Winner (writer and professor), The Psalters (Exodus-era musicians), and some guy who wrote his senior thesis on Relevant magazine (and how they use pseudo-subversive facade to sell conservative, evangelical ideas).

    The day was topped off by an outstanding concert from Anathallo and Sufjan Stevens. The latter performed for 2 hours with elaborately kitschy outfits and stage decoration, as well as an ostentatious, immersive film experience. The concert was filmed and, perhaps as a result, was robust in instrumentation and energy. And piano-pounding. His performance was a sprinkling of all his albums, including Seven Swans (Seven Swans), To Be Alone With You (Michigan), Chicago, Jacksonville, John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (Illinois), Majesty, Snowbird (NPR), and That Was the Worst The Worst Christmas Ever (Sufjan Christmas album).

    Anathallo had a decidedly shorter show, clocking in at approximately 30 minutes. They played A Great Wind, More Ash and a couple others from Floating World and a new song from an upcoming album they're recording in Chicago. A title evades me at the moment.

    INDIE CELEB SPOTTING: Daniel Smith (Danielson), his wife Elin, and his dad Lenny Smith; John Ringhoffer (Half-Handed Cloud); Andrew Beaujon (author Body Piercing Saved My Life); Josh Jackson (Paste Magazine).

    Today will prove just as interesting, I'm sure, with lectures from Sufjan, Daniel Smith, Neko Case and Liz Janes. Tonight's concert series is Neko Case and Emmylou Harris. More later.
  • Bored-Again podcast #50: I Will Be There When You Die

    Mar 29 2007, 16h28

  • Check out the new Bored-Again group!

    Mar 27 2007, 16h37

    Fresh from the oven, Bored-Again, a music group for superfans of The Bored-Again Christian and general indie music hooligans. Check out the forum and get the indie skinny!

    http://www.last.fm/group/Bored-Again