If Thrice took their style from Artist In The Ambulance and polished the edges a bit to make a new album without any lyrics, that’s a little bit of what this would sound like. If a heavier act like As I Lay Dying or Underoath took one of their soothing instrumental interludes and stretched it over twenty minutes, that’s a little bit of what this would sound like. If Explosions In The Sky took their infectious delayed guitar riffs and used them as “verses” to mix in with some more dissonant “choruses,” that’s a little bit of what this would sound like. OK, so maybe those comparisons are all pretty lame, but the point is this EP is an instrumental act that advances with the interesting song structures you expect from lyrical music. You know all those times when you wanted a background sound with all the interesting, exciting energy of your favorite bands but without the distraction of all the words? This is what you’ve been waiting for.
STREAM THE WHOLE ALBUM: thispatchofsky.bandcamp.com
What a brilliant concept! Get a cornucopia of indie musicians to pay tribute to a classic album (Seven Swans) from one of the most classic indie musicians (Sufjan Stevens) of… all-time? (Get ready for parentheses!) Some of the remakes are more layered than the originals (although Joshua James’s “To Be Alone With You” is charmingly reserved, trading the guitar for a piano and a dash of cello). But it’s a real treat to hear Sufjan’s influences expressed through the nuances of the indie world, from the simple picking of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy to the percussion party of The Gregory Brothers (yes, the AutotuneTheNews guys) to the reverbed instrumentation of Derek Webb to the reckless vocals of Half-Handed Cloud. (Personally I think there’s a gorgeous amount of piano on these covers.) After a lovely journey of somewhat-known and mostly-unknown musicians (I haven’t even mentioned some of the most delightful surprises), the subtle yet distinct voice of David Crowder welcomes us to “The Transfiguration” (is that a harp?), brilliantly transforming through a horn arrangement and a cascade of electronic loops (the violin from A Collision – which also featured a Sufjan cover – also makes an appearance). If I still haven’t convinced you to buy one of the most exciting releases of the year (15 tracks for $10!), the proceeds are going to breast cancer research.
Standout Lyric: I can see a lot of life in you
In Case It Interests You: Many of the artists involved in this project are known as Christians.
STREAM THE WHOLE ALBUM: onjoyfulwings.bandcamp.com
If You Only Have 5 Minutes: “The Transfiguration” by David Crowder Band