Today, Pitchfork reviewed and released an exclusive new track from Sufjan’s upcoming The Avalanche release, a mix of Illinois outtakes and rarities. Check it out:

[MP3] Sufjan StevensDear Mr. Supercomputer (via Pitchfork)
One of the earliest and most common criticism to come against Illinois was the “it all sounds the same” attack. I don’t necessarily agree with that (I mean…even if it does all sound the same, it’s all still pure genius), but here’s a track that sounds almost nothing like anything on Illinois, yet it still manages to approach brilliance. That’s it…I’m now just about convinced that this man will be the next George Martin (in terms of orchestration).

If you’ve been counting (you know I have), that makes four songs that have been released from The Avalanche. If you’re a little slow, here are the other three:

[MP3] Sufjan StevensAdlai Stevenson
[MP3] Sufjan StevensThe Henney Buggy Band (via Stereogum)
[MP3] Sufjan StevensThe Avalanche

Jesus…four great songs already! I’ve got this weird feeling….that The Avalanche just might top many year end lists (including mine?)… I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Oh! Oh! Oh!

Being the huge Modest Mouse fan that I am, I was (needless to say) really excited to have an email in my inbox at 2 AM, saying that Modest Mouse was going on tour again. I nearly fell out of my chair, if not for excitement then for the alcohol in my bloodstream. Tickets are going to go on sale soon and look for these dates to sell out, since they haven’t toured since the end of last summer plus they’re nearly finished on their newest album.

New tour + New Album = New Songs Played Live!

Sun Aug 6 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl
Tue Aug 8 – Sacramento, CA – Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
Wed Aug 9 – Bend, OR – Les Schwab Amphitheater
Thu Aug 10 – Troutdale, OR – Edgefield

Check out the presale!

In other “Oh! Oh! Oh!” news.. Another favorite band, The Format, have finished recording their latest album (Dog Problems) and are having trouble deciding on which single to release first. Straight from the band:

Um. We were having issues picking the First Single from Album Number Two. There was talk about drawing straws. Then we thought about you, the people who come to see these songs live and listen to them through your speakers. We would LOVE to hear what you think.

They’ve put up some Real Player clips from 5 songs to choose from – some of which have been acoustically recorded and were already posted.

[CLIP] The FormatTime Bomb
[CLIP] The FormatShe Doesn’t Get It
[CLIP] The FormatOceans
[CLIP] The FormatThe Compromise
[CLIP] The FormatPick Me Up

Which song do you think should be the first single? I picked “She Doesn’t Get It”. The album is going to be released on July 11 and the tracklisting is as follows:

I’m Actual
Time Bomb
She Doesn’t Get It
Pick Me Up
Dog Problems
Dead End
The Compromise
Inches and Falling
If Work Permits

Check out more on The Format at their site, and head over to Modest Mouse’s page too.

I wrote about Boston’s The Young Republic back in January, and since then all sorts of blogs have picked up on them as well. Since January, TYR have also released another album, without a doubt their best yet. Modern Plays is one of the most sincere, well-written pieces of music I’ve heard this year…don’t be surprised to find it on my year end list.

If you’re new to TYR, they’re an indie/folk/pop collective of about nine members. If you take pages from Belle & Sebastian, The Good Life, and a lot of what’s bleeding out of Montreal, you’d get a sense of what TYR’s all about. A little folky, a little soft, but envelopingly beautiful and capturing. Here are my favorites from Modern Plays, all highly recommended:

[MP3] The Young RepublicShe Comes And Goes
[MP3] The Young RepublicModern Plays
[MP3] The Young RepublicSmalltown In A World War

Get more from The Young Republic at the Hype Machine.
Get even more TYR here!
Buy Modern Plays directly from the band for $10 here.

In other news…

Does anyone know what happened to My Ex-Best Friend? Both the blog and myspace just vanished! RIAA troubles, maybe? Drop a line in the comments if you know what’s going on!

You know the drill, baby.

[MP3] Ron Burgandy & The Channel 4 News TeamAfternoon Delight
I cannot possibly make any commentary to do any justice, what-so-ever, to this incredible cover.

[MP3] Josh RitterBlame It On The Tetons
Anyone who knows about the last Modest Mouse album, probably is familiar with this song. I was really excited when I got a free copy of the Thin Blue Flame single only to see the B-Side be a Modest Mouse cover! I’m sure Brian Deck had some influence on Ritter’s song selection, but I am really glad he did. Great cover of my favorite band by one of my favorite solo artists.

[MP3] James BluntWhere Is My Mind?
I’m normally not a James Blunt fan. Sure, I liked his voice and songs when I had first heard them but like a good piece of fruit.. It eventually spoiled. However, for 4:36 of great covering abilities I momentarily forgot my dislike for Mr. Blunt. It’s a pretty good cover and his voice does a pretty decent job of emulating the uniqueness of the Pixies.

I just remembered how much I love the Pixies. Excuse me while I go listen to Doolittle a few dozen times. I’m totally serial, guys.


Problem: I need more “p” bands. Solution: Polytechnic, for starters. I grabbed this randomly from a friend who went to one of their lives shows because he said they sounded like CYHSY. The verdict? Yeah, heh, they kinda do, but don’t expect just some wannabe from across the pond, Polytechnic are just as hardcore/grassroots/hypeable/carefree/smug as the bouncy Brooklynites. They just don’t have as much money. Let’s all pitch in to change that last fact, shall we?

Unlike any of the indie cliches from this city, this is music from Manchester via Montreal; Arcade Fire’s sense of drama and scaling heights are a clear reference point here. - Manchester Metro

Arcade Fire and CYHSY?? Ok ok, now you must be bullshitting us. While that reviewer was obviously pining for the wow effect, that doesn’t smudge the fact that the music speaks for itself:

[MP3] PolytechnicPEP (highly recommended)
[MP3] PolytechnicRunning Out Of Ideas

Visit Polytechnic’s Official Site for the usual shiz they put on official sites.