Live From The Vomitorium

Man-sized poultry, punk-rock panties, and the grossest story ever told

 

Off the record: Janek Schaefer cues up the next track for his all-night performance at the Walker
Sean Smuda
Off the record: Janek Schaefer cues up the next track for his all-night performance at the Walker

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans (Sounds Familyre) As a sage in a funny hat once sang, sad songs say so much. Often, they say too much, espousing an überdramatic fatalism that makes you want to strap yourself to a suicide prevention billboard and launch the whole thing into an industrial-size paper shredder. Sufjan Stevens's melancholy minimalism feels too delicate for such rash deeds: Listening to him, you'd probably settle for drowning quietly in a warm bubble bath. Over stark guitar melodies that expand and deflate like the lungs of a deep sleeper, the Michigan balladeer murmurs in his best library voice, whispering of William Blake poems, Flannery O'Connor stories, omens delivered by street signs and vagrant birds. Despite the epic themes, though, Stevens's love songs make no claims to move mountains or walk 500 miles--tasks that lead singers from other bands always hire a record-label intern to carry out. He promises simple things. He'll sell his shoes to be with you, he says. And you believe him.

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