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Sufjan Stevens, Of Montreal, Magic Kids offer strong Fall 2010 releases

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Welcome back everyone to yet another issue of “The Music Sounds Better,” The Roundup’s monthly music podcast, but more importantly a new year of music.

Lucky for us, the music fans, we are in for quite an impressive streamline of releases this Fall/Winter 2010.

This month will feature “twee-popsters” Magic Kids, indie veterans Of Montreal and the delightfully entrancing songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

Magic Kids

So to get the needle spinning, Magic Kids, based out of Memphis, are relatively new only being around for about a year now.

Their track “Hey Boy” surfaced on the Internet in mid-2009 gaining plenty of attention throughout blogs and music websites.

In August 2010, Magic Kids released their first full-length via True Panther Records appropriately dubbed “Memphis.”

It’s innocent and sappy dynamics does well for an incredibly enjoyable half an hour of quintessential indie pop reminiscent of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

But while a variety of critics are calling it too parasitic of the 60s, I think it’s one of the best musically original releases I’ve heard in months.

The center-piece has to be the next to last track “Little Red Radio.”

It offers a multitude of infectious melodies of wordless choruses, a brilliant use of synthesizers that do well as a melodic and rhythmic instrument and a mid-tempo beat perfect for dancing to.

Of Montreal

Back in 2008, Of Montreal released their eighth album “Skeletal Lamping,” but have quickly returned with the follow up “False Priest” released in September 2010.

This band, and pretty exclusively its leader Kevin Barnes, has been writing some of the best pop music of the past decade.

Their consistency has established them as some of indie music’s finest.

“Croquet Croquet,” the first single from “False Priest,” is considerably heavier that anything the band has done in the past, but maintains a strong identity as a product Of Montreal.

Sufjan Steven

To finish things off, Sufjan Stevens is back!

He surprised the independent music world by dropping an out-of-nowhere EP entitled “All Delighted People.”

Furthermore, a couple weeks later, he announced his first full-length LP since the glorious 2005 release “Illinois,” considered one of the best albums of the 2000s by Pitchfork Media.

Stevens staggering talent really caught my attention when I first heard his contribution to the “Dark Was the Night” compilation called “You are the Blood,” a genius rearrangement.

I realized he was unlike many other singer-songwriters.

He is a composer, radiating incredible talent all across the music board, something many musicians aren’t necessarily capable of.

But getting back to his more recent work, “From the Mouth of Gabriel” off his “All Delighted People” EP offers a beautiful combination of his more traditional folk-esq identity, while incorporating updated use of electronics.

Its religious undertones are no surprise as Stevens often has used related themes throughout his career in songwriting, but the lyrics are compelling and intricate—at this point expected.

That’s it for this issue of the “The Music Sounds Better.”

If you’d like to see something reviewed, e-mail us at roundup@brophyprep.org.

Keep up the listening.