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Thursday, April 13, 2006 09:50 am

Vinyl Static

Sufjan Stevens is back with more Illinoise — and this time Springfield doesn't get the shaft

CD EXCHANGE: You weren’t the only disgruntled Springfield inhabitant who tore the shrink wrap off Illinois, Sufjan Stevens’ ode to the Land of Lincoln, only to find that the sole track representing the capital city is a measly 47-second interlude titled “A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane for Very Good Reasons.” Not our finest hour. But the spiritual scribe has returned to make things right with the release of The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album, 21 tracks that didn’t make the cut the first time around. Just because these tracks were discarded doesn’t mean they’re no good: Illinois was originally conceived as a double disk. Our fair city makes an appearance on “Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair” — four minutes of sweet validation. The Avalanche hits the street on July 25. Releases of note this week come from indie-rock forefathers Built to Spill (You in Reverse, April 11) and dark electro-pop cuties Pretty Girls Make GravesElan Vital (April 11).
SHOWS A-GO-GO: Comeback kids Low make a quick stop in central Illinois, at the Krannert Center in Urbana, on April 13 before embarking on a tour that will take them throughout Europe and Australia. The typically intense down-tempo trio’s 2005 release The Great Destroyer signaled an upswing in their low-key sound. The Sub Pop album’s standout single “California” seems as sunny as the state itself in a delightful, voluntary way. Live, the trio mesmerizes.
CRUEL SUMMER: Despite Illinois’ sticky July heat, summer music festivals are plentiful this year. The indie webzine music fans love to hate,, hosts a gaggle of hot under-the-radar groups, including Band of Horses, Tapes ’n Tapes and Art Brut, along with established treats Silver Jews, Yo La Tengo, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, at the Pitchfork Music Festival, July 29 and 30 at Union Park in Chicago. A third stage will host jazz, experimental, and hip-hop acts, such as Aesop Rock and Diplo. The tickets are cheap ($30 for a two-day pass), and the show boasts a whopping lineup, 38 bands strong.
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