Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner and James McAlister will perform “Mercury,” taken from their new collaborative album Planetarium, on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” tonight. Also, the video for “Neptune,” the latest from the album, premieres today—watch it here (SEE ABOVE). Stevens, Muhly, Dessner and McAlister are in the midst of a limited run of special dates, accompanied onstage by strings and brass. Following a concert at the Philharmonie de Paris, the band will play July 18 in New York at Celebrate Brooklyn!, July 20 in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and July 21 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA.
PREVIOUSLY: In 2005, when I was all of 15 years old, Sufjan Stevens’ angelic voice drew me into Illinoise’s whispery bedroom ballads about serial killers and cancer-claimed lovers and its swelling orchestral epics about Chicago and UFO sightings. The otherworldly sonics and emotional depths of the music on Illinoise! were matched by the lyrics, which I scribbled all over the covers of my high school notebooks and white canvas Chuck Taylors. When my obsession with Illinoise waned, I moved onto his earlier albums, namely Michigan. Friends told me that he was set on the endearing, but ludicrously ambitious goal of writing an album for all 50 states. Listening to his music while walking around the tired landscapes of home, through the cookie-cutter housing developments bifurcating endless cornfields, my imagination surged with the myriad possible narratives Sufjan might find in the rest of the union. MORE