Apparently, 2006 is the year that Sufjan Stevens has decided to clean out his closet, thin out his backlog, and release of all of the old songs that’ve been floating around his discography for years. Which, of course, means plenty of wonderful music for you and me.
Earlier this year, he released The Avalanche, a collection of b-sides and outtakes from the sessions from whence came last year’s wonderful Illinois album. And now, just in time for the holidays, he’ll finally be releasing all of his Christmas EPs.
Since 2001, Sufjan and his friends have recorded a Christmas-themed EP almost every December, putting unique spins on traditional classics while also contributing a few original numbers to the holiday canon. However, the EPs were never released to the masses, at least not officially. Originally intended for friends and family members, and then only available at a handful of concerts, the EPs eventually made their way to various file-sharing sites, MP3 blogs, etc. (natch).
However, an official release is finally planned, and believe me, this Christmas box set goes far beyond whatever morsels could be gleaned from mere downloads. Finally, after numerous rumored release dates, Christmas will come early — November 21, to be exact — with these goodies in tow:
- Five individually packaged CD EPs!
- Five Christmas stickers!
- Extensive liner notes and short stories by Sufjan Stevens!
- An original Christmas essay by Rick Moody!
- An animated music video and comic strip by Tom Eaton!
- A Christmas Songbook with lyric sheets and chord charts — so you can sing along too!
- An original Christmas Family Portrait painting of Santa Sufjan (with wife and kids!) by Jacques Bredy!
And it looks like that’s just a partial list!
Now, I’m sure some of you Scrooge types out there might be thinking that this is an obvious case of flooding the market. However, I have a couple of the EPs thanks to a friend of mine, and I can attest that they’re far from toss-off projects. In fact, the Christmas EPs contain some of my fave Sufjan songs to date, such as “The Friendly Beasts” and his renditions of carols such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “We Three Kings.” It’s exciting that the masses will finally have a chance to hear these little gems.
Props to Aaron for the 411.