Released in 2006 as a follow-up to Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 Illinois,
Asthmatic Kitty Records is finally releasing Avalanche on vinyl on
August 31st, 2018. Initially conceived as part of a double album
version of Illinois, Avalanche instead became a “companion” (a
polite word for “b-sides”) to Illinois. Since its release, fans have had
mixed reactions. “3 versions of Chicago?!?! Enough already,” wrote
‘biografiend” on Sputnik. But “cravenmonket,” who gave the album
4.5 stars on rateyourmusic, suggests that we all “stop thinking of
The Avalanche as more Illinois. It actually owes more to Michigan.”
Cravenmonket may be right. Take “The Mistress Witch” or “Saul
Bellow,” both of which could have lived on the 2003 Michigan as
much as on Illinois. One can hear Sufjan’s 2004 Enjoy Your Rabbit
in “The Undivided Self.” And the band jam on “Springfield” looks
forward to 2010’s All Delighted People. Then there’s “Pittsfield,”
which, at least lyrically, foreshadows the more personal themes of
2015’s Carrie & Lowell.
A careful listener may uncover the obvious trend on this record: almost every song on the Illinois album has a counterpart on the outtakes. Carl Sandburg arm-wrestles Saul Bellow. The aliens landing near Highland salute Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto. The loneliness of "Casimir Pulaski Day" deepens even further in the foreboding soundtrack to "Pittsfield." At its best, The Avalanche is an exercise in form, revealing the working habits of one of the most productive songwriters today. As an illustration, the avalanche refers to the snow and rubble that falls off the side of a mountain, or, in this case, the musical debris generously chucked from an abundant epic. It's unlikely you'll find a mountain in the Prairie State so the metaphor will have to do.
All that to say, a vinyl release of Avalanche is long overdue. With
gratitude, we happily present Avalanche as a 2xLP a mere twelve
years after its release, complete with all 21 songs from the original
release, including the three versions of “Chicago” (you’re welcome,
biografiend). THANK YOU!
Limited edition colour version: one LP is 'Hatchback Orange' and the other is 'Avalanche White'.