Weekend Listening: Sufjan Stevens, The Raveonettes, M83

JODY MACGREGOR picks out the best bits of music this week-from Sufjan Stevens’ shambolic Christmas carol to M83’s defiance of physics.

A touch of Frost

It’s the time of year when Halloween costumes are on sale, but some of the eager shops have already started selling Christmas decorations as well and there is a weird clash going on between fake blood and fake snow on the shelves. That is what ‘Mr. Frosty Man’ is like, halfway between two holidays, festive but creepy at the same time. It’s from Sufjan StevensSilver & Gold: Songs For Christmas, which is coming out in November.

We only come out at night

‘Curse the Night’ is a moody and dramatic single from The Raveonettes’ last album, Observator. Curl up on your bed with your headphones on and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist, it’s that kind of song. The video has a gang of kids gathering in the streets for something mysterious, but if you think this is going to head into Sigur Rí³s territory, you’re wrong.

‘Clint Eastwood’ was taken

Their last album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming has been out for a year but M83 have finally picked the winner of a competition to shoot the video for single ‘Steve McQueen’ and here it is. It’s one of those songs that soars higher and higher and when you think it can’t possibly synth its way any further it blows out the ceiling and gets even higher, a meteoric rise that can’t be beat. Although if you think about it meteors fall instead of rising, what is that about?

To steal away your hearts

It’s been fascinating listening to Tara Simmons go from indie pop to straight down the line pop pop. ‘Weekend of Hearts’, from her recent album It’s Not Like We’re Trying To Move Mountains, is a perfect example, a synth-heavy build-up you could imagine Robyn singing. The first minute’s all right, the next two minutes are quite good, and the final minute’s amazing.

Batter days

Tempura Nights are a mystery. They have some overlap with indie pop band Go Violets apparently, and that is all that’s known about them. They have this one song on their Bandcamp page that sounds as distant as the 1960s and was probably recorded in a time-travelling garage. Nobody knows. Unless you Google them, but where’s the fun in that?

Straight outta John Singleton

Californian MC Busdriver raps with the speed of an auctioneer, and sometimes only a little more clarity than one but it’s worth puzzling out what he says. In ‘Werner Herzog’ he and his pals Nocando and Open Mike Eagle find a way to make four minutes of rapping about how amazing you are over a banging beat sound fresh again by comparing themselves to the kind of film directors media studies students love. It’s from Busdriver’s free downloadable EP ‘Arguments With Dreams’.