Sufjan Stevens, one of the most versatile and admired singer-songwriters of his generation, according to the Los Angeles Times, has unveiled his final pre-album single, "A Running Start." The single is a part of his highly anticipated new album, Javelin, set to release this Friday, October 6th, on Asthmatic Kitty Records.
"This Friday, Stevens releases his highly anticipated new album, Javelin, and today, presents the final pre-release single, 'A Running Start.' The 10 songs on Javelin 'unusually start out folky, but they rarely stay that way; they expand and billow' (The New York Times)." The single begins with Stevens' kinetic acoustic guitar and evolves into a vast sonic palette by its end. Notably, every sound heard on the song is played by Stevens himself, except for additional vocals from Hannah Cohen, Megan Lui, and Nedelle Torrisi.
The album Javelin is accompanied by a 48-page book of art and essays, all created by Stevens. The book includes "a series of meticulous collages, cut-up catalog fantasies, puff-paint word clouds, and iterative color fields. The 10 short essays offer little glimpses into loves and losses that have shaped him, and, in turn, these songs."
To celebrate the album's release, independent record stores across North America will be hosting free Javelin listening parties today, October 3rd. Participating stores include Repo Records in Philadelphia, Rough Trade NYC in New York, and Criminal Records in Atlanta, among others.
The new single follows a series of widely celebrated releases, including "So You Are Tired," which was praised by The FADER as "bubbling and vibrant," and "Will Anybody Ever Love Me?"—Javelin's second single to be deemed Best New Track by Pitchfork. The latter publication described Stevens' work as dramatizing "a far-reaching feeling of desperation with a sound that's bright and expansive."