Arcade Fire Wins Grammy…

Yes, Arcade Fire, a band on an independent label (Merge) won the award for Album of the Year (The Suburbs) at last night’s Grammy Award Ceremony. My thoughts? People on both sides of the fence are making a much bigger deal out of this. Maybe it’s just my perspective as a fan of mostly underground music, to one degree or another, but I don’t see Arcade Fire as being an “unknown” band by any means. So, I find it hilarious the way people are complaining about this obscure band winning Album of the Year instead of their ultra mainstream favorites, i.e. Eminem or Lady Gaga. What is the implication? That music somehow needs to reach a certain level of popularity to warrant acclaim or be valued as fine art and/or entertainment. If that’s your point of view, fine, to each his own. But, for me that’s insane! And to the folks that see Arcade’s win as some sort of “victory,” I have to disagree. I guess it’s cool in a way to see one of my favorite bands and a high quality one at that appear in a mainstream setting on such a grand scale. With that being said, I doubt, especially in this modern age of the internet where exposure to “random” bands is infinitely at one’s hands, a kid or two out there will see Arcade on their TV set and think “wow, what a cool band I’m going to start listening to them now and broaden my musical tastes.” Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong and that has or will occur. But, what is more realistic is AF fan boys and girls getting excited that one of their indie faves won an award at the Grammys and vice versa a bunch of mainstreamers infuriated, perhaps shocked tha their commerical faves did not win… and the majority not giving a flying fuck either way. In short, this changes nothing about how I view Arcade Fire or music as a whole and frankly I don’t think it should for anyone else, but obviously that’s not for me to decide. What do you guys think? Here is a site displaying the obnoxious, yet hilarious! comments of the mainstream, AF haters-

P.S. a special thanks to the Grammys for remembering the life and work of the late, great Jay Reatard…….

Wait…This Concert Happened?

A long time ago I started a little feature along these lines…historical concerts that actually happened. Well, of course, every band has to start somewhere and most do indeed start at or near the bottom of the totem pole. No exception was made even for Nirvana when they played TT the Bears Place to a mere seven people and no exception for this show: a sold out November 12, 2004 night: Arcade Fire at TTs. At that time, the band was a young one — having just released their debut LP Funeral two months prior. Funeral became an instant (and lasting) classic. The fact that this show took place at TT’s and not somewhere like the Paradise is a testament to the changed landscape of the national underground music scene. We’ve all heard it a bunch of times, how blogs and social media outlets have altered our engagement with musicians and the like. Simply said, had Arcade Fire emerged with Funeral in 2010 not 2004, they’d be playing bigger venues immediately nationwide.

(Photo: Bradley’s Almanac)

Read about this show here:

CD Review: The Suburbs [2010]

Band: Arcade Fire
Release: 8/2010
Label: Merge

1. “The Suburbs” – (A) This tune is really likable. It does suffer from length issues, but this is Arcade Fire we’re talking about.

2. “Ready to Start” – (B) – The instrumentation is really great, but the vocals weaken it for a while. It does get a little bit better, but the whole Interpol/Peter Bjorn and John dark thing makes this random.

3. “Modern Man” – (A)This has an old feel to it. It’s really good! The bass is awesome!

4. “Rococo” – (B+)This doesn’t stand out, but is humorously okay.

5. “Empty Room” – (B-) Sounds like Sonic Youth meets ABBA.

6. “City With No Children” – (B+)Private prisons aren’t cool.

7. “Half Light I” – (B+)Sort of epic.

8. “Half Light II” – (A)A bit more than sort of epic. Reminds me of Girls.

9. “Suburban War” – (B+)

10. “Month of May” – (A)I like the drumming.

11. “Wasted Hours” – (B+)Kind of slow, kind of so-so. Interesting, though.

12. “Deep Blue” – (B)

13. “We Used to Wait” – (B-)A bit like Spoon.

14. “Sprawl (Flatland)” – (C+) Probably the worst thing on here.

15. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” – (B+)A strange dancey number.

16. “The Suburbs (Continued)” – (B)Okay, we get it.

Final Comments: This will probably end up being one of the more disappointing records of the year for me. It’s pretty forgettable save a few numbers. A good five or six songs could have been cut out, but I must say the band’s foray into a bunch of different styles is refreshing as a listener. If they cut it short after “Month of May,” I’m not so sure the album would be any better, but it’d save us from a few less than stellar tunes.

Grade: B+ (87)

Classic CD Review: Funeral

Band: Arcade Fire
Release: 2004
Label: Merge

1. “Neighborhood  #1 (Tunnels)” – A+
2. “Neighborhood #2 (Laika) – A+
3. “Une Annee Sans Lumiere” – A-
4. “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” – A-
5. “Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)” – A
6. “Crown of Love” – A+
7. “Wake Up” – A+
8. “Haiti” – A++
9. “Rebellion (Lies)” – A++
10. “In the Backseat” – A

Comments: As the good man Matt alluded to a few posts back , this is truly a beautiful record. It does have tear-jerking attributes as well as uplifting pump-your-fists kind of moments. There isn’t much to critique, though I’d opine that some tracks definitely have more of an epic factor than others. Take “Crown of Love,” for instance. I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad. It’s like one of those feelings you get when you feel like you are going to pull through, yet you still feel a shitload of remorse. I guess that’s the best quality of this album: you can connect with it in a plethora of ways. I’m not good at interpreting songs from a lyrical point of view (at least the first time around), so I can’t comment too much on what’s actually going on during these ditties. It’s something amazing, though. Don’t know about your thoughts, but the transition from “Crown” to “Wake Up” is fucking incredible. You know the little old school jitter-and-jive on “Wake Up” gets me every time. It’s so random, yet so fitting. I’m going to wager “Haiti” to be my favorite song on here. It’s just about perfect. Not quite there, but just about. Ask your average AF fan, and they’ll probably say “Rebellion” is their flava-fave and it’s damn great, don’t get me wrong. In fact, it’s probably the most epic song of all time. Or something like that.

Final Grade: A (96)