Archive for July, 2010

Second Impressions Of The Arcade Fire’s ‘Suburbs’

July 29th, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

So, I’ve been listening to The Suburbs a lot. I knew that it would grow on me the way Neon Bible did and it has. I still don’t think it’s quite as good as their last two albums: it’s a little too long, never quite as epic, and “Month Of May” is kind of a waster. But we’ve been over all that.

Still, I’m starting to ‘get’ The Suburbs. You see, it’s an album that has to be taken on its own terms. It’s long, but I think it’s meant to be listened to on vinyl, not straight through on your iPod or whatever. This isn’t the straight rush of the first two albums – this is an album more relaxed, with subtler things on its mind, as opposed to the glorious bombastic beauty – lyrical and musical – of Funeral and Neon Bible.

Those two albums were mad cries in the darkness of the modern world, calling for us all to wake up, to rebel against lies, and to keep the car running (metaphorically speaking, I doubt the Arcade Fire support idling). The Suburbs is more like a diary entry written in your bedroom, with the band lamenting the end of letter writing in “We Used To Wait”, the distance between people living in the “Sprawl (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”, how we can only be ourselves when we’re alone in an “Empty Room”, and how kids chooser collective illusion over reality for fear of alienation in “Ready to Start”.

Once you start listening to the lyrics, the concept of the album becomes illuminated and things start to come together. This is integral to understanding and fully enjoying The Suburbs, the Arcade Fire’s most conceptual album, something made clear by an ending reprise of the opening title track, and song titles that show that two subsequent songs are simply exploring different sides of one idea or issue, e.g. “Half Light I”, “Half Light II (No Celebration)” and “Sprawl (Flatlands)”, “Sprawl (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”.

The Suburbs works, but you have to kind of reconcile yourself to the fact that its a very different album from those that came before it. Once you can, you’ll enjoy it for what it is and you’ll remember why the Arcade Fire are one of the best bands of our generation.

Angel Olsen

July 28th, 2010 | Mp3 Posts | 1 Comment

Yeah, pretty much all the internets is freaking out over this song by Angel Olson. It’s pretty amazing.

Awesome Album Covers

July 28th, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

More like The Search For The Holy Key-tar.

Magic Kids

July 26th, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

There’ll always be bands making music for young romantics, the emotional 14-year-olds who just don’t know what to do with their heart-crushing infatuations. Though I’m 20 now and totally past that (thank G-d), I’ll admit I still like listening to that kind of stuff: Stars, The Softies, The Honeydrips. It just has a kind of strange, beautiful effervescence to it. One can’t deny that there was something special about being able to feel such overpowering emotions and for them to be so madly out of our control at that age. This weeks band of the week wants to be the band that the 14-year-old mopers of today turn to for gorgeous, melancholic sounds. And so the band of the week is…


You might’ve heard of these guys recently because they’re touring with Ariel Pink. However, it’s likely you haven’t heard their music, as all they’ve released yet is one 7″ of their own and a split 7″ with the Smith Westerns. But they’ve got a full-length called Memphis coming out next month and of course it’s already leaked and I’m listening to it as I type this.

As I mentioned, this is a bit of a cutesy band, mining pre-teen emotions and bringing them to life in vivid technicolor with the help of an orchestral section. They’ve also got the boy-girl vocal interplay thing going on, and there’s a healthy showing of Beach Boys-worship, particularly in the vocals (though there isn’t much use of harmonies).

Even if you’re cold and cynical and listen to White Light/White Heat all day long like me, you’ll probably admit that there’s still some love in your heart for a band like Magic Kids who burst out of your speakers like a ray of sunshine. And if you just happen to be one of those 14-year-old mopers in need of a bit of cheering up, you’re welcome, I’ve just told you about your new favourite band.

Stupid Party

July 26th, 2010 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

Another band I heard about while in Brooklyn, Stupid Party is a post-hard core band that, although not all that different from other post-hardcore bands, is still just really awesome. If you’re looking for a sonic kick in the face, look no further. As usual, I present to you their poppiest tune.

Stupid Party – Baby


July 25th, 2010 | Mp3 Posts | 1 Comment

Everyone from Toronto’s beloved Spiral Beach has gone on to new things since the band dissolved last year. Guitarist Airick Woodhead has perhaps pursued the most interesting path with his kaleidoscopic-rock project Doldrums. Not only does the new project sound like a surrealistic collage of warped synths, IDM beats, samples, and found sounds, but Woodhead’s been experimenting with a visual component, and his first release is (of all things) a VHS Tape mix called Parrot Talk.

It’s not for everyone, but for those who can stomach it, it’s wildly exciting stuff.

Check out some of Parrot Talk below.

Download the entire mix at the Doldrums blog.

The Jameses

July 25th, 2010 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

This was the other band I heard about in Brooklyn (the first I blogged about was Nude Beach). Based in Florida, The Jameses have a bit of a dark-edge to their poppy sound. Or maybe it’s just the theremin they use. Either way, it’s awesome, especially love the “ahh ah ah ahs” in the song below. All they’ve released so far has been the 7″ (which I bought) of this song, so I’m really forward to a little more from this great new band.

The Jameses – The Haunted Rider

First Impressions Of The Arcade Fire’s ‘Suburbs’

July 23rd, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

So, as many of you know, The Arcade Fire‘s highly anticipated third album, The Suburbs, leaked today. The Arcade Fire are one of my favourite bands so I was totally psyched for this album. Here are my first impressions (which are subject to change).

It’s good. It’s not a disappointment. The Arcade Fire have not “lost it” or anything along those lines. However, at this point in time, as I write this, I don’t think the album is quite as good as either Funeral or Neon Bible.

Here’s the thing: firstly, there’s far less emphasis on the string section this time around. I mean, do you remember how awesome those violins were on songs like “Laika” or “Neon Bible?” Really awesome! Now they sound so scaled back, lower in the mix. The Arcade Fire was the band that made string sections a big thing in rock! I mean, I can understand wanting to change things up, but those violins were amazing!

The other thing I have a problem with is that Win Butler doesn’t sound as engaged. It’s like he doesn’t have anything to prove anymore. Do you remember listening to “Rebellion (Lies)”? Do you remember the power that was in his voice? I remember an AllMusicGuide review said it was like a lion tamer’s whip that got shorter with each strike. Now it just seems like he’s doing his thing, but that sense of danger and urgency that made him so exciting isn’t there anymore.

That being said, every song on The Suburbs is at least good. Even “Month of May”, which I’d say is the worst Arcade Fire song, is still pretty good. “Ready to Start”, “We Used To Wait”, “Roccoco” and plenty others are great, great songs. Better than most of the music out there these days. Still, they don’t stand out the way “Wake Up” or “Intervention” did. They just do their thing, and they’re great, but it’s not the same.

The Suburbs isn’t The Arcade Fire‘s Forgiveness Rock Record - a highly anticipated album that meets and exceeds expectations; one that sounds like it’s been given the laborious effort over and above what’s required. What it is is a solid collection of songs by great songwriters that doesn’t aim for the heights hit by the two albums that preceded it. However, as I said, this is only my first impression, and it’s likely to change, so check back soon for updates.

Awesome Album Covers

July 23rd, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

My favourite KFC ad ever

Delay Trees

July 22nd, 2010 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

Finish band Delay Trees hit the same soft spot in my heart that Band of Horses do when at their best. Ooooooh. It hurts so pretty… (Note: at times it hits the British Sea Power part [of my heart]).

Delay Trees – Casette 2012