When Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011 there were a lot of people – including at the Grammys – asking themselves: “Who?”
Arcade Fire burst on the scene as big as can be. I saw them in Barclays Center in Brooklyn – the home of the Nets basketball team – a huge arena. It was sold out and even though I was in the nosebleed seats, it was an awesome spectacle. Costumes are big with Arcade Fire. About half the crowd were wearing them. Arcade Fire manages to combine strong messages, great sounds, nostalgia, and fun all in one package.
Arcade Fire just released a new album and reactions are mixed. I’m blaming that on the fact that kids are growing up and not changing with the times. Arcade Fire is changing and that’s brilliant. In only the last ten years we’ve entered the world of having everything at our fingertips. The world is changing fast. Go with the feelings and you’ll grow right along with Arcade Fire.
Can you be this big and still be Indie? Yes – because the next time they win a Grammy – most people will still not know who they are. They are a great example of how you need to pay attention in the modern music world. If all you do is watch TV – you will probably never hear of half the stuff that is really going on out there. Great band – moving on.
On this playlist:
The Suburbs – it starts out like it’s going to be a nice nostalgia piece about growing up in the suburbs. Nope. This is hard stuff. Evocative and frightening. Arcade Fire brings big sound and powerful messages and the crowd eats it up.
We Used to Wait – From the same album they sing about a world many of you never knew. Writing letters, waiting for the mail to come, etc. The world has changed and we love it and sometimes regret it.
Everything Now – From the new album of the same name. Google it. After all, right there, you’ve got everything now – right there in your hand. Is everything enough? Nope – this generation is going to be the one to figure out how to make living with everything into an authentic human experience. I think we can do it.
YouTube playlist: Arcade Fire
Spotify playlist: Arcade Fire
Metric is basically a rock and roll band with plenty of rock and roll cred (seeing them with Lou Reed drove that home for me.) They are one of my favorite bands and Emily Haines is one of my favorite performers. She is just a badass rock and roll icon.
In this playlist:
Sick Muse – Classic Metric song – straight up
Cascades – From their newest album where they have added more electronic instruments and this song (live version on YouTube playlist) shows how the guitars and electronics fit together.
Gold Guns Girls – Great dong, fun video you should watch to the end
Synthetica – From their previous album – Emily!
YouTube playlist: Metric
Spotify playlist: Metric
If you aren’t familiar with Sylvan Esso you are about to hear something so different and yet, somehow familiar. Some amazingly creative use of the wide range of sonic expression available on modern electronic instruments and great danceable songs. I’ve seen them live twice already and would go back anytime. I love the picture I got of them – see above. Definitely one of my current favorites. This playlist is a good way to get to know them.
The Glow – Just watch – remember – and live dangerously!
Coffee – This is a fairly straightforward beat but played in such an interesting way with subtle electronic beats that turn up the heat as the song builds. Go with the electricity.
Radio – Like many before them, including Elvis Costello in his “Radio, Radio”, Sylvan Esso express their dislike for some of the rules of the radio business. In the video you’ll see an ironic look at “Instagram Culture”. In the lyrics you’ll hear “three point three oh”. 3 minutes and 30 seconds is the expected length of a pop song. They played it live with a 3:30 countdown clock behind them ending exactly on zero. In the meantime this really did get a lot of airplay on the radio and was the hit of their recent album. Why? It’s because it’s a great song with a great danceable beat. Win.
Kick, Jump, Twist – Amazing song to get your feet moving to. It builds up to big crowd-pleasing hard pumping sounds, then practically disappears, and returns and disappears and the beat never stops.
You Tube playlist: Sylvan Esso
Spotify playlist: Sylvan Esso