The Arcade Fire

I’m not sure if you guys have heard this band yet, the Arcade Fire? They’re Canadian, and kind of popular. They’ve got this new album, Neon Bible, and more media coverage than Anna Nicole Smith (well, maybe not), and Sam forced me to go see them live a few years ago and they were really, really good. It was a small venue, and we all sang the words to the songs even though we maybe had never heard them before. Anyway, here’s the opening track off that new record. Hope you like it… I like the second song better.

Black Mirror [MP3, 3.8MB, 128kbps]

Sam’s original post: 08/02/04
Apologies for the atrocious bitrates, young audiophiles, but this was enough to sell me, so I thought I’d share… Actually, what first sold me on The Arcade Fire was the B-side off their new 7-inch, which is in fact a 1940s recording of the lead singer’s grandfather (pedal steel legend Alvino Rey) and his orchestra. These downloads, however, are genuine Arcade Fire material, combining The Flaming Lips’ theatric pop, Joy Division’s driving rhythms, Bjork’s blissful euphoria, and a million other influences into something at once exuberant and wistful. So pump up the preamp and enjoy.

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East River Pipe

Mr. Cornog doesn’t take himself too seriously. While his bio riffs on and on about the drug references in his new album, and rightly so, you’d expect his moniker to be a similar reference. Not the case. East River Pipe is an allusion to a broken pipe he once witnessed spewing sewage into the East River. “I imagined myself to be the pipe,” he admitted in a recent podcast, “the sewage to be my songs and the river to be the world—so i was essentially spewing out meaningless pop songs into an already polluted river.” His modesty is appreciated, but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You never know where you’ll uncover hidden gems. F.M. Cornog has spent almost two decades with his Tascam 388 recording so-called disposable songs that you may not ever be able to get out of your head.

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Destroyer is Vancouver’s own Dan Bejar. “European Oils” is taken from the seventh Destroyer album. If you’ve yet to hear of Destroyer and you’re thinking SEVEN ALBUMS ALREADY?? where have I been?, fret not. Bejar keeps a low profile. He even downplays his involvement with another Canadian band, The New Pornographers. I love the opening jam of this track. Feels like you’re comfortable and couched and about to spend the next half hour with a witty gang of characters on a ’70’s sitcom. Then Bejar comes in with that voice of his–a mix of Bowie and Dylan maybe. Quirky, odd, and completely satisfying.

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The Rosebuds

My inner zen master wants to say of their latest release, Birds Make Good Neighbors, “the delicate sound of falling leaves coupled with the ominous sounds of the approaching winter.”
The realist in me will end this way: Timeless pop from Raleigh, North Carolina. The Rosebuds conjure a rich textural sound and do so in such a way as to evoke Lloyd Cole, The Stone Roses, Grant Lee Buffalo and a tiny dash of Rufus Wainwright. This husband and wife duo are definitely worth a listen.

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So nice to have Spoon back in the mix. Dig the thick groove and soulful vocals on “I Turn My Camera On,” a cross between Prince and Gang of Four. How can that be bad? Not much more booty-shaking on the album (with the exception of “Was It You?”), but lovely nonetheless.

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The Essex Green

Hopefully you were familiar with the musical offerings of Merge Records before hearing The Arcade Fire. If not, I hope you’ve done some due diligence since. The Long Goodbye, released in 2003, from The Essex Green is among the many gems in the Merge catalog. Largely underappreciated by the press, public, and perhaps even their label, songs like “The Late Great Cassiopia” alone are worth 10x the current download pricing standard of 99 cents. Thanks to the generosity of the artist however, you pay nothing. Appreciate it!

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Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura, like most good Scottish bands and football (a.k.a. soccer) clubs, hail from Glasgow. This seven-piece outfit makes classic pop. Sure, comparisons to Belle & Sebastian and even Nick Drake may abound, but Camera Obscura add a soul to their pop that makes them unique. Merge Records has been releasing their original Elefant Records releases in the U.S..

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