I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. I was afraid that by their third album, we knew what Arcade Fire had to offer, but as it turns out, NOPE. And it’s not just James Murphy. There’s an interesting piece on Grantland about this record (Reflektor, Arcade Fire’s fourth album), in which the author posits a popular theme in reviews of this album, which is that they’ve made their disco/dance/electronica album, in the vein of Achtung Baby or Remain in Light, with James Murphy playing the Brian Eno role. The problem with this is (at least) two-fold. Continue reading
So a large part of the reason I started and continue to run this blog is because I love some things that seemingly no one has heard of and that I would love other people to love. Chief among them is Starlings and the subsequent work of Chris Sheehan, about whom I wrote long ago in this blog post, which continues to be one of this blog’s most read and commented on entries. I’ve had people read it, email, and ask me for albums and EPs long since out of print, I’ve had people email asking me how to get in touch with him, I’ve had Chris Sheehan himself reach out in response, which touched me more than I can say.
Which is to say, I guess, that I’m glad I could extend the reach of his music in whatever small way I was able. Then, this week, I received a message pointing me to a Fundrazr where he, though terminally ill, is trying to fund one more record.
You can find that here: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/eYGa7
I’m on record as saying that news of a new Mountain Goats album is about as good as news can get (although I’m paraphrasing myself), so I’ve been on a kind of music-related contact high ever since Transcendental Youth was announced last month. Now the pre-order and the first single are here, and although I’ll mostly recuse myself from commenting on it because my views on the Mountain Goats are well-known, I will say that I continue to be surprised and delighted by John Darnielle’s ability to subtly expand his musical palette to the benefit of his songwriting without it seeming showy or tacked-on. Also, he’s a quote machine – on the subject of this very song:
“Like a lot of the new album, this song is about saddling up your demons and learning to ride them like devil horses with big leathery wings. To the best of my knowledge, it’s also the first song ever to feature both a swinging horn section and a line about a baphomet drawn in chalk on an altar cloth, so everybody else who was trying to square that circle can take a breather now.”
I ordered the album already, as should you, and in the meantime, here’s the song:
Seriously, this song by the Henry Clay People is just the best thing I’ve heard in ages – a barreling elegy for youth and inertia and all the things that 25 year olds think about, if they’re normal (i.e. solipsistic and narcissistic and lonely and horny and tired and just starting to realize they’ll never do half of the things they thought they would when they were 15). And none of that is a criticism – I love(d) that age and regularly feel nostalgic for it, if only because I can see it so clearly through the concerns of approaching middle age, and I remember fondly when the only problem I had was figuring out whose house I was going to drink at tonight while i avoided responsibility and tried not to grow up too much. Continue reading
I’m aware that there may not be a lot to say about Japandroids at this point – if you are 17-24 they are the perfect band for you because they sing about being young and knowing you’re getting older and trying to make the most of what’s at hand. If you are 30+ they’re the perfect band for you because you already know what you’ve lost and are losing and are trying to hold on to it for dear life and wish you had enjoyed it more. And in either case, for whatever reason you might be relating to it, they do it so effectively – they mean it. And with earnestness in music in short supply, it stands to reason that I can’t get enough of Celebration Rock.
So I’m not going to belabor the point – give or take a currently unnanounced Mountain Goats record, this will probably be my album of the year, and here’s an awesome song from it.
Fact 1: The Mountain Goats are the best.
Fact 2: they will be coming to Orlando in January, and I live there, and this is good news on a number of levels.
Fact 3: their best album, Tallahassee (no arguments entertained) will have been released 10 years ago next year.
Fact 4: the syntax of that last sentence is a little tortured.
Fact 5: I’m not going to fix it. Continue reading