I am the Omega Man. I am Legend. I am the only man on earth who doesn’t think Arcade Fire’s new record is the pinnacle of the evolution of popular music. In fact, I need to stand on a six-foot stepladder just to keep my head above the effusive foam rolling out of the dropped-jaw mouths of rabid fans.
For the record, I do not think “The Suburbs” is bad music. It’s good. But is it great? Will it still be memorable in ten years? Or even ten months? Is Arcade Fire’s music comparable to a comet coming from another solar system to shed a kind of light we’ve never seen before? Or is it more like an ordinary flashlight that simply shows us how dark things usually are?
I’d go with the latter, and this is a role that I consider honorable. But let’s be clear that it is the abyss-like darkness that surrounds Arcade Fire which makes their illumination so brilliant, not the light itself. Bands like them have come before and they will come again, producing albums of “Suburbs” caliber as well.
Of course, since it feels like the music that is all around us, the music most accessible and prevalent, is as dim as a forest unlit by the moon, a musical flashlight emerging from the darkness feels like the most wonderful and hopeful light we’ve ever seen.
Any day on which a new Josh Ritter record is released is a good day. Thus, today, my friends, is a good day.
Ritter’s music has been important to me (and my wife…and our relationship) since I first heard him sing “All the other girls here are stars, you are the northern lights…” This line, from the song Kathleen off his album Hello Starling, was all it took to hook me on his music for good. (I know, this is not his first record, how uncool to join the bandwagon after the fact, but believe me, I dug into the back catalog as well).
Hello Starling was amazing and is lodged in my memory of the spring that my wife and I first started dating. But as good as that record is, his next, The Animal Years blew it out of the water. Maybe the best album I own. Maybe. Even Stephen King named it his best album of 2006, calling the stand-out track “Thin Blue Fame,” “…the most exuberant outburst of imagery since Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,’ in 1963.”
Craig Carozza-Caviness knows how to throw a party. The artist known as Incwell blends traditional rap/hip hop with a full floor rock and roll sound that can make even the stiffest of caucasian boys shake.
I didn’t plan on making it over to the Strathmore on that nasty Friday night, but while doing the line by line for the listings of the Express, I came across the show, thought it sounded interesting, listened to a few tracks and then hit Incwell up so we could preview the show.
No surprise to anyone who halfway knows me, I’m not the bigget fan of rap/hip-hop(whatever you want to call that general sphere of music). Kanye grabbed white people with sticky hooks and sweet melodies, but live, it’s hard to translate the appeal of those spit-flying lines and bass thumping moments.
I know, growing up as a kid in Mississippi, I always had a certain degree of envy for those white-blanketed landscapes existing in the cinematic worlds of so many films. I thought igloos would be fun to build, snowball fights would be the best, and that if I just had one nearly-white Yuletide, that my life experience would be more complete.
A good thing started last night, even if you missed it.
Long Beach, CA. exports its best musical product to the East Coast for the next week as folk-rockers Delta Spirit try out tracks from their second LP, “History from Below” in a sequence of dates in the teeny of tiny clubs.
DREAM-JOURNALING SHOULD come with a warning.
For Freelance Whales founder Judah Dadone, charting his slumbering conscious led to awkward Craigslist encounters — including a 50-year-old man posing as a 23-year-old girl — busking in New York City train stations, the creation of feathery pop music and a record deal. Not the typical route to success, but who’s complaining?
The bad and the boring could have been the working title for claustrophobia-inducing show at the backstage of the Black Cat last Thursday night.
The arm-length tattoos weren’t the only Chris Carraba comparisons evoked by Gaslight Anthem front-man Brian Fallon at the Black Cat last Saturday night. The love or hate one had for the solo show could come down to a simple question, “Did you secretly love MTV Unplugged?” and “Do sing-alongs send shivers down your spine?”
- “Orthodoxy” Book Club, Chapter 3: “The Suicide of Thought”
- Orthodoxy Book Club: Chapter 2, “The Maniac”
- Introducing the Confront-Your-Prejudices Book Club on G.K. Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy”
- The Men of Fox News are Right: My Breadwinner Wife is Destroying My Marriage and Undermining Civilization
- Philosophical Flavors
- No public Twitter messages.
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