Categories
Music News and Interviews

Arcade Fire Helps Holiday Donations to Haiti

In keeping with the holiday spirit, Arcade Fire has set out to help raise money for Kanpe, an organization helping to rebuild Haiti. The band has promised to match donations up to $300,000. Along with helping raise money for Haiti, band members Régine Chassagne and Win Butler have stated that they will send a personally signed postcard to each individual that donates.

On their website lead singer Butler wrote:

Hi Guys,
This is Win from Arcade Fire. If you are having a hard time deciding what to get your friends and family for gifts this year, give them our money! For any donation you make to Kanpe this holiday season, the band will match it. We will also send a nifty little post card, signed by Regine and I, to put under the tree, or wherever you put your gifts (it’s not our business). For any silicone valley jerks who might try to bankrupt us, let’s put the upper limit at 300,000$… Have a great holiday!
Luv, Win

For those interested in donating you can visit Arcade Fire’s website here.

Categories
Music News and Interviews

SoundOff15 The Strokes/Noah and the Whale

This week we talk a little bit about the trailer for the collaboration between Spike Jonze and Arcade Fire. We talk about the potential that SXSW brings young acts. We finish by reviewing new albums by Noah and the Whale and The Strokes.

Listen to episode 15.

Categories
Music News and Interviews

Arcade Fire Win Grammy for Album of the Year

After a night where The Black Keys took home Alternative Rock Album of the Year, Arcade Fire finished the night with the biggest honor of the evening. Following a spectacular performance of their song Month of May, the Canadian group surprisingly defeated commercial acts including Lady Antebellum, Eminem, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. Achieving easily the biggest victory for Merge Records in recent memory, Arcade Fire accepted the award and set back to performing another fantastic track from The Suburbs, “Ready to Start.” This marks the first award for the band, and starting by winning Album of the Year is a feat hard to top. Quickly following their victory, the official twitter account for the band posted, “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. Thank you EVERYONE.”

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/16970228[/vimeo]

Congratulations to the band on their massive successes.

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DJ Highlights

The Best Albums of 2010

WKNC Pick of the Week, December 2, 2010

By John Gomes, WKNC Daytime deejay

It’s that lovely time of the year where we put up Christmas lights, enjoy egg nog shakes at Cook Out and look back on the year that was. 2010 proved to be an eventful year, despite all the terrible moments – earthquakes, oil spills, that bad call in the Maryland football game – this year saw the release of some good albums. I highly recommend my personal Top Five list for your listening pleasure over break.

1) Yeasayer—Odd Blood

The sophomore release from this eclectic group is a warm, pop-infused masterpiece—a curious departure from the darkness of their 2007 debut album. Yeasayer introduces huge, pulsing synths and primal rhythms into their sound, resulting in some infectiously upbeat and organic numbers. Odd Blood isn’t one-dimensional, however. The album features a couple of heavier, darker tracks to balance out the pop sound. Yeasayer remains experimental as ever, exploring everything from R&B to Middle Eastern dance music. The end result is a well-rounded, highly enjoyable album. (Bonus points for the band self-producing it.)

2) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Possibly the most anticipated album of the year, Arcade Fire’s third release garnered universal praise. Like Odd Blood, The Suburbs represents a new sonic direction for Arcade Fire—gone are the Baroque sounds and grand crescendos that defined the band’s sound. Instead, the album maintains a latent energy throughout every song, steadfast rhythms layered with rich textures and tones. These elements form the perfect vehicle for the album’s main concept – innocence and coming-of-age set in the backdrop of suburbia. Poignant and poised, The Suburbs is Arcade Fire’s best release yet.

3) Best Coast – Crazy For You

Though many artists are doing the retro surf-rock thing nowadays, Best Coast does it best. The group is led by Bethany Cosentino, whose approach is refreshingly simple – reverb-heavy guitars, easy chord progressions and honest lyrics about boys, her cat or getting high. Sure, it seems like a third-grader can write these songs – “One day I’ll make him mine / And we’ll be together all the time” – but there is beauty in the simplicity. The songs on Crazy For You are little pieces of pop perfection – they’re sweet, short, and will stay in your head for days. Put this album on and you’ll feel like you’re on a beach.

4) Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

Broken Social Scene is a rather apt name for the group whose massive lineup continuously changes. With so many band members playing so many instruments and adding so many sounds and textures, Forgiveness Rock Record is inevitably orchestral and grandiose. Each song exhibits a different dimension of beauty, from the majestic climaxes of “World Sick” to the melodic angularity of “Art House Director.” Though not as cohesive as previous albums, Forgiveness Rock Record is still classic Broken Social Scene – lush, resplendent and larger than life.

5) Caribou – Swim

Dan Snaith, who operates under the name Caribou, is an electronica artist and British mathematician. Naturally, you wouldn’t expect those two things to go together. Swim evokes the same reaction with its out-of-left-field collection of tracks. Flip-floppy synths, divine bell chimes, and even jazzy flute flourishes all coalesce atop powerful, danceable grooves while whispery vocals echo and modulate in and out of your consciousness. This is not your father’s electronica album. Each and every song evolves into something surreal at the end, with elements of rock, jazz and psychedelica thrown in the mix. Out of all the albums on this list, Swim sounds the most transcendental.

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.

Categories
DJ Highlights

Elly May and Ones Discuss Album Disappointments of 2010

Recently I sat down with my good pal DJ Elly May to go over what we thought were some of the biggest let-downs of 2010. This is not to say that either of us hated any of the albums that we listed (although in some cases that was most certainly the case), rather, these are albums that we thought would deliver but sadly did not. Elly May and myself sat behind the mic and discussed in depth what let us down this year, and we have that conversation below. For those of you out there who just want to figure out the set of albums we were underwhelmed with, I have conveniently listed them below in no particular order. Stay tuned to our blog to see what Daytime deejays have thought of as the best albums of 2010 in the next weeks.

Disappointment 2010

DJ Elly May

1. Kate NashMy Best Friend is You

2. TunngAnd Then We Saw Land

3. Rogue WavePermalight

4. Broken BellsBroken Bells

5. Dead WeatherSea of Cowards

6. Arcade FireThe Suburbs

DJ Ones

1. Marina and the DiamondsThe Family Jewels

2. The DrumsThe Drums

3. M.I.A///Y/

4. KlaxonsSurfing the Void

5. Band of HorsesInfinite Arms

6. InterpolInterpol

Categories
Music News and Interviews

DJ Ones Five Music Facts from the past week

1. Arcade Fire have been nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year with their latest release “The Suburbs.” In response to the nomination member Win Butler stated, “We are very proud of the record we made and feel incredibly blessed that so many people have gotten it! For those of you who don’t understand how gambling works, if something is 100 to 1 odds and you put down 10 dollars, you win 1000 dollars… I’m just saying.” (via Stereogum)

2. Actor Michael Cera is now playing in the new Sub Pop band Mister Heavenly. The actor, known for his roles in Juno and Arrested Development is now the bass player for Mister Heavenly. However, this does not make him an official member of the band as indicated by a Sub Pop representative who said, “As of right now he is not an official member, just playing with the guys on this tour.” (via NME)

3. The Joy Formidable have given information about their debut full length. The album titled “The Big Roar” is due to be released in the UK on Jan. 24 and in the US a couple of months later on March 15. (via NME)

4. Bright Eyes is set to return with a new album titled “The People’s Key” on Feb. 15. This will be the band’s first since their 2007 release “Cassagada.” (via Pitchfork)

5. Wolf Parade are to go on indefinite hiatus. In a statement by singer Spencer Krug during their recent show in Toronto he announced, “This is the last show we’ll play for a long time.” The band has since said they will play just a few shows in 2011. (via Spinner)

Categories
New Album Review

Arcade Fire brings mature, new sound

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 9/24, written by May F. Chung, WKNC deejay

Listening to Arcade Fire is like listening to an opera. There’s a certain element of grandeur of popping in The Suburbs into the CD drive, an anticipation of knowing that whatever fills your ears for the next 63 minutes is something of high caliber. What do you expect from Arcade Fire, the band that has produced the beautifully wistful Funeral in 2004, and three years later, another genre-defying album entitled Neon Bible but tinged with notes of political intensity? You can hear the sweat of their performance. Win Butler, who has possibly the greatest name in indie rock, and his beloved, Régine Chassagne, both of whom form the backbone of the band, explore some of the themes that pervade most of the album, including its namesake.

Being a kid and growing up in the suburbs, then leaving and accomplishing great things before returning and discovering that everything you left behind—all the memories of innocence and heartbreak—has remained, patiently waiting, and as stoic as ever. The reverent nostalgia is evident in the lyric, “Now our lives are changing fast/Hope that something pure can last,” from “We Used to Wait.” Arcade Fire reflects on the neighborhood you grew up in (literally, as the new video for the song invites you to enter the address where you grew up and personalizes the video to your own childhood memories). The Suburbs is, in fact, a maturation of their last two albums. As the group comes to terms with adulthood, they still cannot help but wonder longingly over the days of kids when they used to dance under police disco lights (a reference to Funeral’s “Laika”). “In my dreams we’re still screamin’ and runnin’ through the yard,” croons Butler in the title’s opener. And yet, there’s a sense of cynicism against the new youth raging for an art form they do not understand. In “Rococo,” the group sings, “Let’s go downtown and talk to the modern kids/They will eat right out of your hand using great big words that they don’t understand.” There is no inspiration in experimentation anymore. Everything is contrived, art is vapid and self-emulating. Butler continues to chant “Rococo” as the chorus and mutters, “Oh, my dear God, what is that horrible song?” But the statement itself invokes irony.

“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” is easily the best song of the album and neatly ties The Surburbs together. Everything we view as kids is gargantuan, including “Dead shopping malls [that] rise like mountains beyond mountains.” If there’s any showcase of Chassagne’s beautifully hypnotizing voice, it is this song. “Sprawl II” is a component of “Sprawl I (Flatlands),” but both reflect on the same memory of the sprawl, or the home communities of the surburbs where all the houses that line up look the same. For Chassagne, it is a mountain, a childhood reserved for riding bikes and playing in parks. For Butler in “Sprawl I,” it is a flatland, a miserable suffocation of civilized society. Is this the same band that used to crowd all their instruments (including a double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy) into the elevator as a delightful experiment? Apparently so. Instead of relying on the success of formula, Arcade Fire strives for a new, vibrant sound on The Suburbs, which serves, if nothing else, as a testament to their own greatness.

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.
Categories
Music News and Interviews

Arcade Fire’s music video uses Google Maps to a new level

I am always on the look-out for unique music videos, and typically, indie bands pull through with quality footage. However, Arcade Fire’s new video for “We Used To Wait” trumps them all.

Chris Milk used GoogleChrome technology to create an interactive “experience” (because the term “music video” doesn’t do it justice.)

This is how it works: You type in your childhood address. The video will load and when it is ready, a play button will appear. This interactive music video opens a variety of other windows throughout the song, allowing for the viewer to get swept up into the nostalgia.

Close your other browser windows, turn up your speakers, and enjoy.

Categories
Music News and Interviews

SoundOff7 Best Coast/Arcade Fire

We are back from the summer break and this week we focus on new releases from Arcade Fire and Best Coast.

Listen to episode seven.

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Weekly Charts

Week of 8/9: Top Ten albums of Daytime Rock

Artist Album Label
#1 MYSTERY JETS Serotonin Rough Trade
#2 JAILL That’s How We Burn Sub Pop
#3 WAVVES King of the Beach Fat Possum
#4 MAPS AND ATLASES Perch Patchwork Barsuk
#5 DAN SARTAIN Dan Sartain Lives One Little Indian
#6 LIGHTS ON Here Comes the Ocean self-released
#7 STILL FLYIN’ A Party in Motion [EP] Ernest Jenning
#8 DARKER MY LOVE Alive as You Are Dangerbird
#9 ARCADE FIRE The Suburbs Merge
#10 COTTON JONES Tall Hours in the Glowstream Suicide Squeeze