Arcade Fire Ruined CMJ
October 25, 2013 10:34 AM   Subscribe

"Last week, Arcade Fire swooped in and took a Canadian-sized shit all over this year’s CMJ. They totally ruined it."
posted by capnsue (214 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
That’s really saying something, too, because in reality, no one actually cares about CMJ. For most people, attending a CMJ show typically inspires the same enthusiasm as getting a dental cleaning. It’s an increasingly irrelevant music tradition that, much like a new sitcom about two buddies who live together in the big city, still seems to come around every October, whether people want it or not.

ZING!

Man, CMJ used to be a fucking blast. Tons of interesting booths and panels, and you could get into a ton of great shows with your badge. It really suffered after 9/11, with a fraction of the vendors and panels as before, and then the badges weren't worth shit because clubs had a cap on the number of people with badges who could get in, though they'd let you pay more money to get into the club.

With that said, I'll go back and finish the article.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:38 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't get it. The writer starts out by saying that CMJ is irrelevant and no one pays attention to it anymore anyway, and then says Arcade Fire ruined it?

Maybe Arcade Fire should get some credit for putting CMJ back on the map?

And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:39 AM on October 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Arcade Fire played a pair of semi-secret shows on two consecutive nights at a Brooklyn warehouse, billing themselves as The Reflektors,

I'm not at all into the music "scene", but I heard about this. I didnt' hear they "billed" themselves as something else; everyone I knew said, oh hey, Arcade Fire is doing a secret show in Brooklyn.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:39 AM on October 25, 2013


For our American friends: a "Canadian-sized shit" is atually quite small and unassuming, apologetic even. Hardly more than a shart.
posted by fatbird at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2013 [48 favorites]


Well the college rock scene isn't the same since The Connells broke up anyway
posted by thelonius at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2013 [26 favorites]


So... Nobody cares about CMJ, but Arcade Fire played it and they are a band people have heard of so CRISIS ON EARTH-HIPSTER?!?
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


It's amusing that writer didn't mention any bands that he actually likes.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:41 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Arcade Fire playing shows during CMJ is like the Harlem Globetrotters showing up at an elementary school’s basketball game and slapping some poor kid’s layup into the stands.

Only if Arcade Fire are the Washington Generals.....
posted by three blind mice at 10:41 AM on October 25, 2013


It's amusing that writer didn't mention any bands that he actually likes.
So instead of leaving this to be yet another article about CMJ that only really mentions Arcade Fire, here are a few bands that played this year that you should check out: Pity Sex, Greys, Ovlov, Desert Sharks, Josh Berwanger, Perfect Pussy, Eagulls, Stevie & The Lion, Speedy Ortiz, Hookworms, Deniro Farrar, Nothing, Verses Narrow.
Are you suggesting the author doesn't actually like the bands he listed?
posted by chrominance at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


People, it's RTFA not RTFFP (first paragraph)
posted by crashlanding at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?

Nickelback.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [98 favorites]


It's amusing that writer didn't mention any bands that he actually likes.

I'm not sure that would be possible.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?

Justin Bieber.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2013 [27 favorites]


Thelonius is right and we should all listen to the Connells instead of worrying about this.
posted by escabeche at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2013


It's very weird how often that blog post brings up the New York Times as the arbiter of Music That Is Paid Attention To. I guess this is a reasonable standard for music produced by middle-class white people.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2013


Are you suggesting the author doesn't actually like the bands he listed?

Like he's going to actually tell people about bands he likes, guaranteeing that they'll get popular and then suck. Psh. As if.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on October 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


The gall of playing two small shows in a city of 14 million people the week before your album comes out.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:45 AM on October 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


chrominance: Are you suggesting the author doesn't actually like the bands he listed?

He listed them in the least promotional, flattering way possible. But I guess that's their 3 seconds of fame, as The Bands Mentioned Alongside That Angry Post About Arcade Fire and CMJ.

FFS, you're writing an article on the internet. At least provide some links to the band's pages! "Hey, there's an awesome band called 'Nothing,' good luck finding them. And another called 'Perfect Pussy.' Hope you can get that sorted out of the porn you weren't looking for."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:45 AM on October 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's very weird how often that blog post brings up the New York Times as the arbiter of Music That Is Paid Attention To. I guess this is a reasonable standard for music produced by middle-class white people.

TBH a random fuck you to White People was all the article was missing.
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The two tracks I've heard off the new album were both cocaine disco retreaded so I'm thinking this new album is a shart as well.
posted by Ber at 10:47 AM on October 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are you suggesting the author doesn't actually like the bands he listed?

Sorry, my eyes must have glazed over after a few paragraphs of whiny, petulant nerdrage.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't have much stake in this so I'll just say that I always laugh at the image of basketball greats crashing an elementary school game and just wrecking the kids' shit. It never gets old.
posted by invitapriore at 10:49 AM on October 25, 2013 [33 favorites]


This is clearly just a defensive move:
That’s really saying something, too, because in reality, no one actually cares about CMJ. For most people, attending a CMJ show typically inspires the same enthusiasm as getting a dental cleaning.
Basically it's "This article is about Arcade Fire ruining CMJ, but cred-defense demands that the first thing I do is pre-empt the inevitable comments that nobody cares about CMJ."
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:51 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?

Justin Bieber.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:44 AM on October 25 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Hah! This is my favorite one so far.
posted by ben242 at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Canadians are known for their huge shits and complete lack of a mid-range jumper. There have been a few notable Canadian big men but mostly they settle for mincing, tentative guard play.

Canadians are ruining America!
posted by Mister_A at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Arcade Fire playing shows during CMJ is like the Harlem Globetrotters showing up at an elementary school’s basketball game and slapping some poor kid’s layup into the stands.

The difference is, I'd actually pay money to see the latter.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


CMJ always had some big names in years past. They would only let in a small number of badges with all the rest are paying customers. Foo Fighters did that at CMJ '99.

The secret shows (back when they really were secret instead of this promo gimmick) were a blast. I had a friend that could pore over the show list and put the pieces together like goddamn rain man. "Mark Ribot is playing here, so-and-so is playing here... Tom Waits must be playing a surprise show!"
posted by dr_dank at 10:55 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe they could solve mysteries or something?
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think he makes a good point, but one that probably most people who care already felt. I wonder if any bands actually felt overshadowed or really cared that Arcade Fire were using CMJ as another marketing platform.
posted by cell divide at 10:55 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are all those dreadful disposable Canadian rock and pop bands given government grants or something? How do they not implode on their own suck?
posted by planetesimal at 10:56 AM on October 25, 2013


KokuRyu: " And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?"

I read it as "A Shit The Size Of Canada."

The whole editorial is really fucking dumb. It would have been more interesting written with a lot less hypocritical rage as "No one cares about CMJ, including Arcade Fire."
posted by zarq at 10:56 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This article only demonstrates about half of of the things wrong with music journalism, but it's a start. Between this and the auto-Pitchfork post, I think we might be getting close to sewing it up.
posted by aramaic at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's a lot of words to dedicate to a band you hate and a music event you loathe. Maybe try again?
posted by Kitteh at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I read it as "A Shit The Size Of Canada."

That would be a Canadia-sized shit.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Question I Was Actually Asked By Someone Who Lives In Ontario:
"The Barenaked Ladies are Canadian?"
posted by maryr at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2013


Rolling Stone reviewed Reflektor and likened it to albums by Radiohead, U2, and the Rolling Stones, which they meant as a compliment, but it’s actually a hilarious example of how Arcade Fire are now part of an elite circle of artists that have been getting a free ride for years as a result of an album they wrote a decade ago.

Yes, as we all know, once a band comes out with their breakthrough critically and commercially successful album, nobody genuinely likes anything they put out after that, they're just stuck in some hypnotic decades-long trance and bestowing mindless accolades.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:01 AM on October 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, your scene was co-opted and marginalized by wealthier foreigners? Welcome to what it's like to be around Americans, Americans. I am playing not only a tiny violin, but an entire miniaturized Montreal hipster orchestra.
posted by mobunited at 11:01 AM on October 25, 2013 [53 favorites]


Ugh Barenaked Ladies are the worst! They are worse than Auschwitz!
posted by Mister_A at 11:02 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, so it's XENOPHOBIC hipster bullshit? Fair enough, fuck that.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on October 25, 2013


I am both annoyed and amazed by Arcade Fire's six-month rollout of their new album. They seem to manage to be in the news every week or so, and the album hasn't even officially dropped yet! That's some media savvy. That said, I'm going to make myself complicit:

Arcade Fire releases the entirety new album Reflector as a Youtube Video a few days before it arrives in stores.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:04 AM on October 25, 2013


Are all those dreadful disposable Canadian rock and pop bands given government grants or something?
...not exacty.

posted by bonobothegreat at 11:05 AM on October 25, 2013


I just kind of enjoy how Arcade Fire are perpetually misfits of a sort. Win a Grammy and it's all 'who the fuck is Arcade Fire?' Play small shows during CMJ, and suddenly they are the Harlem Globetrotters.
posted by fikri at 11:05 AM on October 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


Sort-of serious question: Why do we even care what this dude thinks? He is not a very good writer, and he does not express particularly cogent critical ideas. So why? Is that site a noteworthy site? Because the writing—and thinking—in the linked piece speaks for itself only poorly.
posted by Mister_A at 11:05 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


To be fair, Arcade Fire aren't exactly "Canadian" but are more representative of the fantastic Montreal music scene (even Grimes, who is nominally from Van, got her start in Montreal while skipping class at McGill).

Another great band from Montreal is The Braids. Blue Hawaii is also worth checking out.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:06 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mister_A: "Is that site a noteworthy site?"

Apparently.
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM on October 25, 2013


> Arcade Fire playing shows during CMJ is like the Harlem Globetrotters showing up at
> an elementary school’s basketball game and slapping some poor kid’s layup into the stands.

That would work if the play was scripted and practiced beforehand. If not, kid gets 2 as usual.
posted by jfuller at 11:07 AM on October 25, 2013


I showed up for Pity Sex and Perfect Pussy but I just ended up with Hookworm.
posted by w0mbat at 11:07 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are all those dreadful disposable Canadian rock and pop bands given government grants or something?
...not exacty.


Well, actually...
posted by Sys Rq at 11:10 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


zarq: "Mister_A: "Is that site a noteworthy site?"

Apparently.
"

Huh. So they're an arts and culture grab bag more or less. Anyway, this CMJ piece reads like a bad blog post by a disappointed fan. Maybe that's what they're going for.
posted by Mister_A at 11:13 AM on October 25, 2013


> And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?

About the size of a Timbit. Big enough to make your intention clear, but without going overboard.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:14 AM on October 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


From the schedule on the CMJ site it looks like they had bands playing from ~10:30 AM until 2:30 AM during the event. So those two Arcade Fire shows must have been REALLY REALLY long to have totally made it not possible for one individual to have attended both Arcade Fire and CMJ.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:14 AM on October 25, 2013


I went to see a CMJ show in Brooklyn last Saturday and saw a band that was so bad it filled me with anger. As far as I'm concerned, ruin away, Arcade Fire, at least you look like you enjoy performing.
posted by grubby at 11:15 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just to clarify, BRAIDS is an art rock band from Calgary, currently based in Montreal. The Braids are a 90s two-girl R&B group from the 90s with a pretty great Bohemian Rhapsody cover. As far as I know, not from Montreal.
posted by saul wright at 11:16 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eh, if I was in a band playing CMJ, I'd be kind of pissed if it was the same night as the Arcade Fire show. I don't know that I'd be mad at THEM but it would be aggravating.
posted by josher71 at 11:16 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Question I Was Actually Asked By Someone Who Lives In Ontario:
"The Barenaked Ladies are Canadian?"


Yes, to our everlasting shame and regret.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:16 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Harlem Globetrotters showed up at an elementary school’s basketball game and took a Canadian-sized shit into the stands. But when the Canadian-sized shit got to the audience, it turned out to be Canadian-sized confetti. It was delightful.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?

Twenty bucks, same as in the US, depending on the exchange rate.
posted by spitbull at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I am shaking my Fist Of MEH at my screen so hard right now. My seething indifference!
posted by Theta States at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just to clarify, BRAIDS yt is an art rock band from Calgary, currently based in Montreal.

I was referring to The Braids from Montreal.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:22 AM on October 25, 2013


I'm so out of touch I didn't even know CMJ was still a thing. Back in the '90s I subscribed to the magazine for a few years, even though the mix CD usually contained between 0-5 good songs out of 25.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:23 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are all those dreadful disposable Canadian rock and pop bands given government grants or something?
...not exacty.

Well, actually...

Yes but Canada Council grants seem kind of puny. It's not like we're churning out sucky pop bands the way the Soviet Union churned out Olympic athletes. (right?)
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2013


/awaits crisis where Sting plays WOMAD and ruins it forever.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it's nice to know that comics, videogames and other nerdshit don't have a lock on bullshit outrage, you know?
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm so out of touch I spent the past 5 minutes trying to figure out what CMJ was. Even their site was no help. Granted, I based my understanding on being able to find out what the letters stood for, which it turned out was totally irrelevant. Still, though, I spent the first 30 seconds assuming that Arcade Fire was a gaming blog and CMJ was some kind of convention.
posted by darksasami at 11:28 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


now I wanna see Arcade Fire vs. Harlem Globetrotters
posted by mannequito at 11:29 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Question I Was Actually Asked By Someone Who Lives In Ontario:

"The Barenaked Ladies are Canadian?"


In Ontario it only the half naked ladies are allowed. Know the limits of your disrobing rights.
posted by srboisvert at 11:29 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Needs more Tumblr.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on October 25, 2013


even though the mix CD usually contained between 0-5 good songs out of 25.

I remember free CDs, better known as two songs you already have and 23 you don't want.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:30 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I kiiinda see what he's going for, but still, this isn't worth getting worked up about. The people I know who go to CMJ to discover new bands during their breakout moments? They're not interested in wasting a night of that weekend to pay $45 to see a band they've most likely already seen a few times before. They're more excited about the Perfect Pussies than the Arcade Fires of the world. The latter is so established that they have Grammy approval, for heaven's sake. Nah, the CMJ folks I know are looking for the new crack hit that invigorates them and is still the pure stuff, if you know what I mean, not tainted by multi-million dollar contracts and endless adoring fans. That's not being a hipster, it's just being someone who loves independent music and thinks your mind has a better chance of being blown when it's exploring the uncharted territory.
posted by naju at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Arcade Fire were using CMJ as another marketing platform.

But, wait, isn't CMJ itself a marketing platform? Isn't every other band playing there also using it as a marketing platform? In fact, by having openly advertised shows and specifically encouraging people to attend, aren't those other bands using CMJ as MORE of a marketing platform than Arcade Fire?

The problem with the "elementary school basketball game" analogy is that CMJ isn't an elementary school basketball game. It's CMJ. Now, if Arcade Fire crashed a loft party in Bushwick to throw their secret show, kicking out all the nobodies at the party, sending the previously scheduled bands home, and shitting all over all the hard work of the people who organized the (non-Arcade Fire related) event, I would be mad. But I can't really be mad at a famous band playing a famous promotional event designed specifically for the purposes of such happenings.

I mean, CMJ isn't even, like, Afropunk or Northside or any of the more obscure NYC music festivals mostly populated by young unknowns that really need the press (where you could possibly make the "elementary school basketball" analogy). It's a major national-level event, comparable to SXSW and Coachella.
posted by Sara C. at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


now I wanna see Arcade Fire vs. Harlem Globetrotters

I hear the Butler boys have some game.
posted by mikel at 11:36 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was referring to The Braids from Montreal.

Hmmm...it's not the same band I linked to? Cause I can't find any other band on google. Anyway, thanks for reminding me of BRAIDS. They remind me of old school Animal Collective.
posted by saul wright at 11:40 AM on October 25, 2013


> all the way down to whatever dickhead’s music Tumblr you frequent

I stopped reading at this point.
posted by pokoleo_runs_with_wolves at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


/not too cool to admit there are some Bare Naked Ladies songs he likes.
posted by newdaddy at 11:42 AM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Perfect Pussy are pretty great, by the way.)
posted by naju at 11:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


They seem to manage to be in the news every week or so, and the album hasn't even officially dropped yet! That's some media savvy.

I think this is a thing now, in marketing in general. I've been seeing constant PR for the next Hunger Games movie for at least six months, to the point that I saw a billboard recently with a date still well in the future and got really confused. I thought it came out a while back?
posted by Sara C. at 11:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


This just seems ... illogical to me, a little. Is the theory that other bands being successfully discovered at CMJ requires that nothing else of note be going on in New York during CMJ? Because if that's the case, I think they're pretty screwed anyway.

I mean, I'm sure there were individual people who went to see Arcade Fire who otherwise would have seen bands at CMJ, but is there any actual evidence that people would otherwise have been writing rapturous reviews of Perfect Pussy in The New York Times and didn't do it because they wrote about Arcade Fire instead? Are The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly and MTV the outlets he was counting on to pluck out "baby bands" and discover them?

I feel like it would be one thing if CMJ had given its own biggest stages and promotion to a well-established band, you have a different argument (though certainly not a new one, see also: every year at SXSW). But when you're saying that the obligation of an established band is to stay far away from New York for the entire weekend, that seems ... questionable. Is there any reason to think that if Arcade Fire had stayed away from New York and done its secret shows in L.A., they would have been ignored?

This just reads to me like somebody who's sick of reading about Arcade Fire (fair enough) and sick of large boring mainstream publications doing what he considers bad music journalism (also fair enough) and sick of the fact that people would rather talk about established bands than what's new and different (also also fair enough). But an individual band doing a show in the same city where new and different bands are playing isn't the cause of any of those problems, I don't think.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:43 AM on October 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hmmm...it's not the same band I linked to? Cause I can't find any other band on google.

Yes
posted by KokuRyu at 11:45 AM on October 25, 2013


I stopped reading at this point.

Yeah, the article is basically everything wrong with music journalism; he blows half his oxygen on little indicators of what he's too cool for, including the people who are too cool for other things. There are things which you could mistake for self-parody if only you're able to believe he's self-aware enough for that, e.g. "...where people are too jaded to get excited about anything that’s not a new artisanal donut truck." Fuck, man, that's some gratuitous scrounging for signifiers.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:46 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Linda_Holmes -- that's a great point. I've actually never been to CMJ because it's at a particularly packed time of year where there are a million other things going on. It seems like every weekend in September and October there are at least two Really Big Events going on, if you're just the average New Yorker who likes to get out and about and take in cultural stuff. If bands playing CMJ want to dominate the cultural landscape, they should really go play SXSW or Jazz Fest or the Newport Folk Festival or something.
posted by Sara C. at 11:53 AM on October 25, 2013


I just want to know whether it's a truck selling artisanal donuts, or an artisanal truck selling donuts. Because artisanal trucks are awesome.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:56 AM on October 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Y'know, there's a hell of a good article in the dichotomy of pop culture; nerds vs. hipsters. A nerd is an enthusiast whose enthusiasm is evergreen, a hipster is an enthusiast whose enthusiasm is utterly a slave to a subtle yet brutal socially-enforced sell-by date. I wish I were the guy to write that article. I will say that nerds are a fuckton more lovable.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:56 AM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was a hipster nerd before it was the best. Thing. Evar!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


For godsakes, don't bring "hipster" into this.
posted by josher71 at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


I feel like this music writer was in a band, once. I bet he almost made it and it wasn't his fault they never did.
posted by four panels at 12:01 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dont think it would be possible to bring any more hipster into this!
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on October 25, 2013


George_Spiggott: "There are things which you could mistake for self-parody if only you're able to believe he's self-aware enough for that, e.g. "...where people are too jaded to get excited about anything that’s not a new artisanal donut truck." Fuck, man, that's some gratuitous scrounging for signifiers."

Whenever I get too deep into this sort of thinking I try to construct a nonsense judgment of the same mold in my head, like, man, those Jorbites from across the river sure vibrify their gingslingers a lot, right? I find that this exercise does wonders for my sense of perspective.
posted by invitapriore at 12:02 PM on October 25, 2013


WHO DOESN'T LIKE ARTISANAL DONUTS?
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:03 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've reached an age when I can enjoy a band before, during and after their period of popularity without a hint of irony or guilt. I suspect that makes me the least hip one of all which, in turn, actually makes me the most hip one of all.

Which in turn makes me the least hip one of all again and then the hip cycle devours itself.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:04 PM on October 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Because artisanal trucks are awesome.

India, Indonesia, the Philippines, these are your happy places.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:06 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can't decide whether still liking Arcade Fire makes me old, or just a better person than the dumbasses who hate them now despite loving them a few years ago.

I mean, am I going to buy their new record? Probably not, I'm not a megafan completionist or anything. But Neon Bible is still in my rotation, and I enjoy it whenever it comes on. I'd pay to go see them, especially if it was a secret show at some interesting venue in Brooklyn and I had other friends who wanted to.

I don't know, I feel like most people probably dub me a "hipster" based on appearance or demographics or whatever, but I'm not going to decide I hate something I used to like just because, like, that band later won a Grammy for a different album I didn't like quite as much. And I'll generally see just about anyone I kinda like in concert if the stars align -- it's not really about whether the band is currently at the top of their game. I'll probably see Arcade Fire at a casino in 2032 and enjoy the experience.
posted by Sara C. at 12:09 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


WHO DOESN'T LIKE ARTISANAL DONUTS?

With all that artisanal gluten in them? Are you crazy?
posted by Rangeboy at 12:09 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I will also say that I know some people who were at the show in question, and none of them are under 30, so whatever.)
posted by Sara C. at 12:10 PM on October 25, 2013


Old isn't still liking Arcade Fire. Old is reading "Music Festival Ruined by Arcade Fire" and going "OMG I hope everybody got out okay!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:11 PM on October 25, 2013 [38 favorites]


Does anyone seriously dispute that Rolling Stone coasts on reviews, however? And that they give high ratings to terrible shit just because they are legacy bands?
posted by josher71 at 12:13 PM on October 25, 2013


Ugh - I had to resort to reading wikipedia to learn that CMJ stands for College Media Journal. The company was started by Robert Haber in 1978 as the College Media Journal, a bi-weekly trade magazine aimed at college radio programmers[1] and became CMJ New Music Report in 1982.

What is it with journalists these days?
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:15 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Does anyone seriously dispute that Rolling Stone coasts on reviews, however? And that they give high ratings to terrible shit just because they are legacy bands?

With the exception of actual Rolling Stones albums post-Wyman.
posted by planetesimal at 12:17 PM on October 25, 2013


The two tracks I've heard off the new album were both cocaine disco retreaded so I'm thinking this new album is a shart as well.
posted by Ber at 10:47 AM on October 25


I would favorite this statement 1,000 times if I could.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:17 PM on October 25, 2013


The Butler brothers actually grew up near Houston, so 2/7 of that shit is Texas-sized.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:19 PM on October 25, 2013


Ugh - I had to resort to reading wikipedia to learn that CMJ stands for College Media Journal.

Your comment saved me just in time - I had already looked at the 'About' page for CMJ Marathon as well as CMJ itself and they don't mention it anywhere. I would have thought that would be a fundamental component of About-ness but I'm wrong. It was driving me nuts because I'm usually pretty good at gleaning the components of a TLA from context but this one was leaving me perplexed. I mean I could understand that Arcade Fire wouldn't necessarily be right for the Country Music Jamboree but it didn't take more than a few comments here to realize that it wasn't about country music. The magazine cover someone posted above got me to "oh, it was print at some point so maybe ... uh ... Contemporary Music Journal?" in my head, so at least I got the Journal part.

Now that this mystery is solved I can blissfully return to not caring about who played where and when.
posted by komara at 12:21 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


And that they give high ratings to terrible shit just because they are legacy bands?

I think this is more a function of what Rolling Stone's demographic is. People who go to Rolling Stone for music reviews are people who like "legacy" bands, especially when "legacy" means any band that has mainstream success and is maybe like one or two albums past its hipster cred prime. Reviews should be honest and evaluate the music for what it is, but if the reviewer honestly liked it and thinks her audience will like it, c'est la vie. I haven't heard it, so I can't say if it's shit or whether the review is a travesty of criticism, but meh. Mainstream music rag gonna mainstream, you know?
posted by Sara C. at 12:23 PM on October 25, 2013


What's a CMJ?
posted by koeselitz at 12:24 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the end, probably the worst thing you can say is that, by doing this, Arcade Fire acted in a gauche manner.

CMJ is a marketing event for small bands which they took advantage of when they were a small band. It seems unnecessary to use the same venue to promote yourself when you have your choice of venues and there are tons of small bands who don't have that choice and are just trying to do what you did and replicate your level of success.
posted by josher71 at 12:28 PM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pretty sure it's a jaw condition.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Twenty loonies, same as in the US, depending on the exchange rate.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:28 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's a CMJ?

Chicago Manual of Style, morherfuckers, do you read it?
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:30 PM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


josher71, sounds right to me but that's no way to make money on word count.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:31 PM on October 25, 2013


Chicago Manual of Style, morherfuckers, do you read it?

Yes, I do.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:33 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unlike anyone who writes about CMJ, apparently.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:34 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe the author can find a Girl or Boy Scout to untie the knot in his shorts.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:36 PM on October 25, 2013


Canadians are ruining America!


I do wish they would hurry up about it.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:42 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Re: Canadian-Sized Shit.

Canada's Really Big.

Like "Texas Toast", except it's "Tundra Turd".
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:52 PM on October 25, 2013


And what is a "Canadian-sized shit", anyway?

High as the CN Tower, wide as the Horseshoe falls; cold as a night on Frobisher Bay, and smelling vaguely of maple.

Nobody cares about CMJ, but Arcade Fire played it and they are a band people have heard of so CRISIS ON EARTH-HIPSTER?!?

Tragically hip, even.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Arcade Fire grew up into
Something we could no longer contain

It's boring (boring)
I'm embarrassed (embarrassed of it)
I don't endorse that (slammed in my face)
I didn't want this

CMJ has it politics
Over there that's my roots
And that's my hipster's
And that's my hipster
With something we could no longer contain

It's boring (boring)
I'm embarrassed (embarrassed of it)
I don't endorse that (slammed in my face)
I didn't want this (boring)

It's horrific (boring)
I'm embarrassed (embarrassed of it)
I didn't want that (slammed in my face)
I didn't want this

It's like we burned our roots
With no contingency plan
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:10 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, as we all know, once a band comes out with their breakthrough critically and commercially successful album, nobody genuinely likes anything they put out after that, they're just stuck in some hypnotic decades-long trance and bestowing mindless accolades."

Counterpoint: Rolling Stones, U2, Radiohead, Arcade Fire. It's possible that you and Rolling Stone like the new Rolling Stones album, but that's more a sign of having boring taste in music.
posted by klangklangston at 1:16 PM on October 25, 2013


Counterpoint: Rolling Stones, U2, Radiohead, Arcade Fire.

Arcade Fire's one truly great album came out in 2007. They won a Grammy two years ago. My understanding of their reputation amongst non music snobs is "that weird hipster band that has like 30 members and a triangle and maybe a xylophone?" They're not exactly in U2 territory quite yet.

I mean, I'm not a megafan or anything, but I hardly think "Mainstream publication gives mainstream album good review" is some kind of crisis of rock criticism.
posted by Sara C. at 1:21 PM on October 25, 2013


What's a CMJ?

Canadian Manual of Jerks.
posted by The World Famous at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


card cheat: I'm so out of touch I didn't even know CMJ was still a thing. Back in the '90s I subscribed to the magazine for a few years, even though the mix CD usually contained between 0-5 good songs out of 25

Hell, I worked for CMJ waaaaaaaay back in the early 90s and I still am reminded each year of the Music Marathon's continued existence. Is Bobby Haber still associated with it?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2013


Awesome. Maybe after this album they'll finally go away.
Well, I can dream, can't I?
posted by ReeMonster at 1:26 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I mean, I'm not a megafan or anything, but I hardly think "Mainstream publication gives mainstream album good review" is some kind of crisis of rock criticism."

Even non-music snobs know Arcade Fire. It's hard to win a Grammy without that, and they get covered like they're a tiny indie band still, which is a big annoying. His point is more that they've achieved the level of critical consensus that means their albums will be guaranteed good reviews regardless of how the music sounds. Which is pretty much a habitual complaint about Rolling Stone.
posted by klangklangston at 1:29 PM on October 25, 2013


they get covered like they're a tiny indie band still, which is a big annoying.

That's because their reputation in the non music snob world is "Arcade Who? I don't... are they... hipsters?"

So their brand is "that hipster band", and their PR strategy goes heavy on emphasizing their weird/hipster/indie vibe.

I mean, it's self-conscious in an annoying way. But Tori Amos is still out there pretending she can see into the souls of fourteen year old girls, so whatever. The music business is a business. If Arcade Fire makes their money by selling people on the indie hipster thing, sure.
posted by Sara C. at 1:33 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ugh - I had to resort to reading wikipedia to learn that CMJ stands for College Media Journal...
What is it with journalists these days?


I think he's pretty safe in assuming that the only people who could possibly care about his rant would already know what CMJ is.
posted by straight at 1:46 PM on October 25, 2013


What's a CMJ?

College Music Jackoff
posted by porn in the woods at 1:53 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's a CMJ?

Critical Meltdown, Jiveturkey!
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on October 25, 2013


> Chicago Manual of Style, morherfuckers, do you read it?

Only now and then. It's wrong on so many points.
posted by jfuller at 1:59 PM on October 25, 2013


"Ugh - I had to resort to reading wikipedia to learn that CMJ stands for College Media Journal..."

CMJ doesn't stand for anything anymore; like KFC and MTV, they're now ostensibly just letters.
posted by klangklangston at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2013


Cut-off My Jeans
posted by The World Famous at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2013


(I would prefer if it stood for Chicago Manual of Jive.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's a CMJ?

It's like a BJ with extra CM in.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:02 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cruelly Muddy Jambalaya?
posted by weston at 2:12 PM on October 25, 2013


Crap Music Journalism
posted by The World Famous at 2:12 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Which is pretty much a habitual complaint about Rolling Stone.

This might be the quintessential RS album review.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:13 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Counterpoint: Rolling Stones, U2, Radiohead, Arcade Fire. It's possible that you and Rolling Stone like the new Rolling Stones album, but that's more a sign of having boring taste in music.

Really? That "you've got boring taste" stuff? Boring as can be. For the record, not a Stones or U2 fan myself (not to fault their better work, it's just the shine comes off pretty quickly after something gets ubiquitously overplayed, for me), and I could take or leave some of Arcade Fire and Radiohead's output, but man, there are people who live for bands I find unbearably boring and I'm not about to say their taste is boring just because it isn't my taste. There's no reason to turn "I don't like that" into "ugh, you like that?"
posted by jason_steakums at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are all those dreadful disposable Canadian rock and pop bands given government grants or something? How do they not implode on their own suck?

In Canada it's bad bands, in the States, it's bad politicians.
posted by juiceCake at 2:30 PM on October 25, 2013


CMJ doesn't stand for anything anymore; like KFC and MTV, they're now ostensibly just letters.

It's mysterious!

Seriously, "Band plays CMJ" meant literally nothing to me, and I guess if I don't know what CMJ means, or what it is, the author supposes I don't care. I was primarily mistaken in thinking that the name might have been an acronym for... something, so my Chicago Manual of Style jab was based on the notion that you should spell out an acronym once for the unwashed masses, but if it literally has no meaning, like if I named my band FTG then oh, well.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2013


And my fans could tweet "OMG FTG at CMJ!!1" And the olds would be, like, clueless.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:47 PM on October 25, 2013


What's a CMJ?

Country Music Jamboree. Not too surprising that they didn't care for the Arcade Fire.
posted by sfenders at 2:54 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, Arcade Fire sucks for a different reason, for once.

Maybe they are finally breaking new ground!
posted by lkc at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2013


Commercial Message Jingles
posted by Sys Rq at 3:00 PM on October 25, 2013


I thought everyone already knew what CMJ was, but live and learn.
posted by josher71 at 3:58 PM on October 25, 2013


It's that thing where your jaw come out of joint, right?
posted by The World Famous at 4:18 PM on October 25, 2013


OK, let me see if I have this straight, because ... what?

As far as I can tell from looking into this:

CMJ is a five-day long, all-day festival geared towards little-known bands involving over 1,400 performers at about 80 different venues throughout New York City.

During this festival, a well-known band came to town and played ... two sets. Each of which was 10 songs long.

This ruined the festival.

... What?
posted by kyrademon at 4:41 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I'm not about to say their taste is boring just because it isn't my taste."

Really? Because just a moment ago, you were all, "Really? That "you've got boring taste" stuff? Boring as can be."

But yeah, I'm perfectly comfortable saying that Jann Wenner has boring-ass taste in music, more interested in nostalgia than finding new, exciting or important music. And as Rolling Stone still swings at his tiller, it's a boring magazine for boomers and unfortunate kids unable to locate an internet connection. In the last three decades it has not championed a single new band before they got big. It's a digest of what was cool three years ago at best; their music coverage is essentially as relevant as reading print internet directories from the early 2000s. It's a coagulation of critical circlejerking. But yo, wassup Miley, I guess.

(Weirdly, they're still really good at political reportage. They're often the first to break stories there, and have a solid reputation for treating their writers well.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:42 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't tell me what the poets are doing
Don't tell me that they're talking tough
Don't tell me that they're anti-social
Somehow not anti-social enough, all right
posted by pyramid termite at 4:52 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


"... What?"

So, two things are worth noting:

1) This story was pretty much just to troll folks like the indignant commenters here on MeFi. "Ruined" is hyperbolic.

2) CMJ started as a festival for bands to get exposure on college radio stations, back when "alternative" and "indie" were just called "college rock." It was a fairly narrow industry event, but it tended to be cool because it was a place for college DJs to network and see new bands that hoped to make the jump to playlists.

But over time, college radio has changed a lot, and CMJ (festival/magazine) is part of that. They've gone from a fairly self-contained ecosystem where DJs could play what they wanted to being an explicit part of marketing plans. With that has come a lot more money, but playlists are more homogenous and there's less music discovery going on. CMJ now focuses a lot on not what bands are good and worth hearing, but on how to "break" any band and how to get a lot more exposure for mid-major bands. This trend has been going on, in earnest, since the late '90s, after grunge exploded. Many people peg the first big moment of obvious decline at 9/11/01, since CMJ was scheduled to start right around then, and it fucked a lot of sort of long-standing stabilizing traditions. A combination of CMJ moving away from the folks who had sustained it and into the mainstream, while also making a shit-ton more money, meant that they had different priorities, and that soured a lot of people on it.

It's been over a decade since 9/11 now, and the article posits that CMJ was in a state of decline the entire time, but that the Arcade Fire shows were the culminating event that makes attendance worthless.

It's important to remember, too, that BANDS PAY TO BE AT CMJ. They pay a lot, and it's already not easy to be a band (I don't know if they've waived the showcase fees; even still, people would be paying to transport the band, miss work, whatever). So, if you were paying a lot of money so that you could access a subset of tastemakers with the hope of gaining exposure, and all of the exposure was instead devoted to a band that doesn't need it, that would likely sour you on the experience.

So, yeah, while this is a bit of trolling toward the populist hipster, it's actually part of a larger discussion about how DIY institutions can become a rawer deal for the folks trying to make it. MeFi kinda answered that with a bunch of hurf durf hipster eater, but that's because most people have only a passing knowledge of CMJ outside of a fairly narrow interest group.
posted by klangklangston at 5:13 PM on October 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


klangklangston did my response for me. While I don't necessarily agree with the author's idea that Arcade Fire ruined CMJ (I took that to be deliberately hyperbolic), I do think music journalism and bloggers really flipped their shit a little too much about Arcade Fire playing two "secret" shows when they could have, and in many cases should have, been writing about a lot of the other bands playing there.

I'm on a phone right now so linking things is a slight hassle, but from the article I can say that Pity Sex are an awesome band. They were recently on tour with The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die.

Nothing (see, that wasn't too hard!) are a really great shoe gaze band that toured with Whirr and Deafheaven a while ago, and whose members just started a new band called "Death of Lovers" with some people from Whirr.

I agree with what the author is saying, but not particularly how he said it. I think he has a right to be really upset though.
posted by gucci mane at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2013


Whoops, should have linked to them. Pity Sex
posted by gucci mane at 5:47 PM on October 25, 2013


The Reflektors were on Colbert the other night (he never gave up the joke). I thought they were odd & their music wasn't to my taste. But then the times I've seen them as Arcade Fire on SNL I had about the same opinion. Now that I know they're the same band I feel a little bit cheated. I'd like my time back, please.
posted by scalefree at 5:47 PM on October 25, 2013


I'm still not entirely clear on how another band playing a (small, secret) show somewhere else in town has anything to do with struggling indie bands. I feel for them, but, it's New York City. There is always going to be a bigger event or a hotter ticket going on the same night as your show. There were bigger, hotter shows that night as compared to Arcade Fire, too, I'm sure.
posted by Sara C. at 6:31 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


KlangKlangston, I believe they were referring to the tiresome 'your favourite band sucks' tendency, which is indeed so tiresome it has become a meme here.

You know, some of us don't judge music according to whether or not it was 'cool three years ago' but on whether or not we liked it. And frankly, who cares what Rolling Stone says or does, they are about as relevant to music today, as well, something not particularly relevant to music.

Having listened to the whole album via the link that Popular Ethics posted I liked it. Sure, it's not as strong as Funeral, but what is. Yes, some of the songs have a discoish vibe to them, but so what. Of course I'm also a fan of LCD Soundsystem, so James Murphy producing an Arcade Fire album for me is two great tastes that taste great together. Now if someone can convince LCD, Arcade Fire, and The Knife/Fever Ray to join forces, well that would be some kind of unstoppable Voltronesque musical juggernaut.

And thanks for those who rather than griping about the attention Arcade Fire receives actually took the time to suggest some other interesting Montreal bands.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:53 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh and the song Afterlife of the Album gives me a bit of a New Order Vibe, so let's throw some Peter Hook basslines into to the hypothetical pot!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:58 PM on October 25, 2013


Really? Because just a moment ago, you were all, "Really? That "you've got boring taste" stuff? Boring as can be."

But yeah, I'm perfectly comfortable saying that Jann Wenner has boring-ass taste in music, more interested in nostalgia than finding new, exciting or important music.


And if I said you had boring taste, sure, I'd be a hypocrite, but I didn't. I just said it's boring (as in tedious) to trash someone's taste just because it isn't yours. Jann Wenner positions himself and his magazine as professional tastemakers so whatever, fair game, and honestly, say whatever about bands you don't like and I'll probably agree with you on many of them (though there's a time and place for that, too, else it's just "your favorite band sucks"), but you weren't just talking about Rolling Stone, or just about some bands - you were bagging on people because they like certain bands, which is distinctly a judgment on them and not just on those bands, and yeah, I find that tedious.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:10 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Coulda Made (it in) Jersey,
posted by spitbull at 7:31 PM on October 25, 2013


Sara C.: I'm still not entirely clear on how another band playing a (small, secret) show somewhere else in town has anything to do with struggling indie bands. I feel for them, but, it's New York City. There is always going to be a bigger event or a hotter ticket going on the same night as your show. There were bigger, hotter shows that night as compared to Arcade Fire, too, I'm sure.

The author messed up conveying their point across properly.

It's not just any other band was playing a small, secret show, it's that all the press outlets went nuts over it. It was basically fodder for blogs and big media outlets who are buying into their marketing to post and rave about it, and that's totally fine for the most part! The issue is that those blogs and media outlets could have been putting their energy into promoting smaller bands who are trying to get exposure and breakthrough, which is the point of CMJ. Arcade Fire are gigantic, have won tons of awards, and pretty much everyone outside of that twitter fiasco when they won grammys knows who they are. They don't need anymore exposure, their album is pretty much the most hyped album of the year and it's already destined to win awards.

It's like Spielberg busting out Lincoln at a small film festival.
posted by gucci mane at 7:49 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't tell me what the poets are doing
Don't tell me that they're talking tough
Don't tell me that they're anti-social
Somehow not anti-social enough, all right
posted by pyramid termite at 4:52 PM on October 25


Favorited for being a bad-ass lyric.

Flagged as noise for being Tragically Hip :(
posted by hap_hazard at 8:20 PM on October 25, 2013


The issue is that those blogs and media outlets could have been putting their energy into promoting smaller bands who are trying to get exposure and breakthrough, which is the point of CMJ.

There is pretty much no way in hell that the New York Times was going to cover Perfect Pussy's gig at CMJ, regardless.

Also, I'm sorry, but no matter how hard it is to be a struggling artist, nobody owes you a living. So Arcade Fire plays a surprise secret show in the same city on the same night as your gig, and some journalist your publicist swore would be there ditches you. That's life. There's another gig tomorrow, and another one after that. You get back on the horse and keep playing. Arcade Fire has nothing to do with it.
posted by Sara C. at 8:41 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Arcade Fire's one truly great album came out in 2004, rather. Just the two propelling, climactic handclaps in "Rebellion (Lies)" are better than the entirety of Neon Bible.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 8:49 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which really sums up music snobbishness in a nutshell. Every band's only truly great record is their first record. Any record they do after their moment as The Next Big Hotness is sellout bullshit enjoyed only by rubes.
posted by Sara C. at 8:56 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeasayer's second album is their best.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 PM on October 25, 2013


I'm still not entirely clear on how another band playing a (small, secret) show somewhere else in town has anything to do with struggling indie bands."

First off, it wasn't really a secret show. Everyone knew about it — the NY Times covered it. Second off, bands pay to play the showcase. Going up against the Arcade Fire in the same niche market sucks. I'm not sure what you're not getting about this — do you never get annoyed when a TV show you like can't get renewed because something bigger gets slotted against it?

"You know, some of us don't judge music according to whether or not it was 'cool three years ago' but on whether or not we liked it."

Yeah, yeah. How about, you get to complain about my cliches when you manage to not come up with just as tired a trope in response. I don't care that a band was cool three years ago, except as it implies they're not doing anything cool now.

"Having listened to the whole album via the link that Popular Ethics posted I liked it."

Congrats! Welcome to the middlebrow!

Sure, it's not as strong as Funeral, but what is."

Like, six thousand other albums.

"Now if someone can convince LCD, Arcade Fire, and The Knife/Fever Ray to join forces, well that would be some kind of unstoppable Voltronesque musical juggernaut."

The Knife's latest album is fantastic (also not a debut album). James Murphy is hit and miss as a producer (see: Mosquito, another mediocre, over-hyped record) and Arcade Fire's moving into that same arena anthem rut that U2 has been in for years.

"And if I said you had boring taste, sure, I'd be a hypocrite, but I didn't. I just said it's boring (as in tedious) to trash someone's taste just because it isn't yours."

Not for me, obvs. Tolerate my intolerance.

"which is distinctly a judgment on them and not just on those bands, and yeah, I find that tedious."

So what? I said that if you like that set of bands, you have boring taste. Own it! Somebody's gotta buy the Billy Joel records!
posted by klangklangston at 11:40 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


(And this is why it's fun to troll MeFites on music taste.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 PM on October 25, 2013


Arcade Fire's one truly great album came out in 2004, rather. Just the two propelling, climactic handclaps in "Rebellion (Lies)" are better than the entirety of Neon Bible.

As someone who really likes Arcade Fire and each of their albums (well, still settling in to the new one), I can't entirely disagree. I think Funeral was pretty much a moment that can't be recaptured no matter how good the band is, and they were smart to take a page from Bowie and counter "too good too soon" by branching out rather than trying to rehash it. I mean, I've seen a lot of "coke disco" criticisms of the new album which, whatever, but even if I agreed with that I'd take it any day over having them still trying to recreate their first success 10 years on.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:41 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem isn't that they're changing — that's good. The problem is that they're changing to do things that other bands have already done, and already done better.
posted by klangklangston at 11:55 PM on October 25, 2013


I feel like a freak after reading through this thread. Funeral is by far my least favorite of their albums - I actively disliked it when it came out, and probably wouldn't have given the band another chance if I hadn't somehow wound up with their first EP on my mp3 player and been forced by boredom on a roadtrip into listening to it.

I played the shit out of that EP for the rest of the summer, then I found out they had a new album coming out (Neon Bible) so I picked that up .... over time I've come to enjoy Funeral, but it still doesn't do anything for me compared to the rest of their stuff.

Anyhow. Going to listen to Reflektor for the first time now.
posted by mannequito at 12:22 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Klang, if all you're trying to do is troll people, why here. Why now? Surely you could do better over at the reddits. But I have to say that in anycase I had a bit more respect for you, to be doing this.

Where does the love go? Where does it go?




Oh and Billy Joel is a decent song writer. Other than that he's a moutbreathing shit heal. But maybe people like music for reasons that you don't understand, and maybe you should leave it at that. Please.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:39 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, just to be fucking frank. Yes, I know that it's not the Knife's fucking debut album. Cheers.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:41 AM on October 26, 2013


I always laugh at the image of basketball greats crashing an elementary school game and just wrecking the kids' shit. It never gets old.

Totally true, also sort of the premise of the video to Witness the Fitness by Roots Manuva.
posted by yoHighness at 5:25 AM on October 26, 2013


Second off, bands pay to play the showcase. Going up against the Arcade Fire in the same niche market sucks. I'm not sure what you're not getting about this — do you never get annoyed when a TV show you like can't get renewed because something bigger gets slotted against it?

A couple problems with this.

Firstly, it's my understanding that the secret Arcade Fire shows weren't even part of CMJ. They just happened to be going on the same weekend. Which, well, again, it's New York. There were a hundred things more MSM-worthy than a Perfect Pussy show going on. Perfect Pussy was never going to be the biggest thing in the city that weekend. Not even the biggest thing in music. Probably not even the biggest thing in indie rock (I'm sure other indie bands don't make a point of staying out of NY during CMJ). New York City is just too big for any sort of "how dare you play in the same city as me" complaints. If you want to be the only game in town, go play your big breakout show somewhere else.

Secondly, no, I'm pretty much never mad at a bigger show for coming on the same night as a show I like. If the show I like is good enough to be on TV, well, getting viewers is the name of the game. It's not some other show's fault that my show isn't performing. There is no night of the week where no other TV shows come on. I might be pissed at a network that moves my favorite show to Friday night, but if the show I like comes on Sundays and Breaking Bad also comes on Sundays? That doesn't mean Bryan Cranston is ruining TV.
posted by Sara C. at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Klang, if all you're trying to do is troll people, why here. Why now?"

Because I responded to tired, indignant anti-hipster snark to begin with, and it's funny to watch people get po-faced over it. And now, well, because the first half of the thread was full of that, so why not?

Where is the love? Where did you go?

Oh and Billy Joel is a decent song writer. Other than that he's a moutbreathing shit heal. But maybe people like music for reasons that you don't understand, and maybe you should leave it at that. Please."

I understand the reasons that people like 'em. You're falling into the trap of thinking that people who disagree must not be comprehending properly or they'd agree with your aesthetic judgments.
posted by klangklangston at 11:22 AM on October 26, 2013


"Secondly, no, I'm pretty much never mad at a bigger show for coming on the same night as a show I like. If the show I like is good enough to be on TV, well, getting viewers is the name of the game. It's not some other show's fault that my show isn't performing. There is no night of the week where no other TV shows come on. I might be pissed at a network that moves my favorite show to Friday night, but if the show I like comes on Sundays and Breaking Bad also comes on Sundays? That doesn't mean Bryan Cranston is ruining TV."

Yeah, no, I covered music for far to long to subscribe to a just-world meritocratic fantasy. Having a big show move to your night can ruin the night for the producers of the smaller show.

Firstly, it's my understanding that the secret Arcade Fire shows weren't even part of CMJ.

They were part of the CMJ coverage.

And they're a band that owes their success, in significant part, to their 2004 CMJ show.

"Probably not even the biggest thing in indie rock (I'm sure other indie bands don't make a point of staying out of NY during CMJ)."

Yeah, no, they were easily the biggest indie rock band that night, and arguably the second biggest act at all, after B.B. King. Arcade Fire may even outdraw him.
posted by klangklangston at 11:31 AM on October 26, 2013


You know who played the night before? Pearl Jam. Danzig. The Dismemberment Plan. Air Supply. Did they also ruin CMJ?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:19 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sara C.: There is pretty much no way in hell that the New York Times was going to cover Perfect Pussy's gig at CMJ, regardless.

Also, I'm sorry, but no matter how hard it is to be a struggling artist, nobody owes you a living. So Arcade Fire plays a surprise secret show in the same city on the same night as your gig, and some journalist your publicist swore would be there ditches you. That's life. There's another gig tomorrow, and another one after that. You get back on the horse and keep playing. Arcade Fire has nothing to do with it.


Out of thirteen artists mentioned in the article (and the hundreds that played) you keep only mentioning Perfect Pussy. Here are some others that the author mentioned:

Pity Sex (is this name safe enough for the NYT to write about?)
Greys
ovlov
Deniro Farrar
Nothing
Hookworms

It's also not just about the NYT (because they actually did have write-ups about CMJ), but about a lot of other publications that otherwise would never in a million years cover CMJ. Sure, no one owes anyone a living, and no one is even saying that, and that's not even the point considering that most of these bands will not ever earn a living from doing music like Arcade Fire has. The whole point is to showcase them and get them more exposure, not hand them a multi-million dollar recording contract on a silver platter. It's a dick move. CMJ is small(er) compared to all the other music festivals and is literally for bands to get some more exposure in either art writeups in places like NPR or on blogs that have lots of readers. It's also not as if it was Arcade Fire playing Madison Square Garden or something like that, it was billed and marketed and promoted as a "secret" show by a faux-band, which has been part of their marketing for their album for the past few months. Even at FYF there were fans handed out to people that said "Reflektor" on it before anyone knew it was Arcade Fire. After that, pretty much everyone knew, and FYF is a pretty big festival, so imagine all of the other festivals that went on where that was part of it.

Honestly, I'm not super upset about this like the author is, but I can totally see where they're coming from, I just think they articulated their argument poorly.
posted by gucci mane at 12:19 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, I mean, pretty sure Population of NYC > Capacity of Arcade Fire's Venue
posted by Sys Rq at 12:23 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: You know who played the night before? Pearl Jam. Danzig. The Dismemberment Plan. Air Supply. Did they also ruin CMJ?

No, but none of them have nearly as much hype as Arcade Fire do currently, and AFAIK none of them owe a bit of their success to CMJ. And anyway, three of those bands have been around forever, everyone already knows about Pearl Jam and Danzig, and to a lesser extent The Dismemberment Plan (which would have been awesome to go to). Pearl Jam and Danzig are "has beens", they're old. They're good, but everyone already knows them. Arcade Fire have only been around for about a decade and right now have insane levels of hype. They are really going to drop the biggest, most hyped album of the entire year.
posted by gucci mane at 12:24 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


They are really going to drop the biggest, most hyped album of the entire year.

And that's just what indie music fans love, right?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:25 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, I mean, really, this article is utter bullshit. Instead of whining about how Arcade Fire stole coverage from CMJ, why not, you know, cover CMJ?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:26 PM on October 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's such a ridiculous statement. Of course the population of NYC is larger than the capacity of any venue ever. What's the point of that?

And I don't know, Arcade Fire are only really "indie" in genre only. Even the wikipedia page lists them as "indie rock".

But can any of the other bands that played bust out a gigantic marketing strategy that probably costs thousands of dollars, if not more? Can any of them get a special episode on SNL that has people like Ben Stiller, Bono, Michael Cera, and others do cameos in it, and have 6 million people see it? Are any of those other bands doing the score for an acclaimed director's newest film?

This isn't meant to be a "who is more indie" contest, but by and large almost every band that played CMJ is more "independent" than Arcade Fire is, and that's no contest.
posted by gucci mane at 12:30 PM on October 26, 2013


And to clarify my first statement about genre, I think Arcade Fire is closer to chamber music, but I don't think that classification would make sense to a lot of people. Anyway, I could even be wrong about that, but they have really tight orchestrations, except they're a modern rock band. Hard to classify really.
posted by gucci mane at 12:32 PM on October 26, 2013


This isn't meant to be a "who is more indie" contest, but by and large almost every band that played CMJ is more "independent" than Arcade Fire is, and that's no contest.

That was 100% my exact point.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:35 PM on October 26, 2013


But can any of the other bands that played bust out a gigantic marketing strategy that probably costs thousands of dollars, if not more?

You do get that the entire subject of this entire conversation is marketing strategies, right?

Playing CMJ is part of a band's marketing strategy.

Getting bloggers or journalists or critics or whoever to cover your show over so and so's show is marketing strategy.

You can't really make the argument that Arcade Fire sucks because everything they do is a PR stunt, when, seriously, the entire thing that we are talking about here is a gigantic annual marketing event. The extent to which CMJ isn't paying off for bands should be a lesson for whoever handles the bands' PR about whether CMJ is the best use of their marketing budget. It's not really a conversation about who is indie and who is not indie. Because seriously even showing up at something like CMJ means you're not really that indie.
posted by Sara C. at 12:37 PM on October 26, 2013


(To clarify my point: Arcade Fire may be "indie," but they're very much a known entity at this point. They are the current big thing. That is the exact opposite of what CMJ is about. Despite being on the same day, I don't see them being in direct competition, especially in a city the size of New York.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:43 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sara C.: Playing CMJ is part of a band's marketing strategy.

Getting bloggers or journalists or critics or whoever to cover your show over so and so's show is marketing strategy.

You can't really make the argument that Arcade Fire sucks because everything they do is a PR stunt, when, seriously, the entire thing that we are talking about here is a gigantic annual marketing event. The extent to which CMJ isn't paying off for bands should be a lesson for whoever handles the bands' PR about whether CMJ is the best use of their marketing budget. It's not really a conversation about who is indie and who is not indie. Because seriously even showing up at something like CMJ means you're not really that indie.


I'm not saying Arcade Fire sucks, and I'm not arguing about whether anyone is marketing or not. I know it's "marketing strategy" to play a music fest, insomuch that as a really small band (multitudes smaller than Arcade Fire) you think to yourself "oh, this would be a really good opportunity to get some exposure and maybe get some writeups in so-and-so's blog." It's not anything like you're thinking about in regards to marketing a band, where you have someone go and writeup a months-long strategy and you pay money and you have people design things to build hype and you have appearances on gigantic TV shows and entire half-hour specials for just you with a bunch of famous people on it. That's marketing. A small band such as many of these aren't marketing like that.

And no one is trying to make a point about "who is indie" or not, but a lot of these bands are incredibly, incredibly tiny. It's a showcase for extremely small bands who want to get more exposure than just hustling blog posts and telling their friends to check out their bandcamp or soundcloud. It's a showcase. Arcade Fire doesn't need to showcase.
posted by gucci mane at 12:54 PM on October 26, 2013


I've been trying to figure out why this thread has my back up.

Basically, all of this seems to be predicated on the idea that music, particularly music within a certain genre or scene or whatever, is fundamentally interchangeable. That an Arcade Fire show happening the same time as another, smaller band's show would automatically torpedo their chances at getting an audience, because given two bands an audience will always pick whichever is more popular. Or something?

But like...hmm. I went and clicked through to the Bandcamp pages linked above, and only two-ish of them sounded at all interesting to me, a person who enjoys Arcade Fire. They're just not doing a thing that I'm into. I have walked into shows for bands that I've never heard of and walked out with copies of all of their albums, so it's not just a matter of familiarity -- there's stuff I dig and there's stuff I don't, and I have to assume that's true of most other folks as well.

I agree that it's too bad that various media outlets are covering the Arcade Fire show instead of smaller bands, but that's not a problem with Arcade Fire and its marketing campaign. That's a problem with media journalism just...across the board, honestly. Very few people are actually interested in digging for brand new, undiscovered talent and helping it get more attention because most readers are more interested in having their existing tastes and interests validated. The fight for eyeballs and click-throughs means that most of the time, journalists are just piling more coverage on the people who least need it. It's like that in comics, it's like that in books, it's like that in movies, I'm sure it's like that in music.

Besides, digging through the media slush pile is hard and takes a huge amount of time! And if you feel like no one wants to read about Awesome Obscure Band anyway, why bother?

The people who want to find new music are going to go and find new music, regardless of what the New York Times or whoever is saying either way.

So I don't know, maybe it was tacky that Arcade Fire did a show during CMJ. But I'm not sure how much of a difference it really made.

If anything, it probably helped -- heck, here I am in this thread, clicking through folks' bandcamps that I would never have otherwise heard of.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:00 PM on October 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


If this was all going on in a situation where there's one major festival going on in a smaller city where said festival dominates all local, regional, and possibly even national media coming out of that city for the duration of the festival, I could see the outrage.

Like if this happened at the Newport Folk Festival, for example. A lot of up and coming folk/roots artists play there, and it's their one chance during any given year to get any press outside of their tiny little scene. Aside from that city and that weekend, there is really no room in the mainstream media to even talk about folk/bluegrass/roots music. So, sure, if the Zac Brown Band shows up in Newport that same weekend (technically not part of the festival but obviously riding its coattails) and carpetbombs the place with promotional bullshit about their new album, that's shitty.

But seriously what we're actually talking about is a band playing in the cultural capital of the US the same week as a festival that is not even the main thing going on, culturally, in that city on the relevant weekend. I don't really follow how some other indie band RUINED LIFE for your indie band by playing a show the same day you played a show. Especially when probably 500 other bands also played a show that night, and you're not mad at any of those guys.
posted by Sara C. at 1:05 PM on October 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


"The extent to which CMJ isn't paying off for bands should be a lesson for whoever handles the bands' PR about whether CMJ is the best use of their marketing budget."

Why yes, it's almost like Arcade Fire undermined that marketing investment for other bands. Why, one might even say that Arcade Fire ruined the investment in CMJ for them. Or, we could just say, "ruined CMJ," I mean, if we were given to being colloquial.
posted by klangklangston at 2:05 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or it's almost as if the promotion of CMJ is woefully inadequate. (If indeed anything can actually be said to have been "ruined" at all.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:25 PM on October 26, 2013


As others mentioned, there's a decent argument buried underneath all of this, the article just went about things in a poor way. Arcade Fire themselves shouldn't be blamed, if that's what's happening; this should be an indictment of the music press, and its propensity to cover the stuff that has HYPE! and LOOK! written in gold sparkly letters over the less glamorous work of burgeoning talent trying to make a name and get recognized. I think there's two primary reasons I value music journalism: the first is to examine and discuss art and to continue a conversation about it, and the second is to point attention at stuff that otherwise would've been ignored, and argue for its inclusion in the growing canon of stuff worth paying attention to. It seems more and more like the big names in journalism are no longer interested in the second part, because it doesn't get enough eyeballs or page clicks. Indeed, it's well-known by now that the only way to make a name for yourself as an indie band is to play "the game" by appearing mysterious and elusive, creating an alluring narrative around yourself, and otherwise creating hype that's wholly independent of actual music quality or talent. There's a critique of both modern blog hype and major press coverage that needs to be made, and unfortunately not many people are making it right now. I feel like this article writer has his head in the right place, he just needs to think about who is to blame and why.
posted by naju at 2:26 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Arcade Fire may be "indie," but they're very much a known entity at this point. They are the current big thing.

Among 20-40something indie rock hipster types (among whom you can count my sloppy, beardy ass), yes, they are definitely a big thing. There actually are enough of us to make their recordings and ancillary touring/merch/stuff successful. But I'm under no delusion that even a million Arcade Fire fans even begin to approach the hundreds of millions of teen and adult-contemporary pop fans who are being targeted by basically every other facet of the recording and media industries. As far as pretty much everyone outside of the indie-rock bubble is concerned, the Arcade Fire barely exists.

The idea that a band has to be vanishingly obscure in order to have any kind of indie cred is one of the most poisonous and self-defeating things about post-punk music fandom. You can't have a working counter-culture that exists in a hermetically-sealed demimonde -- it has to actually confront and charge against the vast wall of stupid that makes up the mainstream culture, and I for one applaud Arcade Fire for making the attempt.

Fuck CMJ. Fuck them in their elitist earholes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:06 PM on October 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Indie culture IS mainstream culture now. It's nowhere near the bubble it used to be; it's just youth culture, period. I'm seriously not aware of anyone under the age of 30 who hasn't heard of Arcade Fire.
posted by naju at 3:19 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


But what counts as "mainstream culture" now is pretty splintery compared to even what it would have been 10 or 15 years ago. I guarantee you, even a moderately-charting teen pop song will absolutely wipe the floor with the most popular indie rock song, in terms of overall cultural penetration. Arcade Fire is simply the exception that proves the rule; They may rule the collegiate smarty-pants demographic, but I'll still lay you odds that if you took a survey outside of your average midwestern high school, you'd only find one or two Arcade Fire fans out of every hundred kids. If it ain't on Top 40 radio, it barely exists in relation to everything else.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:37 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Suburbs, the previous album from Arcade Fire, peaked on the charts as #1 and is a certified gold record.
posted by klangklangston at 5:05 PM on October 26, 2013


The Suburbs, the previous album from Arcade Fire, peaked on the charts as #1 and is a certified gold record.

That means, what? It sold half a million copies? I think that 300-some albums get certified gold each year (327 in 2001), but I'm having trouble finding recent statistics.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:33 PM on October 26, 2013


765,000 approx.
posted by klangklangston at 9:55 PM on October 26, 2013


If anything, it probably helped -- heck, here I am in this thread, clicking through folks' bandcamps that I would never have otherwise heard of.

It helped because this guy wrote an article about how much he thought it sucked. So, yes, but in a very, very, indirect manner.
posted by josher71 at 8:05 AM on October 27, 2013


Indie culture IS mainstream culture now. It's nowhere near the bubble it used to be; it's just youth culture, period. I'm seriously not aware of anyone under the age of 30 who hasn't heard of Arcade Fire.

I just asked my son, who's 8, to name all the singers he could think of. He said "Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson." I asked him "haven't you also heard of Carly Rae Jepsen" and he said "oh yeah Call Me Maybe." I truly think that's mainstream culture or at least mainstream youth culture. "Call Me Maybe" (the single) sold more than 7 million copies in the US.
posted by escabeche at 5:43 PM on October 27, 2013


He said "Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson."

"We said if he don't know Mojo Nixon then your son could use some fixin."
posted by komara at 6:27 PM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK, I guess I meant people in their late teens or twenties, sheesh.
posted by naju at 7:46 PM on October 27, 2013


Nthing the fact that, outside of 20-40 year old white middle class urbanites, Arcade Fire is not that well known.

When they won their Grammy, it was actually noteworthy how generally unknown they were. I think there was a New York Post headline like "Arcade Who?" or some other smug pun on the notion that some band nobody had even heard of won Best New Artist or Record Of The Year or whatever it was they won. I remember (non-hipster) people I knew being sort of upset about it, even.

Which is part of the reason I'm sort of rooting for them here and can't really bring myself to hate them. Top 40 fans hate them because they play weirdo hipster music. Indie snobs hate them because they've been together for more than half an hour. I kinda feel for them.
posted by Sara C. at 8:09 PM on October 27, 2013


I think a reasonably good comparison is R.E.M. around the time Document comes out. Document sold a lot of copies, more than a million, but in my high school was certainly something some people had heard of but most had not. DC101 (hard rock) didn't play R.E.M. and neither did WAVA (top 40.) CMJ-type people had been following R.E.M. for years by that point, of course.

I think it probably would have got up people's noses a bit if R.E.M. had shown up to play in Austin during the second SXSW but not as part of SXSW. But I don't really know. It was a long time ago.
posted by escabeche at 8:19 PM on October 27, 2013


I think SXSW is a different beast, though, because it's really the only game in town. If you're playing Austin in March, you're competing with SXSW showcases and depending on the situation that could be douchey.

Again, on any given night there are probably 1000 musical performances happening somewhere in New York City. Any night of the year. It is pretty much impossible for Band X to genuinely steal Band Y's thunder. I mean, Arcade Fire would have had to show up at Cake Shop, heckle a CMJ band off the stage, and literally hijack their set in order to "ruin" CMJ. Playing a gig in the same city is not really a threat, because there are probably 50 headlining musical acts playing New York on any given weekend.
posted by Sara C. at 8:37 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Other notable non-CMJ shows the same nights as Arcade Fire's secret shows included Pearl Jam, Peaches, Janelle Monae at the Apollo, The English Beat, Danzig, and The Dismemberment Plan.

There were also plenty of not-unknown bands playing CMJ. Interesting that nobody is accusing Eleanor Friedberger, The Head And The Heart, or Islands of "ruining CMJ".
posted by Sara C. at 8:55 PM on October 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Nthing the fact that, outside of 20-40 year old white middle class urbanites, Arcade Fire is not that well known. "

Yeah, yeah, and outside of 20-40 year old white middle class urbanites, the New York Times is not that well read.

I think SXSW is a different beast, though, because it's really the only game in town. If you're playing Austin in March, you're competing with SXSW showcases and depending on the situation that could be douchey. "

SXSW is a much larger event within the music world than CMJ is. And has been at least since 9/11. That's part of what "ruined" means.

Interesting that nobody is accusing Eleanor Friedberger, The Head And The Heart, or Islands of "ruining CMJ"."

Did any of those bands get huge due to CMJ then win a Grammy?
posted by klangklangston at 10:30 PM on October 27, 2013


It's a lucky thing Lou Reed didn't die a week earlier, or he'd be getting excoriated for stealing press coverage from CMJ. The man even had the gall to release an album called New York.

Reflektor is great. Also great: The Suburbs, Neon Bible, Funeral, the Arcade Fire EP, and that set of 2001 demos floating around online.
posted by rory at 5:51 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


four panels: "I feel like this music writer was in a band, once. I bet he almost made it and it wasn't his fault they never did."

Once I got lucky, I had a band
We had a song, it got to number three

posted by Chrysostom at 10:10 AM on October 28, 2013


The writer is Dan Ozzi; he writes Jaded Punk. I can pretty much guarantee that he blamed no one for his success or lack thereof.
posted by klangklangston at 5:01 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Burn Notice Season 2
posted by josher71 at 7:52 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Burn Notice Season 2

I thought about gathering up a list of links to all the reviews I've been reading over the past few days of being totally and utterly obsessed with this album, but half of them are as annoying as this. A year from now they're all going to look as ridiculous as any number of Christgau's old C- reviews of now-classic albums.

This is a fantastic album. Every one of its 13 tracks is an instant classic, which for me is a higher strike-rate than their first couple of albums. I wouldn't shave off a single second of the supposed excess that the critics have been bagging: not the side-two reproduction of that odd little noise from old tapes (instant nostalgia), not the hypnotic outro of "Supersymmetry", and now that I've finally figured out how to rip it, not even the pregap hidden track on the first CD (although that's the appropriate place to put it).

As for this reviewer's dig at the lyrics of "We Exist", hasn't he bothered to look at the lyrics booklet? The "we" is so obviously not the band. And other reviewers, stop calling that track "cocaine disco", or you're going to encourage a whole new generation to start snorting the stuff.
posted by rory at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and:

when co-vocalist Regine Chassagne materializes to play Butler’s vocal foil, she toggles between cheerleadery English and breathy French, because — ooh-la-la — it wraps these bland songs in a thin cloak of cosmopolitan sophistication.

Native French-speaker dares to sing a few lyrics in French! Breathily, yet! Ce qui est elle, Canadienne? All right-thinking musicians sing heartily in good, honest American.

Let me guess: the Jonathan Ross sample wraps "You Already Know" in a thin cloak of sexual repression and bad dentistry, because he's English.
posted by rory at 9:59 AM on October 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


And when co-vocalist Regine Chassagne materializes to play Butler’s vocal foil, she toggles between cheerleadery English and breathy French, because — ooh-la-la — it wraps these bland songs in a thin cloak of cosmopolitan sophistication.

Wow, that is some staggering douchebaggery right there. THEY ARE FROM MONTREAL!

But make no mistake, Pitchfork loves it, gave it a 9.2, and it will undoubtedly be in their top 3 albums of the year, for whatever that is worth.
posted by Theta States at 10:02 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, that review can fuck right off in slagging Regine Chassagne for singing in fucking French. She's a Francophone and as far as I'm concerned, it couldn't hurt anyone by actually listening to a few lyrics that are not in goddamn English. Despite all the hate and hype lobbed at Arcade Fire, I find the switch between two langauges refreshing.
posted by Kitteh at 10:10 AM on October 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


One listen isn't enough to fully absorb it, but wow, this is a really powerful, capital G Great album. The 2nd LP in particular.
posted by naju at 10:54 PM on October 29, 2013


Win has got more David Byrne in his voice than I noticed before, but after this album I'm noticing it on their older stuff too.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:59 AM on October 30, 2013




This may seem weird coming from me, but I'm just really tired of everything being dance music. Dance music can be dance music. That's fine - and good. But everything else needs to be whatever it is and not try to ape dance music. Because dance music is really hard to do right - even when you've got James Murphy on your team as a ringer.
posted by The World Famous at 12:11 PM on October 30, 2013


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