Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Well, I’ve been waiting for this to a while. And I absolutely love it. I think with James Murphy on board it’ll be really interesting to see what the album’s like. Even though it sounds like Arcade Fire singing an LCD Soundsystem cover, in fact more like half that and half Metronomy, and after a few listens I’ve lost that and just think it’s an absolutely stonking record. It’s good that they are happy to go with James Murphy’s direction and not feel that have to make Suburbs II. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the stuff for the new album. Every one’s been a bit of a change so far, after all.

I didn’t warm to the Suburbs at first, but I actually love it as much as all their other work. It’s got this slight feeling of decay to it, in that it’s actually much more subtle than you think at first, and while it’s a bit long, there are some incredible songs on it. But each album’s been a progression. Funeral sounded like nothing I’d ever heard, then Black Mirror was this bleak treatise on the world, capitalism (but beautifully melodic) and then The Suburbs moved them into middle America, capturing this ennui and post-crash boredom and decay. I can’t wait to hear what the new one is like. They are – like them or not – brilliant musicians, and understand they need to change, and this is mouthwatering. I’m sure they won’t just make a bunch of disco-fied Arcade Fire tracks, I’m sure there’s a few tricks up their sleeve.

SEPTEMBER – AM by Arctic Monkeys

So brothers, here we are in September. The summer’s gone, the days are growing shorter, and we’re at a bit of a landmark for me, one that I’m happy to admit that proves that, however slowly, a leopard can change its spots. Since they first came onto the scene all those years ago, I wanted to like the Arctic Monkeys, in fact being from Sheffield (I spent 3 fantastic years there in the 90s at university) and young, brash, singing interesting, sly lyrics in an unashamed regional accent, I should’ve loved them. But I didn’t. And I’m willing to admit that some large part of that was the tidal wave of obsequious press coverage, as if the Beatles were reincarnated in Crookes. The NME were a lot of the problem, and I tend to push back everything they launch (ironic, as three of my good friends now were writing for them at the time). See also Amy Winehouse, Jake Bugg, in fact take your pick.

So, what’s changed? Me, and probably them a bit. Not, I’ll laugh, on my behalf. I’ve liked a lot of what they’ve done, and they’re one of these bands that, if you played a ‘greatest hits’, I’d know most of it. They’ve grown on me for all the reasons that I should have  liked them in the first place. But I think the turner for me (pardon the pun) was Glastonbury. And no, I didn’t even see them, but I’d heard they were amazing. When I got back I watched their set, and pretty much watched it all the way through, and it was a bit of a revelation. Here’s a band that are so far moved on from their early days, so confident, and owning one of the most revered arenas in music. They’re unbelievably tight, and Alex Turner’s really the finished article as a frontman, in a very English way.

I’d heard the new single – Do I Wanna Know – on 6Music, many times, and also You Only Call Me When You’re High, and really liked both, and snippets of other tracks and I haven’t heard anything I’ve not liked. So I’m willing to sit here, and confess to you, my brothers, that I like the Arctic Monkeys. So there. And I’m looking forward to digesting the album.

I hope you like this too.

The Mercury

So brothers, 

An intersting year for nominations for the mercury. A bit more commercial than other years. I like that Jon Hopkins has been included as it’s my stand out album of the last 12 months for sure. With that I’m not sure about my thoughts on Bowie being the odds on favorite to win. 

 

This year’s shortlist is:

Arctic Monkeys: AM
David Bowie: The Next Day
Disclosure: Settle
Foals: Holy Fire
Jake Bugg: Jake Bugg
James Blake: Overgrown
Jon Hopkins: Immunity
Laura Marling: Once I Was an Eagle
Laura Mvula: Sing to the Moon
Rudimental: Home
Savages: Silence Yourself
Villagers: Awayland