Riff Report: Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga and Black Crowes
The Riff Report
By Sarah Zupko
Indie superstars Arcade Fire give us their heavily anticipated third album, a record inspired thematically by frontman Win Butler’s years growing up in the suburbs of Houston. The BBC likened it to the Montreal band’s “OK Computer,” while NME slapped a 9 out of 10 on it, calling it Arcade Fire’s “Automatic for the People.” With hype comparing them to alt-rock gods like Radiohead and R.E.M., look for this release to move major units.
“Spot the Difference”
Since 1974, English pop maestros Squeeze have been serving up three-minute slices of heaven drawn from the pens of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, who have often been tagged with the heady label of the heirs of Lennon and McCartney. The band has gone through a few break-ups along the way, but since 2007 they’ve been back in the saddle touring. With a long tour this summer and fall, “Spot the Difference” offers recorded versions of many Squeeze classics and is meant to accompany the tour.
Other notable releases this week:
» Black Crowes — “Croweology”
» Buckcherry — “All Night Long”
» Bun B — “Trill O.G.”
» Dr. John — “Tribal”
» El-P — “Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3”
» Gaelic Storm — “Cabbage”
» Gov’t Mule — “Mulennium”
» jj — “jj n: 2”
» Lady Gaga — “The Remix”
» Los Lobos — “Tin Can Trust”
» Katie Melua — “The House”
» The Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band — “Where the Messengers Meet”
» Secondhand Serenade — “Hear Me Now”
» Shapes and Sizes — “Candle to Your Eyes”
» Wavves — “King of the Beach”
Best Music on TV This Week
» “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC): Flo Rida (T), The Black Crowes (W), Saving Abel (Th).
» “Late Show with David Letterman” (CBS): Herbie Hancock (T), The Dead Weather (W), VV Brown (Th).
» “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (NBC): The Black Crowes (T), K’naan (W), Plain White T’s (Th).
» “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (NBC): Spoon (T), Mike Posner (W).
» “Last Call with Carson Daly” (NBC): Black Lips (T), Keane (W), Doves (Th), Los Campesinos! (F).
» “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Muse (Sa).
» “Austin City Limits” (PBS): Steve Earle / Kris Kristofferson (Sa).
Jamaica is “Short & Entertaining”
French duo Jamaica, formerly Poney Poney, have just released the video for their latest single “Short & Entertaining.” Brimming with feverish stop-start guitars and breezy fuzz-pop melodies, the track is a three-minute, foot-stomping statement of intent. If that wasn’t enough, as a bonus for thrash metal/French pop crossover fans, the video features a cameo from founding member of Sepultura, Igor Cavalera. “Short & Entertaining” will be released on Aug. 16 through Co-op Music, with their debut album “No Problem” (produced by one half of Justice) coming a week later. — Tom Fenwick (http://vimeo.com/13458228)
Robert Randolph and the Family Band — “Traveling Shoes”
T Bone Burnett’s influence behind the boards is felt immediately, with Marcus Randolph’s drums pounding, bone-dry and big. It’s a stellar track with a sweltering groove — most importantly, it does exactly what the album aspires to: it merges the ancient and the current, proving the road hasn’t changed a bit. The inspired “No, no, no, no / No, no, no” chant sounds like the blues incarnate, and Randolph’s whirring pedal steel is the voice of a heart full of pain filtered through an instrument. — Ryan Reed (http://vimeo.com/13277126)
Dan Mangan — “Nice Nice Very Nice”
Released to much acclaim in Canada last year and recently nominated alongside such indie luminaries as Broken Social Scene, Caribou and Owen Pallett, for the country’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize (with the winner of the $20,000 prize to be announced Sept. 20), singer-songwriter Dan Mangan’s second album “Nice Nice Very Nice” is finally getting a wider release via Arts & Crafts on Aug. 24. “Road Regrets” is typical of Mangan’s brand of hard melodic folk-rock and further proof that the increasing attention coming his way lately is well deserved. — Jer Fairall (http://tinyurl.com/yd8sdea)
The Charlatans — “Who We Touch”
Veteran UK indie survivors the Charlatans are set to release “Who We Touch,” their 11th studio album. Produced by Youth, the Killing Joke bassist who works with Paul McCartney on McCartney’s Fireman projects, the album hits the UK on Sept. 6 and North America on the 14th. The band has also announced a North American tour, its first in four years. Here are the dates and the video for the Charlatans’ new single, “Love Is Ending.” — John Bergstrom (http://tinyurl.com/27rlxe3)
Alex Winston — “Choice Notes”
Detroit’s Alex Winston may live in the indie world of the Arcade Fire, Lykke Li and Feist in terms of immediate musical compatriots, but Winston also is a classically trained opera singer. That’s immediately obvious from her expansive vocal range, as well as her expertise with subtle shadings and textures, all contained within a seemingly simple little pop ditty. Winston is releasing the single “Choice Notes” — so perfectly titled — as a double A-side limited edition 7-inch with “Medicine.” If you like what you hear, head on over to Heavy Roc Music, which is offering up “The Basement EP” as a free download in exchange for your e-mail address. — Sarah Zupko (http://tinyurl.com/2ach9l3)
Danielle Ate the Sandwich — “Where the Good Ones Go”
Just a girl and her ukulele, Denver singer-songwriter Danielle Ate the Sandwich (aka Danielle Anderson) has been generating support for her third album, “Two Bedroom Apartment” through YouTube. A sonic wedding between Joni Mitchell and Death Cab for Cutie, Danielle’s earnest lyrics and clear, beautiful soprano voice are a staple of her repertoire — as are kicky arrangements on originals and unexpected covers. Although she flies solo on YouTube renditions of her songs, on “Two Bedroom Apartment,” Danielle is backed by a talented group of musicians. Apparently, the YouTube buzz has been paying off as Danielle Ate the Sandwich will be playing the Mile High Festival’s Wolf Stage in August along with the likes of Weezer and Train. — Lana Cooper (http://tinyurl.com/23oxqor and http://tinyurl.com/2b68uop)
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