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Arcade Fire & Opinions on Battles

Arcade Fire is in the studio to perform live and talk about their rise from small indie band to chart-topping Grammy winners.

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Music News

Sad news this week: Carl Gardner, the heart and soul of The Coasters, died at age 83. The Coasters were one of the great R&B bands of the '50s and '60s with songs like "Yakety Yak" and "Charlie Brown." Songwriters Lieber and Stoller counted them as their favorite collaborators. To honor Gardner, Jim and Greg play "Young Blood."

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Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire has had quite a trajectory. First they were a group of anthemic art rockers from Montreal. Then they released Funeral, a successful first effort on Merge Records, followed by Neon Bible, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Chart. They were invited to open for U2 and their latest release The Suburbs won the top prize at last year's Grammy Awards. Jim and Greg spoke to Régine Chassagne and Will Butler a couple of years ago, and now we've managed to fit all seven musicians into our studio for a memorable live performance. They also talk to Will and bandmate Richard Parry about the“shock and awe”of winning a Grammy, performing during the Wrigley Field seventh inning stretch and why folks still wonder, "Who the F is Arcade Fire?"

reviewGloss Drop (Bonus Track Version)Gloss Drop available on iTunes

Battles Gloss Drop

Battles really wowed indie rock audiences with their 2007 release Mirrored. Now the experimental rock group is back with Gloss Drop. They are down a lead singer, Tyondai Braxton, but up a few guest vocalists. Greg notes that a lot of the terms used to describe Battles don't do the band any justice. "Math Rock," "New Prog Rock," and others don't indicate the sense of joy and play infused in their sound. He thought that the loss of Braxton would be a heavy blow, but now they are using vocals as just another layer and texture and it really works. Greg says Buy It. Jim, however, does miss Braxton. Nothing on Gloss Drop is as good as "Atlas." The instrumental tracks are quite strong, but the songs featuring vocal cameos by the likes of Gary Numan don't work for Jim. He says Burn It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. The Coasters, Down in Mexico, The Coasters, Atco, 1958
  2. The Coasters, Young Blood, The Coasters, Atco, 1958
  3. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs, The Suburbs, Merge, 2010
  4. Arcade Fire, Rebellion (Lies), Funeral, Merge, 2004
  5. Arcade Fire, Modern Man, The Suburbs, Merge, 2010
  6. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible, Neon Bible, Merge, 2007
  7. Arcade Fire, Sprawl II, The Suburbs, Merge, 2010 Live on Sound Opinions
  8. Arcade Fire, We Used to Wait, The Suburbs, Merge, 2010 Live on Sound Opinions
  9. Arcade Fire, Wake Up, Funeral, Merge, 2004
  10. Arcade Fire, Ready to Start, The Suburbs, Merge, 2010
  11. Battles, Africastle, Gloss Drop, Warp Records, 2011
  12. Battles, Ice Cream, Gloss Drop, Warp Records, 2011
  13. Battles, Atlas, Mirrored, Warp Records, 2007
  14. Zapp, Doo Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing), Zapp II, Warner Brothers, 1982
  15. The Pretenders, The Phone Call, Pretenders, Sire, 1980
  16. Jenny and Johnny, Big Wave, I'm Having Fun Now, Warner Brothers, 2010
  17. Bob Dylan, Lone Pilgrim, World Gone Wrong, Columbia, 1993
  18. Mike + the Mechanics, The Living Years, The Living Years, Atlantic, 1988

Footnotes

nytimes.com Carl Gardener Obit arcadefire.com Arcade Fire soundopinions.org Jim and Greg's conversation with Régine and Win of Arcade Fire bttls.com Battles