My history with Vampire Weekend is as follows. Really loved A-Punk off their s/t debut and subsequently the rest of the album. Slowly grew tired of it after being hearing all the time – commercials, dinner parties, radio, etc. I couldn’t escape them. Was really looking forward to their sophomore effort but was nervous if they could pull it off. The sophomore effort always seems to be the toughest. Well, Contra didn’t really do it for me. I tried a few times but that album had zero staying power with me.
The release of Modern Vampires was met by a shrug of my shoulders. But I will say this, the first four tunes on this album is about as good a start as you’re going to get. Modern Bicycle > Unbelievers > Step > Diane Young are all fantastic. The orchestral pop of Step is probably my favorite which is odd as that is usually not my cup of tea. The rest of the album loses steam for me but those four tracks are so good that you get your money’s worth.
I dismissed this album when it came out as I hadn’t really dug their last effort and I was busy with some other stuff. My buddy Mike told me to give it a few spins and then get back to him. Seemed like the least I could do for a pal. Well, thankfully I did as Like Clockwork is one of my favorite albums of 2013. There was a great article by Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker about the band moving back to the independent label scene (Matador) after 10 years of slugging it out on the major labels (Interscope). I’d link to it but you need to be a subscriber to read it. Its worth hunting down.
…Like Clockwork is one of those albums that makes liking hard rock fun for me. I find most of the stuff that comes down the pipeline doesn’t really strike me as anything different. …Like Clockwork is so varied and creative; it is the best hard rock album I can remember in some time. Check out the video below for an hour plus concert at KCRW.
For those who didn’t see my advertisement on Twitter, I have decided to end the year with some perfunctory (SAT word) reviews of some of the bigger albums this year. There have been plenty of reviews written on them and the world doesn’t really need another but frankly, I am out of shit to write at year’s end. Plus work and family is keeping me busy.
First up is Arcade Fire’s follow up to the Grammy winning The Suburbs. I’ll start off with something nice. I think it is cool that after winning the Grammy, they completely switched gears and released an 8 minute epic disco-rock jam as opposed to a radio-friendly 4 minute rock tune. So kudos to them for that. That fact that they don’t play by the rules is to be applauded (not that I think Merge would ever put restraints on them).
That being said, I have listened to this album a few times and I can’t really get into it. There are parts I like but overall the album seems way too long and way too heavy-handed and what they are trying to do (bracing for Hipster Ass-kicking). There are times when I am listening to it that I forget what I am listening to as I it doesn’t hold my attention.
Now I am far from the biggest Arcade Fire fan. I have grown to like Funeral. Don’t really like Neon Bible. Really liked The Suburbs. Don’t really like Reflektor. This review by Stephen Hyden does a good job of summing up my feelings. Let me know what you are thinking in the comments below.
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Stephen Hyden is here.
After receiving a few messages asking why we only cut one video from the recent J. Roddy session, I got my act together and finished editing the second one. Here’s “Take It As It Comes”. You’ll find it in the body of the original J. Roddy Walston and The Business Live Session #119 post as well.