Lollapalooza: The Schedule is Out!

The Schedule for the 20-year Anniversary of Lollapalooza (June 5-7) is out. Based upon what I heard the day that the initial lineup was release, reactions today will be undoubtedly mixed. On one hand, there are some real titans amongst the headliners (Eminem, My Morning Jacket, Coldplay, Muse, and Foo Fighters). On the other hand, the bands that fall just below headliner status mostly lack the sort of buzz we’ve seen in years past. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on some of the bands to check out. Continue reading

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The Best Albums of 2010

1.  Arcade Fire: The Suburbs [Merge/Mercury]

Arcade Fire’s third and most recent release The Suburbs will change your life.  Well ok, it won’t change your life, nor will it solve world hunger.  But it is a damn fine album.

This Montreal outfit found lightning in a bottle on their full-length debut Funeral. They then managed to deliver on the promise of their impressive debut, with the sublime Neon Bible. With two great albums under their belt, there was much anticipation for album number three.   Boy did they deliver.   Indeed, The Suburbs is wonderful meditation on, well suburban life.  Brothers Win and William Butler grew up in Suburban Houston, so The Suburbs is in some ways an homage to that life.

While Arcade Fire does cover some of the same ground as previous albums, there are a few wrinkles.  Producer Markus Dravis (Coldplay, Brian Eno) returns, this time helping the band tweak their sound with more of an 80′s influence.  To wit, the heavily synthed track “Sprawl II” sounds like it came straight out of Mamma Mia.  Then there are others like the standout post-punk rocker “Month of May,” which serves as a welcome counter punch to more mellow tunes like “Modern Man,” which could easily pass for an Allan Parson’s B-side.  In the end, The Suburbs is a collection of music that succeeds in establishing Arcade Fire as one of the preeminent musical acts of the day.

Prime Cuts: The Suburbs, City with no Children, We Used to Wait

 

Prime Cuts: The Suburbs, City with no Children, We Used to Wait

The Greatest Albums of the 2000s

XYCoverBig#13.  Coldplay- X&Y (2005): 2002’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” set what many perceived to be the high water mark for this English band.  Making a shift from some of the cutesy themes (see Yellow) of their breakout album “Parachutes,” the gents opted to follow a more serious tone.  But the band wasn’t done.  With X&Y the message is go big or go home.  X&Y is Coldplay’s magnum opus, in part because it evokes some of the bigger moments of bands like U2 and Radiohead, with whom they are often compared.  Tracks like “Square One,” and “Low” recall some of U2s more epic songs, while evoking the guitar-oriented sound of “The Bends” era Radiohead.  No doubt X&Y is Coldplay’s most concise album.  Some of the bigger moments on the album fit perfectly alongside more subdued tracks like “Swallowed by the Sea” and “Twisted Logic.” The irony of X&Y is that it’s biggest hit- “Speed of Sound” – or Clocks Part IIis no less its least ambitious.

Personally, it took me a while to get into this album, which makes it a curious choice for my list.  Nevertheless, most of the albums that I find myself enjoying the most are the ones that took the longest to sink in.

Faves: Square One, Low, The Hardest Part, Swallowed by the Sea