Line(s) of the Day #HereComesTheNightTime

Arcade Fire Reflektor album

When you look in the sky, just try looking inside
God knows what you might find

Taken from the song Here Comes The Night Time by Arcade Fire from their fourth studio album Reflektor (2013). The album was a huge success and among other achievements topped the chart both sides of the Atlantic.  I’m a huge fan of the Canadian artists and saw the Reflektor tour in 2014, which you can see a review of here.

Reviews and Other Features: Explosions in the Sky

selfie

sis and I

Last week I went with my sister to see a band I’d wanted to see for quite some time, Explosions in the Sky.  I’ve been a fan ever since I heard their third album The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place, which just blew my mind. It really was one of the best things I’ve ever heard. So when tickets became available in November last year I just had to go and see them. I’ve been fortunate to see great performances from artists such as Depeche Mode,  Coldplay, U2 and Duran Duran, and this was right up there. Like with Arcade Fire, I just had to write about the experience and share my photos.

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Things to See: Arcade Fire, Earls Court

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As regular readers will know, I’ve been a huge fan of Canadian band Arcade Fire for a while (here, here and here) so getting to see them live at Earls Court was a dream experience. I’ve already displayed one photograph but wanted to give a bit more detail of such a fantastic night. My thanks to my lovely girlfriend Madeleine who took such wonderful photographs.

arcade fire fans

bright shot of arcade fire on stage

purple and red

I’d never been to Earls Court for music before, so I had no idea what the sound was like. The warm up acts of Owen Pallett and a DJ set by Pulp’s Steve Mackey were never going to distract from the main part of the evening, and as soon as the gloriously bass-heavy title track of Reflektor started, the crowd erupted. Their third song Power Out was my favourite, and really helped maintain the energy of the fans. A great single in its own, and the band’s first ever release, the electric sound reverberated around the arena. Other highlights included Lies, Ready to Start, The Suburbs, Sprawl II (Mountains move Mountains) and Tunnels.

win butler on stage

win butler with fans

While they never played Keep the Car Running, one of their best songs, an odd choice as they played weaker material on the night, the set list was largely a pretty good mix. Earls Court is not the music-friendly arena, and as lead singer Win Butler points out, will soon be demolished for flats, but that only added to the sense of being closer to the band.

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disco man awesome suit

echo and the bunnymen arcade fire

But it’s never just the music. Other highlights of the night were the great lighting that had a fantastic array of colours, a mirrorball-suited dancing man, the lights being lowered from the ceiling for dance track We Exist and an appearance from Echo and the Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch for a cover of their song The Cutter. The closing encore song of Wake Up was a delightfully long, anthemic way to leave things.

arcade fire awesome gig

Gr8at – Best Songs of 2013

Pompeii

It’s not just any band that is asked to play their debut song at The British Museum as part of its opening of a new exhibition. But then not just any band writes songs about the effect that the volcano Mount Vesuvius’ eruption had on the island of Pompeii. Just failing to top the UK charts, its Gregorian style background chanting and lead singer Dan Smith’s poetic voice continues to charm me every time I hear it.

Blurred Lines

With a video featuring three fawning scantily-clad ladies (and naked in the other version) and non-feminist lyrics causing a backlash, it is still an incredibly catchy song. A glorious bassline and a beat you just can’t stay sat down to, it became a worldwide smash and the year’s biggest selling single.

get Lucky

Daft Punk’s repertoire is filled with fantastic riffs so its no surprise that linking up with funky musician and Chic band member Nile Rodgers, and musician/producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams has yielded such a great song.

Counting StarsLately I been, I been losing sleep / Dreaming about the things that we could be. The opening lines of this One Republic gem could be a daydreamer’s mantra, and wonderfully sets the scene for a guy determined to more with his life. It also merges with the hypnotic melody that plays at different speeds to an amazing effect.

Young and BeautifulI can’t claim to be a big fan of the film, but I really do like this song. It’s haunting vocals, it’s melancholy, sombre tone and reflective lyrics that wonder what will be left when the glamour and beauty has faded away, are a wondrous joy.

RoyalsFor the New Zealand singer-songwriter fascinated with the aristocracy, the song and topic were a natural fit. Lorde’s lyrical admiration, envy and interpretation of what it must be like to be part of royalty helps make this one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. A huge future beckons.

The ReflektorsThey really are one of the best bands around, and have been one of my favorites since their debut release Funeral nearly a decade ago. No surprise then, that their debut song from their fourth album should be so mesmeric. The shortened single release is good, but the extended 7 minute 34 second edit really shows off the song in its glory.

FallingThe back end of 2012 showed how talented this new musical trio are, with the releases of ‘Forever’ and ‘Don’t Save Me’. Haim’s third single is an echoic delight of hypnotic musical sound, and seems to transport you into the California hills where the video was set.

Line(s) of the Day #ArcadeFire

Sprawl II

These days, my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim towards the surface.
‘Cause on the surface the city lights shine
They’re calling at me, “come and find your kind!”

Taken from the song Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire (2011)

Gr8 – Debut Albums

Debut albums, the first to come out, often the benchmark for all others. Here are eight that can’t be forgotten, no matter what came after for their bands.

The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses

From the gradual opening beats of ‘I Wanna be Adored’ that build to join in perfect synchronicity, it’s clear you are listening to something very, very, special. The indie alchemy glides on with favourites such as ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Made of Stone’ making an appearance before ending with guitar-riff classic ‘I am the Resurrection’. The initial brilliance of this exceptional album couldn’t last of course, and things got very messy with a less than enthusiastic response to the band’s second album from the critics and long break before their comeback tour. Still, they achieved more with the 11 songs debuted here than most bands do in a lifetime.

Funeral by Arcade Fire

Arcade-Fire - Funeral

Think Canadian music and Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams and Barenaked Ladies will come to mind. Luckily our Canadian friends also have a band in a different stratosphere of cool who emerged with the astonishing ‘Funeral’, the morbid title coming from a set of untimely deaths of relatives whilst making the album. Definitely a classic – sombre, evocative, pensive and quite brilliant.

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Detruction

Guns n' Roses - Appetite for DestructionStill the biggest selling debut album in the US with 18m copies sold stateside, and even now it remains bursting with attitude. Hell-raising tunes like ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’, ‘Night Train’ and ‘My Michelle’ reflect the chaotic craziness of the life of the LA band growing up in the city, on the road and with old friends. There’s even a traditional ballad ‘November Rain’ to show just much talent Axl, Slash and co had to spare before they imploded.

Grace by Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley- GraceUS drama and reality TV has done all it could to try and erode the poignant beauty of Hallelujah, but this is an album that rises above. Causing barely a ripple when it was first released in 1994, its true class has lasted to grow, Shawshank Redemption like through the musical ages, outlasting Buckley’s untimely death. If you don’t feel a shiver as opening track Mojo Pin begins, your soul needs resuscitating.

The Doors by The Doors

The Doors - The DoorsStill maybe the coolest band ever. Released in early 1967, Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore (and no bass player!) showcased the talent that had made them stand out from their compatriots when performing as the house band at Whiskey A Go Go. With long keyboard solos, mystical lyrics, oedipal spoken word sections and references to getting high, this is an album that had a bit of everything.

The Velvet Underground and Nico by The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet UndergroundIf books shouldn’t get judged by their covers, then seminal albums like this one sure should allowed to be. For an album that explores drug addiction and S&M, that iconic banana, as thought up by everyone’s favourite Andy Warhol, put a cherry on top of an astonishing work of fearless musical art. As if the album could be any more unique, opening track Sunday Morning even uses a celesta as the leading instrument.

Boston by Boston

Boston by BostonIt’s just as well no one can count how many times we’ve played air guitar to More than a Feeling, but then these guitar-based rockers (from you’ve guessed it, Boston) certainly had magical dimensions right from the start. Selling over 20 million copies worldwide, and with highlights including ‘Peace of Mind’ and ‘Smokin’, it certainly made us wish frontman and all round talent Tom Schulz had given us guitar lessons.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of DawnThis is the album that seemingly defined and redefined the musical psychedelic movement, as Syd Barrett’s kaleidoscopic odyssey stays on the awesome side of creative brilliance. Who knows how Pink Floyd would have ended up if mental disintegration hadn’t forced Barrett to leave, but either way with song titles like ‘Lucifer Sam’, ‘The Gnome’ and ‘The Scacecrow’, he more than left his legacy on this one.