The Sounds of Summer

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The Sounds of Summer

A buddy of mine recently proclaimed the 2010 releases by Arcade Fire and The National as the soundtracks of this stiflingly difficult year. Facing economic, environmental, social, and political crises at every turn, we may very well need to lean on a “dour opus” now and then. I know I do. However, there are also some new CDs out that offer glimmers of not so much hope, but of satisfaction, in various forms.

Arcade Fire (totally ripped this review from because I couldn't write it better)
“On The Suburbs, the mezzo-fortes are meted out sparingly. Instead, the bulk of the record operates at a steady chug, Win Butler trading his pained skyward yowl for low, earthbound moan. If past outings had a tendency to overstate their existential agony, what strikes most about The Suburbs is its protracted sense of sadness. It's remarkable to hear a band that focused so much of their early career on epiphany now be equally consumed by the lack thereof. The record goes on, but Butler and Chassagne never get any closer to the exit.”

The National (see above)
“They don't engender indifference; instead, they cleanly divide those who've heard them into two camps — those who pledge rabid devotion and those who are baffled by their success. In a way, that's because the National can be subtle to the point of being almost undetectable, and anything short of deep, focused listening is going to render their success a particularly curious mystery. The reasons people grow obsessed with this band have less to do with hooks and choruses as it does emotional resonance — the ability to see themselves in the band's lonesome, loping music. Fortunately, the group still excels at deep-focus song construction, and High Violet is packed with moments of masterful craftsmanship and devastating beauty.”

Crowded House
Here's one of the afore-mentioned flickers of light. Few pop music craftsmen can match Neil Finn's talent, especially not on his best days. While Intriguer lacks an instant classic along the lines of “Weather with You” or “Don't Dream It's Over,” this is yet another solid offering from one of my favorite bands of all time. No, they don't have the prolific consistency, indie cred, or chart-topping success of U2, Radiohead, or Coldplay; but every time Crowded House goes into the studio, magical musical goodness emerges. If Tori Amos can't be friends with those who don't believe

Comments [4]

FrostBitTit's picture

Road Trip Playlist!

Can't wait to download these - long road trip planned for this weekend - the perfect time to listen to The National; Crowded House and Indigo Girls.

Thanks Kelly!

Kelly McCartney's picture


Safe travels up there.

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword

Conlite's picture

I want all these CDs. Today I

I want all these CDs.

Today I especially want the Indigo Girls one so I can play it very loudly with all the windows open to celebrate the anti-Prop 8 decision!

Kelly's new profile photo is also very cool.

Kelly McCartney's picture

Loud and proud, baby!

Loud and proud, baby!

Won't you be my neighbor? @theKELword