Well, besides the fact this blog celebrates the Independent Ethos in music and occasionally film, it should come as no surprise to read my endorsement for Arcade Fire‘s Grammy win for album of the year. They are the only truly independent band on an independent label (Merge Records) to win the honor.

I had not planned to write about the Grammys at all, as it usually celebrates the contrived dreck that is pop music: from rock to disco. But the voters got my attention this morning.

Arcade Fire deserved the win for many reasons, and to those who call them “upsets” to crap like the music of Lady Antebelum, Lady Gaga and such: get some culture. They are true musicians making creative music with real instruments. Their energy live is unmatched and forgoes the distracting trappings of theatrics. Their music is creative while strongly rooted in rock (especially the progressive kind). Hence they have fans that span the ages from the current hipster youths, to respectable rock elders like David Bowie and Peter Gabriel.

So good for them. The Suburbs is a great album, as seen in my top 10 albums of 2010. OK, so it was not a personal fave of the year, as the exuberance of first hearing Arcade Fire via Funeral is a tough act to follow, but Arcade Fire are good enough to only measure against themselves. It’s all downhill from here. 😉

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2011 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Late yesterday, the Associated Press reported that none other than Terry Gilliam would direct a live webcast of Arcade Fire’s performance at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The date is set for Aug. 5, just two days after the official release of the Canadian band’s new album, The Suburbs, hits indie shops where you buy vinyl.

I’ve selected an image of the band that seems to reflect an aesthetic in stage design that might unite the two creative forces of music and film respectively. I must note that I do not believe Gilliam has topped himself since his 1995 movie 12 Monkeys, though I have yet to see his latest work The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, but I heard no buzz beyond “Heather Ledger’s final performance” that would hint at its superiority over Monkeys.

Still, I continue have high regard for the director who also brought the dystopian sci-fi masterpiece Brazil to the big screen, back in 1985. I continue to hope that he will once again find his way to coherence while maintaining his fantastical relevance. Who knows, it might just come through at Arcade Fire’s concert, scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. at the MSG and on YouTube. But, most likely, the showmanship of Arcade Fire’s passionate musicians could drown out any panache Gilliam might lend to the spectacle.

We’ll have to tune in to YouTube next Thursday to see. YouTube has the channel ready and all done up nice with videos and a contest to see the band in person, that night! Check it out and subscribe to it by visiting here.

Hopefully, Arcade Fire will eventually book a show down in South Florida, so us in the ‘burbs of Kendall and surrounding areas can check them out. It’s a very scant list of dates so far.

But one last thing to note that looks hopeful for the new album, of which I have heard four songs already, is an image of all the tracks on individual slabs of vinyl. Here’s what the opening number and title track looks like (check out their website for all the tracks on vinyl):

(Copyright 2010 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)