Continuing with a look back at the week in music, this column will focus on what a single author (Sean Phipps, that’s me) has been listening to this week.
Please keep me in the know as to your favorite songs in the comments section.
A substantial Spotify playlist is at the bottom of the article.
Here are some highlights:
Arcade Fire, "Reflektor"
"Reflektor," an album from Arcade Fire, is easily the most anticipated release of the week, possibly of the year. The amount of hype involved with this record was intense. Here’s what some of the critics are saying now that they’ve had a chance to listen: Rolling Stone calls the album a "turning point," comparing "Reflektor" to Radiohead’s "Kid A" and U2’s "Achtung Baby." They skirt the line, according to the magazine, of "an established commercial appeal." In other words, Arcade Fire has the ability to be both interesting and still maintain that "indie" sensibility, like the kid in high school who was equally at home with the theater nerds and football players. Arcade Fire, since 2004’s "Funeral," has spent their career doing their own thing, both musically and artistically. I tend to agree with The Quietus in that "'Reflektor' feels shorter and better-paced than 'The Suburbs,'" the band’s 2010 release. It’s also, in my opinion, a more interesting album to dig into. Songs like "Here Comes the Night Time" are as catchy as anything the band has done. "Normal Person" and "Porno" are also early standouts for me. On the flipside, the album also includes a sprawling, 11-minute-plus ambient tune called "Supersymmetry," which lets us know Arcade Fire is more than a ridiculously good David Bowie cover band. I’ve been a fan since 2004—after seeing an incredible performance in Atlanta—and I’m still a fan. This album will make many a year-end top list.
Here are some other songs I’ve really been enjoying this week.
Domotic, "Unexpected Sad Letter"
"Lacreme #1" is the name of a compilation album from Creaminal, a company that has been advising film directors and creatives in their musical choices for more than 10 years. This compilation, the first of its kind, is designed to "combine musical treasures and be released twice a year in various formats." Artists include Visuals, Joel Jerome, Kirk Spencer, Jungle and a band called Domotic from Paris. What a great concept and song.
Andrew Hozier-Byrne, "Take Me to Church"
A voice reminiscent of Antony Johnson, Irish singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne sings of being a "pagan of the good time" and "something meaty for the main course" before hitting one of the best choruses of the year in "Take Me to Church." His first EP was released in July. Check it out.
Lyla Foy, "Left to Wonder"
Formerly just WALL, British songwriter Lyla Foy decided she didn’t need to hide behind anything other than her name anymore. Plus, "Lyla Foy" is just about perfect for a moniker. This song, called "Left to Wonder" from her album "Shoestring," evokes such an emotional response upon first listen. I can’t wait to check out more from Foy.
The Velvet Underground, "Ride into the Sun"
There aren’t words to describe what Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground have done for me. At the very least—not taking into account all of the amazing music—Reed was singularly responsible for introducing me to the Warhol "girls" through his song "Walk on the Wild Side." I haven’t been the same since. Rest in peace, good sir.
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