I'm back - did you miss me? We had an extended run of guest blogs - first up all six guest blogs from the Right This Blog! series, that's one week and a "wild card". And then I added in another guest post, just yesterday, because James Robinson had a music topic in mind and a Kickstarter campaign to plug.
And so - after a week and a half - I'm back. A bit of a treat to have a holiday. But I've been fairly busy with my time off. I've got a regular weekly slot playing records up at Motel Bar - Thursday nights (here's last week's set list) and I'll be there this week again. On Thursday and on Saturday. Outside of that I've been keeping things ticking over at Off The Tracks and this weekend just been there were a couple of good gigs to check out including a really great showing from M. Ward; nice to have him back, his 2013 show every bit as good as his 2007 one, or close enough anyway.
I've found lots of great new music to rave about including the new Flaming Lips EP (their second essential release of 2013 - here's the other one).
But I couldn't rave about the new Arcade Fire album, Reflektor.
Have you heard this? Are you a fan? I can't hear any songs on it. There aren't any songs there. It's almost profoundly unfunky and it feels grey and humourless. I've been baffled by the group's success before - most vocally with their last album, The Suburbs.
I sounded off about that when I had a weekly spot on Radio Active's Friday Breakfast show. A bit of fun to trash albums and think of creative ways to destroy them on air - but I was genuinely intrigued by the fan-devotion with Arcade Fire and the level of smugness around that album (The Suburbs) in particular. People called it a concept album, they gushed about the writing.
It all just sounded like anything else Arcade Fire has tried to serve up - Bad Talking Heads. Actually, Bad Talking Heads would be a better name for the band.
I don't get the hype around them, I don't get the fascination, to me it's dull-as-dishwater, an almost blatant non-music.
And look at that, a week and a half off and I'm already spent; not match-fit. Out of touch. I want to leave it there - if you want to defend these eminent hipsters then go to it. If you want to read my review of a really great book called Eminent Hipsters you can do that instead. I'd hate you to think I was always negative. (Well of course I would hate it; silly choice of words...)
Anyway, nice to be back - was kinda getting used to the holiday. Thanks to those who submitted guest blogs and held down the fort for me. Another topic for today: what did you think of this round of guest blogs?
Now here's that Arcade Fire review.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.