Let me muse a little further on this. If my memory strikes me correctly, the first “Arcade Fire” was actually an oddly named Canadian outift called The New Pornographers. Back in the year 2000 Pitchfork sang the praises of an obscure little CD called Mass Romantic (8.4) like nobody’s business. Thanks no doubt to the interest generated by the Pitchfork review, the NP’s went on to make more records, tour extensively, and arguably, achieve greater fame and recognition in the US than The Tragically Hip, Canada’s perennial favorite band. Not bad for what would have most likely remained a one-off side project for Carl Newman and friends. Now let me move the time machine to early 2003, New Pornographers mania has subsided and the time is ripe for Toronto collective Broken Social Scene to bask in the reflective Pitchfork glow of their exceptionally reviewed, You Forgot It In People (9.2). Well, as you may recall, the BSS spotlight burned bright, and it burned fast (personally I thought it was a one song record). By mid-2003 another New Pornographers record had dropped and BSS were yesterday’s reviews, so to speak. The Electric Version met with nodding approval (8.1) from the folks at The Fork and they were back selling out shows on the road with Neko in tow. Now fast forward to 2004, A.C. Newman has gone solo, and our boys couldn’t be more excited (8.8). A sold out concert at the Bowery Ballroom is followed up by an appearance on the short lived McEnroe chat show and a new king had been crowned, or so it seemed. But as you know, all of this was really a prelude to the real shit hitting the fan, and that my friends, was of course, Funeral by the (real) Arcade Fire, a 9.7 was attached and all hell broke loose. Two sold out shows at the Bowery (one CMJ), plus another show at Irving Plaza (with David Byrne) and then you know, madness, mayhem, famous fans. Now there have been a few challengers who have tried to knock the mighty Arcade Fire off their throne, who are they, you ask? Well, there is the boring, but fawned over Stars, with two solid 8.4’s they continue to climb the ladder, the BSS offshoot Leslie Feist, whose 8.1 solo debut did nothing for me, the (so-called) Apostle of Hustle (also of BSS) whose 7.7 I have yet to get my hands on, and Black Mountain (Stephen McBean of Vancouver, BC) who has managed to float below the radar despite his impressive 8.3 debut. What’s left, who will be the next
Apprentice Arcade Fire? My bet is Wolf Parade, it’s a solid record, they are from Montreal (which seems to be in fashion these days), and the release date is next Tuesday, brace yourself.
PS I do have to give an honorable mention to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who for a few moments, were the next Arcade Fire, before the Fashion Rocks and Summerstage gigs, that is . If you ask me, it’s also a one song record.