Steve Horowitz: Does anyone even like arena rock anymore, or is it just one of the holdovers from the ‘60s that we have to put up with. Sure, I don’t think groups as popular as My Morning Jacket could play a series of small clubs without causing havoc, but the lack of intimacy at such shows reveals they are as barren as the mountain and desert landscapes of the video. The song itself seems meant for big shows. It’s anthemic, repetitive, and non-threatening. Let’s all put our hands up in the air and let the drummer take us away. The beat is catchy enough. Who knows what “Compound Fracture” really concerns, but one needs the broken bones as much as one needs another hole in the head. [6/10]
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Best of Enemies is a fascinating film about brilliant people behaving stupidly. It would be reassuring in a way to think that in the distant past, there was a time when American intellectuals could duke it out on the public stage before a mass audience held rapt by the sight and sound of ideas being wrestled into coherent form. We know such things don’t happen anymore. How many Americans can even name two intellectuals to have such a debate?
Timothy Gabriele: I’m a sucker for some indie pop MOR. This one’s got just the slightest glint of twee in its plinky chorus that makes it a hair shy of precious, but it’s bouncy and catchy enough to forgive this. “Ready to Shine” is a bit of a misnomer. This track doesn’t belong 20 feet away from the back porch and the wine coolers, but situated there safely guarded from youthful energy or the righteous violence against a cruel and hurtful world it’ll do just fine in the lowlight. [6/10]
Part Cub, part Helium, Richmond, Virginia band Positive No evoke mid-1990s indie rock beautifully on their debut album Glossa, which came out earlier this summer. Their music is already plenty charming, but their whimsical new video for the song “Weird Hugs” makes it all impossible to dislike.