Paul Carr: This is a big, bold statement of intent from Arcade Fire. There is a clear and admirable desire for the band not to spend too long in the same space and to mine their DNA to reinvigorate themselves. The big synths and angular new wave of early ‘80s the Cure sound fresh and like nothing the band has done before. Despite the retro stylings, the subject matter is refreshingly current as the group deal with the quest for personal validation from family, friends, and strangers, the anxieties of negative body image and the relentless pursuit of fame at the expense of everything else. The band cleverly offer a metaphorical panacea for all of these ills in the form of Creature comfort. Something to numb the pain. This is a song that leaves you anything but anesthetized. [9/10]
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Paul Carr: Mogwai provide a perfectly measured lesson in song pacing. The song slowly dawns as a meditative crawl of chiming guitar notes echo and glide before gradually being joined by restrained drumming and a rumbling bass line. It’s an evocative opening as the music gradually lets the breaks off and gathers pace. As the song threatens to become something transcendental, the graceful whisper becomes a howl as the turbulence of instrumentation cracks to ensure it climaxes with maximum effect. [8/10]
Tristan Kneschke: Last year’s Post Pop Depression was a revelation, with tracks like “Break Into Your Heart” and “Gardenia” reminding us that Iggy could actually sing. Though Iggy has lent his gruff voice to productions since White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine”, Post Pop still seemed like a gamble to see how far he could stretch himself vocally. He clearly likes the direction, digging into the feeling again on “The Pure and the Damned”, an unlikely but exciting joint effort with Oneohtrix Point Never. The track is essentially a duet between Ig and a spare, somber piano recalling later Johnny Cash until tasteful string and synth elements bleed through the edges. The result is majestic and awe-inspiring. Why can’t more collaborations turn out like this? [9/10]
Larry David’s essential comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm returns to HBO on October 1st. The show has been sorely missed. Cast favorites Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman and JB Smoove return along with others.
Brooklyn-based roots musician Anthony D’Amato and his band recently performed an acoustic set at the Rubin Museum to celebrate the release of his latest EP, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a set of seven original and cover songs (proceeds from sales will support the International Rescue Committee). It was inspired, of course, by the current President.