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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #545 (Vol. 11, No. 36). This edition is for the week of August 30--September 5, 2010.

"Machete"  by Michael Smith
She Flies!  by William Moriaty
Album of the Month, August- The Arcade Fire: The Suburbs  by Terence Nuzum
Forgotten Films: Little Fugitive  by ED Tucker
Sukiyaki Western Django  by Jason Fetters
Passing On .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

The Audio Philes by Terence Nuzum

Album of the Month, August- The Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

Album of the Month Arcade Fire: The Suburbs.  This one is a slow burner. But eventually it will win you over big time. Arcade Fire have switched from their usual chorally lo-fi rock and embrace new wave and 80's college rock. Reckoning era REM meets Japanese Whispers era Cure to be exact with just a dash of Death In June melancholy. In a way that's the only cons of this album. I say this because before you could hear the whole band at work (keep in mind this is a band of seven people), where as The Suburbs mostly sounds like a Win Butler and Régine Chassagne husband wife solo outing. But the music fits the lyrical themes which is the most effective pros of this album. Though they are mysteriously vague, for the most part the album is about how now in 2010 most of us are becoming aware that what was once societies norms will soon be long forgotten. That styles,art and history of the 1930's and even the 1970's are being put to rest by the twitter age much like the Victorian and old west ethos was put to rest by the Atomic Age and the baby boomers. Butler puts this best in such simples lyrics as "when all of the walls built in the 70's finally fall and when all of the houses built in the 70's finally fall.....meant nothing at all?" and "they keep erasing all the streets we grew up in".
Sample of "We Used To Wait" by Arcade Fire
Much like Radiohead's Kid A there is a reluctance to accept technology at the expense of humanity and individuality but unlike Kid A there isn't a fear but instead a somber defeat to such lyrics as "we used to write letters.it may seem strange how we used to wait for letters to arrive. But what's stranger still is how something so small can keep you alive" and "now our lives are changing fast. hope that something pure can last". There is also jibes at the current indie music scene and the emptiness of teenage music fans in the snobby Pitchfork age "lets go downtown and watch the modern kids.they seem wild but they are so tame, moving towards you with their colors all the same". Whether Arcade Fire realize it or not the fact that their album went number one the week it came out in a musical climate saturated with Katy Perry's and bad emo metal bands is hope enough that maybe something is changing for the betterment of our eardrums.

Sufjan Stevens: All The Delighted People E.P..  
Last year Sufjan claimed he was abandoning his 50 State Project (albums based around all the States), admitted it was a publicity stunt, and claimed he was done doing albums. His last project was B.Q.E. a short film accompanied by music. This he had said was his future. While that sounds cool it must also have been a "publicity stunt" because here we have a new E.P. and and announcement of a new album in October. This is a good thing because the music on this EP might be the best he's created. There is the usual gospel tinged Folk songs but most are book ended by 8 minute and 11 minute musical collages that are like funk meets folk meets Pink Floyd. Well at least Brian Wilson. In fact think Smile and a more sophisticated version of what Weezer did on the song "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived". If the new album is going to sound half this good then welcome back Sufjan and forgive him for never getting to his Florida album!

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust.  
I am a pretty decent sized Los Lobos fan. Not quite huge but pretty loyal. As a fan I can say this album is more of the Tex Mex and blues roots perfection that they have been cranking out for years. Objectivley though I admit it's nothing new. Gone are the days when they would experiment aparently, like on Kiko. Fans will like it though and it shows that they are comfortable in the roots rock role and trying to perfect the craft like a seasoned bluesmen. They do experiment slightly in that the album feels more loose than usual almost like a jam band. And perhaps they are trying to enter the jam band scene and secure a slot at Bonnaroo. They couldn't do any worse than having Robert Hunter as lyricist on some tracks. He simply has lost his ability to write engaging rhymes. Rosas too is a disappointment on recent albums. He used to be the member that you could count on to fire up the blues rock. But on the last several albums he has been reduced to writing the Mariachi numbers that have been forced on every album to where now it feels comical. In the old days they sprinkled them in but now the Mexican songs sound uninspired and simply put there to keep the La Bamba era fans happy. To put it simply if you are a fan theres alot to enjoy but if you aren't, then now some 26 years later, you still are gonna wonder what's the all big fuss about Los Lobos.

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "The Audio Philes" is ©2010 by Terence Nuzum.   All graphics (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.