Last December, I was so busy downloading stuff left and right that I never got a chance to listen to it all. During the last two weeks, I finally burned the last 40+ albums I downloaded to CD and have finally just begun to listen to the music.
Smack in the middle of full albums by Hugo Winterhalter and Menudo (watch for those reviews soon) was this little Internet gem of a find from a band whose existence is largely due to the Internet itself.
Arcade Fire hails from Montreal and formed in early 2004. Utilizing a massive amount of instruments (including harp, viola, cello, xylophone, even accordian!), they recorded an EP that they sold at their first live gigs (known to fans of Arcade Fire as the "Us Kids Know" EP).
They went on to record their first album Funeral around this time and got a small label to distribute the album. Music critics praised the band, word of mouth amongst their fans was aided by the Internet, and David Bowie was so impressed he asked to record with them! Their album quickly sold half a million copies in both the UK and Canada, getting more radio airplay, and causing them to jump from clubs to stadiums in less than one year!
Around one year ago, Arcade Fire appeared on the Canadian version of Time Magazine, hailing them as "Canada's Most Intriguing Band". They have continued to tour and even made inroads into the United States by appearing on "The Late Show with David Letterman" followed by a Central Park concert in NYC.
This holiday EP was recorded at a Christmas party in 2001 with several members of the band playing Christmas standards "The Christmas Song", "O Holy Night", and "Jingle Bell Rock", parodying the band's unique style of playing and having a lot of fun in the process. The fourth track is entitled "A Very Arcade Xmas" which is nothing more than an eight minute jam of those assembled. It very much reminded me of the Beatles' "What's The New Mary Jane?" in style and sound.
It's been reported that the band is very unhappy that this EP made it to the Internet because 1.) only half of the current band played on the tracks 2.) it doesn't represent their work of the present.
Since I knew nothing about this band before I reviewed this EP, I will definitely give their FULL album a listen and hope in the future they release a FULL Christmas album as well.
On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...