Waking Life: A Music Mix For August 2017

Photo: Alex Cameron press photo
Alex Cameron

In case you missed it, the new Arcade Fire album, "Everything Now," finally came out. That's a reason for celebration for many, but not for the reason that might be assumed. It seems there are some for whom the excitement is less about the arrival of the band's fifth album and more about the assumed end of that album's release campaign.

In an era of marketing run-ups memorable mostly for their indulgence and shameless novelty, the Arcade Fire's latest was overwrought at best and resorted to presumably unintentional trolling of their own fans at worst. It's been a fairly unfocused mix of fact and fiction, including the band's employment with the Everything Now Corp., a fake record review, the apparently fake filing of lawsuits surrounding the phenomenon known as "The Millennial Whoop," and the whole concert dress code debacle. Remember when an artist could just resort to simulated vandalism on national TV and call it good?

Look, I don't really blame Arcade Fire. They're just playing the industry's big dumb game and attempting to mock it at the same time. Fine, but I prefer the music without all of the surrounding noise. Two-hundred words in I finally get to say that "Everything Now" is just fine and not at all worthy of the pre-hate its campaign managed to generate.

"Electric Blue," the cut included among the 35 in this month's Waking Life playlist (listen below!) is another gem fronted by Régine Chassagne, bringing to mind past successes like "Haiti" and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)."

But what I really want to rave about is My New Current Favorite Song Ever™: Alex Cameron's "Candy May." The Australian intrigued us with last year's "Jumping The Shark" and the rising star vibe he brought to Larimer Lounge in March. This first taste of his upcoming "Forced Witness" shows that intrigue was valid. The song is angsty and laid back, fresh and classic. He's got no concerts our way scheduled yet, but you shouldn't miss it when it happens.

These may be summer's dog days, but it feels more like wolf to me, not without reason. Also here are the returns of two of our favorite Wolf bands: Wolf Parade and Wolf Alice. Wolf Parade delivers heartfelt gold from their first full-length in seven years ("Cry Cry Cry," out Oct. 6), a song called "Valley Boy." Spencer Krug fronts the song and has said he wrote it in response to the death of Leonard Cohen last November.

Wolf Alice, meanwhile, returns Sept. 29 with "Visions Of A Life," the follow-up to its 2015 debut. "Don't Delete the Kisses" is breezy, catchy and more to the pop end of the band's spectrum.

So much more here worth your listening time and excitement! New Belle & Sebastian, Lambchop, Cut Copy, The National and Deer Tick, as far as the tried and true; as well as music from hotly-anticipated debuts out soon from Mondo Cozmo and Rostam; and some guy who has the audacity to call himself The Imposter covering Paul Simon (psst....it's Elvis Costello).

Dig in and may it help you squeeze all you can from your summertime waking life! Listen on shuffle.