Latest News: arcade fire

Available Now: Vitamin String Quartet Performs The Hunger Games

By 15

Although the post-apocalyptic setting of The Hunger Games presents a rather bleek mind-set, the dramatically sweeping soundtrack is a rich cushion of melodies from some of the most talented artists. Vitamin String Quartet pays tribute to District 12 with lush string arrangements of original songs by Arcade Fire, Taylor Swift and more.

Tracklist:

1. One Engine (String Quartet Tribute to The Decemberists) 2. AbrahamÂ’s Daughter (String Quartet Tribute to Arcade Fire) 3. Eyes Open (String Quartet Tribute to Taylor Swift) 4. Tomorrow Will be Kinder (String Quartet Tribute to The Secret Sisters) 5. The Ruler and The Killer (String Quartet Tribute to Kid Cudi) 6. Nothing to Remember (String Quartet Tribute to Neko Case) 7. Safe and Sound (String Quartet Tribute to Taylor Swift)

Available now at iTunes

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Is Rock & Roll Dying? A Response to Patrick Carney

By 18

If you've been in a long supermarket line recently, you've probably seen the leather jacketed members of The Black Keys gracing the cover of this month's issue of Rolling Stone. You may even be privy to the attention-grabbing lede: "Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world." That was Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney's quote, which the author used to start the profile piece. The article was about much more, but the easy, pot-stirring soundbite was the driving force behind the retweets, reblogs and shares, so let's talk about it. Is the great rock & roll dying? However you feel about Nickelback, one of those bands that is simultaneously hugely popular and hugely dismissed, is irrelevant to the underlying idea Carney is getting at: rock & roll is the big time, and the big time is no longer cool. The sub-culture and/or counter-culture has always been present in music, whether it was jazz or punk. But it seems the recent rise of the internet has made it a viable place to live; now, more than ever, you can stay off of the radio and refuse The Tonight Show and still make enough money to live. Indie has become a self-sustaining ecosystem and community. As a result, kids picking up guitars for the first time can aspire to get big – but not too big. Maybe big enough to get on the cover of Rolling Stone, at best. But is that killing rock & roll? There's an idea out there in the fandom that mainstream popularity and coolness are usually mutually exclusive. Just look at any misguided discussion about “selling out.” Carney seems concerned with making straight rock & roll, and the fame that comes with it, a positive thing to the rebellious youths turning away from rock & roll and toward alternative or indie. Because what kind of world would we live in if rock & roll was no longer hip? What I think Carney is picking up on isn't that rock & roll is dying, but it is definitely changing. It's now an umbrella term for a wide variety of music – just look at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's definition of the genre. Rock & roll has always branched out from its point of origin, but with technology providing a low barrier to entry and easy distribution, it has splintered out even faster. So any of the big guitar acts, like indie chart toppers Arcade Fire, don't really identify as simply “rock & roll,” leaving that territory for the Nickelbacks. Despite this, it's hard to imagine that Arcade Fire doesn't fit in the big world of rock somewhere. If they identify as an indie band, or some kind of alternative, or some derivative of folk and chamber pop, all of that can still be traced backwards through time to a rock & roll tradition. It's not that rock & roll is dying – it's just that the term isn't helpful in today's mass music access, because it doesn't describe the difference between Radiohead and Papa Roach. It's important to note that people have always claimed that rock & roll was dying. In 1968, the King of Rock & Roll himself, Elvis Presley, gave credit to these new bands like The Beatles and The Byrds, but felt that they were straying away from rock's roots in gospel and R&B. Maybe it's changing faster now than ever, but it's always been changing, and that's far from death. In a culture where there's something for everyone, where every band – even Nickelback – has a niche and an audience, how can that be anything but survival?

Be sure to check out:

Vitamin String Quartet Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 2

Available now at iTunes and Amazon

and

Vitamin String Quartet Performs Breaking Dawn Part 1

Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Our Favorite Musical Videos of the Moment

By 15

Haven’t spent much time trolling the internet lately? Here are the five best videos you may have missed. Post ‘em to your Facebook for instant cool points.

Bon Iver Performing “Holocene” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Bon Iver returned to Jimmy Fallon for the band’s second appearance in three weeks to perform the gorgeous “Holocene,” off the band’s recent sophomore release Bon Iver. After this performance, Questlove, (of Fallon’s house band The Roots), tweeted “"Holocene" might be the most beautiful moment on @latenightjimmy. i think i just grew some wings.” That about sums up the gorgeousness.

Beyonce on the Billboard Awards 2011 Beyonce made sure everyone knew “who runs this mother” with her (Sasha) fierce performance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on May 22. Dancing in front of, and with, a series of projected shapes and images, Beyonce proved why she was also the night’s recipient of Billboard’s Millenial Award. During the performance, Beyonce eventually took to the audience, giving a bit of the crazy eye to the camera before returning to the stage and literally raising the roof to reveal her glittery female clone army.

Stephen Colbert and Jack White Jack White appeared on Stephen Colbert’s series “2001 (And 1) a Rock Odyssey” to discuss Colbert’s rock star ambitions. The duo riff on “Seven Nation Army” (with Colbert turning the iconic track into a jingle for yogurt) before Colbert performs an impromptu medley of Bob Seger’s hits to a seemingly speechless White. So mesmerizingly funny that it doesn’t really matter that none of it actually makes sense. The Suburbs, by Arcade Fire and Spike Jonze If you’ve got an extra 30 minutes on your hands, (hello, lunch break!) browse on over to mubi.com (like movie, get it?) to watch the much-anticipated collaboration of film auteur Spike Jonze and Arcade Fire -- arguably the world’s biggest band of the moment. The mini-documentary is a take on AF frontman Win Butler’s youth in the suburbs of Houston, and just like the album that inspired it, the film is gorgeous.

U2 Performs “The Fly” at Glastonbury Every band in the world was in England this past weekend (Okay, we kid, but literally hundreds were in attendance) for the 26th annual Glastonbury music festival. Beyonce, Colplay and U2 were the headliners, and our favorite moment was when Bono and the boys went old school by playing five consecutive tracks off of their 1991 classic Achtung Baby. Check out this video of the band blasting through “Thy Fly” for a reminder of why you should pull this album off your shelf just in time for its twentieth birthday.

Be Sure to Check out:

The String Quartet Tribute to The White Stripes

Available now at iTunes and Amazon

Stung Out on U2 Vol. 1

Available now at iTunes and Amazon

Vitamin String Quartet Performs Arcade Fire

Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Arcade Fire Play Surprise Show in Haiti

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Arcade Fire delighted a tiny audience with a surprise set at a hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on early last week. The 45 minute show included covers of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time,” Blondie’s “The Tide is High,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and Cyndie Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in addition to Arcade Fire’s own “Keep the Car Running,” “Rebellion (Lies)” and, of course, “Haiti.” In honor of this surprise cover-heavy set by one of our favorite bands, we give you five of our all time favorite surprising covers. 1. Hallejulah – Rufus Wainwright covering Leonard Cohen Cohen’s 1984 “Hallejulah” was poorly received until a number of covers, (Jeff Buckey’s is also classic), brought the song new life. Wainwright called his cover a “purifying and almost liturgical interpretation” ) 2. Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez covering The Knife José González gave the The Knife’s 2003 dance hit a decidedly more low key feel when he covered the synthy jam on his 2006 album Veneer. Pitchfork Media ranked The Knife’s original version at #15 on their Top 500 Songs of the 2000’s list. ) 3. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston covering Dolly Parton Whitney Houston's 1992 mega hit "I Will Always Love You" was written and recorded by country diva Dolly Parton almost 20 years earlier. The rumor is that Whitney’s record company wasn’t a fan of the song’s a cappella introduction, but those music-free opening notes have become the song’s trademark, as has the famous high note that Houston nails later on in the song. ) 4. Blinded by the Light – Mannfred Mann covering Bruce Springsteen "Blinded by the Light" was the first single from Bruce Springsteen's 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. The boss’ version was unsuccessful and the song was mostly unknown until Mannfred Mann’s 1977 cover made us all wonder if he was actually singing “wrapped up like a douche.” The lyric is actually “revved up like a deuce.” Springsteen has joked that it was not until Mann rewrote the song to be about a "feminine hygiene product" that it became popular. ) 5. Hurt – Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails Music icon Rick Rubin, producer of Cash's American series and a friend of Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor, suggested the song to country legend Cash. The line "crown of sh-t" was changed to "crown of thorns" to make the song more appropriate for the highly religious Cash. ) Be sure to check out: Vitamin String Quartet Tribtue to Bruce Springsteen Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Nine Inch Nails Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Songs of the Month

By 13

The Vitamin String Quartet’s gorgeous renditions of songs by The Decemberists is scheduled for release this month. The album includes Decemberists favorites including “O Valencia” and “The Mariner’s Revenge Song.” In honor of this release and the imminent change of seasons, we give you our five favorite month-of-the-year themed songs. “November Rain”: This iconic, multi-movement epic from Guns n’ Roses 1991 album Use Your Illusion I was released a full eight years after Axl Rose began working on it. The music video for the eight minute 57 second song cost a cool $1.5 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive music videos ever made. The video was done twice, as Axl was dissatisfied with the first attempt. Rose’s then girlfriend, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, plays his girlfriend/wife and wore an $8,000 gown in the video’s wedding scene. “Wake Me Up When September Ends”: This 2005 Green Day hit was rumored to be about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, however Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong has stated that he wrote the song about his father, who passed away when Armstrong was ten years old. The song became a tribute to the victims of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and was the first song performed at the Superdome in New Orleans after the storm. “Month of May”: Arcade Fire closed the 2011 Grammy Awards with this heavy rock anthem immediately after the eight member Canadian indie act won the Album of the Year award for The Suburbs. “A Long December”: This melancholic Counting Crows hit comes from 1996’s Recovering the Satellites. Crows singer Adam Duritz wrote the song while splitting between the recording studio and a hospital where friend who had been seriously injured in a car accident was recovering. The song’s music video features “Friends” star Courtney Cox, who Duritz was dating at the time. “4th of July, Asbury Park, (Sandy)”: This 1973 songs appears Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, the Innocent at the E Street Shuffle. The romantic ballad has been described as the “perfect musical study of the Jersey Shore boardwalk culture” and was one of the two Springsteen songs drummer Max Weinberg knew when he auditioned for a spot in the E Street Band in 1974. Be Sure to Check Out: The String Quartet Tribute to Guns N' Roses Available now at iTunes and Amazon Vitamin String Quartet Performs Green Day's American Idiot Available now at iTunes and Amazon Vitamin String Quartet Tirbute to Arcade Fire's Funeral Available now at iTunes and Amazon Hometown: The String Quartet Tribute to Bruce Springsteen Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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VSQ Performs Arcade Fire

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Description: The Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Arcade Fire bravely transforms songs such as "No Cars Go,""Wake Up" and "The Suburbs" into timeless string arrangements. Befitting of a band whose melodic honesty is unparalleled in the last decade of rock 'n' roll music, these genuine instrumental interpretations present a soundtrack for the way we live now and invite you back into the beautifully imperfect world that is the Arcade Fire. Tracklist: Ready to Start Wake Up Rebellion (Lies) Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) The Suburbs Keep the Car Running No Cars Go Available NOW at: iTunes and Amazon

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Peter Gabriel Gets His Indie On, New LP Scratch My Back

By 7

Oh, I really should apologize to Peter Gabriel. I had pretty much written him off. I thought he was done, at least in the current-pop-culture-relevancy context. I don’t mean to downplay the immense contributions he’s made over the years because, really, kudos to him, man. I just thought he was, ya know, done. But then he goes and pulls a Johnny Cash and surprises the hell out of all of us. But with once-a-decade studio LPs, nothing should really be all that shocking. That said, PG’s newest release, Scratch My Back, is shocking, in a great way. First of all, the LP consists entirely of cover songs. And the picks are insane. No one would’ve pegged the former Genesis member for picking these 12 songs, out of all the songs in the world to choose. He credits at least some of his exposure to indie music to his daughter and after hearing Gabriel’s cover of Flume by Bon Iver, I’m about to send that girl some flowers or something; it’s amazing, quite simply. His choice to use only orchestral arrangements in lieu of traditional pop instruments makes some songs simply more interesting, while really doing something amazing for others; He takes Regina Spektor’s Apres Moi, to newly dark, cinematic, lofty places that the original song hinted at, even if he does lack her signature stop-motion vocal acrobatics. Without getting all fangirl, it is sufficient to say that the rest of the album holds up just fine. Release date is February 15th, 2010. Stream the album here.

Tracklist:

01 "Heroes" (David Bowie) 02 "The Boy in the Bubble" (Paul Simon) 03 "Mirrorball" (Elbow) 04 "Flume" (Bon Iver) 05 "Listening Wind" (Talking Heads) 06 "The Power of the Heart" (Lou Reed) 07 "My Body Is a Cage" (Arcade Fire) 08 "The Book of Love" (The Magnetic Fields) 09 "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" (Randy Newman) 10 "Après moi" (Regina Spektor) 11 "Philadelphia" (Neil Young) 12 "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" (Radiohead)

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Valentines Day VSQ Mixtape & Contest!

By 23

It's February and love is in the air. Well, depending on who you talk to. For those of you who turn your nose up, scroll to the second part of this post for something a little less sappy. For the rest of you hopeless romantics, keep reading for a special treat for your Valentine. Nothing creates a romantic mood better than a few of your favorite love songs - done VSQ style. So we've put together a smashing playlist of our favorite tracks to get your juices flowing. Light some scented candles, spread the rose petals and let VSQ do the rest. Download Valentine's Day Playlist Tracklist:
  • All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
  • Fell In Love With a Girl - The White Strips
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
  • Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths
  • California Love - Tupac
  • Just LIke Heaven - The Cure
  • Crown of Love - Arcade Fire
  • The One I Love - REM
  • Soul Meets Body - Death Cab For Cutie
  • Jack and Sally Montage - Nightmare Revisited

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VSQ Valentines Day Contest!

We believe that Valentine's day shouldn't discriminate. That's why we have four albums stock full of string quartet love songs for every type of lover. Whether you prefer spikes or feathers, lace or leather, we've got the Valentine's Day soundtrack for you! Want to win a copy of your favorite VSQ Valentine's Day album? All you have to do is create your own iMix of your favorite VSQ love songs! Whoever creates the bext iMix will win the Valentine's Day CD of their choice: Valentine's Day Massacre: The Emo Anti-Valentine's Day Collection The Rock N' Roll Valentine's Day Collection The String Quartet Tribute to Valentine's Day My Metal Valentine How to enter: 1. Create an iMix on iTunes with your favorite VSQ love songs. 2. Leave a comment below with a link. Please make sure to let us know your email address! Extra Entries: 1. Follow us on Twitter and RT us about this contest 2. Become our fan on Facebook 3. Subscribe to our blog feed Good luck!

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