Big Grammy Win

I’m thrilled about Arcade Fire winning Album Of The Year last night, not only because I’m a big fan, but because it’s also a great big “up yours” to the major record labels.

While the other nominees are represented by major labels with huge promotion budgets, Arcade Fire is represented by tiny Merge Records and spends very little on promotion. The other nominees sold over a million records, but The Suburbs only sold less than 500,000. This is one of the few times quality and actual talent beat style & mainstream marketing. Arcade Fire’s success proves that you don’t need to have a manager to promote a carefully crafted image, lots of marketing muscle, and a huge record company behind you. I hope this trend continues.

The Suburbs

I couldn’t leave without a post about Arcade Fire’s new album, The Suburbs. I’ve been looking forward to this album all year, and it lived up to my expectations. The album is closer to Funeral than Neon Bible, with most of the songs following a common theme of living in the suburbs. It feels a lot more intimate than their earlier albums, and there are no big, powerful songs like “Wake Up” or “No Cars Go”, although “Month of May” is becoming one of my favorite songs. I’ve listened to the full album at least once a day since it was released, and I really love it.

I’m thrilled that this album reached #1 on Billboard’s album charts, for the first time. Usually I hate most of the top albums on the charts.

New Album Anticipation

I’m a big Arcade Fire fan, so I’m thrilled about their upcoming album, The Suburbs, which will be released Aug. 3 in the US & Canada. The album is available for pre-order, and a digital download of the first two singles is available immediately with all orders. The frenzy & rumors surrounding their album release is almost as intense as the excitement about an Apple announcement.

Here’s a look at their first single, thanks to Joel’s Arcade Fire Blog.

Helping Haiti

At final count there are over 140 developers signed up for Indie+Relief. Although they only list PicSlide, I’m donating all of my app sales tomorrow to Partners In Health.

Here are some scenes of the earthquake destruction, set to the song “Haiti” by Arcade Fire.

Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne, whose family is from Haiti, wrote a very touching piece about how the earthquake affected her and telling why she endorses Partners In Health:

It is strange that I was introduced to my country by a white doctor from Florida called Paul Farmer who speaks perfect Creole and knows how to pronounce my name right. He is the co-founder of an organisation titled Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante in Creole). There are several charity organisations that are doing good work in Haiti – Fonkoze is a great micro-lending organisation – but in terms of thorough medical care, follow-up and combining of parallel necessary services (education, sanitation, training, water, agriculture), there is none that I could ­recommend more than Partners in Health. It takes its work for the Haitian people very seriously and, indeed, most of the staff on the ground are Haitian. PIH has been serving the poorest of the poor for more than 20 years with a curriculum that really astounded me, given the limited resources available in the area.

Visiting its facilities, I was overwhelmed by, and impressed with, the high-level, top-quality services provided in areas where people own next to nothing and were never given the opportunity to learn how to sign their own name. I was delightfully shocked to see the radically positive impact it has had in the communities it serves. Of course, during my visit, I saw some clinics and hospitals that were at different stages than others, but through it all, I could clearly see that PIH staff are very resourceful and set the bar extremely high for themselves. I know that, right now, they are using their full capacities to save as many lives as possible.

So in these critical times where death comes every minute, I urge you to donate to Partners in Health ( and be as generous as you can. I know from having talked to some staff that they are on the ground right now, setting up and managing field hospitals as well as receiving the injured at their clinics in the surrounding areas.

You can follow Partners In Health on Twitter and see the great work they’re doing.

Help Haiti

There are a few very simple things you can do to help Haiti:

  • Text the word YELE to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti.
  • Text the word HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to International Red Cross.
  • Donate to Partners In Health

If you know other ways to help or have any other suggestions, leave a comment.

Win & Regine of Arcade Fire write:

Haiti needs your help in her darkest hour.

We just got off the phone with our friends at Partners in Health.

Most of the medical infrastructure in Port-au-Prince is down.

Since Partners in Health’s clinics are in situated the surrounding areas and haven’t been damaged, they are mobilizing their resources towards the capital, setting-up field hospitals to treat the injured on the ground.

Also, Paul Farmer (the founder of PIH) is at the UN and has access to the best information on where to direct the money… so for the moment if you want to help, we suggest sending funds to:

Please be generous as time is of the essence.
Win and Regine
these photos convey some of what is going on.

"Wild Things" trailer features new version of Arcade Fire song

As you probably know, Apple posted the first trailer for Spike Jonze’s new “Where the Wild Things Are” movie today. The music in that trailer excited me a lot more than the movie itself. I consider any new Arcade Fire song a big deal, since their last album came out 2 years ago, with only a few tidbits since then. “Wake Up” isn’t a new song, but you’ll notice the version in the trailer is different than the album version (acoustic vs. electric guitar, and the vocals are different). So it looks like Arcade Fire may have recorded a new track for the trailer & maybe for the movie itself. Maybe we’ll see a new album this year.