People have such an odd relation to hype. Last week we were trying to find out about the Arcade Fire and it seemed like everyone we asked would say "Yeah, they sure are hyped. What's with all the hype?" and then admit, as if slightly embarrassed, "Yeah, the record's pretty good." Myself, I've been out of the loop for so long that I don't mind occasionally jumping on a Hot Band when they're still on the ascendantit's nice to feel part of a nascent cultural trend, even if it's something as ephemeral as a new band. When I was living in my bubble circa 2003, the only way I would find out about a record would be when Amazon noticed that all the kids were buying itand half the time I would end up with something like Death Cab for Cutie and wonder what the fuss was about.
In fact the Arcade Fire is really good. They strike me as a lushly orchestrated Canadian tincture of the Pixies, by which I mean the epic Pixies ("The Happening") rather than the rawk Pixies ("Oh My Golly" or whatever). J. took the lyric sheet, but a lot of the songs seem to be about their relatives dying. The good people at Merge have three mp3s up.