Arcade Fire Still Can't Shake Houston

arcadefire bandpic.jpg
Merge Records/Nasty Little Man PR

Symphonic Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire announced the title and release date of their third full-length album this morning. The Suburbs is due August 3 on Merge Records, and a limited-edition vinyl 12" featuring the title track and "Month of May" should be in your friendly neighborhood record store right now.

This includes, Rocks Off assumes, Houston-area music merchants. Arcade Fire founder and front man Win Butler has gone to great lengths to play down the fact that he and brother/bandmate Will grew up in The Woodlands, but we don't think that extends to imposing a ban on selling their merchandise here. Actually playing a gig here is, of course, another story.

If they talk about their adolescence at all - as in this rather awkward exchange with Rocks Off's predecessor in the music-editor chair, shortly before the band's last show in the Houston area in early, early 2005 - the Butler brothers generally give the impression that they'd rather talk about anything else, up to and including the war in Iraq and the BP oil spill.

arcadefire suburbsfront.jpg
Then they go and call their album The Suburbs, which leads Rocks Off to believe that despite all those years up in chilly Montreal, our little corner of the Gulf Coast is still messing with Win's head. Listen to the song here - it's a typically Arcade Fire-esque winsome shuffle that's as lyrically snide as it is musically inviting. A verse:

Under the overpass

In the parking lot we're still waiting

It's already past

So move your feet from hot pavement

And into the grass

'Cause it's already past

It's already, already past

Further evidence came to light when Rocks Off was rooting around for background on the Butlers this morning. For your perusal, we submit "The Woodlands National Anthem":

I guess we'll have to move

The neighborhood is onto us

Let's join the little babes

Throwin' rocks in front of us

Riding on my bicycle

I pass my sister on a bus

Let's take the country road before our parents send for us

Trees keep fallin' at my feet

I guess it's time ot build a boat

Make a raft of our bodies

Do you think that it'll float?

What I said was not a joke,

But you just licked the envelope

I'm tired of dating, let's elope

But you just licked the envelope

Three cheers for my parents,

Lonely failed experiments!

Three cheers for my parents,

Lonely failed experiments!

Don't you dare blame my parents

I'm the only failed experiment

Don't you dare blame your parents

You're the only failed experiment

Don't you dare blame your grandparents

Mom's the only failed experiment

Don't you dare blame your grandparents

Dad's the only failed experiment

Don't blame God

Just blame God

Don't blame God

Jeez, conflicted much? Yes, blame God, not the Friendswood Development Company. At the moment, Arcade Fire is booked for several summer festivals in Canada and Europe. More tour dates should be coming soon, including the rest of North America.

Since the Butlers continue to believe that Houston only exists in the past, though, and not as a city with several venues that would be more than happy to book them (and thousands of fans licking their chops to buy tickets), don't get your hopes up on seeing Houston's premier indie expatriates anytime soon.

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