Local Wire

Arcade Fire

The last artist to win both the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and the Canadian Juno Award for Album of the Year was Alanis Morissette, who won the twin North American honors for 1995's Jagged Little Pill. This puts Montreal band Arcade Fire and their record The Suburbs in strange company. Beyond their country of origin, the two records say unique things about their time and place. Morissette's record, released on Maverick/Reprise on a wave of giant promotional focus, earned its marks at a time when the music industry was riding high. The Suburbs, on the other hand, comes at a time when the industry couldn't be more in the dumps. While the downturn may make for a lot of execs having to slice up their expense cards, it makes for interesting Grammys. Arcade Fire's label, Merge Records, was started by Superchunk members Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan in 1989 and has remained a DIY institution ever since. Arcade Fire, with their mix of Talking Heads nerve and Springsteen stadium rock, seemed destined to be a big band, but few could have predicted the massive success the band would achieve, record industry be damned. And, yes, this show has been sold out for a while, but we had to tell you a little about it anyway.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.