Arcade Fire, Manchester Orchestra, and Cage the Elephant new and noteworthy albums 

Arcade Fire, Everything Now (SonoVox/AFM) — This new album from Toronto’s Arcade Fire is produced by Daft Punk, a move that might seem designed to alienate fans as the music completes its shift from rock to synth-pop. Still, a scary concept album warning of social media and materialism seems best delivered in a light and silly vein, rather than drowned in pompousness.


Manchester Orchestra, A Black Mile to the Surface (Favorite Gentlemen/Loma Vista) — Everything about the new album from Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra screams “Big Ideas,” yet lyricist/vocalist Andy Hull manages to avoid the pitfalls of pondering an approaching middle age. His own subtle writing helps transcend these melodramatic 11 tracks’ one-word titles, while the lip-smacking riffs the band is famous for prevent the music from falling under its own weight.


Cage the Elephant, Unpeeled (RCA) — The young Kentucky band Cage the Elephant, known for the exuberance of its live shows, already released a live album in 2011, so what purpose does this stripped live-in-studio collection serve? Actually, the 21 tracks of Unpeeled are remastered for unadorned voice and subtle woodwinds and strings, giving the band a new dimension to their sound, combining elements of Spoon and The Kinks, for an unusual compilation that is unexpectedly tasty.


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