The highlights

It's a big night for music in NYC tonight with quite a bit going on:

I personally am pumped to finally see Menomena, from Portland and playing their first-ever gig in NYC at Sin-e. They go on at 11. I Am The Fun Blame Monster came out of nowhere and blew me away last year, ending up pretty high on my year-end top 10 (#6 I think). It's catchy, accessible, and unique - but this Portland Mercury write-up by Julianne Sheperd describes them better than me. An excerpt:

At first, it's tough to figure out the way Menomena's piano, guitar, drums, and bass converge in on each other like electrical patchwork. Their sounds fit together, snug but sparse, fleshing out into reflective pop and instrumental music that is both strangely skeletal and panoramic. Their stellar bass and beats pop out in grooves with a vague hiphop influence, embellished with the thoughtful temperance of piano and vocal melodies. Even still, something about their composition always seems a little unseated, as if their songs are being played backwards. Live, it sounds like they're playing remix versions of their songs. Menomena always seemed excellent to me--polished, but not glossy, and very heartfelt--but I could never figure out why they sounded so... electronic.

This show has been somewhat lost in the shuffle, which is unfortunate. Their album is over a year old but was self-released while everyone was fawning over it. Now they're on a label and touring, but the hype has moved elsewhere (see below). Download "E. is Stable" if you've never heard them - it's a great song.

In a show that's gotten a crazy amount of hype, The Arcade Fire plays the Bowery Ballroom tonight. Though I definitely like their new album Funeral a lot, I don't think it's the life-changing listen that some would have you believe. But their shows are supposed to kick it up a notch and be pretty amazing - almost every review I've read says as much, and I'd love to see them. I decided to pass on this one, thinking that they'd be back in NYC soon and Menomena wouldn't. (And had I changed my mind in the past month, I probably wouldn't have gotten tickets anyway.) Gothamist mentioned in an interview that the Arcade Fire will indeed be back early next year, though I have a feeling their Bowery days will be behind them.

If you're feeling the beats more than the rock, head over to Ikon (610 West 56th St.) for what sounds like a great party - Security: the Schaffel and Glitch Edition. The flyer is on the bottom of this page. Superpitcher (of Kompakt fame) and Ada (of Areal Records) will be headlining the schaffel room along with Marcos Cabral and Cowboy Mark. Kero, Knifeandchop, and Derek Michael will be in the glitch lounge. I've gotten into schaffel just recently, but it's a very distinctive sound revolving around a shuffling techno beat. Not the kind of thing you can hear every night, but it's very fun live. I saw Philip Sherburne spin an excellent schaffel set at SubTonic a while back (he also has good mixes available for free), and I'd love to hear it in a big room. This marks two Kompakt events in NYC in under a month - cross your fingers and hope the trend continues.

Oh and this band Interpol is playing the Hammerstein Ballroom. But you can see them there tomorrow as well.

The negative sales effect will be negligible

As Rajeev mentioned in his last post, the new U2 album has been leaked on the Interweb two weeks prior to its drop date. I was able to resist the temptation of downloading it for about 15 minutes. But once I overcame my moral compunctions, it took me about two seconds to find about a hundred copies of it using my P2P application of choice.

It was inevitable that this would happen and despite what you may hear from the media. I seem to remember that Radiohead sold more copies of Hail To The Thief in the first week than any of their previous albums, despite the fact the album leaked several months in advance. U2 will still sell several million copies of the album; their marketing plan will still go off without a hitch. I think the band agrees, as they haven't moved up the launch date, at least not yet.

As I said, I struggled for a brief moment, but gave in and downloaded the album on Sunday night. Since then I've listened to it probably five times through. While my final opinion will probably take months to form, at this point I can say the album lives up to the hype, easily surpassing anything they've done since Achtung Baby.

It is clear U2 were flush with inspiration as nearly every song is full of hooks and memorable passages. Usually there's a least one or two songs with a great idea that just doesn't quite work - like "Wild Honey" or "Miami," but this time around they succeed at everything they try. Admittedly, they don't attempt any major experiments either. They simply build upon their patented sound with an ease and confidence I've seldom seen before...

OK, I better stop now. Hey, I never said I was going to be objective here, alright? Download it for yourself, but if you like it don't forget to buy a copy. How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb will be in stores on Nov. 22/23. Enjoy.