Eleventh Dream Day & Opinions on M83

Eleventh Dream Day

While never achieving the commercial success of its alt-rock peers like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, Eleventh Dream Day has outlasted these bands and remain critical darlings. They join Jim and Greg for a conversation and live performance. Plus, a review of the new album from French electronic band M83.

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Five years ago LCD Soundsystem announced its retirement. Boy has time flown, because they are back. James Murphy and his bandmates will be reuniting this summer for a series of performances at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Jim and Greg lament that the schedules for the season’s major festivals are virtually the same. Music critics from the New York Times agree and won’t be covering any of the big three, instead focusing on boutique festivals and summer concerts. As they write, these destination festivals are more about fun in the sun than music.

After one year in business, Jay Z’s streaming service TIDAL has numbers to report. According to the service, they have 3 million subscribers total and Kanye West’s new album The Life of Pablo has been streamed roughly 250 million times. Jim, Greg and other industry-watchers are skeptical about this figure. But, however the accounting shakes out, TIDAL is small potatoes compared to the leader Spotify with 30 million subscribers and Apple Music with 11 million.

Eleventh Dream Day

Eleventh Dream Day

Jim and Greg harken back to the alternative era this week as they sit down with Eleventh Dream Day. The band formed in 1983 and got its start as part of the Chicago underground scene alongside peers Hüsker Dü in St. Paul and Nirvana in Seattle. Greg remembers watching Eleventh Dream Day perform at that time, and knew they were destined for big things. But, while albums like Prairie School Freakout garnered high critical praise and caught the attention of Atlantic Records, they were never able to achieve major commercial success. As Jim notes, however, they are having the last laugh with their impressive longevity, especially considering founding members Rick Rizzo and Janet Beveridge Bean got married, had a child and got divorced, all while maintaining the group. In January Eleventh Dream Day released its eleventh studio album Works for Tomorrow, and they show no signs of slowing, as is clear in this ferocious live performance in the Sound Opinions studio.

Junk M83

Junk

Frenchelectronic band M83 began as a bedroom project in 2001, but its recordings have become increasingly elaborate and lush. Now based in Los Angeles, the band reached a commercial and critical peak with its 2011 album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and has returned with its seventh album, Junk. While previous records were unified concept albums, Junk is frustratingly all over the map, according to Jim. In interviews, leader Anthony Gonzalez claims to have been inspired by 1970s and ‘ 80s sitcoms like Who’s the Boss? and Punky Brewster. The result, Jim says, is a few brilliant dance-pop moments, but also plenty of dreck, earning it a Try It. Greg misses the emotional connection that M83 built on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. He finds Junk in contrast to be cheesy and intentionally slight, with often chintzy-sounding orchestration. But Greg hears just enough worthwhile tracks to salvage Junk as a Try It.

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