New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones caused a minor stir on the blogosphere a couple of weeks ago with a piece called "A Paler Shade of White: How Indie Rock Lost Its Soul." In it, he mourns the decline of idea-swapping between black and white pop musicians and says, "If there is a trace of soul, blues, reggae, or funk in Arcade Fire, it must be philosophical; it certainly isn't audible."
Predictably, Arcade Fire
front man member Win Will Butler disagrees. In an e-mail to Frere-Jones, he says the band "steal quite blatantly from black people's music from all over the globe," and even attaches an MP3 of their songs intercut with ones by black musicians they claim to have ripped off. Ironically, the clip is actually some of the best supporting evidence for Frere-Jones's original piece yet — next to blues and Motown artists, Arcade Fire sound even whiter. Amazing!