Your Weekly Pop Culture Mandate: Arcade Fire, The Other Guys, Squeeze

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Five things you must not miss this week, including Arcade Fire, The Other Guys, and a new album from stars of the ‘80s, Squeeze.


MUSICThe Suburbs, Arcade Fire

The Suburbs - Arcade Fire

Whatever your opinion on Arcade Fire (and you almost certainly have one), it's hard to deny Funeral's impact on last decade’s indie rock. That 2004 debut album felt new and exciting, offering a grandiose, unaffected sound very unlike the self-conscious post-punk bands that dominated the scene. The Suburbs is as sweeping and nostalgic (that title!) as the band’s previous two efforts, and it finds the group's fondness for U2-style arena rock intact (listen to “Half Light II: No Celebration”). Don’t be discouraged by the hype or the fact that every other band sounds like them now — if you liked them before, you’ll like this. August 2

MOVIESThe Other Guys, Adam McKay

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys

Anchorman director Adam McKay directs Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in this parody of buddy-cop movies, an evergreen genre that basically parodies itself at this point. As one might expect, Wahlberg plays the straight man and Ferrell is his foil, and they’ll probably be funny enough to be worth a few summer hours. Honestly though, given Wahlberg’s hilarity in I Heart Huckabees and Ferrell’s unsung dramatic turn in Stranger Than Fiction, this movie might have been more interesting if the actors had switched roles. August 6

MUSICSpot the Difference, Squeeze

Spot the Difference - Squeeze

Among ambitious British '80s pub-rockers, Elvis Costello always comes to mind first. But inevitably, someone else at the bar mentions Squeeze, and soon feelings are being hurt all over the place. In an effort to tip the debate, Squeeze has re-recorded a handful of their most beloved songs. Spot the Difference should remind listeners, old and new, of how perfectly the band crafted their hits ("Up the Junction," "Cool for Cats," etc.). Bands these days can often get away with selling remastered versions of albums that people already own, so this more interesting project is a refreshing, fun way for fans to reconnect with Squeeze. Sorry, Elvis — I might have to switch sides. August 2

MUSICKing of the Beach, Wavves

King of the Beach - Wavves

Oh, Wavves, thank goodness you're finally putting out an album that people don’t have to pretend to like. The band’s popularity up to now has been the source of (surprise!) indie-rock controversy, given that the "no-fi" sound of their previous works kept most people from listening. But for this album, the band's cleaned up their act. King of the Beach delivers on the surf-rock innuendo of their name; its catchy riffs and sunny production will satisfy those who like Weezer’s “Blue Album” and last week’s Best Coast album, but still want to feel cooler than their coworkers. August 2

BOOKSRich Boy, Sharon Pomerantz

Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz/ Still from Whit Stillman's Metropolitan

Sharon Pomerantz’s debut novel is already being compared to The Great Gatsby and The Bonfires of the Vanities. Spanning a large swath of the American Century, Rich Boy follows Robert Vishniak, a Jewish kid from a middle-class suburb of 1950s Philadelphia. A social-climber with an independent streak, Vishniak goes to Tufts, entering a new world full of tuxedos, privileged New Yorkers, and girls from Smith College. August 2