|Arcade Fire, portraits, Cine Park, June 12, 2010 in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
If you were wondering who the HELL Arcade Fire are late Sunday night when they upset Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Eminem and Katy Perry to win the most prestigious Grammy Award, for album of the year, you're not alone.
Millions of North Americans were, and are, wondering the same thing. Many have taken to Twitter and other social media to ask that question -- or vent their disgust over why this offbeat, off-the-beaten-path band of rockers from Canada stole the thunder from the other superstars in the best-album category.
Here's what you need to know about Arcade Fire:
NAME: Arcade Fire -- not The Arcade Fire.
FORMED: In 2003 in Montreal by Win Butler (lead vocals, guitar) and his future wife Régine Chassagne (vocals, multi-instrumentalist).
OTHER MEMBERS: Win's brother Will Butler (multi-instrumentalist), Richard Reed Parry (multi-instrumentalist), Sarah Neufeld (violin), Tim Kingsbury (bass, guitar, keyboards) and Jeremy Gara (drums).
THE MULTI-INSTRUMENTS THEY PLAY: Guitar, bass, drums, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy, according to Wikipedia.
ORIGIN OF NAME: Win Butler said it is based on a story he was told about a fire in an arcade, whether real or not being beside the point.
STYLE OF MUSIC: Some describe it as art rock, or orchestral pop, but most call it indie rock.
FIRST ALBUM: Funeral, released in 2004.
ALBUM FACT: The band became the darling of critics from the get-go, as Funeral made many prominent music critics' year-end Top 10 lists.
SOLD SO FAR: 100,000+ in Canada, and 500,000+ worldwide.
DESCRIPTION: "Composed after the deaths of several of the band's family members, Funeral is a dizzying rush of melody." -- Jake Coyle, AP
CRITICAL ACCLAIM: "The most exciting debut of the year." -- Jake Coyle, AP
LIVE: Went from playing small clubs in early '04 to playing important festivals in Europe and North America by '05, and even opened for U2.
AWARDS: Nominated but lost at both the Grammys and Junos for best alternative album. Won a Juno for songwriting.
SECOND ALBUM: Neon Bible, released in March 2007.
ALBUM FACT: Most songs recorded in a cafe that was a former Masonic Temple in Farnham, Que., which the band bought and renovated.
ON THE CHARTS: Debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
SOLD SO FAR: 400,000+, including more than 100,000 across North America the first week.
DESCRIPTION: "An early-'80s sound reminiscent of ELO-meets-Echo and the Bunnymen." -- Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency
CRITICAL ACCLAIM: "Now they sound like they're making music with an audience in mind -- and one far beyond the hipsters who first championed them. It's a bold move. Onward and upward. 4 stars out of five." -- Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency
LIVE: Played in 19 countries.
AWARDS: Won Juno for best alternative album.
THIRD AND MOST RECENT ALBUM: The Suburbs, released last August.
ALBUM FACT: Will Butler recently told QMI Agency fans won't necessarily have to wait until 2013 for their next album, despite being on the three-year cycle since 2004. The band hopes to make one quicker "but we're not putting anything on the calendar just yet."
ON THE CHARTS: Debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland.
SOLD SO FAR: 400,000+, including some 187,000 across North America the first week.
DESCRIPTION: "Reportedly inspired by the Butler brothers' Houston youth, the Montreal septet have built a suitably sprawling meditation on life in suburbia -- cruising and conformity, kids and kinships, wasted days and wasted nights." -- Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency
CRITICAL ACCLAIM: "An impeccably crafted soundtrack that fuses their orch-rock grandeur with '70s pop, punk and more. A masterpiece." -- Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency
LIVE: Played select dates over last five months of 2010 in Canada, USA and Europe. More set in the coming months.
AWARDS: At 2011 Grammys lost as best alternative album, but won overall album of the year. Junos to be awarded in March.
-- SOURCES: QMI Agency files, Wikipedia, All Music Guide, Canadian Music Encyclopedia