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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Roots & Crowns
Thrill Jockey

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

December 21, 2006
If you put your headphones on and listen to Roots & Crowns the results are overwhelming, to the point of being somewhat disturbing. The clinks and clanks of found percussive items are met with some really raunchy hog pen blues and all the while an electronic thrum stitches the whole thing together. On Roots & Crowns, Califone become the World's most accomplished jug band.

The electronic elements on this album are hidden behind a screeching violin; a twangy acoustic guitar and an organ; so as to almost completely disappear save for a few bleeps and quavering aural edges. At moments the sounds seem to have been recorded by someone walking around with a handheld mike. The somewhat muffled sounds of people interacting from a distance almost give the album a live feel and then the next song starts.

Roots & Crowns is also very much about juxtaposition. The tick tock tempo of "Black Metal Valentine" precedes the ghostly "Rose Petal Ear" and the pairing is spectacular. The pop friendly "3 Legged Animals" is followed by the dragging dirge of "If You Would" and again the results are somehow cohesive; working to make Roots & Crowns an actual album as opposed to a collection of separate songs.

My only beef with Califone is lead singer Tim Rutili's voice. Rutili's rasp, reminiscent of Beck, never changes... there are no shifts in pitch, tempo or dynamics. Lyrically things are interesting but Rutili's voice is so static that it almost stands in the way of the beautiful sounds on Roots & Crowns. It's not that Rutili is an unappealing singer but his style is completely bedtime story hypnotic and some of these tracks could use some more excitement. Maybe Tim needs a speed habit or at least a Dunkin Donuts large?

Get this album. Strap on your headphones. Pay attention. Califone's latest offering is not to be missed and certainly one of the best albums of 2006.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke



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