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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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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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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
Laura Marling
Alas I Cannot Swim

Rating: 9/10 ?

August 22, 2008
Laura Marling emerged on the UK music scene earlier this year to critical acclaim and was recently nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Unlike many singer songwriters whose reputation comes from the hype in a clearly booming genre, 18-year-old Marling has gained credibility and praise on the quality of her music alone. She is now releasing her debut album, Alas I Cannot Swim in North America.

Marling's voice, full of feeling, is way beyond the experience of her tender years and captivates the listener from beginning to end. Throughout the album there is a sense of sadness, songs about lost love sung so delicately that it is impossible not to be dragged into Marling's somber world. "Night Terror," with a violin ensuring the song's poignancy, is definitely the highlight of the album and the perfect example of the singer's macabre enchantment.

Despite the underlying sadness of the vocals, many songs on the album are musically upbeat (of special note is "Cross Your Fingers"), providing a balanced mixture of the two emotions. There is even the odd catchy tune. Album opener "Ghosts" is sung in an upbeat timbre and, with it's repetitive chorus, ends up sounding vaguely positive despite the sad line, "lover please/ do not fall to your knees/ it's not like I believe in everlasting love."

Although the lyrical nature of the songs is overwhelmingly despondent, Alas I Cannot Swim's outlook is not completely bleak; there are signs of positivity tucked within the album, the odd line here and there providing a dash of buoyancy in an otherwise murky tale. The album also ends on a note of birds singing, adding a bit more emphasis to the notion of hope.

Every so often an artist who has the talent to capture your heart comes along. Someone who, when they begin singing, elicits your undivided attention. Laura Marling has exactly that quality. It is no secret that in today's musical climate female singer-songwriters are often over-hyped and given un-warranted praise, which makes finding an artist like Marling, who seems destined for great things, amongst all the fluff and pomp that much more rewarding.

Reviewed by Kelda Manley
No biographica information is currently available.

See other reviews by Kelda Manley



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