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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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Et Sans
Par Noussss Touss Les Trous De Vos Crânes!
Alien8 Recordings

Rating: 8/10 ?


May 13, 2005
To be quite honest with you folks, I've been profoundly indifferent to pretty much any and everything to come out of Canada's much ballyhooed post-rock scene over the last decade. Broken Social Scene don't excite me outside of their handful of Dinosaur Jr.-esque rockers and boffo live shows (I really can't argue when there are four guitarists on stage, as was the case when I saw them), Do Make Say Think don't really cause me to do, make, say or think much of anything, and I neither know nor care where Godspeed You Black Emperor place their exclamation point nowadays, but by the same token I'm not at all upset that these bands exist, and I'm glad they mean a lot of something to a lot of someones. The hook just wouldn't stay lodged in my lip, you know?

I make note of these personal predilections because Et Sans are indeed one of those Canadian rock bands who rock in the unconventional sense; they are not, however, just another one of those bands. This Francophilic outfit - comprised of members of Fly Pan Am (the one Montreal band that actually does interest me) A Silver Mt. Zion and Shalabi Effect - brings something to the table that the other bands they're a part of do not: sweat. Salty, moist, sticky, balmy perspiration.

Do not expect a lovingly hand-sewn album sleeve, but a collage of schizophrenically scrawled limes and pinks and browns and blacks and blues. Don't think for one minute that this band will flash the word "hope" against a projection screen during the climax of their live shows; picture your brains, pureed by lashing guitars and throbbing percussion, gushing out of your ears, landing all over the couple next to you (who are wearing leather pants and have been playing grab-ass for the entirety of the evening) and dribbling into your PBR. Forget geography and society and culture and politics and style and anything else you would've written off as a "social construct" during your undergrad days and reduce the manimals pounding out this rock and roll to their basest instincts.

Each track within brings the sweat in an entirely different manner - the only common threads between them are a tendency toward pulsing krautrock repetition, freewheeling experimentation and ridiculously long titles that don't merit reprinting. The first song creates a dense, claustrophobic space, with rhythmic bleeps dripping like a leaky showerhead and discreet washes of synth and guitar fogging up the mirror. Structurally, the song is quite minimal, but every single sound feels deep and wet, immediately creating an atmosphere, setting the stage for the chaos that will follow.

The second track moves the action from the sauna to the basement show. Building upon an insistent farfisa hook and a throbbing bass drum, it expands into a 17-minute psychedelic monster. The guitars assume a number of aggressive guises - one minute they're slicing their own wrists with shards of broken Heineken bottles, the next they're writhing around on the floor, tangled in a mass of frayed electrical cords; they're swinging from the rafters, soaring over the percussive onslaught with lithe, faint brushstrokes. The drums and organ up the tempo about four minutes in, initiating a noisy free-for-all with inane chant-vocals, only to disintegrate into a deliberate morphine drip during the song's midsection. The incessant pounding and the scathing feedback kick back in for an epic reprise, and by the end of it all, we're left with what sounds like a Jackie-O Motherfucker reinterpretation of "Sister Ray." Every minute of the jam builds upon the one before it, attesting to Et Sans' remarkable finesse; it's easily the album's brightest moment.

The third track serves as a respectable comedown, with its movie soundtrack synths evoking images of a deranged psychopath breathing down a heroine's neck. It's a bit of a departure into the incidental music territory and suffers in contrast to the two corkers bookending it, but it's by no means a throwaway. The final song pulls us into the unlikeliest of settings: the dance floor. Live percussion accents a rigid Wax Trax drum machine beat, and melodic synth lines bubble with Kraftwerkian aplomb. It's a thrilling end to a thrilling disc, and it provides the perfect synthesis of Et Sans' out-rock pyrotechnics and bizarre brand of accessibility. Just be sure to keep a towel close by.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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