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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
All is Golden

Rating: 7.3/10 ?

April 8, 2009
When upstart band Pronto titled their debut All is Golden, they weren't kidding around: the hefty 13-track album glows even at its jauntiest. Fronted by Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, Pronto embodies a cross-section of rock that, as of late, has gone largely unnoticed amidst the genre's edgier offerings. Without posturing or pretension, the quartet allows their roots to show: the quintessential, straightforward rock of Jorgensen's native New Jersey meets the charmingly quirky alt-country of the Midwest, minus the bells and whistles of the band's Brooklyn home-base.

Interestingly, All is Golden emulates the 1970s era Americana-influenced rock (think: Steely Dan, The Eagles) but with a subtle, underlying sense of disenchantment. On "Good Friends Have Gone," a despondent Jorgensen-accompanied by a brooding piano-bass-drum trio-contemplates the solitary life; similarly, the upbeat opener, "Listen Lover" urges a downtrodden partner to lighten-up and consider the frustrated other half: "Oh, lady/ I tried my best/ I gave and I gave." Certain instrumentals-"Precious Like a Sneer," with it's jangly piano and clean, jazz-hued percussion-have an Elliott Smith feel, lo-fi and bittersweet. But, for the album's peppering of good-old-fashioned cynicism and melancholia, there exists a comfort (albeit, a romanticized one) in feeling a bit broken.

Likewise, Pronto can shake off some bad vibes and push the tempo. Like a passing mood, "Mrs. Bruford" revels in dissonance before breaking into a jittery, wordless groove. Occasionally, a few quivering lines of organ or 70s style synth are thrown in for a summery, faux nostalgia trip. Though Jorgensen's sufficiently, but purposefully, off-key vocals can be distracting when holding a sustained note, they're fitting for his bluesy lilt.

As a proclaimed latter-day Randy Newman, Jorgensen's lyrical witticisms often provide a lively narrative to the band's vibrant instrumentals; on the ruminative "What Do You Know About You?" a sober yet expressive Jorgensen reveals, "the hardest thing of all to command/ is sittin' right there above our pituitary gland." Consider it clever songwriting, an alternative to today's boring platitudes.

Ultimately, Pronto can pride itself on their introspective, well-disguised pop. All is Golden has moments of fluidity and jerkiness and they group manages to develop what they know without jumping unnecessarily into uncharted territory.

Reviewed by Lara Longo
Lara Longo is a writer and photographer from Brooklyn, NY. In 1989, Lara received her first CD player and album, Appetite for Destruction; ever since, music is something she has fawned over, hated on, and played loudly. Her work has also appeared in Relix and New York Cool. Lara’s interests include sharks, European television, and the Hammond B3 organ.

See other reviews by Lara Longo



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