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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]


 » 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
This is Ivy League
This is Ivy League

Rating: 7/10 ?

April 24, 2008
Living in Boston, and passing the gates of Hahvahd on a semi-daily basis, it's hard not to be curious about a band calling themselves This is Ivy League. Before I'd even heard the band I had this vision of them as a couple of Harvard grad students, excelling at everything they do, and in their spare time making music so catchy and geeky it landed them a record deal. As it turns out, only parts of that vision are true.

This is Ivy League are Ryland Blackinton and Alex Suarez, and they're not based in Cambridge (even though Blackinton grew up in Massachusetts) but - surprise! - in New York, where they spend their time crafting songs with a heavy nod to both Simon & Garfunkel and The Beach Boys. Seasoned with a fistful of bossa nova, the songs on the band's eponymous debut have a nice little twist to them, and you can tell that Suarez and Blackinton have put a lot of thought and effort into their compositions and sound.

The album features 11 songs, all written, performed and produced by the duo themselves. All songs follow the This is Ivy League formula mentioned above, and if you're a fan of that particular Kings of Convenience-style up-tempo, slightly retro-tinted, folky-hyphenated sound, chances are you will love the band from the start. There are however no traditional hits to be found here, so those with a hankering for radio-ready singles might find it a bit slow and repetitive, which it is at times. In either case, listeners from all walks will find that This is Ivy League has at least a couple of songs that stick to the ribs.

Of the 11 tracks, "London Bridges" and "Don't Waste Your Love On Me" are my own personal favorites, probably because they have some hard-to-define The Smiths qualities about them. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me think of Mozzer and Co. when I listen to these songs, but that je ne sais quoi is another great example of how This is Ivy League are skilled at tastefully, if vaguely, borrowing from legendary song writers.

Harvard grads or not, This is Ivy League are a band with a lot of potential; they know how to write good songs, they have excellent taste in music, and they're adept at infusing their music with subtle nods to the heroic ghosts of yore. The only thing sure to dust This is Ivy League from the doorstep of indie stardom is the fact that it lacks even a single big, catchy-to-the-max potential hit, but judging from the merit of their debut I'd say they're due to birth a hit or two within a couple of years.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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