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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
Manda and the Marbles
Angels with Dirty Faces
Addison Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

February 16, 2005
Have you ever noticed in 80s teen movies there's always a Prom scene, or house party where some band is playing is playing, and the camera splits attention between the melodrama out on the dance floor and pimping out the group on stage?

Back in 1985, the groups taking the stage could've been hotshot rising stars. However, with 20 or so years of distance between then and now, they invariably seem little more anonymous New Wave bands.

What immediately strikes me about Manda and the Marbles is that they could've been one of those bands in a movie like Valley Girl. The music is unabashedly retro-minded power pop, with keyboard ornamentation and an overwhelming New Wave influence.

I can see it now: the group plays some suburban living room while underage kids get drunk on keg beer in plastic cups and make out in-between busting out corny dance moves. The group is the soundtrack to an undeniably fun time.

It's perfect because Manda and the Marbles play damn catchy, really fun music that kids should get drunk to. They skillfully balance upbeat melodies and female vocals, with only occasional trips to the realm of teeth-rotting fluff. The songs remind easily of the Go-Gos as they borrow nostalgia from the unremembered 80s. The vocals fit perfect with the syrupy music and (much as I hate to admit it) sound much like Gwen Stefani.

While most all songs capture the simple good time that any jaded pop music lover would long for, the group does occasionally push themselves too far in their quest for melody. "Say Anything" comes off as irritating, like the band is trying too hard. "Boys Will Be Boys" is a bit too kitschy for my tastes. However, when the band stretches its sensibilities a bit, it is also a promising show of ability. "Seventeen" is a laidback, wistful folk rock song, the likes of which makes a nice change of pace for the group.

It doesn't matter really whether it 1985 or 2005; Angels with Dirty Faces is a tight party record that should be rocking the suburbs right now.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams



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