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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
I Am the Fun Blame Monster!

Rating: 9/10 ?

October 1, 2004
In a musical climate where nearly everything is patently derivative and influences are frequently transparent, those with true creativity and originality are rare. When individuals seek to recreate the process of music making from the inside out, and bend the will of unheard genres to create something custom-made, it gives new meaning to the term "breakthrough artist." On their debut release, Menomena proves they are of the truly innovative few.

I Am the Fun Blame Monster! is playful and thoroughly moving, often simultaneously. It allows electronic loops to ebb and flow in just the right proportion, hooking interest and heartstrings as each song progresses. It is like a symphony of synthetics, where the instruments tell a story alongside any vocal accompaniment. The album shapes chosen sounds to fit emotion, and vice versa - and in a larger scale, it shapes the audience toward its very whims. It feels completely intelligent and fascinating.

Menomena makes me feel like the highly suggestible type. In the case of most albums, I start with my own mood and search, like for like. Be it irritable, sweet or distressed, I find a disc to suit my mindset and carry it along. Menomena is instead satisfyingly manipulative, taking any current disposition and bending it to fit a collective mood: it doesn't matter how I'm feeling; I follow their lead.

While one touchstone for their sound would be the Flaming Lips, a simple nod doesn't do them justice, as this is nothing near imitation. "Cough Coughing" starts and stops in unlikely spaces, confusing and jumpstarting your heartbeat. A favorite, "The Late Great Libido" is strong and sweeping, as over-the-top instrumentation takes your place in the narrative. "Twenty Cell Revolt" is perhaps most like the 'Flips, but deconstructs and braces in a way that wouldn't make them comfortable. The track rebuilds convention as it plods along, and takes everything a step further.

There is nothing on this album that isn't supremely inventive. It is odd but intuitive, drenched in saxophone, splashy piano and retiring vocals, but cascades past all standards to relate wholly to every specific, understood You in earshot. I Am the Fun Blame Monster! is entirely special and dear to your heart, appearing in a desperate time when inspiration is the most affective (and effective) blessing of all.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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