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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
Orange Band
All Around
Lookout! Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
With recommendations for bands such as the Jam, Modern Lovers, and the Smiths, Oranges Band is the latest casualty of an all-too-common problem in the world of music journalism: press sheet regurgitation. As a music critic's busy life is often filled with pressing deadlines, daunting mountains of CDs, and often full-time, tiresome jobs, many critics are willing to pay a bit less attention to hard-to-describe music and focus more on the page or two in their hands where a publicist has already spelled things out. In every Oranges Band article this reviewer has come across, from small magazines to the All Music Guide, critics are comparing the band to the Jam, the Smiths, or Mission of Burma, and front man Roman Kuebler to Morrissey, Jonathan Richman, or Elvis Costello. It could, of course, just be that this reviewer is the only person around who is unable to see influences so glaringly obvious, but, of course, she doubts it (no one never admits their own possible shortcomings, do they?).

So Lookout! Records tell us that the band can be compared to Spoon, the Jam, Joe Jackson, and that Kuebler can be compared to Morrissey, Jonathan Richman, Julian Casablancas, and Elvis Costello. It is sometimes possible to recognize where Lookout! got these ideas from, though it seems more like intentional name-dropping than an adequate way to describe Oranges Band's sound. The Julian Casablancas and Mission of Burma references, for instance - "Keep Your Teeth" could sound like Roger Miller singing for a Gang of Four/The Strokes fusion band, but that still doesn't make Kuebler sound anything like Casablancas. And the only time any comparisons can really be made to the Smiths is on "I'm Still Right...Still," where Oranges Band sounds like the Smiths, had the Smiths been a Lookout! band (we'll ignore the fact that the horns introduced mid-song are decidedly un-Smiths-like). Of course, there is no reason to doubt that the band was influenced by bands their press sheet mentions such as Brian Eno, Television, and Guided by Voices, but music that a band might like is never a definite indicator of how they sound. In reality, Oranges Band sounds more like Imperial Teen and Hidden Chord than the bands they are constantly compared to.

In all honestly, Oranges Band can stand quite well on their own without all of the name-dropping, anyway. Their brand of guitar pop is catchy and takes cues from the power pop of the 70s and more recent pop-punk. Though it probably isn't the type of album fans will be listening to for years (or even months) to come like some of the outfits Oranges Band is often compared to, All Around might be a perfect distraction this summer for admirers of Imperial Teen and likeminded outfits.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn



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