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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
Yohimbe Brothers
The Tao of Yo
Thirsty Ear Records

Rating: 2/10 ?

October 1, 2004

Far be it from me to call any particular combination of instruments or aesthetic trope fundamentally wrong - that's the kind of thing that establishment types have said about a litany of brilliant artists, from Ornette Coleman to Brian Eno - but I can't help but feel like the Yohimbe Brothers box themselves into sketchy territory, simply on the basis of the tools they use.

Between DJ Logic's simplistic, archetypal world music tinged beats and Vernon Reid's guitar-as-an-extension-of-the-phallus licks, the possibility of the Brothers churning out pure cheese is so high that I have to wonder why they even decided to tackle such a risky mishmash of influences in the first place, and this album makes me so uncomfortable for the parties involved that I can't help but wonder if it's a risk that anyone should take.

For an idea of what this album sounds like, imagine Bill Laswell producing the latest Mos Def release and calling Ricky Martin in to sing a few hooks. Yeah, it really is that bad, man.

To the Brothers' credit, three tracks do work really well. "Shine for Me" features aggressive, danceable beats lacking elsewhere on the album, and its world music influences feel like genuine homage rather than a polite tip of the hat. "The Secret Frequency" is a Cornelius-esque super-chunk of sample backed power-pop, and marks the only instance in which Reid's testosteriffic guitar leads aren't weighed down by the grating ass rock tonalities that his former band, Living Colour, loved so dearly. Album closer "Perfect Traveler" throws the listener a complete curveball, as it marks the only time that the music seems aware of its own campiness - it's a Cuban disco romp (sorta) that's almost as fun as anything Daft Punk has ever done, and it wears a knowing smirk the entire time.

The rest of the album, however, is bleak, bleak, bleak. Those damn cocktastic riffs interrupt every moment of splendid pop, dull beats cause you to wonder why they're even bothering in the first place, and the occasional heavy-handed political rap saunters in atop a rap/rock hybrid that even Linkin Park might have too much dignity to work with.

The moral of the story: the next time you and your backpacker turntablist buddy are fooling around with his Pro-Tools, think twice before laying down one of your "bitchin'" solos over one of his throwaway beats. It might seem like a fun idea at the time, but a lot can go wrong in the process.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan



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