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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
Low Skies
I Have Been to Beautiful Places
Flameshovel Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

January 20, 2005

After turning a few heads (and, unfortunately, only a few) with their 2003 debut, The Bed, Low Skies have done exactly what they needed to with this follow-up EP - replicate what they did right the first time, add a few glorious new wrinkles, and raise a necessary amount of hubbub for their next album.

Though the band has added two new full-time members to their ranks, everything that worked on The Bed remains firmly intact. Vocalist/lyricist/songwriter/spiritual focal point Chris Salveter's aching narratives still command most of your attention, seething with cracked religious imagery, bedroom ennui, and repressed homicidal tendencies.

His vocals alternately recall Tim Kasher and Greg Dulli, and like both of those men, he sometimes lets his mawkishness and tormented histrionics overpower the music - and, just as Kasher and Dulli have always done, Slaveter gets away with it by virtue of his lyrics' sheer rawness and even ridiculousness. I mean, you'd probably get a little out of sorts if you were preoccupied with eternal hellfire and shit, right? That's what I thought.

While Slaveter's storyteller's tongue was enough to save The Bed from its more ponderous instrumental passages and often excruciating song lengths, Low Skies have already taken it upon themselves to address their sonic shortcomings, and their progress is pretty exciting. Though their songs still tarry on far past the five minute mark, there's never a passive moment - a sense of purpose pervades every bluesy rhythm guitar lick and cymbal crash. They still make their most powerful musical statements via their singeing, moaning guitar leads, but this time they add some much needed tonal variety, bringing to mind some of The Verve's most pastoral space-outs during "Ready to Be Done" and "Funeral Pew."

If any legitimate criticism can still be leveled against Low Skies, it's that their music is still a little too thick, a little too dark, and a little too slow-building to immediately catch listeners. While they're certainly not inaccessible, Low Skies do take a little more warming up to than such a straight-forward rock band should. Hopefully you'll discover, as I have, that taking the time to unravel their dense tapestry of churning turmoil is indeed a worthy investment.

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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