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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
Mike Watt
The Secondman's Middle Stand
Columbia Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Here is Mike Watt's mid-life crisis. Actually, it's more of an event or journey documented in the studio and available for the public's listening "pleasure". I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, so I'm just going to say this album isn't for everyone, particularly anyone younger than Mike Watt himself, or at least me.

In the year 2000, Mr. Mike Watt became critically ill with a fever which lasted 38 days and this album is an attempt to make a story of his unique and painful medical journey.

Inspired by Dante Aligheri's Divine Comedy, this nine song album is divided into three sets of three songs. Mike's own particular Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise - if you're familiar with Dante's trilogy. In the press kit it reads that Mike (having plenty of recovery time to read) was able to go through the Divine Comedy again and could see a parallel, or at least enough of a parallel for him to write this album. For someone never sustaining a 38 day fever, it's hard to see the connection. One would think, to make it easier on the listener, the three different sections could be pre/during/post the inspirational illness, but maybe I'm just looking to make more sense of something I will most likely never understand.

Each of these nine songs wander around so unnecessarily, it's almost as if the world's most hated jam-band got together to write nonsensical songs and fuck around to see what sort of album they could record. Mike Watt has never been known as a brilliant lyricist - clever at times, sure - but with material like this, he fails to give the listener some important information; as a result, you never really understand any of it. On top of that, the vocals are recorded so low, it's almost as if he knew it didn't make much sense; he put it well below the bass, drums and organ that flail and wander for almost an hour in this operatic rock documentary. Perhaps the listener is supposed to go through his own painful journey simply by putting the disc in the player and pressing play.

Everyone is inspired by different things, and while listening to this album I was inspired only to turn it off. But alas - I suffered through it. Fifty-some odd minutes of self-indulgence. Let me say that normally, I like Mike Watt. I think the Minutemen were a very unique band that inspired many people to try to make a different kind of music. They filled a particular music void, and I have the utmost respect for Mr. Watt in his creativity; it just seems to fall flat and leave the listener in the dark on this recording.

Imagine laying down rock opera asphalt with a hippie jam band black top, and you're on the first step of a long, unpleasant road called The Secondman's Middle Stand. In the end, the thing we learn from this project is simple: base an entire album on an unpleasant event, and you will create an unpleasant album.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig



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