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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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
Skin Graft Records

Rating: 4/10 ?

April 14, 2005
Ruins' reputation precedes them. Though I had never heard any of their records, I knew they were a major influence on noise-punk bands like the Locust - and my personal favorite, Lightning Bolt. I expected great things from these gonzo Japanese post-everything progenitors, but Vrresto did not live up to my expectations, and frankly, it scares me.

In every sense of the hyphenated word, this album is a freak-out. I thought the stuff coming out on the Providence-based label Load Records was the wildest/weirdest stuff on earth, but Ruins have outdone their American counterparts in terms of chaos. Whereas the mighty Lightning Bolt blow speakers with distortion and rely on a chugging repetition that is guaranteed to give you a headache, Ruins have much more fun with vocals. Every track on Vrresto finds drummer Yoshida Tatsuya and bassist Hisashi Sasaki yodeling and trilling all over the place. The drum beat is tied to the vocal accompaniment (or vice-versa), and it's hard to say which came first. Occasionally, this symmetry lines up nicely, bringing some balance to the album, but most often the off-the-wall screaming takes away from the instrumental fun going on in the background.

One of the longer tracks, "Jarregoh," begins with a floating introduction not unlike the wispier moments of Ghost's Hypnotic Underworld, then quickly moves into a smash-dance of cymbal crashes and a syncopated bass line. It's something you could almost enjoy except for the caterwauling that takes over. "Ffenniko" is the best example of a decent noise-punk song gone horribly wrong thanks to bizzarro vocal work, and a four-minute song that begins with promise is hard to sit through.

Though I've tried to appreciate the art in this haphazard free-for-all, the fact is, I just don't get it. Some Japanese imports are infinitely entertaining in their strangeness - the game show Most Extreme Elimination Challenge comes to mind. Vrresto, on the other hand, is unflinching in its madness. I can understand why this 1998 release was previously unavailable stateside - even the heartiest of noise-rockers will likely have trouble getting behind this one.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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