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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
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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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
Sweep the Leg Johnny/Rumah Sakit
Live September 9th, 2000
Sickroom Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The Bottom of the Hill is a fine place to see bands play in the city of San Francisco. The cream of the indie-crop passes through the BOH, as it is lazily known, at times packing the place to the gills, which makes for sort of an uncomfortable experience. As great a venue as it is, when a show is sold out it is impossible to move at all and the smell of fried food from the kitchen can be quite stifling. They occasionally have these fantastic Sunday afternoon BBQ shows where the admission price includes a wonderful array of cold deli salads along with franks and burgers for the meat-eating crowd. Way back in September of 2000, two fine bands hooked up for a show that was recorded and just recently put out on Sickroom Records. Chicago's Sweep the Leg Johnny and San Francisco's Rumah Sakit each get a disc on this double CD set.

Rumah Sakit has actually lost a member to Sweep the Leg Johnny; Mitch Cheney, who handles guitars in the instrumental math-assault of Rumah and now sings and plays guitar in Sweep. Rumah Sakit are an exemplary band. While playing fairly straight- ahead math-rock, these extremely well versed musicians blend and diverge into various styles, with traces of jazz here, more mellow indie rock strains there and an overall personality that is technical while remaining melodic. Their set on this live album is perfectly balanced with highs and lows in both emotion and cadence. The songs are hard to talk about as separate entities, as they all sort of blend together, which is in no way a detracting remark. Their type of music should be taken as a set, whether it is during a live show or a Sunday afternoon listening session to one of their albums in its entirety. They have put out several records on Temporary Residence but their live performance seems to really be where it's at. Their traditional instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums) remains vital as guitars swirl around each other in a frenzy and bass and drums do much more than holding down a rhythm section as they swell from backbeat to intermingling associated noise.

Sweep the Leg Johnny perform similar styled music as Rumah but with a different method and with a different end. Their jazz-punk is such not just because of their unique instrumentation, which combines alto sax flare-ups with their guitar/bass/drums formations, but literally because they breed the attitude and irreverence of punk with the improvisation and free wheelings of jazz and skronk. And sometimes it takes them well over seven minutes to do this. Steve Sostak takes his mouth off his reed long enough to belt out lyrics over their assaulting charge, which often deteriorates into instrumental and vocal mayhem. On songs like "Please Send Me Roses Before I am Dead" sax and guitar earnestly trade riffs before descending back into mush. It's good mush though and there is a great sensation of structure behind it all.

The sound on this live recording is quality and the mix is well balanced, which is important for live recording of bands like these, which rely so much on the interplay between their instruments. This is part of an ongoing series of live recordings that Sickroom will be releasing and it should be interesting to hear what they offer in the future.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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