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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
Tarantula A.D.
Book of Sand
Kemado Records

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

November 17, 2005
Mystics believe that they are able to experience automatic consciousness of boundless dimensions that far outreach the customary recognition of sensory perceptions, experiences and events, surpassing the everyday understanding of human interaction and social correspondence using insights that ordinary people simply don't have.

Led Zeppelin created music that based itself around such notions, or at least they portrayed this sort of mystified rock band that overshadowed any substantial or concrete tales of reality. Such leanings were obviously discussed with the "Immigrant Song", as Plant sang of green fields where hot springs blew "Oh how we claimed the tides of war/we are your overlords". I couldn't paint a better picture when describing the likes of Tarantula A.D.

A powerful, mostly instrumental, four piece that personifies the very meaning of mysticism through an eerily dramatic sense of mystery, Tarantula A.D. fuses classical music with Black Sabbath style metal that completely channels an uncertainty of time and place. It's an uncompromising way of meshing two sounds that have been blended before, but Tarantula A.D. show a natural understanding of classic and contemporary compositions, adroitly executed with modern guitar arrangements.

Know, however, that there is no formula to their daunting, massive sound. The screech of a cello often defines the songs outline and plays the lead role in most of Tarantula A.D.'s beautiful arrangements; much in the way Godspeed You! Black Emperor works through classic leanings, Tarantula A.D. mixes it up with dark, sludgy guitars and unconventional structures that completely deviate from typical verse-chorus-verse formations.

Much of the album explores the deepest, darkest recesses of perceived reality; if Tarantula A.D. isn't comforting you with their eclectic delicacies through the decadent stroll of a piano-driven intermission with "Who Took Berlin (Part II), "The Lost Waltz" and "Prelude to the Fall", they are smacking you head first into unwillingness and psychotic deformities with "Sea Lake". The latter track, comprised of what sounds like a butcher sharpening his meat clever on top of Devendra Banhart's humble voice, brings to mind a demented nursery rhyme.

Book of Sand demands immediate attention. A cello makes the first move with the opening song, "The Century Trilogy I: Conquest". It entices with a back and forth sweep of cryptic motion, then a stroke of the bow quickly turns into a bottom heavy churn and slowly emerges as a dark cloud that refuses to blow away. The song then buries itself with classical interludes that no longer follows suite before returning to the heavy sludge that started it all.

"The Century Trilogy II: Empire" is the centerpiece of the album; it combines the raw intensity of the Melvins with the alluring classical structure of Rachel's and blows everything else. At six and a half minutes, the song ends with a cinematic epilogue that is beautifully executed and confirms that Tarantula A.D. are masters at creating inexplicable unease (especially if the listener is under the influence of certain substances).

This Book of Sand isn't an easy read; while one part of the equation may be bearable for some, as a whole, the album is difficult to digest because of its constant shift in genres. However, Tarantula A.D's first proper full length record is an entirely conceptual and challenging masterpiece that begs to be consumed - as such, it is certain to be remembered on my year-end list.

Reviewed by Mark Taylor
A senior LAS staff writer, Mark Taylor is a 29 year old father of a 5 year old son and husband to a wife of 6 years, living the simple life in a small suburb of Charlotte, NC.

See other reviews by Mark Taylor



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