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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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » 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
Lula Cortes e Ze Ramalho
Shadoks Music

Rating: 10/10 ?

December 5, 2005
Sexy backstory here: Two scruffy, wild-haired Brazilian psych folkies (one of them, Cortes, is a semi-well known figure from his work in raga-inspired guitar group Satwa) record a beast of an LP, a double disc ballbuster from the great beyond, dedicated to the four elements and drawing from a cornucopia of forms and conventions. Said ambitious prog-rock maneuver never gets into the hands of more than a few hundred folks, however, because the record factory burns down in a fire. A would-be classic vanishes into the ether, only to be gloriously resurrected to resume its rightful place in history 30 years later.

Reissues of hard-to-find weirdo rock LPs aren't that hard to find these days, of course, especially with shamanistic out-rock burbling closer and closer to the surface of the American underground and creating an environment in which almost any piece of psychotropic cosmic flight or mud-on-the-chest Gaia worship will be well received. Paebiru is more than just a curio or historical flesher-outer, though; as its four-sided, four suite form suggests, it sets its sights on transcendence from the get-go, and doesn't give up until it can imagine a new mode of being. It is perhaps one of the fullest explorations of the psychedelic aesthetic ever made, and the startling unity of mind and spirit that pervades this journey makes the results just as compelling as the ideas behind them.

One of psych rock's key arguments has always been oneness: it's all music, bro, descended from the same mama and daddy (human expression and fierce creativity). While some critics would be quick to point out that the genre can at best achieve a spurious oneness, as it emphasizes organic expressions and sometimes even outright rejects synthetic qualities, the degree to which Paebiru connects so many unlikely dots suggests that there is some sort of artistic center of the collective spirit, and that when tapped, this center can act as a deployment point for an endless number of formal and stylistic forays. The first suite, "Terra," hints that Cortes and Ramalho don't sit too far from this core, swooping from guttural primitivism (grunts, hand percussion, flutes) to eloquent jazz fusion to harsh spirals of space guitar to restrained chamber setting (piano, contrabass). Whether tackling a "low" folk form or a "high" classical form, these men invest each pursuit with the same level of emotion and expression, seeing the sublime in the mundane and seeing the visceral in the refined.

Few albums celebrate such a wide range of music without sounding forced or exploitive. May this reissue permanently raise the bar for all other sound-unifiers out there.

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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