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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
Carquinez Straits
The Flat Earth Just Got Flatter
Lather Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There's something about pedal steel guitar, drawling vocals, and simple drum beats that never gets old if it's done right. While at first Carquinez Straits seems to merely follow the same musical path as bands like Holopaw, in many ways this band's debut CD is more enjoyable and entertaining than those of their alt-country peers.

Assembled by guitarist/vocalist Jed Brewer to play songs he wrote for his other band, Harvester, the group has only recently released their debut on Brewer's own label, after being together since 1999. The band credits both Uncle Tupelo and Pavement as influences, but rather than sounding like a blend of the two it seems that their musical style is firmly rooted in alt-country (with a few exceptions) while the lo-fi recording of The Flat Earth Just Got Flatter seems to be influenced by indie rock.

The most immediately appealing aspect of this record is the laid back singing of Brewer, which at first may seem a tad out of tune but quickly becomes endearing. Lyrical topics including "geography, petty revenge, nutrition, secret wars, suburban sprawl, and suspect beef" are all much more interesting than songs about heartbreak and drinking that one would expect based on the music. "The Earth's crust just got thinner cause yellow rocks on sale," Brewer croons on "The Flat Earth Society", an outright country tune (sans 'alternative' styling) that sounds as if it should be about a girlfriend named Bobby Sue cheating on her boyfriend with the county sheriff.

While these seem mostly to be distinctly country rooted tunes, there are several that do in fact blur the line between country and indie rock. Songs like "My Triumphant Return as a Fly" and "Road Rage Bliss" are reminiscent of early work by the legendary country/indie rockers Meat Puppets, except Carquinez Straits have a keener ear for melody and tunefulness.

While The Flat Earth Just Got Flatter may not reach many people due to it being on such a small label, it seems as if Carquinez Straits aren't exactly looking for a major label deal and critical acclaim. If Brewer and bassist Greg Hain hadn't already been in bands that had deals with Geffen and Warner Brothers, perhaps it could've been said that it wasn't possible. These guys seem fed up with looking for success though, for whatever reason. They seem content with simply creating great music and letting people find it on their own. If they intend to remain at their current level of activity, The Flat Earth Just Got Flatter is a record that if you're smart enough to track down, you will feel very lucky to have.

Reviewed by Tom Nash
A former LAS staff member based in Vienna - that\'s Virginia, not Austria - Tom graduated from high school and we are all just so, so proud of him.

See other reviews by Tom Nash



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