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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
Vessel States

Rating: 7/10 ?

April 24, 2006
I jumped on the Wilderness train pretty quickly after the release of their eponymous debut last year. I had been searching for a different sound to get into as the patterns of music had once again been churning out bands with doppelganger sounds. Wilderness stood out like a sore thumb. Drawn out, patient, reverb heavy guitars and bass over deliberate and minimal drumming…and then those vocals. The heavy and soulful crooning of James Johnson will either hypnotize you or scratch your eardrums bloody. It gave me just what I needed, a taste of something new. Sure, they're not reinventing music - it's some strange mix of Lungfish and PiL on crank, but it caught my attention fast and hard.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to hearing the new record. When I heard they were planning on releasing Vessel States less than a year after releasing their first masterpiece I had a little trepidation. I knew they worked on their self-titled debut for an obscene amount of time - and comparing this one to that, it's obvious which one was hurried.

Right out of the gates the tone is set at far too mellow a pace. A complete 180 from "Marginal Over", "The Blood is on The Wall" begins with little enthusiasm - and that is a major complaint through the rest of the album. After all the press and positive publicity (not that they even got what they deserved from their first album), it seems Wilderness has perhaps let it go to their heads. The emotions never reach the highs or the lows of their previous work. Everything is in the mundane middle. The one and only song that catches attention is "Gravity Bent Light", the longest song on the album, and the energy is reached during the last two minutes of the six-minute song.

All in all, the album seems phoned-in. Where "The End of Freedom" took it's time, it was still a song filled with both emotion and hushed energy. "Emergency" (the first release or MP3) in this collection is a slow, meandering drowsy affair. It appears they tried to perk it up a bit with the title of the song, but it didn't work so well. Along with the sounds on the album seeming phoned-in, their incredibly 'artsy' (and terrible) website hasn't even been updated to show they have worked on a new album. Seems to me that's a sign…

Hopefully it's just a sophomore slump Wilderness are experiencing here. I'd hate to think that they have become too comfortable with their sound and are no longer taking the risks that made them stand out in the first place.

Worst website ever: www.wildernesssounds.com

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig



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