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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
Under Byen & The Danish Radio Sinfonietta
Paper Bag

Rating: 9/10 ?

March 31, 2008
As winter slowly thaws away into spring, those melancholic souls who need to linger just a bit longer in the chill winds, long darkened hours, and snow-swept evenings de l'hiver would be wise to visit the latest offering from Danish post-rock group Under Byen. Siamesisk, a splendid five-song live EP, is the follow-up to Under Byen's fabulous Samme stof som stof, and a work that leaves the listener feeling the bitter cold of the frosty Nordic world and adds a new dimension to the already-impressive musical talents of one of Denmark's finest artists.

Samme stof som stof, a dark, mysterious post-rock epic, ranked amongst my favorite albums of 2006, and Siamesisk is an expansion and re-interpretation of that album's haunting sounds. This live EP was recorded in front of an audience of 1,500 in an old Copenhagen concert hall, creating an echo-laden atmosphere, and includes four tracks from Samme stof som stof. The live incarnations have been re-arranged, and prominently feature the Danish Radio Sinfonietta, a forty-two-piece classical orchestra that specializes in 18th century operas and the music of Mozart. While orchestral flourishes have become par for the course in indie rock as of late, here the addition of the orchestra is wonderful and fitting. The strings and woodwinds provide depth and gloom to Under Byen's compositions, adding layers of sound to already-intriguing musical arrangements. Eeriness and intrigue oozes from every track, and this sonic expansion is best realized on "Af Samme stof som stof," which here grows from its album version to sound much larger and fuller.

For those unfamiliar with Under Byen, whose name is Danish for "Under the City," the band formed in 1995. Their music features little guitar work, instead focusing on piano, percussion, strings, and organs. Yet for a band that largely ditches the six-string, Under Byen's music often rocks - think of Sigur Rs, Bjrk, Mogwai, and Talk Talk. Henriette Sennenvaldt's distorted lyrics, in Danish of course, add another instrument to the band's layered sounds.

If there is a complaint here, it is only that Siamesisk comes to us an EP rather than a full-length album. We are treated to live versions of only four tracks from Samme stof som stof, while numerous other songs ripe for symphonic translation were not adapted for the concert. But one cannot complain too much, as this is beautiful, thrilling music, perfect for a retreat from spring's sunny onslaught.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan



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