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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
Trans Am
Sex Change
Thrill Jockey

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

February 23, 2007
There has been movement in the Trans Am camp. The band has taken a step. They even put down the vocoder (mostly). No longer is the band going to settle for the traditional Krautrock pose, instead offering listeners chaos organized into eleven tracks. With Sex Change Trans Am draws influence for the first time from the electro-funk of Zapp and early Prince as much as Kraftwerk and Neu! Of course the Troutman Brothers influence only lasts a track or two before the album shifts direction again. The third song, "Obscene Strategies," sounds like an Escape Club release circa 1986. Then, to make things even more confusing, the conclusion to Sex Change is a dark metal instrumental jam spanning three tracks of steady percussive assaults and distorted guitars. There is not much to hold onto here for musical stability and yet, somehow, Sex Change proves an enjoyable listen.

Following their last album, 2004's well-received political protest album Liberation, the members of Trans Am went on hiatus and scattered all over the globe. Slowly, over the course of a couple years, the band reassembled and began to record what would become Sex Change (which could psycho-sexually only come after Liberation). Upon reunification they dumped much of their regular gear for new equipment and began utilizing some of Brian Eno's studio techniques. The result is a staggering improvement in the band's sound. Every cut on the album is clean, but none are so over-produced as to seem sterile. Although undoubtedly somewhat of an aesthetic directive, previous Trans Am albums seemed to lack human warmth and ultimately suffered for it.

Ultimately Sex Change is a good collection of songs. The album, as a whole, is inconsistent, but simply because each individual song is so drastically different from the others. One moment the band is emitting reminiscences of 1980s synth-pop glory and the next they give the impression that they had been listening to Master of Puppets before they went into the studio. Despite the atmospheric flip-flopping flaw, Sex Change makes for an interesting listen and most certainly marks a milestone in the band's discography. If they continue to take progressive musical steps like those heard on Sex Change, Trans Am will continue to be one of the most interesting bands in the post-rock movement.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke



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