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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
Metal Cares
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

May 12, 2005
If the emotional spectrum were indeed a rainbow, then affection and sorrow would be primary colors - easily used by all and overrepresented by many. In that regard, Picastro would be master artists, exploring seldom-used shades and nearly defining them.

Rarely will you find a perfect representation of such complex sensations as denial and ambivalence, but Liz Hysen and company dabble extensively in those hues, in both tone and lyrical prowess, in order to make the audience exercise such thorny emotions. Without such a spirit, we might find ourselves in musical atrophy; as such, Metal Cares is a ripe album, never contented by the easy route.

Certainly, you will hear tones of Cat Power and PJ Harvey throughout the album - mostly due to spare and creative instrumentation and a songstress (Hysen) with a sultry, stirring voice - but Picastro has far more range than sheer imitation.

Metal Cares is very literate, able to progress in a full circle: "No Contest" begins with a slow-moving, somewhat fragile sentiment despite building instrumentation, and while it shines momentarily with bells and strings, it never leaves its position of aching denial; at the other end of the album, the closer, "Blonde Fires," has a similarly slow, staid pace, but this time burns through its delicate traits from utter exhaustion. There's a subtle difference between the sounds of the two tracks, but the journey from one to the other is impressive even if the path is not clear or frequently traveled.

Many of the tracks have a supernatural, haunting feel, outstaying their welcome with a bizarre chill. "Ah Nyeh Nyeh," despite its playful title, sounds like a remnant of Eraserhead, shrieking like a suicide victim in hellish remorse. In contrast "Raddy Daddy," though ghostly, plays like a loving memory haunted by the present, howling for lost, golden hours. And "Common Cold" is so lo-fi it's distorted, where cacophonous piano echoes cascade through purgatory and mush-mouthed vocals present decimation better than clarity could.

Within the vast works are portrayals of betrayal, revenge and ire ("Sharks" ), delusional blues ("Dramaman") and rattling ambivalence ("Skinnies"), presented with varying bursts of momentum, sarcasm and piecemeal noise. Somehow, melody pushes through enough to categorize these dissertations as songs, with the powerfully driven "Sharks" being the operative single, but the album's challenging nature remains its hallmark. Metal Cares is a sublime excursion for those unafraid to explore from the inside out.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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