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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
Pocket Revolution
V2 Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

February 6, 2006
Cancel the missing person's report on dEUS. The art-rock ensemble with the revolving cast resurfaced in 2005 after a five-year absence with Pocket Revolution, album No. 4 for Belgium's finest. We can only speculate why they stayed away so long. One theory - okay, it's mine and mine alone - says they collectively suffered amnesia after 1999's consistently great Ideal Crash and wandered around Europe trying to regain their memories. The evidence suggests that's not the case.

To wit, there were lineup changes, a host of solo projects and lead singer Tom Barman's debut as a filmmaker with Any Way The Wind Blows. And the fact that Pocket Revolution feels more like an extension of dEUS' last album than a break with tradition suggests that the band's faculties were never impaired in the slightest during the break. Though longtime fans who remember the Captain Beefheart eclecticism of works like In A Bar Under The Sea might be wondering what caused the band to lose its sense of adventure.

Produced by Eric "Drew" Feldman, a Beefheart alum who has also played with the Pixies and P.J. Harvey, In A Bar Under The Sea was all over the map, a gleeful frog jumping from genre lily pad to genre lily pad. It could be cinematic and expansive one moment, and dark and explosive the next, and then switch to a more dance-oriented aesthetic in a single breath. No easier to pin down from a critical standpoint, Pocket Revolution is, nevertheless, a more focused - some would say conventional - record. Take that any way you like, but it's not meant as a slight. Frankly, it's all well and good to strive to be as experimental and "out there" as Beefheart, but I will say this, if you can sit through Trout Mask Replica from beginning to end, you deserve a fucking Purple Heart. Face it, that record can be wholly unlistenable. And you can try to convince me otherwise, perhaps sit me down, tie me to a chair and explain its subtle nuances to me as it plays, but I'll be slipping those ropes and running for the door screaming after five minutes of the stuff.

Now, if you want to put on Pocket Revolution, I'll stay. I might even order pizza and call the wife to tell her not to wait up for me. Top to bottom, this might be dEUS' best work yet. It's full of grandiose ideas and slightly off-kilter, hook-filled melodies that get in your blood and swim to your heart and your brain, while swerving rockers like "Stop-Start Nature" and "If You Don't Get What You Want" grope your privates with the dark sensuality of Girls Against Boys. The one-two punch of "Bad Timing" and "7 Days, 7 Weeks" will leave you reeling, with dEUS offering up a black flood of guitars in the former and Doves-like radiant pop in the latter. A killer opener built on moody basslines, "Bad Timing" mingles the dreamy blackness of The Church with the sort of biting dissonance and sharp hooks The Sugarcubes parlayed into alt.-rock glory years ago, and then unleashes huge swaths of electric guitar upon the unsuspecting. The first single, "7 Days, 7 Weeks" follows light, crisp drumming and tight, sinewy bass movements into swirling mellotron before running smack dab into a sunny supernova of acoustic guitar, double-tracked vocals and cutting violin. It's blissed-out Brit-pop done right, by Belgians no less.

What follows is a headlong rush of songs that never loses momentum. There's the menacing faux-blues stylings, jazzy undertones and stinging, socially conscious wit of The The in "What We Talk About (When We Talk About Love)" and the gospel-like, hands-to-heaven supplication of the title track. Edgy, with a Primal Scream sort of swagger, "Nightshopping" hits you right between the eyes with serrated guitar and drugged vocals, while the blistering "Cold Sun Of Circumstance" gets caught in a mean, balls-out groove that, unexpectedly, gives way to a quiet, fine-spun acoustic guitar episode in the end.

On one hand with Pocket Revolution there's the avant-garde, grungy dEUS, throwing down with powerful, ramped-up guitar surges, like in "Sun Ra." Then there's the star-gazing dEUS, the one capable of creating the silvery, twinkling psych-pop trip "Include Me Out," which floats on a plush carpet of mellotron, and the meditative "The Real Sugar," with its finger-snapping chorus, mellow guitar, low-key rhythms, and oaken violin. Will the real dEUS please stand up? I think they have with Pocket Revolution. Or at least, it's the real dEUS of the moment.

The only real constants in dEUS seem to be Barman and violinist Klaas Janzoons. After a while, the revolving door stops swinging, and the band either goes away to die a shell of its former self or stays in the building and rides the elevator back to the top. Seemingly invigorated by its new members, dEUS continues to make strong, artistic albums that have staying power and rarely settles for the lowest common denominator. With Pocket Revolution, they've even managed to trump themselves. How many bands can say that after such a long time away from the game?

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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