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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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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
Satanic Versus
Jade Tree Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
In many instances EPs comprised of multiple recording sessions are just an amalgamation of throwaway songs left over from an LP or home demos, and the new Milemarker EP Satanic Versus encompasses both origins. It mixes 3 band-recorded tracks with 3 songs committed to tape by none other than wunderkind Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago and the disparity in style, presentation, and overall effect is quite evident.

The album opener "Join Our Party" is a hopefully tongue-in-cheek macabre electro-house dance number. The beats seem programmed straight out of a keyboard and the synth lines that provide the tune are nothing short of something you might have expected to hear at any rave or dance club in the last five or so years. Seeing as how the track and its counterpart, the groove inducing "Idle Hands", are quite different from the rest of this offering gives credence to the cheeky home recording theory, otherwise lines like "This is our chant/ the ones who make a difference can dance, dance, dance" are just too laughable to accept.

The rest of the EP delivers Milemarker's brand of Marilyn Manson (circa Antichrist Superstar / Mechanical Animals) for indie rockers blend of electronic tainted bleak, almost gothic not-quite-hardcore. "The Banner To The Sick" utilizes some poppy vocal background harmonies to take a bit of the edge off and would probably be the EP's best hope at converting new fans, while "New Lexicon's" stomp and grind chugs along until it's wicked ending breakdown. These two tracks, along with the ten-minute epic "Lost The Thoughts But Kept The Skin" - which does manage to overstay its welcome a bit - perfectly showcase why Albini's recording talents are so sought after. They all feature a huge, gritty, bulldozing bottom end but still manage to highlight the vicious electronic sounds and cutting guitars.

It's not just "Lost The Thoughts But Kept The Skin" that commits a lack of edited-to-run-in-the-time-that-should-have-been-allotted crime though. The final pulse that ends the title track drags out for over three minutes, all of which causes this disc to run over what should have been a thirty minute time limit. When you consider some of the tedious lyrics which are always heavily distorted or vocoded and often focusing on wartime images like banners, blood, body counts, stitches, statues, Big Brother and the condemnation of herd mentality, compounded by the rain-cloud-on-your-shoulders atmosphere, it can all add up to being just a bit too much.

Still, there is something appealing in the sounds that Milemarker mixes, and though Satanic Versus is hardly anything more than a pacifier to tide the fans over until the next full-length album has been readied, it will be interesting to see where they go from here. Since this is my first formal introduction to Milemarker I have to wonder whether or not the band could ever manage to cross pollinate with or be championed by fans of other genres. I just don't see all the alt-country fanatics ever giving Milemarker a chance, but then again, I'm sure their fans will find this EP nothing short of chicken soup for their malnourished and morbid little tortured souls.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper



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