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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
The Winter Blanket
Actors and Actresses
Chairkicker's Music

Rating: 7/10 ?

September 19, 2003
In my art class it is more or less assumed that I am the music supplier. No one else is really into my musical tastes, but its become a kind of tradition, in as much as that's the way it goes and people accept it. I'm quite passionate about this practice. My art teacher thinks I work best to my music, but she advises me to bring headphones so she can listen to her "less noisy" kind of stuff. I forget. Every once in a while, a friend of mine will put in something of his, usually obscure jazz or his own band. I'm perfectly fine with both, (his band is actually good) but it's art class and I always am quite meticulous about preparing music for that day's class, so I'd naturally prefer my selection.

In the beginning of last year, things were a little different. There was this girl I didn't know who had a sort of seniority over me, and she put in these Nick Drake, Low, Dave Matthews, Jeff Buckley mixes. Every day. Mornings, afternoons, rain, sun, snow, sleet. Nick Drake, Low, slow Dave Matthews, Jeff Buckley. I couldn't handle it. I mean, its not that I hate any of the previously mentioned musicians, because I don't. Just too much at the wrong time isn't right.

So here's where it relates to The Winter Blanket. They sound a lot like these bands. Not so much like Dave Matthews or Jeff Buckley, but a lot like Nick Drake. Yeah, everybody says this about the band, but because of my Nick Drake and Low memories, I will forever relate all of these bands together, in one horribly wrong mix for a bright and sunny afternoon. Basically, I am sure if I heard the Winter Blanket in art class or on a nice spring day, I wouldn't be able to handle it. Visions of "the other music girl" and her music would flash in my mind and I'd probably throw this one really small girl out the window (she's usually closest and I'm not that strong.)

I think even if it weren't for the bad memories I would still hate hearing Actors and Actresses on a nice day. It is not nice day music. It is sick, tired, gloomy day music. It is slow core. I mean, come on, Low's Alan Spearhawk produced and released it. It features a male and a female vocalist, neither one of which is exceptionally talented and, though it is less derived than Hopeless Lullaby, it is still quite obvious where they got their influences. They sound a lot like Nick Drake and the Red House Painters, though a bit more like Nick Drake. Thank God that girl didn't know Red House Painters, because I would probably have punched her. I'd say the one song that I found really good on the album was "Train-wrecks." It was interesting, including good changes in tempo; something that until this song- half way through the album- I thought the band was hardly capable of. It starts off pretty badly, but gets a lot better, almost sounding like Actual Tigers playing slow core with the addition of a female vocalist.

I hated the album at first. Hated it. It grew on me as I succumbed to my mid-February exhaustion, nose dripping, throat itching, listening to the Winter Blanket. I won't get all cheesy with something like how it "wrapped me up" in anything but to sum it up, Actors and Actresses is a decent slow core album for this time of year. As long as nobody brings it into my art class.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn



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