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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
The A-Sides
Hello, Hello
Prison Jazz Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

April 20, 2005
Everyone knows why the Beach Boys were so popular; no matter what they were singing about (surfin', girls, surfin' girls) they did so in the catchiest way possible. Even today, you need only to hear a few notes reminiscent of "Surfin' U.S.A" to get the song stuck in your head for the better part of the day. It can get annoying when you're trying to sleep and all you can think about is "a bushy-bushy blonde hairdo," but it's also comforting knowing that those songs will be around for generations to come.

The A-Sides are trying to ride the wave to pop stardom, but they are stuck in the wake of the Beach Boys and similar pop acts of the 60s (the Beatles, the Kinks… pick a band that begins with "the").

Unlike these acts, however, the A-Sides are all about predictable hooks that don't stick around after the CD spins down. Though equally as deep as the bubblegum classics of yesteryear, Hello, Hello lacks the longevity of its predecessors: The piano stomp of "Everybody Knows The Way" is nothing new, and it's hard to escape the sense that you are listening to a song that didn't make the final cut for the Good Vibrations box set.

"Sidewalk Chalk," the album's opener, is the strongest track because it is a rare moment of invention - the A-Sides escape the shadow of their parents' record collection to make an original song that does justice to all the ancestor worship. From the way it chugs forward with excessive guitars and drum breaks, "Sidewalk Chalk" is fresh, and dare I say, fun.

Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks do not hide their influences so well. "Sorry Cloud" has Brian Wilson written all over it, and you get the impression that he should be given credit in the liner notes for good measure. With the chorus, "run and tell the sun/it's time to shine/for everyone/we need the light," "Sorry Cloud" seems too cliché for Y2K5. Before the song is even over, I feel like I should cut out the middleman and go straight to SMiLE.

I'm sure the A-Sides have wonderful taste in music, and it's great to travel back to a time when music was simpler, but what's the point in releasing an album that doesn't mix things up a bit? "Jump Back Jack" is a Who knockoff, "Tall Buildings" sounds like a poor man's Kinks. Plenty of bands are influenced by these seminal groups but still manage to maintain a distinct style. Hello, Hello, on the other hand, is a band parroting back what they've already heard while they struggle to find a sound of their own.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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