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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
Taxi Taxi
Maps and Legends

Rating: 5/10 ?

September 7, 2007
I'm all for a good backstory, and here's one lifted right from the promo for a new band named Taxi Taxi: "The members serendipitously met in the back of a shared cab during the fabled New York City transit strike of 2005. Small talk ensued as the driver fought through the morning rush hour and soon the passengers discovered a shared affinity for the sounds of Stax Records and varied artists such as ESG, Harry Nillson and Big Star. Within a month, the newfound friends were capitalizing on their luck, rehearsing in Bernardo's Brooklyn studio and recording what would eventually blossom into Maps and Legends."

I used to drive a cab when I first moved to Tucson, and the only moments I can recall were dropping off an endless array of schlubs at one of this town's many "gentlemen's" clubs. But I digress; back to the aptly named Taxi Taxi. The members' lucky meeting has led to an album that could be mildly pleasant but is dragged down by a tiresome mid-section. Maps and Legends emulates the aforementioned musicians, in the spirit of the first few innocuous pop songs. Alex Chilton shows up on the opener "Family Doctor" and Nillson is not far behind in the second track, "Hide and Seek." By the time Maps and Legends hits its third song, I'm even hearing echoes of New Romantic players Spandau Ballet.

Things start spiraling downhill on "Anna," which tries to crash the "Scarborough Fair"-style of Simon and Garfunkel, but instead comes off as soft rock with no rock. "Shoot the Dog, Chop the Tree" goes from slightly bothersome, with its tinny synths and "ooh-aah" whispery vocals, to considerably annoying, the last third rife with abrupt screaming that is neither emo, thrash, punk, but is rather entirely out of place. The title track gets things back on "track" but it's short lived; "Man Overboard!" springs another leak, and the ship once again starts sinking.

The last couple of songs in Maps and Legends's repertoire are an improvement, and the strongest of the batch is closing tune "Hold the Line," melodic and heartfelt. Maps and Legends is - excuse the pun - all over the map, stylistically, and quality-wise. There are some genuinely good flashes, and employing an occasional trumpet and turntable helps the cause, but these moments pop up too infrequently. The band may have faired better to cull their output to an EP, while honing their methods into something more cohesive. I suppose shared admiration for bygone artists is a fine reason to form a band, but having a firm individual vision is the only foundation for a strong run. Perhaps the band will gel further, and warrant hailing down their next release.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro



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