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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » 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!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Ryan Adams
Demolition
Lost Highway Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Ryan Adams is the new coal shovel tearing through the heart of Americana, and he's strip-mining. Much like the hard carbon industry went from being the fuel of the industrial revolution that brought the United States to world power to a belching black beast of acid rain that held the Quecreek Nine hostage for three days, Ryan Adams has gone from a throaty, rose-cheeked rustic rock savior to a super-glammed peddler of suspect songs. It's hard to really get down on Demolition, but it's because of Adams' little tribute to the untamed spirit, rather than because the songs are all that great.

The moments when Adams touches on the elements that make him so dear to the white-bread-eating everyman with calloused hands are spread too thin on Demolition to render it anything more than a sound bite in the background of an Ethan Allen commercial. It has always been fairly obvious, at least to this listener, that Adams is at his peak in intimate situations, when all the gloss and hair gel and Gap jeans are stripped away. A song like "You Will Always Be The Same" has the trademarks of Adams' most piercing, disarming charm, but it's tossed into Demolition sloppily, unable to really stand out among a bunch of songs that I'd overt my eyes from if I met them on the sidewalk. A lot of the tracks on this album are like the opener, "Nuclear", songs that are a little too go-get-'em-tiger for their own good, and the ones that aren't are just plain embarasing, such as "Gimme A Sign". There are some really solid songs littered through the baker's dozen but the bulk of Demolition is forgettable fodder for the scores of Best Buy shoppers with tattered nylon American flags still tied to their car antennas. Whereas Heartbreaker, Adams' precursor to last year's Gold, with it's amazingly timed aesthetics, was a Y2K patch for the dusty music collection of a greasy tractor mechanic hauling bearings and grease down a rock road in his pea-green '84 GMC pickup with the obligatory missing tailgate, Demolition comes across like a half-assed mix tape for suburbanites. You know, the kind who plan weekend trips to the apple orchard and copy their wardrobe from those oh-so-rustic POLO commercials.

The beauty in a Ryan Adams album is that Adams is a true student of song crafting, and while comparisons to Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen or Gram Parsons are a little premature at this point, the guy can cut through the very cloth of No Depression when he wants to. If the songs on Demolition were stripped down to the bare essentials of Adams' voice, acoustic guitar and one extra track for flourishes they would probably spin my head. But as they are, all dolled up in glossy production, they end up coming across like a latex-clad, cell phone-wielding Nashville groupie with a hard on for farm boys. A lot of people are blowing their wads over Adams as a quick surrogate to the stunted, unfulfilling career of Whiskeytown, but I'm quite certain that if he survives the pampering and learns to focus on his songs rather than his hair he'll fill in nicely that missing link between Tom Petty and Willie Nelson. For now, Demolition isn't a step backwards, but rather a detour to the side that I'll be unlikely to revisit as long as I have my copy of Heartbreaker.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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