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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
Brother Kite
Brother Kite
Claire Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
To my knowledge, The Brother Kite have managed to do something that no other band has successfully done: they've made a record that legitimately passes for both a shoegaze album and an emo album. Mineral always toyed around with wailing delay and tremolo, The Appleseed Cast came damn near close to blurring the same line with their Low Level Owl discs, and you could argue that Ride and Catherine Wheel both injected their fair share of undergrad-level mope and angst into their blissed-out guitar torrents, but this album balances both halves of the equation perfectly. You'll actually hear The Brother Kite transition from hazy cloudbursts of pedal-drenched beauty to snappy Jimmy Eat World-esque palm-muted verses, and you'll probably be as surprised as I am that it actually works.

Okay, let me amend that statement - it works to a point. On their best songs, The Brother Kite make a very immediate connection; when your songs essentially amount to an unlikely cross section of Murmur, early My Bloody Valentine, and American Football, it only follows that they'll feel personal and instantly familiar. It's very easy to get caught up in the tugging melody of a song like "The Music Box," what with all of the emoting and the massive guitars and the sheer drama and Big Rock Magic of it all… but then, when the band turns down their amps and attempts to let their songwriting do the talking, they fall flat.

Just compare the acoustic "Mere Appreciation" to the two rave-ups that surround it and you'll understand The Brother Kite's problem. Structurally speaking, all three tracks are nearly identical, but "Mere Appreciation" stands about because A.) There are no pulsing drums or cascading layers of fuzz and B.) It's exceedingly boring - and I'm pretty sure that B is a direct result of A.

Whether their shoegazer affectations serve as a crutch or not, the indelible mark that half of the tracks on this record leave attest to the fact that The Brother Kite do know what they're doing. I'm sure that this record's marriage of shoegaze and emo is, in and of itself, enough to capture quite a few listeners' imaginations; if they can beef up the actual nuts and bolts of their songs next time around, The Brother Kite may very well capture mine as well.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan



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