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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 Rosewood Thieves
From The Decker House

Rating: 7/10 ?

July 27, 2006
The lady of Decker House, a country estate in Deposit, New York, isn't in and odds are she's never coming back - at least in her physical form. Lured by the peace and tranquility of the farm, the members of The Rosewood Thieves moved there to escape the insanity of New York City and record this six-song EP of classic, 60s-style folk-rock, swaggering R&B and soft-focus, slightly dazed country, all done up hobo style. Songwriter Erick Jordan and the rest of the band claim the memory of former owner and local socialite Bonnie Decker lingered about as the band rehearsed and wrote in the home's living room at night, after days spent fixing up the house and removing the remains of dead deer from the barn (fun!).

That's funny, because From The Decker House doesn't feel haunted at all. There's a strong communal vibe between Jordan, Wurlitzer and organ afficianado Mackenzie Vernacchio, guitarist Will Frish, bassist Richard Ray and drummer Mark Bordenet. And painist Bob Dorough, the guy who composed "Conjunction Junction" from Schoolhouse Rock, plays on the record. But the ghost of Bonnie Decker is no where to be found. Jordan seems too preoccupied with earthbound matters to take notice of fanciful spirits. In the footloose, folksy opener, "Los Angeles," Jordan ponders relocating to California, him being so "in love with the sun" and all. Airy, with its light acoustic strum and swinging piano, the winsome "Los Angeles" is Elliott Smith with a sunnier disposition and vocally, Jordan is a dead-ringer for Smith.

Turning raspy, Jordan adopts a Bob Dylan complex for the soulful "Back Home To Harlem," an organ-grinding, acoustic guitar pounding kiss-off to a lover who's taken up with another man. More delicate, but emptied of emotion and true grit, is "Cold In The Country," a song that never gains any traction and simply glides along a vaseline-coated melody. "Diamond Ring" has a jaunty Vaudeville atmosphere and old-time charm, but all that gets lost in the ragged, lifeless band interplay and faux-scratchy production - used, I guess, to impart some kind of sepia-stained tonality to the proceedings. Rebounding nicely with "Doctor," a Highway 61 Revisited, bound-for-glory, gospel-influenced reading of The Band's blues revivals, and "Lonesome Road," with its handclaps, Ragtime piano and lovely backing vocals, The Rosewood Thieves return from whence they came, like a prodigal son.

Promising for its ability to bridge the gap between modern-day troubadours, like Smith, and icons of the past, like Dylan and The Beatles, From The Decker House is a strong statement of purpose. But it's less than perfect. It's almost as if they're trying too hard to be loose and carefree, as well as being too true to their roots. Still, Jordan's got a way with melody and when inspired, the band can whip up a dusty cacophony that rides roughshod over the past and paints desert cliffs with sunset hues. I think Bonnie might like that.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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