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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
Turn On the Bright Lights
Matador Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
This band is good, and I'll give them that. But the hype surrounding indie rock has gotten to the point that it is confounding. I thought the economy was on a downturn, and here we find advertisements and product shots of the most pathetic "indie" bands popping up in the most commercial of locales. Some people just have too much money to burn, and the process that I have come to label as the IMMEDIATE IMPULSE (read: I got an advanced copy of this album not-so-in-advance and although it completely caused me to bugger myself in my pants, I haven't really sat down with it outside the realm of mid-2002 to digest it as a work of art, which is what music is supposed to be) has completely rendered otherwise reliable "indie" publications such as www.pitchforkmedia.com (read: I have the scenester/obscure dude's dick in my mouth) total bunk. Someone is getting paid here, and Interpol's Turn On the Bright Lights is a good example.

I've been privy, through my association with various "indie" rocker types, to see some preeeeety enlightening balance sheets in my time. Keep in mind I got into this whole lo-fi scam called Indie Rock a few years before even the youngest reader of Lost At Sea did. But when what would be considered the piddeliest of labels (for instance, someone like Saddle Creek, who are virtually non-existent on 90% of the minds of music consumers) is dropping tens of thousands of dollars on promoting a pretty mediocre album... what we're left with is a watered-down version of "cutting edge" music that mimics the major labels. Basically, no matter where you are, you look for a gimmick. That's why 120 Minutes stopped being relevant a decade or more ago. Message to media makers: If your mail goes through more than two pair of hands (that includes your own) between the box and the review, you're hardly "in the know".

Interpol have the gimmicks covered, and they smother them in spades, which leads to press blurbs like "And now that they've won our attention, after three years of toiling in obscurity" - 3 years? Say what? How many years had Dylan or Beck or fucking Elliot "flavor of the filmmaker's monthly" Smith been going at it before anyone with money to spend noticed them?

You want to know how completely ambiguous and potentially irrelevant this band is (not to mention how money and publicity has completely obliterated the term "indie" in the world of Indie Rock) - check the ALLMUSIC.COM listing for "similar" artist to Interpol: Kitchens of Distinction, Life Without Buildings, Spoon, The Natural History, The French Kicks, Liars, Clinic, The Afghan Whigs, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Strokes, The Walkmen. What do all of those bands have in common? Yeah, exactly my point. NOTHING in the music industry seems to mean ANYTHING AT ALL anymore.

There was a time when independent music literature meant something, and that pre-dates the internet and all of this other shit that we've come to accept as daily life. And that time is gone, and long gone if the wide-spread acceptance of Interpol's Turn On the Bright Lights is any indicator. They've got a number of lips around their collective schlongs for a new album, one which Mark Skipper would describe by saying "Wanna know how the Interpol record sounds- go buy a bunch of Joy Division albums, then time warp them in your head to now and bada-bing! You Got It." I wholeheartedly endorse that description, but I would also throw in a more stated reference to the macabre imagery that the album is so rife with that it becomes almost hokey. Imagine Morrissey trying to be more somber, subdued, and making a point of letting you know he's like, totally disturbed. Site the album's second track, "Obstacle 1" which is almost blueprint from the Unknown Pleasures/Closer school with it's jagged lines and "look at me I'm a freak" mentality. I'm surprised they didn't spell their name Ntrpol, and I'd bet at least one of the members has those dumb aesthetic contact lenses that change eye colors.

You can say whatever you want about my cynicism and literary posture, but Interpol stands a snowball's chance in hell of standing up to the test of time in comparison to other complete shit that is moving units these days, but thing that you should be asking yourself is "WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?" - That's what I'm asking myself right now. Is it irrelevant? This album seems to say so. Money talks and bullshit apparently walks all over everyone who is supposed to know better.... I'm still waiting to read/hear/absorb anything that matters about this album.

The era loosely referenced as "Milli Vanilli-ism" is upon us... as presented by the "indie" label that just sold HALF of itself to another "indie" label...

Welcome to the first major causality of the modern music industry. Market it and they will come.

Reviewed by Clifton Gates
Currently sleeping on beaches in Costa Rica, Clifton Gates is an occasional contributor, editor, idea springboard and moral crutch to LAS magazine.

See other reviews by Clifton Gates



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