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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
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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No Age - Everything in Between
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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
Immortal Lee County Killers II
Love Is a Charm of Powerful Trouble
Estrus Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Alabama's The Immortal Lee County Killers' (II) amped-up, muscular (some would say volatile), dumbed-down take on Delta juke-joint blues leaves little room for sitting on the fence. The Killers would have you believe they're paying homage to the blues by stomping wildly on the graves of Son House and Robert Johnson like a pair of drunken, fifth-grade educated rednecks hunting swamp rats for sport. The truth, however, is that the duo knows better, yet fails to strive for more than the mundane. And that's why Love Is a Charm of Powerful Trouble is disappointing.

Blues has witnessed a startling revival as of late amongst Caucasian rock and roll darlings. Contemporaries like the pop-oriented White Stripes, geeky urbanite Jon Spencer and even the less-abrasive Soledad Brothers do the blues revival far better by simply carrying a tune. (Which, even in the case of hypnotic delta blues, is important because blues music is meant for dancing and entertaining. So tunefulness can not be overlooked.) Case in point, instead of lending some imagination or soul to their cover of R.L. Burnside's "Going Down South," the Killers instead bludgeon the song to death with raw volume and god-awful vocals. Some might find this rowdy approach appealing, but to me slide guitarist Cheetah Weise's blues masochism comes across as childish worship of a great tradition.

Uninspiring song after song finds the Killers drudging up the same muck-shotgun shed blues that try too hard to be vicious, forgetting that even the most common of blues has an intuitive edge to it. So, the Killers' tired revamps come across as tactless, grungy facsimiles, like Blue Cheer overdriven into the red. To complicate matters worse, the albums few, thoughtful mellow moments (which find Weise capably finger-picking and strumming along on an old acoustic) only drive home the fact that Weise can't hold a tune as a singer. Matter of truth, I can't make out the words on most of the record, which completely negates the folk story-telling tradition of Southern blues songwriting.

Love Is a Charm of Powerful Trouble is a non-memorable album from a band that truly has a memorable live persona, which might hint at greater things to come or might resolve that the group is content in allowing sweat, swagger and volume take the place of remarkable songwriting.

Reviewed by Doug Hoepker
A former staff writer for LAS whom we like to call Diggles, Mr. Hoepker is currently laboring away on various music-based projects. He now works in academic publishing (ahem), but is perhaps still best known by his DJ moniker, The Noiseboy.

See other reviews by Doug Hoepker



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