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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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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
Rainer Maria
Anyone in Love With You (already knows) DVD / CD
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Live albums generally serve as a second-runner-up to a greatest hits collection, unless the band is recognized for having an outrageous live show, in which case they generally serve as an attempt to capitalise/capture the energy. With Anyone in Love With You (already knows), Rainer Maria releases a DVD of live concert footage, a video for the single from their latest album ("Ears Ring" from the album Long Knives Drawn) and a CD of live recordings, seemingly covering all of the bases.

The material for the live music was taken at various venues from March of 2001 through September of 2003 following different tours and outings. With that in mind, one can audibly track the increase in confidence in lead vocalist Caithlin De Marrais as she goes from an introverted art-school girl to an actual singer who belts out notes with serious power. Despite the quality of live recordings, the band comes across as a powerful trio. Having spent a lot of time together on the road it's obvious the songs they play are well rehearsed. The precision in the performance is something to be admired. This live collection covers every album and every stage in the band's career and would have no problem converting new listeners into fans.

The DVD however, leaves a lot to be desired. Rainer Maria is not a band notorious for putting on inventive live shows. Though they've performed hundreds of times in their 9 years as a band, seeing them live on your screen doesn't capture anything new; if anything it can be utilized as a 'better than live' example because it excludes the charmless onstage banter of guitarist Kyle Fischer. I consider myself a fan of Rainer Maria - I've seen them live a handful of times - and a live Kyle Fischer is like nails on a chalkboard. He tells inane jokes and seems arrogant, which is odd considering his semi-tone deaf style of singing (you'd think he'd be like all the other emo boys out there). The DVD thankfully strips those parts away from the live show, perhaps on purpose, and wisely so. Kyle is a talented guitar player and a fairly creative songwriter, but he needs to work on his moxie.

The cold, sony-tinted-blue video for "Ears Ring" is interesting enough for a first time video, and I think it portrays the band's individual personalities properly. Caithlin is the calm girl doing everything by numbers, never straying too far off the course. Drummer William Kuehn is creative and only messes things up as an afterthought (too much symbol here, overusing the stick taps there, et cetera) and Kyle is a messy show off who doesn't care if he fucks things up, as long as he looks good doing it*.

As the title of this release makes obvious, longtime fans will be smitten with Anyone in Love With You (already knows), while new converts will be unlikely as a result of it. Overall, Anyone in Love With You is an interesting collection for a band who is finding a serious need to reinvent themselves. Hopefully that elusive new muse will land on their shoulders and they can steer the ship of Rainer Maria into new waters with the next album.

*Kyle Fisher is a very nice guy who does care a lot about his music; this is just a comment on his stage persona/attitude.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig



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