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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
Heart Like a River
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: 9/10 ?

February 23, 2005
Heart Like a River, Ida's latest, is like looking over at someone you've loved for years and years and realizing you're still madly in love with them. It's a reawakening of all those sweet feelings, rushing in like a burst of warm, tingling air. It's the feeling of familiarity, forever intertwined with butterflies.

"Laurel Blues" captures this rebirth to a T, bringing the band past all their other incarnations and inclinations, back to their very basic folk roots. It's reenergized and marked by the core purity that made Ida so appealing all along. This revitalized sound is a good notion of foreshadowing - Heart Like a River is one of the most spirited and thorough albums they've made in years.

"599", awakened to the new joy, sounds of banging, clanging experimentation. Full of light and like a heartened flower child, it creates an unfurling width for itself, sprawling outward and upward. While the following tracks, "Late Blues" and "Mine" show a colder and more sober reality, marked by listlessness, the emotional ups and downs continue to make Heart Like a River fully engaging. There are many of these flying and diving moments, but as the lump in your throat continues to rise and fall, the movement all but certifies the album's ambition. It's marvelous to get swept up in the emotional tempest.

"What Can I Do" is the heart and centerpiece of the album - a beautiful torchy piano ballad with striking, subtle optimism and sweetness. It captures what the band and the album are truly about: hopeful vulnerability. Its counterpart, "The Details," is also disrobed, and while more hurt in tone, it's brave in the sight of its sorrows. Where Ida meets its audience, everything is beautifully bare on both sides.

Add to this two of their very best tracks, the crowd favorite, "Honeyslide," which sounds even better in fully recorded form, and the lovely, shy and shivering closer, "Forgive," which makes tentative steps toward healing and love, and you have the fulfillment of many of the band's promises, musically and emotionally. With all its ups and downs, Heart Like a River takes you on a journey, and does not leave until every sight is seen and pathway is walked. Those final moments, where "Forgive" meets its destiny with revived optimism, make this a perfect album for winter as it melts into spring. It is the perfect Pastoral sentiment: after all reflection, we move forward into the light. It's nice to see Ida in all of that splendor.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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