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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
The Sea And Cake
One Bedroom
Thrill Jockey Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
With the release of their sixth album in eight years, The Sea and Cake have resolutely reserved their spot in the independent rock hall of fame - groundbreaking is scheduled to begin sometime in the summer of 2005, once the argument over site locations,the major political parties backing the leading contenders: Louisville, Washington D.C., and let's certainly not forget the hot-headed proponents for Chicago, is finally squelched. In a time that finds most bands lasting half of a decade at most and releasing only a smattering of often spotty albums, this band has proven to be a veritable institution that has every bit of the "Staying Power" that Barry White could ever conjure up, and while this is an accomplishment that is certainly to be commended, it also has its drawbacks.

Staying relevant amidst the wave of changes that pass over the auditory membranes of fickle listening audiences who easily adapt to new trends, while quickly dismissing the last big thing, in no more than six-month intervals is a daunting and formidable task that few bands will have the cojones to weather. So how has The Sea and Cake managed to do this? The answer inherent in the tracks found on One Bedroom would offer is by casually but steadfastly maturing in sound. Of course in this day and age that means either adding more processed electronics and drum loops or making sure that these elements sit higher in the mix - an unwritten law that I have yet to come to terms with or discover the purpose of.

While this ethos seems to do nothing more than to take the instruments out of the hands of some of the most proficient players the post-rock scene has to offer, especially when applied to this group, The Sea and Cake manage to make the new sonic layers rather pleasing. Combining them with old standbys such as singer Sam Prekop's whisper-sing vocalizations, and drummer John McEntire's always consistent percussion tracks, the album establishes a flow that should please long time fans; from the adventurous arpeggios and gliding synth swells of the opening track, "Four Corners", the upbeat drum loops of "Shoulder Length", the gentle slow-groove of the title track, to the closing cover of Bowie's "Sound and Vision".

Ultimately, One Bedroom is a collection of well-meaning, pleasantly arranged songs that falls a bit short of being precious. I have a hunch that Lanterna's recent album Sands, which sports a similar mood and aesthetic, will make its way to my CD player more often as a result of One Bedroom, supplanting the time I normally would have spent with this album outside of the critical process. Still, any release from The Sea And Cake is going to be better than 75% of the terrible records I will have the privilege of hearing this year, and that says more for the band at this point than their music needs to.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper



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