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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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
Andrew Bird
Armchair Apocrypha
Fat Possum

Rating: 8.4/10 ?

May 16, 2007
For those of you who were also amazed at Andrew Bird's sophomore solo effort, 2005's The Mysterious Production of Eggs, the days leading up to the release of Mr. Bird's most recent record, Armchair Apocrypha, were a bit tense. Of course, we'd come to expect something great, and when expectations get too high, disappointment usually follows.

Thankfully, though, Bird did not disappoint. From his first solo album, 2003's Weather Systems, through Eggs, and into Armchair, there has been a tangible sense of growth over the course of Bird's solo career. The most obvious growth has been his recent collaboration with Martin Dosh, a man who does with drums and keyboards what Bird does with violins, guitars, singing, and whistling. The seventh track on Armchair, "Simple X," is a Dosh song that Bird expanded upon.

In short, Armchair Apocrypha is a wonderful record. In his own way, Bird is writing songs that are catchier than anything Top 40 radio has offered in years. Yet there is such an offbeat mix of intelligence and frivolity to Bird's music that the mass consciousness has yet to take full notice of this brilliant singer/songwriter/violinist/whistler. Who else could sing, as Bird does in "Darkmatter," "When I was a boy/ I threw away all of my action toys/ When I became obsessed with/ Operatio-o-n" and somehow not lose the song to inanity? Only the same artist who could write a song like "Imitosis," the second track on the album, and one worthy of its own paragraph.

If you listen to "I," the third track from Weather Systems, you will find in its early going the same riff that Bird uses at the start of "Imitosis," a song title that conjures the sickness of imitation. To his credit, "Imitosis" is a far better song than "I," and even if we are all sick with imitation, at least Andrew Bird has the casual luxury of imitating himself.

"Imitosis" is one of several instantly catchy and borderline poppy tracks, along with "Fiery Crash," "Plasticities," "Darkmatter," "Heretics," and the aforementioned "Simple X". But fans of Bird's eclecticism need not fret over the prospect of bubblegum jingles, for he still indulges in some interesting and less accessible (at least upon a first listen) material.

Although in some ways similar, Armchair Apocrypha is also a distinctly different record than The Mysterious Production of Eggs, and it would be difficult to say which is better. What it's easy to say, however, is that Andrew Bird is one of the most unique and gifted artists making albums today. With several stellar albums under his belt, expect to hear Mr. Bird's name again and again in years to come. He's one of the wittiest, strangest, and most talented songwriters out there, and Armchair Apocrypha shows him making his brilliant compositions accessible without losing any of the wordplay, wonderful arrangements, or whistling that attracted him such a devoted fanbase in the first place.

Reviewed by Jason Siegel
A contributing writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Jason Siegel focuses on fiction and music reviews for LAS.

See other reviews by Jason Siegel



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