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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
In with the Old
Volcom Entertainment

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Pepper is a group from Hawaii that has the bro-surf sound down. As I sit in my New York apartment just on the cusp of springtime warmth and listen to Pepper, I long for beaches and bonfires and getting drunk on the surf as the sun bakes everything above. As it's been a long winter, I'd even settle for one 70 degree day to come and make Pepper the soundtrack to a lazy, sunny afternoon.

The group infuses elements of ska, reggae, punk rock, with all the laid back vibe of the first two, and only some of the urgency, and none of the harshness of the latter. With such a mix it's perhaps inescapable that In with the Old sounds very much like Sublime, and vocalist Kaleo Wassman is a ringer for Sublime's front man Brad Nowell. At times this influence is so prominent as to be distracting from the decent song craft of the group. The most obvious example is "Love Affair". The song is one of the best here that caught my attention immediately. It took me a while to figure out, but the hook sounds much like when Nowell sang "Down here at the Pawn Shop" on Sublime's last album.

When Pepper isn't unmistakably flattering its influences, the laid back vibe is quite intoxicating. "Ashes" is the obvious radio hit. Its chorus bounces and is punky without ever moving fast enough that you would break a sweat dancing to it. It's skilled restraint that stays in line with Pepper's laid back philosophy. If you are looking for depth and experimentalism, you'll need to look elsewhere, but that's not quite the point for this warm summer music.

Although I'm about 3,000 miles away from the west coast sunshine, listening to Pepper can transport me there in a few moments. Now if it would only get warm enough here so I could lay in the sand and with a beer in my hand.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams



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