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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
Blue Sky Mile
Sands Once Seas
Initial Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 1, 2004
When people ask me what I enjoy listening to, they always end-up giving me a quirky look when I say that for the most part, I listen to indie rock. With so many sub-genre's floating around today it becomes very hard to really say what indie rock has become. Granted the name is synonymous for a vast array of independent underground bands that play as many different styles of music as there are minutes in the day. This brings me to the Blue Sky Mile, who basically plays straight ahead indie rock on their debut release on Initial Records, Sands Once Seas.

The only problem is that Blue Sky Mile's media entourage try to compare the band's sound to emo and screamo bands like Thursday, Thrice, and Taking Back Sunday. However, after listening to just the first song, "Second Impact," I fortunately realized that that those comparisons were amiss and was left wondering why a band who writes catchy, energetic indie rock would want to be pigeon-holed with emo bands. Blue Sky Mile plays smart, catchy rock that will appeal to a much larger segment of people than just those just listening to the aforementioned bands.

Blue Sky Mile opens up Sands Once Seas with crashing cymbals and fast paced, distorted guitars. The chaos quickly turns into delicate guitar work one would expect to find on one of Engine Down's peppier tunes or plastered everywhere on a Pilot to Gunner album. Vocalist Jerry Kansky uses his upper register for the majority of the album, his impatient melodic half-sung, almost shouted style works well with the zest of the rest of the band.

Kevin Burrell and Aaron Fishbein's guitar works play off of one another perfectly in "Susan Delgado," as Blue Sky Mile displays an excellent understanding of melodic yet dissonant instrumentation. The songs on Sands Once Seas are not exceptionally fast, however the guitars never slow down; there is almost never a moment where at least one guitar is not playing a single note melody. Adam Fream's drumming and Mike Elliott's bass work keep Sands Once Seas flowing right along. One song rolls into the next, and all are well written, energetic tunes. Kansky's icy lyrical content gets overshadowed throughout most of the album by the excellent instrumental work, but Kansky still gets his blows in with acid-tinged lyrics of hurt, regret, apathy, and vengeance. On "Long Drive" he sings "I'm bored and we're overdue/Have another drink/They're hardly strong enough/And not the best idea."

The most punk Blue Sky Mile gets is on "The Philosophy of Time Travel," with its repeated chord verses. The two guitar attack still pays off in the chorus with Burrell and Fishbein's interwoven parts, as Kansky sings an anthemic chorus.

The great thing about Sands Once Seas is that not only is it a catchy album, but it is smart enough to stand up to repeated listens. The guitar interplay throughout the album is the key to smartness, and it holds up all of the way through. Blue Sky Mile doesn't let down.

Reviewed by Craig Mertes
Craig lives, works and listens to music in the general vicinity of Orlando, Florida, where he absorbs everything from hip-hop to indie, pop, rock, punk and metal. His all time favs include Hum, Clutch, Dismemberment Plan, and the Reverend Horton Heat. The last we heard, Craig was spinning Vast Aire, Soul Position, Blues Explosion, Motörhead, the Blood Brothers and Dead Meadow. Craig is also a life-long, die-hard Cubs fan, so lay off.

See other reviews by Craig Mertes



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