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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
Einstuerzende Neubauten
Alles Wieder Offen

Rating: 9.5/10 ?

January 22, 2008
As Jeff McMahon can attest from his experiences with Drive-By Trucker's unrelated but equally thrilling new effort, few things manage to rouse a critic's feelings more than the release of instantly obsession-worthy new material from an old favorite. Hitting the PLAY button and hearing music that instantly brings you back to the moment when you first fell in love with a musician, especially on the heels of lackluster releases, is truly a delight.

German industrial pioneers Einstürzende Neubauten have had a few years of releases that showed a gradual increase in their audacity inversely proportional to the steady wane in their listenability, and as their self-proclaimed biggest fan, yeah - it hurt. Blixa Bargeld and his gang followed their 1993 masterpiece Tabula Rasa by releasing a number of sub-par recordings, none of which captured the spirit of the Neubauten that released songs like "Haus der Luege," "Leid und Elend," and "Die Interimsliebenden." Then something remarkable happened last year with the release of Palast der Republik - as both a DVD and a live album - from their 2004 fan appreciation concert at the Berlin venue of the same name. The Palast recordings had a spark and energy to them that had not been absent from Einstürzende Neubauten material for years.

Alles Wieder Offen, Neubautens latest release and first studio effort since 2004's Perpetuum Mobile, is a collection of songs that in one listen manages to wipe clean a slate dirtied by years of suspect Neubauten material that found the band indeed collapsing. After more than a decade of wild and seemingly directionless experimentation, Alles Wieder Offen is the album that should have followed Tabula Rasa; it's the natural progression of the sound they almost managed to perfect in 1993. Guitars, synthesizers, and the home-made industrial noise machines that made up the band's core sound at their peak are all here, vying for attention. The crowding often comes to a head in the fighting with Bargeld's vocals, which are at times sweet like a gentle kiss and at others raw with the screams of a man having barbed wire pulled from his throat.

After such gut-wrenching delay, Einstürzende Neubauten couldn't have tabled such a definite album a second to soon. It would have been a true musical tragedy had the band continued wandering in their quest for further experimentation, never to find their way back to the path they staked out for themselves more than 20 years ago. With songs like "Nagorny Karabach," "Weil Weil Weil," and "Susej," Neubauten continue on that path, keeping enough of their avant-noise and experimental enthusiasm (the album was financed by fans through "Phase 3" of a long-running "fan support" project) but discarding most of the grating tendencies that made their post-Tabula Rasa material tough to swallow.

Although now far too established to be considered outright "experimental," as a genre industrial music is still often thought of as difficult, pretentious, or just plain noise. Einstürzende Neubauten had been on a bender that seemed to qualify all of those sentiments as true, but somewhere deep inside the collective churning out all that pretentious noise there were hidden a treasure trove of inviting, if not downright inescapable melodies. Those beautiful melodies may just be what finally manages to give the "industrial sound" a permanent makeover, and Alles Wieder Offen is brim-full of them. Song after song, melodies so beautiful they almost hurt. Almost.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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