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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
Situation at 1200
Your Best Guess

Rating: NR/10 ?

February 14, 2000
Uhm, this review is kind of a dilemma for me because I truly hate ripping on young musicians unless they really deserve it (read: Get Up Kids, VUE), but Situation at 1200 is basically a 95% rip off of my all time favorite band. That might sound a bit extreme, but nothing could be closer to the truth. It would be one thing if S@12 were a little less overt about the whole matter ... but they're not: the one-sheet sent out with this album straight away names HUM as an influence, as if it weren't obvious. It might also be another thing if I hadn't spent a good portion of the past 5 or 6 years pining over the authentic Champaign rock outfit, driving hours upon hours through miles upon miles of snow and ice to see countless shows around the Midwest. The fact is that I'm a HUM groupie, and for all its brave attempts at rock stardom, this band simply ends up insulting me.

For one thing, the vocals are mixed WHAYYY too high, which can probably be attributed to the other 5% of S@12's influences, which are displayed like some kind of merit badge on the press sheet - Braid, Jejune, Kill Holiday, et al. Again, it would be one thing if Scott Shields could croon like Jeff Garber, but he can't. Turn the voice down, will ya?

In terms of musical composition, there is no way around calling this record out as very HUM-esque. Everything from the song titles ("Gemini" and "Tranquility Basin" just to name two) to the swirling in distortion/reverb/vroom vroom/drone guitar effects. Honestly, "Parachute Fails" was probably written while listening to "Afternoon with Axolotls." In fairness I must say that some of Bill McVeigh's bass lines in "Al Rischa" are probably more derivative of Swervedriver than of HUM, but that isn't much of a stretch anyhow. Somewhere during the same track I begin to realize that Shields' voice sounds rather like Tom Lomacchio's at times. Just a thought.

Moral of the review: you can try to pull the wool over someone else's' eyes, but not HUM's number one fan. The fact is that neither Shields nor Chris Vaglio will ever even approach the wizardry of Tim Lash, Paul D'Elia probably won't ever slap the thickies like Jeff Dempsey, and McVeigh sure as hell can't beat the skins like Bryan St. Pere can. I really like the original version of Electra 2000 and knock-offs aren't really appreciated.

Other than that, this is a damn fine record by some great guys. After all, we've all wondered what it would be like to be HUM.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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