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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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » 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
Q And Not U
Dischord Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
You can track the prowess of Q and not U if you listen to their albums in chronological order. From the beginning, No Kill No Beep Beep introduced the world to a group of four DC post-punkers ready to take that DC punk sound to an artsy level. Highly influenced by Fugazi, but experimental enough to justify themselves as a unique band willing to take risks, these boys hit the ground running.

Different Damage came about at a time the band was going through a big change. They lost a member and proceeded on as a three piece to the surprise of everyone. What came out was a little more control and perhaps patience with just as much - if not more - experimentation. They were gaining confidence and willing to take big chances to be original.

Power comes through with just that. Still experimenting and risking it all, Q and not U have made one of the most genre-bending albums to come out of the DC scene. Perhaps they've been listening to more Brian Eno or Gang of Four, but upon first listen, you sense a completely new level in the house that Q and not U built.

This addition is a dancier and more playful area than they have ever ventured down. The first track, "Wonderful People," could be a DFA remix of a Faint song, due to its upbeat drumming and dark keyboards intertwined with some strong falsetto singing that would make Ted Leo proud.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this album is the playfulness they put into their experimentation. The sounds they've chosen create some of the most interesting and enjoyable songs I've heard in a while. Often times, when a band is listed as "experimental," the listener can expect any sort of song structure to be thrown out the window, creating a hard-to-enjoy wall of sound thrown together for no good reason. Occasionally, through, an experimental band will make some creative and enjoyable music (Eno, Deerhoof) - but for the most part, let's be honest: experimental bands sound like a roomful of monkeys with instruments, backing a vocalist doing his or her best Bjork impression. Ugh.

The difference with Q and not U is they've taken the time to become familiar with the basics. John Davis' drumming has always been fantastic, but on this album, it is the strongest part. In every song, the foundation is set by the timing and powerful punch of his drums. When mixed under with keyboard and guitar noodling ("Beautiful Beats"), you wouldn't expect the drums to stray from a constant beat, but Mr. Davis plays around with his drum set and gives an amazing turn.

Just like they did with Different Damage, Power includes the two songs Q and Not U released as an EP ("X-Polynation"/"Book of Flags"), redone, and it does nothing but add to the album. Bands in the past have tried to do that, and I'm not sure it's ever worked as well as it does for Q and Not U. I enjoy both versions of these two songs for different reasons: the versions they use for the album seem to have urgency behind them while the EP versions are a little more polished. I prefer the frenetic energy the album versions bring out.

The strength, and, well, power of this album is the next logical step for the band. You can tell they're not jumping on the bandwagon of hip sounds; these songs were created with a purpose. It's nothing like the post punk dance party happening at every label over the past three years. Q and not U have done the DC post punk sound, so this time out they're taking it a step further. A band that progresses as rapidly as Q and not U does has every right to be admired. I wish more people were willing to take the risks these guys do.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig



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