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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
Drug Rug
Drug Rug
Black & Greene

Rating: 8.3/10 ?

September 13, 2007
How often does a band's toadying press sheet actually nail their schtick? I smirked when I saw it, but the propaganda page for Black & Greene prompted me to actually hit up Drug Rug's MySpace page and fire up the streaming player... and there it was, coming out of my speakers: "Joanna Newsom meets Keith Richards."

Don't think too much of that Joanna junk, though. Just like Radiohead for Clinic, that's only there to auto-slot lead Druggie Sarah Cronin's wounded warble. Why risk less hip correlations, like some smarmy-assed music critic labeling the band a country-drunk Tegan and Sara? To be sure, the rusty twang of "For the Rest of Your Life" recalls the Rolling Stones all right. All the rambling and none of the preening, roots-rock hasn't sounded this basement since Fear and Whiskey. And that's just the trick these talented cuties are going for.

The nine songs on Black & Greene, Cronin's debut with musical and otherwise partner Tommy Allen, just scream for this kind of reviewer's dream what-ifs. The jangly "Winter Time" sounds like the Willowz' less cute "Jubilee" stripped of its weighty professionalism and returned to that band's old kidlike demeanor. What else sounds like classic Meat Puppets these days? The nasally waltz "Lie, Lie, Lie" is even more warped, with an especially froggy Cronin losing an ever-present war against her sinuses. You'd mistake it for nautically-themed Mollusk-era Ween material if the xylophone wasn't-- not just hooky, but absurdly pretty.

As it goes along, Drug Rug's debut just gets cheaper and cheaper, as if Exile on Main Street wasn't murky enough for them. The shoebox production on "Cut the Meat" wields all kinds of jingle bells, funny echoes, springy sound effects and rubbery blues plucking, and if you ran your disintegrating vinyl copy of Abbey Road through a vat of acid (the sulphuric kind and the psychedelic kind), it would start sounding like "Walden." The Beatles fetish continues onto the bite-sized "Allright," a gem of garage soul juiced with organ and whistling.

What would this experimentation be if Black & Greene's songs weren't any good? It might just be because they're in love, but unlike, say, Liars, all this tacking weird sounds onto sweetly basic tune-chunks proves less stilted than most other indie rock releases dumped out this year. Even the Apples in Stereo's grossly underrated New Magnetic Wonder derives its fun quotient from the polished rather than the shambolic. So indulge those old feelings for the 4-track vignettes of 90s zineophilia: it's finally back. And all it took was a marriage of Keith Richards and Joanna Newsom to do it.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss



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