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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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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
Of Montreal
Satanic Panic in the Attic
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: 9/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Back in the winter of 1998 I was going through a change. I had just left college and was working full time in a suburban Chicago bookstore. I hated living in the suburbs, but I was waiting for my girlfriend to finish school, at which time the two of us were going to move into the city together. Long story short: while I was working and saving money - she was sneaking around with another fellow behind my back. Once I learned of this, I promptly found a place in the city and moved myself. For the following five months my eyes were focused on the ground, head hung low. Nothing hurts worse than finding out someone you had made plans with could care less about those plans.

Around this time I picked up an Of Montreal album titled The Gay Parade, a saccharine sweet throwback pop sound from Athens, Georgia, and I immediately fell in love with it. I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and needed some serious cheering up. Of Montreal was my savior, so to speak. To this day, The Gay Parade is one of my favorite albums. It helps me look back and not feel the pain of desertion.

Currently I am as happy as I've ever been in my life. I've been able to secure a great job working for a video game company, I am in love with a little girl known as "miss perfect", and I have no debt. Things are looking up for me, so the need for an Of Montreal album is not apparent - and yet I find myself listening to their latest album, Satanic Panic in the Attic, over and over and thoroughly enjoying it.

Admittedly I have a soft spot for clever songwriting. Singer/songwriter Kevin Barnes can pen the world's quirkiest children's stories and set them to the most abstract and fun music around, to great results. The music made by Of Montreal is unique, but familiar. You can't help but hear the influence of sixties pop. The Beach Boys, the Zombies, and the Kinks - they have all had a hand in influencing the music in Of Montreal's catalog and it has never been as immediate as on this album.

From what I understand the band has gone through some recent changes, both internal and external, and with the collapse of Kindercore, they have found a home at the Polyvinyl Recording Company. Andy Gonzalez has left the band to focus on his Marshmallow Coast works, Derek Almstead has left his bass duties to work with fellow Elephant 6 mates The Circulatory System, and new wife to Mr. Kevin Barnes, Nina, has stepped in to fill Almstead's shoes. The result of the massive shakeup is a distinctly more upbeat Of Montreal. Trekking further into the influences of 60's, we can also hear the band approach the 70's with Satanic Panic in the Attic. There are some definite groove-out tracks that call to mind only the best Starsky & Hutch episodes. The psychadelic parade music of the band's past works is mixed, with extreme fluidity, into the new, richer textures of Satanic Panic in the Attic. It is rare that a band with such an established sound can drastically change the tone of their output without coming across as trite or self-indulgent, but Of Montreal succeed in doing just that on their sixth album. A perfect example is the harmonizing chorus of "ba ba ba" that appears nearly three minutes into the second track, "Lysergic Bliss". This song in itself embodies the diversity found within the entire album - jangly guitars give way to odd vocal arrangements, soulful bass lines bob in and out of melodic wind instruments. Later on the symphonic strings of "Will You Come and Fetch Me," the contradictory whirring organ and course bass of "Rapture Rapes the Muses," the classic Of Montreal rambunctious pop euphoria of "Chrissy Kiss the Corpse" and the twinkling piano and fuzzed out synthesizer drone of "Spike the Senses" all find their place in the lush sonic potpourri that is the new Of Montreal sound.

For better or worse, change happens every day. It's good to grow as both a person and a band. With Satanic Panic in the Attic, Of Montreal is not straying far from their usual tree of influence, but the new additions and overall positive outlook of the album are a great place for the band to reside. It is a powerful musical statement that will floor the band's old fans and certainly catch newcomers and past naysayers off guard. Catch an Of Montreal live show and, if you're lucky, you will see them put on one of their short theatrical endeavors between songs. A great sound and a wonderful live band, Of Montreal hits all the right marks with this one.

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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