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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
Donna Regina
Karaoke Talk

Rating: 6/10 ?

November 14, 2007
Anyone who ever came across an album, back in the olden pre-playlist days, where only every third track was worth listening to knows the conflicting feelings that go along with frustratingly inconsistent musicians with just enough potential to keep people listening. It used to be hard to decide whether to keep such marginal albums on hand or toss them out the window. But not any more.

Hailing from the musical hotbed of Köln, the German duo of Regina Janssen and Gunther Janssen's tenth release, More, is one of those albums that, a decade ago, might have been given a violent send-off aus meinem Fenster. The album, with its melancholic avant-pop, is a fitting description of Donna Regina's sound (think Stereolab), but it is also an album that in many places leaves listeners scratching their collective head, not knowing what to do with it. Consistency is lacking, but, then again, in the iPod Age consistency has become somewhat of an unnecessary luxury; why fret over a bunch of filler when you can just playlist the hottest cuts?

As the groups vocal center, Janssen's beautiful voice stands strong, and guitarist Günther Janssen (yep, same last name) clearly knows what he's doing. Together the pair create very warm mood music that is simultaneously playful and airy. That is, when they're on; of the ten tracks on More, only three are worth phoning home about. To up the album's frustration factor, those three tracks are positioned first, last, and second to last in More's running order. What lies between is filler, make no bones about it, and even after a handful of consecutive listens none of them manages so much as the stickiness of a booger.

While most albums batting 30-percent are promptly shipped off to the cavernous stacks of the local library without a second thought, More warrants just that. Why? Because the afore mentioned trio of cuts - the album's title track, "Heart Oh Heart," and "Dream On" - are excellent little pop songs. The latter stands out especially clearly with it's jazzy cocktail sound mixed with a refined Saint Etienne influence. Together the songs would have made the EP Of The Year, and even when swamped by a bunch of riff-raff they're strong enough to make More worth listening to. But the dependence on just a third of its content to raise its rating from a 1.2 to a 6.5 also leaves More in that ever-growing category of albums that would have never been released had the MP3 format not been invented.

Had More's three standout tracks been spaced out more, like little breathers of quality between the swells of whatever, the album might fare better. Spacing certainly wouldn't have made the remaining songs any better, but it would have made the album more listenable. If nothing else, More provides an extreme workout for the SKIP button on the remotes of the non-playlisters, fingers tapping two, three, four, five, six, seven between "More" and "Heart Oh Heart."

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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