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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
Luke Doucet
Outlaws (Live And Unreleased)
Six Shooter Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

January 28, 2005
With his boyish good looks and that sandy blonde hair, Luke Doucet doesn't look like much of an outlaw. No jailhouse tattoos painted on his arms or hands. No noticeable scars on his face. In fact, if you didn't know any better you'd swear he was that neighbor kid your mother always went on and on about, saying "Why can't you be more like that Doucet boy? He's so nice and well-mannered." Mom never was a good judge of character.

Recorded during two nights of shows at the Rivoli in Toronto, Outlaws (Live And Unreleased) reads like a pulp novel set in a mean desert town. Sitting in a corner booth at the bar with a bottle of bourbon on the table, Doucet, leader of the Canadian alt-country group Veal, watches the human condition worsen. And he's going down with the ship. On "Another Woman", Doucet confesses his infidelity while frying up some spicy Tex-Mex guitar for those who like it hot. Excuse me while I wipe the sweat off my brow.

"Outlaws, pirates, deviants, scoundrels, mishaps, bad luck, wishbones ... well they've got me here" sings Doucet in the title track. Brushed drums quicken the pulse and the high-noon guitar textures of Johnny Cash, with faint traces of noir running through, raise the stakes in a story about a fallen woman trying to crawl out of the gutter. Martial drumming and Doucet's tenderly plucked electric guitar frame "Pedro", a tale about a Latino man caged in by borders and the longing he has for his lady love, an American woman he'll never see again.

Abandoning, for the moment, the bolo tie - the urban cowboy country stylings that mark the first four songs - Doucet opts for the smart pop "Judy Garland," then covers Tom Waits' "Gun St. Girl." Doucet's version seems to sweat like a pig in the sweltering Texas sun. "Spiderman", stripped bare to just Doucet and his electric guitar, misses the full body of sound his scorching-hot band, consisting of Blue Rodeo's Bazil Donovan and Glenn Milchem and the Odds' Paul Brennan, provides, causing Outlaws to lose a little steam towards the end. "Annie Lu", with its dark, vibrato guitar, suffers from the same malady.

All is forgiven when "At The End Of The Day", the closer, comes on. A pretty ballad that sways on rich acoustic guitar strumming, it aches so. Only the love of a good woman can make it go away and she caught the train hours ago, leaving him alone with his pain and alcohol or a loaded handgun to ease it.

Mixing Tom Waits and Calexico is dangerous, but Doucet gets away with it. What's more, he adds his own flair for detailed narrative and evocative imagery and his guitar playing is seductive, at times jazzy and always as sharp as a buzzard's talons. The wanted poster for Doucet says, dead or alive. Outlaws makes the choice an easy one.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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