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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
El Perro Del Mar
From the Valley To The Stars
Control Group

Rating: 8/10 ?

May 23, 2008
Begun in 2003, El Perro Del Mar is the moniker of Swedish solo artist Sarah Assbring. Starting out as an exclusively digital artist, Assbring has over the years gathered quite a fanbase through the dispersion of her MP3 catalog, both in her native Sweden and abroad. From The Valley To The Stars is Assbring's second album, and it follows her established formula of mellow pop music, which is much in the vein of fellow Swedes Stina Nordenstam, Jens Lekman, and Peter Morén, but with a little more of an uplifting spirit than the works of her countrymen.

Like many other Swedish pop sensations, Assbring's music is influenced by the jazzy sounds of Jojje Wadenius, who is best known for his incredible compositions for Swedish television shows for children (take a look and listen to the opening for Kalles Klätterträd and you'll see what I mean). That being said, El Perro Del Mar's sophomore release, while undoubtedly attractive to kids, will certainly gain popularity among Sweden's many 30-somethings. There is something adorable about From The Valley To The Stars that touches upon the feeling of safety of childhood, a time when paying bills and worrying about the future were unknown concepts, that rests deep within us all.

Although Assbring's circle of influence has to date been largely centered in Scandanavia, I also believe that El Perro Del Mar will find a bigger following abroad with From The Valley To The Stars; the sound is more refined, the melodies stand out more, and Assbring's vocals are much more accomplished than on her earlier digital releases and the eponymous freshman release. El Perro Del Mar will also certainly benefit from the recent success of Jens Lekman and Peter Morén, who have provided mellow Swedish pop with a strong foothold both in the Americas and Europe.

From The Valley To the Stars is not, however, content to ride the comparatively serious and brooding coattails of Night Falls Over Kortedala and The Last Tycoon; it is a cute album, with adorable songs. "To Give Love" is a prime example of Sarah Assbring's talent; it's well composed, well produced, and her voice is great. "Inner Island" is yet another example. The list of notable tracks goes on, and would probably include more than half of the songs on the album, each and everyone with their own unique qualities.

With remarkable releases by a number of folk-influenced Scandinavians, popular music is bound to see an avalanche of Swedish singer-song writers in the years to come, and most of them will most likely sound similar to El Perro Del Mar. And for good reason - theirs is a sound that works. Much like The Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show opened the floodgates to an unpredictable wave of UK acts that ranged from The Kinks to Dusty Springfield, no one knows how well or in what direction this sound will age, but at the moment it sounds great, and Sarah Assbring is a great ambassador for the contemporary Swedish sound.

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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