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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
The Octopus Project
Hello, Avalanche

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

October 26, 2007
Listening to The Octopus Project's opus, Hello, Avalanche, was like being transported somewhere into the near-future. At first I heard the voice of HAL 9000, the diabolical computer from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Oddyssey, speaking to me through the electronic pulses and booming beats. Then I realized that HAL was far too evil an entity to be reincarnated through the ecstasies of Hello, Avalanche, and decided it was more likely the jovial R2-D2 beeping and blipping away. Hello, Avalanche is just too much fun to be the personification of evil - it is an eclectic album, a rollicking lo-fi, sci-fi trip into another world.

Opening with the soothing sounds of a glockenspiel and vocal humming on the lovely vignette of "Snow Tip Cap Mountain," Hello, Avalanche blazes through thirteen tracks of luminescent noise-rock. "Truck," with its grungy, distorted guitars and gushing synthesizers, rocks, as does "Bees Bein' Strugglin'" with its catchy piano chords and bass line. The album's best cut, "Mmaj," works like a mash-up of Dntel's "This Is the Dream of Evan and Chan" and Figurine's "International Space Station II," but with a disco beat and off key (in a good way) melodies.

Fans of God Speed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, and Lemon Jelly who have not already encountered The Octopus Project will be interested in this album, the third full-length from Josh Lambert, Yvonne Lambert, and Toto Miranda. While more up-tempo than any releases from the aforementioned groups, save perhaps Lemon Jelly, The Octopus Project shares an inventiveness and love of noise with all three groups. Hello, Avalanche is nearly an exclusively instrumental affair, though the emergence of vocals on the final track, "Queen," surprises the listener out of their forty-odd-minute hypnotic gaze.

Certainly a mishmash of sounds and styles, the songs of Hello, Avalanche, all clocking in near the three-minute mark, seem to rush by all too quickly. If ever a collection of songs needed more room to breathe and grow, it's on this album. One of the advantages of noise/post-rock is the freedom to see songs develop and expand beyond conventional time constraints. There's something awe-inspring about an eight-minute epic that is allowed to build slowly and become a piece of pure magic without ever boring the listener. At several crucial moments, especially following the brief back-to-back wonder of "I Saw the Bright Shinies" and "Ghost Moves," I had to do a double-take after the songs ended, wondering, literally, if that was really it.

Despite the brevity of the individual tracks, Hello, Avalanche is a hell of a lot of fun. This is weird, eccentric, wonderful music. Welcome to the future.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan



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