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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
Denison Whitmer
Are You a Dreamer?
The Militia Group

Rating: 8/10 ?

July 27, 2005
I rarely ever remember my dreams. I wake up and - poof! - they're gone. Luckily, Denison Witmer keeps his intact in order to inspire his latest endeavor (and Militia Group debut), Are You a Dreamer?

A loose concept album, Are You a Dreamer? focuses on dreaming in all its forms. However, when in tune with Witmer's style, dreaming is much less ethereal than such a concept might suggest: in some instances, the theme takes on full-fledged pop, while other times feel more folky and down to earth. Neither case detracts from Witmer's compelling, mellow pop style, which is enhanced by the appearance of his luminary friends, Sufjan Stevens, The Innocence Mission, Shara Worden and James McAllister.

Denison Witmer writes beautiful, enchanting music, perfectly matched by his delicate-yet-captivating voice. Listening to him is like slipping into your favorite sweater: it's not as exciting as something new, but it's still heavenly and comfortable - and better because of it.

"Little Flowers" begins the record with a beautiful and uplifting start, the theme of hope accented by Witmer's guitar and vocal performances. Similarly poppy melodies prevail to complement the storytelling of "California Brown and Blue"; a standout track, it describes the toils of a long distance relationship. He sings, "I sleep so hard, I don't even dream," amidst vanishing daydreams of the people and places he's left behind.

The Freudian "Castle and Cathedral" is the track most grounded in dream theory. Witmer hesitantly questions, "What did you see? What does it mean?" in his contemplation of a recurring dream. Musically, the track feels slightly more dreamy than some of its poppier counterparts, fitting more thoroughly with the track's pop-psych philosophies. In contrast, the suggestive but immaculate title track finds Witmer at his most innocent, devoid of cynicism: his croon of "Will you sleep and dream with me?" is far more enticing and seductive than it would be through anyone else's lips, yet it feels honestly charming and sweet. The comparisons between Whitmer and Jackson Browne are especially apt in light of this album, as both share a gift for intimate eloquence.

More wholly uplifting than some of Witmer's previous efforts, Are You a Dreamer? is a stunning end-of-summer album, perfect for days spent lying in the grass - or comfortably in your bed - spinning dreams... assuming you can remember them.

Reviewed by Natalie B. David
A fresh graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, in her spare time she can be found clumsily manipulating words and phrases for LAS and Beautiful/Decay magazine, hungering for sushi, naming inanimate objects or pondering the existence of stiletto heels. If you see her, you should buy her a cup of coffee because, chances are, she probably needs it.

See other reviews by Natalie B. David



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