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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
American Style

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Have you ever taken a chance at a major record store and bought one of those CDs that only cost $1? The CDs in the bin near the front with bands you have mostly never heard of. The ones where you say to yourself, Well it's probably no good, but it is only a buck. Well if you have ever bought one, imagine for a second what the sum total of those CDs sounded like (or what they might sound like if you haven't). The sound that comes into your head is what Mint sounds like. Sort of a fuzzy every band. It's not like they are terrible. In fact, many of the songs are pretty catchy. The problems come from other sources. The production does not do this band good. Too much Superfuzz Big Muff and not enough clarity. I am a fan of fuzz, but it does not always play to this band's strengths. Also, the songs are just about anyband songs, a curmudgeon of influences that never really gets past them. While this may be the band's intention as you might guess by the album's title, the album never strays far enough to convince the listener not to listen to the other CDs.

The CD begins with the theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I find amusing, but I am not sure everybody would. At this point I will let you decide for yourself what you think of this, I am sure bands have done it before. If you start your CD out with this song, you better be able to back it up.

Highlights of this CD are fairly easy to pick out. "Pierced and Tattooed" stands out with its piano and ultra catchy chorus. It seems to be the best structured song on the album.
"Radio" seems to have crisper and clearer sound than the other songs and it pays off in a big way. I see from the linear notes that it was recorded at a different session than the other songs. The band would have been better off recording everything with that studio. I think the engineer plays to their strengths much better. This album has a lot of sludge when crispness would have been much better.

The low point is most definitely a very bad cover of Madonna's "Into the Groove". Perhaps I am put off by another band covering an eighties pop song and giving it that rocking edge (see "Faith" Limp Biscuit, "Sweet Dreams" by Marilyn Manson, and the super terrible "Smooth Criminal" cover by Alien Ant Farm), but it is just not as impressive to me as it would have been ten years ago. I think covers can be fun, but in this case it would have been good as a B-side and a live song.

This is definitely American music. There is no doubt about it. Bands like Mudhoney and Cheap Trick could not have come from anywhere else and neither could Mint. Their sound has that easy fuzz feel that bands from other countries could not pull off (except maybe Sweden). With better production and slicker vocals, this band could find a niche somewhere between Urge Overkill, Tugboat Annie, and Mudhoney. However, the album suffers from bad production and pretty standard songs. The production can be improved, but it seems like the songs are just where the band wants them.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher



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