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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
Fluorescent Grey

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

June 11, 2007
With Cryptograms, Deerhunter created one of the best albums of 2007 so far, a polarising work that's as hypnotic as it is unique. Mixing a great array of influences, from Sonic Youth to My Bloody Valentine, their schizophrenic style consists of pressed textures and constant repetition motifs, replete with insistent bass lines, echo-laden voices and pounding drums, thus giving way to spacey feedback-drenched walls of sound that propel the listener elsewhere. Certainly, if there's anything that distinguishes the young quintet - whose style many have described as psychedelic, post-rock, experimental, ambient and whatnot - it is their adamant desire to be as visionary as possible. And, it has to be said, they clearly succeed in that aspect. Like many of the great shoegaze records of the '90s, be it Ride's Nowhere or Slowdive's Pygmalion, Cryptograms is an album that is best listened to on headphones in the dark - it is, simply put, music that relies on the atmosphere it creates.

Now, Deerhunter have returned with another offering of their illusory and ethereal sound with the Fluorescent Grey EP, consisting of four songs recorded during Cryptograms' mixing phase. Fluorescent Grey once again proves that Deerhunter are an ambitious band at the very least, who do what they do because they can and because they want to, regardless of whether or not the reactions will be positive. Their sound, once again, is accomplished and personal, bewitching and hypnotic, like a multi-colored spiral.

The EP begins gently enough with the title song, where a piano line precedes Bradford Cox, as he later sings "I woke up/ In the middle of the night/ I called out/ I called your name", bringing to mind the most desperate of Ian Curtis' lyrics. However, as the song has barely trodden the two-minute mark, it reaches a cathartic and chaotic loudness that is strangely liberating, ending soon after with the commencing rhythm, bringing things full circle. On the gloomy "Dr Glass," Cox talks about the "useless bodies" that needlessly populate the world, amongst which are "all the couples kissing, the children missing, the corpses rotting"; there is no shattering moment here though, as it's arguably the most "conventional" song off the EP, given that it maintains all of its structure throughout its brief duration. Nonetheless, despite its morbid subject matter, it proves to be oddly captivating, just in the same way that Cox seems to be both repelled and allured by all those bodies that serve no purpose. The fascination caused by something new is reflected on the third song, "Like New," in which the voice plays a vital role in the composition, functioning purposefully as another mere instrument. The EP culminates with its longest song, "Wash Off", the most epic of the bunch.

There is a moment in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle in which the main character talks about the music of a woman playing her clarinet, specifying how it goes "from liquid lyricism to rasping lechery to the skittishness of a frightened child, to a heroin nightmare." Such a description would fit the otherworldly sounds that Deerhunter's Fluorescent Grey EP evokes, as its capriciousness is one of its strongest facets; the music varies from one song to the next, it is music that keeps evolving and mutating itself, and perhaps Deerhunter's finest accomplishment here is that they manage to form a cohesive whole with the sole use of four songs. Whether it's meant to be part of Cryptograms' listening experience or not isn't really an issue, since the four songs included here achieve what they set out to do without the aid of whatever came before them. Regardless, even if Fluorescent Grey both compliments and enhances Cryptograms, it is a surreal and riveting work that can proudly stand on its own.

Reviewed by Pabs Hernandez
A staff writer for LAS, Pablo Hernandez keeps up pretty well with the ever-changing \'indie scene\' from his home in Madrid, Spain.

See other reviews by Pabs Hernandez



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