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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
Calamity A Foot Behind
Solarmanite Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Blinder is a difficult band. We are talking about odd-time signatures, jazzy guitar, and soaring, sometimes operatic vocals. They have rolling drums and a bass that chugs in and out. They are sometimes scary. For those of you who like Washington D.C. bands, this formula should sound familiar. For people who don't know what I am talking about, I think Blinder wore their Shudder to Think pajamas too many nights in a row. Despite the similarity, this isn't exactly a type of music that is attacked often enough, certainly Shudder to Think left it behind for some sort of Marvin Gaye meets Cheap Trick crapfest. To me, Blinder is welcome to put their fists around this type of music.

The vocals in a band like this must grow on you. You will not hear this CD and start singing along to the vocals on the second listen. You must give it a couple of times. If you do, it will probably pay off, Megan Wendell does a good job of throwing almost all of it out there. Sometimes they get too far up in the dramatic range, like at they end of the song "Pieces" when the guitar alone probably would have been enough to get the job done. Mostly they are interesting and engaging enough for the listener to pick up on a lot of the lyrics, which are pretty decent.

The bass and drums in a band like this are very important. If they are not in sync, the band's sound can slip from a novelty to annoying. Luckily for Blinder the drums and bass are good, very good. According to the press release, the drummer on this album left the band for higher education in Indiana, which is unfortunate, because I think he does a great job, great use of the cymbals. (Listen to the beginning of "No Ground to Speak of").

Most important is the guitar. Wendell is very good at picking her places. She sometimes calls up frightening images, like an out of control train on "Put your cookie home". The guitar swirls all around, a jazzy swirl, not a Smashing Pumpkins' swirl. She is subdued in the right places, like in the first song when she places just the right amount of stingy guitar over the verse.

This is the kind of band in which each piece must flow. Each one is very important and can make or break the band. In this bands case all of the pieces work great. For me, Blinder is a welcome find in a sea of dismal pop galahocky.

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

See other reviews by John Steinbacher



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