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LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» 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.
MUSIC» 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!
01 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty)
Whether or not Sufjan Stevens ever manages to complete the US map-correlating discography he aspires to, few people will need to search beyond Illinois for fruitful listening. Stevens manages to incorporate so much into what is essentially an indie pop record: instrumental dynamics, quirky song-titles, Steve Reich worship - let's hope he draws similar inspiration from the rest of the American states; although once completed, I'm somewhat looking forward to his European version - West Yorkshire would surely make an interesting concept. // MIKE WRIGHT » REVIEW
02 Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop)
Sure, it's got Brock written all over it, and these Canadians and their awesome bands are starting to get irritating... but Wolf Parade have made Arcade Fire their bitch with their keyboard driven anti-pop, full of scrunched-up vocals and clever one-liners. This is an album that is strikingly different from many of the other albums you listened to this year, and for that, we should thank them. // JONAH FLICKER » REVIEW
03 Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Vice/Dim Mak)
Can we get off the Gang of Four comparisons for just a minute? Yes, Bloc Party traffics in tight, angular post-punk riffs and locked down dance rhythms. Yes, they wear their politics on their sleeves - but that suffocating tension that marks many a Gang Of Four release is missing here, thank God. With more emphasis on melody and hooks, Silent Alarm is a free-flowing, infectious call to arms. That's Entertainment! // PETER LINDBLAD » REVIEW
04 Animal Collective - Feels (Fat Cat)
See everyone else's remarks about this band. And I mean everyone. Animal Collective should certainly be filed under "overrated," but that doesn't change the fact that they put out a solid album that gets mucho bonus points and a bump onto my list for being more challenging than the average overrated/hyped band. I'm sure these are some "real" dudes under their glossy new rock star exterior. // ERIC J HERBOTH » REVIEW
05 Spoon - Gimme Fiction (Merge)
Despite the three-year hiatus between this and their previous release, Kill the Moonlight, it's obvious that Spoon still govern the alt-rock throne. Highly anticipated, Gimme Fiction has percolated the degrading process of aging, even before being put out. Always moving in eccentric, transcending pop orbits, the band has answered the zapping melodic expectations around them; this record can now supply people hanging out at the water cooler with some juicy conversation topics. // HELDER GOMES » REVIEW
06 Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)
This is the musical equivalent of listening to that super-genius friend of yours whose mouth can't move as fast as the ideas come to his brain. Everything comes at you fast and it can change direction - sometimes several times in the same sentence - and yet, you're able to follow along and understand, because in the end it all makes perfect sense... even if you have to go home and think about it later. // DAN FILOWITZ » REVIEW
07 Sigur Rós - Takk... (RCA)
Quite a departure for Sigur Rós, Takk... is the closest thing the band has gotten to "rocking out". Still as angelic as the first time I heard them and always powerful, Sigur Rós continue their shock and awe with their best release to date. // MARK TAYLOR » REVIEW
08 The National - Alligator (4AD/Beggars Banquet)
Alligator is your best friend across the table when you've had far too much to drink. Medicinal, brooding melodies break you down as the flowing, supportive musicianship of the rhythm section consoles you. Everything I would never have thought to ask for, Alligator will keep a special spot on my disc rack for, likely, the rest of my life. // RANDY GAUDREAU » REVIEW
09 M.I.A. - Arular (XL/Beggars Banquet)
Living with a roommate my freshman year in college who would not shower because of fresh dreadlocks and was growing out her armpit hair for "justice", this is probably the first time I've heard an album claim "Pull Up the People" and felt solidarity over nausea. M.I.A. feels fresh and uncomplicated, inspired and inimitable. I want to believe. // SARAH PETERS » REVIEW
10 Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs (Righteous Babe)
In a year that will be remembered for its over-the-top albums, this one is a quiet little secret. Bird's songs about snacks and zeros and ones are full of splendor, and The Mysterious Production of Eggs finds him at his most imaginative. Bird gets the award for greatest departure this year, and nothing stands in his way. // ANDY BROWN » REVIEW
11 Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguar)
With a little twang, the boys in Okkervil River create an emotional rollercoaster of depth and sloppy precision. The power in the voice and the perfect melodies scream out, while the soft, heartfelt whispers carry a heavy bag of meaning. I've been following this band for years and nothing has hit me as much or as closely as Black Sheep Boy has. // BOB LADEWIG » REVIEW
12 Against Me! - Searching For A Former Clarity (Fat Wreck Chords)
Combining Billy Bragg, The Clash and a healthy dose of aggressive and anarchistic punk rock, this group is brilliant and original, yet does not get its due within the indie rock community - this is an injustice that should be corrected, as all who listen will, with reason, tell their friends. // DAN WILLIAMS
13 The Shipping News - Flies the Fields (Quarterstick)
The war in Iraq goes on. The Shipping News stews and vents with this ominous, powerful recording of contemporary, post-punk protest music. More structured than past Shipping News efforts, Flies The Fields is the band's best release to date, with songs that seethe with black rage and slowly build to devastating conclusions. Their ruins should be studied for years to come so that history - and poorly constructed music - doesn't repeat itself. // PETER LINDBLAD » REVIEW
14 LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (DFA)
I thought this one would be buried after the NYC-DFA hype machine ran out of gas, but the album holds up. James Murphy has that scruffy, pudgy, white-boy persona that makes his electro-clash/DJ jams all the more enjoyable. "Daft Punk is Playing At My House" is just a great song premise, and two discs are always better than one. // JOSH ZANGER » REVIEW
15 Antony & the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now (Secretly Canadian)
Arresting and immediately engrossing, I Am a Bird Now is one of the most painfully honest and vulnerable expressions of self I have ever come across. As soon as the disc starts with "Hope There's Someone," it's pretty clear that Antony's voice is immediately arresting, able to catch you clean off guard. Once you settle into it, you'll quickly know there is so much more in there to stop you dead in your tracks. Some of the most haunting and bone-chilling sounds to ever have graced my ears. // RANDY GAUDREAU » REVIEW
16 Prefuse 73 - Surrounded by Silence (Warp)
When he released One World Extinguisher two years ago, Scott Herren made a believer out of me, so much so that Surrounded by Silence found itself as easily one of my most anticipated new releases for this year. This time out, Herren has apparently traded in the deep-seated soloist nature of Prefuse 73 for a more communal approach to his craft, with his 2005 fusion bomb featuring collaborations with hip-hop mainstay Beans and Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino among others. And a blurb about this album would be pointless without mentioning the infectious banjo jam cut-up that Herren has crafted with the Books. Delicious! // ERIC J HERBOTH » REVIEW
17 Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph)
MF Doom + Danger Mouse + Adult Swim could have = lazy self indulgence or = throw-away novelty, but instead = rewarding collaboration between pop culture innovators. The beats are bouncy and fun, the rhymes fittingly absurd (especially on "Vats of Urine", easily the most bizarre topic for a hip-hop song ever) and the skits are funny and appropriately short. Sometimes the math just works out right. // DAN FILOWITZ » REVIEW
18 Gorillaz - Demon Days (Virgin)
The sophomore set from music land's best animated band effortlessly combines Brit-pop, hip-hop beats and dark imagery for a surprisingly solid listen. // NATALIE DAVID » REVIEW
19 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matt Sweeney - Superwolf (Drag City)
Wondering why you saw a resurgence of beards and trucker hats in the '05? This incredible album could be your answer. Blending the best elements of Will Oldham's cracked folk heartbreak with Sweeney's concisely sloppy guitar rock, every song on this effort begs emotion - whether it's a jubilant smile or a rending spiral downward. Looks like someone's found his soul mate... // JONAH FLICKER » REVIEW
20 Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (Warp)
This is Boards of Canada's third record in seven years, a meager ratio for a band that has so much to give. Never before had the guitar mantras got their feet inside the studio door so dangerously; they used to prowl about in the corridor, waiting for the electronic parts to dig their claws into them. Now, Boards of Canada resemble a little ant who has collected so much food for the winter that there is no room left. And that's good news! // HELDER GOMES » REVIEW
This was fun; we should do it again next year. In the meantime, be sure to check out the writers' individual lists to see the many objects of our affection.
The LAS Staff
A number of the Lost At Sea staff have worked and continue to work for various publications, both independent and commercial. Often very stifling in their narrow focus, conventional media outlets left our writers hungry for something bigger, more diverse, more communal. More active, because this is the twenty-first century and it makes sense. During it's short life LAS has accomplished many of its goals (but not all) and has in turn set new ones. Everything that we accomplish is through teamwork and cooperation, both with our regular staff writers and with our contributing writers. LAS is nothing short of a collective. Another contrasting point to some of the magazines out there is that we've checked our egos and scene ethics at the door. We welcome anyone and everyone to contribute and cover a wide range of topics. LAS does not follow your guide lines.
See other articles by The LAS Staff.
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