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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
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January 7, 2008
By most reliable measures of such things, 2007 was a great year for music. James Murphy returned with an LCD Soundsystem album that was stacked with no fewer than two of the year's best singles, including one that passed the seven-minute mark. There was the whole Kanye West vs. 50 Cent thing that held the music world's attention for half a second before being unveiled as the G-Unit publicity bluff that it was, at least on 50's part, but when the dust settled West's Graduation was able to back up the blustery Chicago MC's bark. Arcade Fire followed up the most hyped debut in recent memory with the most hyped sophomore album in recent memory and once again proved that Canada has a lot more to offer popular music than Alanis Morissette - in fact, Neon Bible was named the LAS Album of the Year for 2007. R.E.M., the band that put Athens, Georgia, back on the map after the world forgot about The B52s was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Beatles wimped out and gave in to Apple's claim on the fruity logo they'd shared, and Led Zeppelin even got back together (so did The Police and Smashing Pumpkins and the Dismemberment Plan and Rage Against the Machine), but Girl Talk and Of Montreal were in Playgirl, so that's gotta balance out somewhere.

There really was a lot of music in the news this year, both good and bad... Wu Tang Clan announced a return with 8 Diagrams, music and the web merged with mobile phones on a host of platforms, Modest Mouse returned with a new album and all the drama that goes along with it, and CoCoRosie dropped an underwhelming album and got arrested for who-knows-what. Plus there was the Radiohead supertsunami rocking the music industry not-so-gently in October. And on top of all that, 2007 was also a great year for classic albums, some of them long forgotten, to be reissued and reintroduced to the post-millenium music lover. From the Monkees to Sonic Youth, LAS staff writer John Bohannon takes a look at ten of the year's best reissues.



10) Bobb Trimble - Iron Curtain Innocence (Originally Released by Bobb Records, 1980. Reissued by Secretly Canadian)
One of the greatest Pysch-folk records of any decade, released at a time when psych-folk was buried in the crates of the late 60s'. Bobb Trimble's space-echo vocals over sparse compositions filled with trembling guitars and reverb-soaked drums still sound as fresh as ever 27 years later, if not even more inspiring the second time around. Iron Curtain Innocence captures the perfect blend of melodic dissonance. A record that won't alienate an audience, but will push that audience to really listen - something very few records can achieve.



09) The Monkees - Headquarters (Originally Released 1967. Reissued by Rhino)

One of the most underappreciated records that was big in the 60s' but didn't hold in peoples minds 40 after its release - the Monkees were always written off as a joke - nothing but a band based upon gimmickry. (I wont say underrated - this album spent eleven straight weeks on the charts second only to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band). Reissue contains additional tracks and a less than stellar stereo mix of the record. The reason this one made the list is because this was the Monkees at the height of their career, and this should be the album that holds their legacy. Also, there's a fantastic demo version of "Nine Times Blue" that's worth the deluxe edition cost alone!



08) Joy Division - Still, Closer, Unknown Pleasures (Originally Released 1981, 1980, 1979. Reissued by Rhino)

These recordings were long overdue for the reissue treatment. Each includes a live disc from different points in the band's career, and let me tell you - these guys were no slouches! They play incredibly tight and leave a lot of sparse room for open interpretation. After years of people telling me "Oh, I saw Joy Division back in the day, and they were sloppy as hell" - it's time for me to do some tracking down and give each and everyone of those inadequate glory day snobs a smack for their idiocy. The remastering work done on these recordings is quite good, especially on Unknown Pleasures. Also, this is your chance to revisit the record everyone seemed to write off, Still, that's definitely worth giving a second go-around - it might be the album that keeps up with the times the most musically - very dance-worthy, and full of pulsing drums and Ian even singing semi-pop melodies. Pull this out at your next party and surprise your guests when they ask you if it's a New Order record.



07) Morning Glory - Two Suns Worth (Originally Released by Mercury Records, 1968. Reissued by Fallout)

Acid pop engineered by John Cale (Velvet Underground) and produced Abe 'Voco' Kesh (Blue Cheer) that fell into nearly complete obscurity but well known among a circle of psych-rock record collectors. I picked this record up nearly 2 years ago in a semi-audible LP format, so its great to have the album re-issued for the first time on CD for the world to hear (not to mention the digital form of the master tapes sounds fantastic). One of the better re-issues of 2007, it sounds like a mixture of Jefferson Airplane with drum fills that hold their own with Keith Moon of the Who, and a touch of the traditional folk that was being played in the U.K. during the late 1960's. Originally released on Mercury, this album will have enough bite to keep you coming back for years to come. Pick up your copy on CD and get ready for an evening of sunshine-acid-pop at its absolute finest.



06) East of the Underground - East of the Underground (Originally Released 1971. Reissued by Wax Poetics)

Leave it up to Wax Poetics to pull the most obscure thing possible out from the woodwork. This record was captured in 1971 during the Vietnam war, and get this - all the band members came from the U.S. Army. They held a show band contest and put the two winning bands on this record, and damn does it hit hard. Covering Sly Stone to the sweet soul of Curtis Mayfield - these sound like early soul nuggets in their beginning stages of raw development - kind of like a rehearsal session at Stax or Motown but with more grit. Anyway, they only printed a couple thousand of these, so if this peaks your interest in any way, shape, or form - you better get your hands on the wax before it falls back into obscurity.



05) Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation: Deluxe Edition (Originally Released by DGC, 1988. Reissued by Blast First)

Released in both deluxe edition 2xCD and 4xLP, this one is sure to have your neighbors ripping their hair off by the time it gets to side 5 (or disc 2 on the CD), the live portion of the disc taken from the original tour for the record, that contains the dissonant chaos of earlier records melded with the atonal melodies presented in their 1988 classic, Daydream Nation. Play this at maximum volume and you can kick back and watch the paint peel from the walls and whatever items you have resting on the top of your dresser come colliding to the ground. There is also a complete side of covers the band has done, including the best Beatle related cover I've heard in ages, George Harrison's With or Without You and a perfect fitting rendition of an otherwise shitty song, Neil Young's Computer Age, as well as Mudhoney's Touch Me I'm Sick and Captain Beefhearts Electricity. Talking about the original album here would be pointless, if you don't know it - you've been living under a rock for the past two decades. Also included in the Deluxe Edition are rare photos and an extensive essay written by Byron Coley (I highly recommend the vinyl version with the full page color photos in the LP-sized liner notes).



04) Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different, Betty Davis (Originally Released 1974, 1973. Reissued by Light in the Attic)

This woman was nothing but a myth to me until a few years back when I heard ?uestlove's compilation Babies Making Babies 2: Misery Strikes Back, where "Anti-Love Song" stood out like a sore thumb. Always knew Betty's name from her love affair with Miles Davis, and never bothered to explore her music- and good lord what in the bejeezus was I thinking? These records contain members of the Sly Stone family and the Pointer Sisters, and no wonder Miles started exploring things like On the Corner and Get Up With It after hanging out with Betty (who adopted her last name after Miles). These two recordings are everything I wanted out of soul/funk music in the early 70's - raw, uncut, and a badass bitch to bring the point home. Nuff' said.



03) Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs From a Room, Songs of Love and Hate (Originally Released 1968, 1969, 1971. Reissued by Sony/Legacy)

For some people, their voice is that of Bob Dylan - for others it's that of Woody Guthrie - for me, it's the voice of Leonard Cohen. Up until these albums were reissued, I thought the only way to listen to Cohen was on wax, but these bring out the warmth that was captured on the original vinyl masters. It's fantastic to see someone get ahold of these for re-mastering that actually knew Cohen's music and the approach he took to it, because 9 out of 10 people would have just compressed the shit out of it and boosted the volume. It doesn't quite get much better than this in the world of songwriting.



02) Modern Lovers - Modern Lovers (Originally Released by Beserkley, 1976. Reissued by Sanctuary)

Excerpt from my review for LAS earlier in the year: "The Modern Lovers left a unique mark as a staple within a scene overridden by aggressive angst in the early-to-mid 1970s. Although they were following punk's three chord archetype, they were doing it in a different fashion - being coined under the term "proto-punk" by many confused critics at the time, the band followed on the groundwork laid by the Velvet Underground in the late 1960s. Many find making the Lou Reed comparison an easy one to make with Modern Lovers frontman Jonathan Richman, and I doubt Richman would argue the Reed angle. Within this comparison though, there lies a difference in their fundamental approach to lyricism. While Reed expresses a sense of maturity and life experience, Richman is more concerned with teenage rebellion. Richman was considering the music he was making more in terms of its own time rather than any timeless effect it might have on popular music years later..



01) Miles Davis - The Complete On the Corner Sessions (Originally Released 1972. Reissued by Columbia/Legacy)

While I had my fingers crossed for a Get Up With It box-set, it's not like I have too much to complain about here. I got to preview this set at the time of its release, and whoever the mastermind is behind releasing these Miles box-sets - well, I'd like to shake that man's hand. If you don't know already, Davis always left the tapes rolling during sessions -therefore with every record he put out there was always tons of extra material (considering the band didn't knock it on the first take, which was very rare considering Miles would scare your ass out of the room for missing one note). If you can cough up the cash for this bad boy, I'm sure your wallet won't mind - but it may mind you shaking your ass all around caused by the funky grooves coming from this fantastic 6 disc-set.

--
John Bohannon
An LAS contributing writer based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, John Bohannon is also a regular contributor to the pages of Prefixmag.com, Daytrotter.com, and Impose Magazine.

See other articles by John Bohannon.

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