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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
Owen Pallett

Rating: 8.3/10 ?

January 25, 2010
No more must Owen Pallett enthusiasts resort to live YouTube videos to listen to him in earnest. Those who loved him back when he was Final Fantasy (er, a month ago) have been waiting for the one-man orchestra-the one who ends an emotionally charged, layered coda onstage with a meek 'thank you'-to let both the fierce Pallett and the bashful one loose on record.

Instead, he took advantage of the studio with an intense, fully developed ('ctrl-F' this phrase on reviews of his previous albums) vision that merges, rather than juxtaposes, his two selves. Not only do strings back up his gentle, affected voice, but they anxiously swarm around him, taking Heartland in so many previously unexplored directions.

"Keep the Dog Quiet" works off a seductive rhythm, giving only a split-second's rest before "Mount Alpentine" builds on the previous track's growth rather than ignoring it. When "Red Sun No. 5" reaches its midway point, Pallett's violin begins its trademarked deceptively minor riff where a few somber notes lure the listener in, only to kick the piece to an upbeat section instilling hope in a listener looking only for empathy. The other strings, though, have something to say about Pallett making the same move for a third straight album. His violin instead restates, then revisits, the current theme. The individual piece doesn't do too much, allowing the album to accomplish more as a sum. While carefree Pallett shines later on "Tryst For Mephistopheles," and his newfound confidence (and drumbeat) gives his crooning "I'm never gonna give it to you," an empowering, merry spin in "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt," "Red Sun" must first reach its minor-key climax.

Nothing is hodgepodge about Heartland, and rather than an outlet for the former Final Fantasy's many cool ideas, Owen Pallett presents one outstanding, unified one: all of him at once.

Reviewed by JJ Lang

See other reviews by JJ Lang



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