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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
Hey Mercedes
Loses Control
Vagrant Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Apartment living is enough to make one a little loony, with the crazy drivers and the annoying neighbors and the screaming kids running around until well into the morning. In fact, a guy like myself just might snap one day and lose control. If that were the case, I would take the uprooted signpost from the corner and plant it right into someone's windshield, claiming what lay under my feet as conquered territory. With my makeshift flag providing a foothold, I would proceed to drive out every obnoxious dog, shrill little child and mean, yelling neighbor that I crossed paths with. Cinematic taste-makers would marvel at my Conquistadorian might, licensing my story and making a movie titled "Jake Loses Control". That would be great, wouldn't it?

Wound tighter than the pull start on a new mower, Hey Mercedes could use some lessons in the art of losing control. Their latest full-length and fourth release for indiEmo powerhouse Vagrant, characterized by very crisp and slick production that makes it come off as planned and restrained, is paradoxically entitled Loses Control. On repeated listens the album starts to work somewhat, but only after forcing the issue. It simply doesn't pour out of the speakers naturally.

With Loses Control the artists formerly known as Braid have made an album that is a marked improvement from their previous full length, Everynight Fire Works, but the boys once saluted as "emo pioneers" are now walking a different trail, one already blazed. Hiking miles behind Bob Pollard and his clan, Hey Mercedes are following along and playing a sweet, polished tribute to the lo-fi pop maestros of Guided by Voices. Noticeably missing from Loses Control, however, is some of the passion that a good pop band oozes from the inside out. One might point out that in the old days- as Braid- Bob, Todd, Damon and the other guy had this to spare. Now their spark has seemingly dwindled to a flicker, a criticism that rings true for a better part of Loses Control, and one can't help but cringe when Nanna forces a dispassionate "The stereo's on/ They're playing your fucking song" in "Playing Your Song".

Smooth production and good songwriting must go hand in hand and a well produced album will demonstrate both the raw emotion a band exudes alongside the deft pop they choose to craft. Everynight Fire Works allowed these boys room to emote, while this new effort showcases some better songwriting ability alongside some skilled pop songs. The guitars sound bigger and thicker, and everything sounds like a clear and calculated effort. A mixture of the plusses from their back catalog of these may yield a classic album the next time around for Hey Mercedes. With such hopes I raise my uprooted sign post, waiting for Hey Mercedes to truly lose control.

Reviewed by Jake M. Rizy
A contributing writer for LAS who lives in Arlington, Texas.

See other reviews by Jake M. Rizy



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