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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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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
Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist
Greyday Productions

Rating: 9.5/10 ?

May 29, 2007
Renaissance man Krist Kreuger is the central brain bank of Portland's Southerly, a project that started out as a one-man endeavor but has in recent years grown into a full-fledged ensemble. After delivering Best Dressed and Expressionless for the Orchard imprint three years ago, Kreuger and his supporting cast jumped to the fledgling Greyday to deliver the brilliantly titled (and executed) Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist. There is not a single bad track on the album; Kreuger has penned 14 lustrous little pop songs, and producer Robert Bartleson has polished them up just enough to give them that extra sparkle.

As the best releases usually are, Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist is inspired by a whole bunch of different genres and artists. Imagine shoegaze at it's finest, made more orchestral but at the same time a bit folky, and then steered in a traditional pop song direction and fleshed out quite a bit, and you're close to the sound of Southerly. The sound itself is painted a bit dark and introverted, but at times it explodes and delivers a surprisingly upbeat, almost happy song. These sunnier tracks are welcome little surprises, and the best example of this would be "Cold Caller," which finds Southerly traveling back about 13 years in time, to England, circa Definitely Maybe, the debut record from the kings of that age, Oasis. Other songs smell of Slowdive, Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, and other heavy hitters from across the board. Even though Kreuger's music is so influenced by other artists, in different genres, Southerly sounds only like Southerly, and the band never gets lost in the deep forest of genres they have decided to make their home. All of this makes for a very interesting album, one that makes clear the talent inherent in its creation. So many artists have tried to combine such disparate elements, but most of them have failed miserably and come off sounding scattered. Kreuger's compositions, however, approach sheer genius, a fact that can't be mentioned enough.

Finding and delivering catchy melodies is perhaps Kreuger's strongest asset, and every song on Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist has that little extra something that begs for a repeat listen. Even in the rare moments when the album's pop sensitivity borders on being played out, there's something there to recapture your attention, just at the right moment. A nice little riff, an interesting melody, or a fascinating lyric - they all become small lifesavers floating around in the universe that is Southerly. Listening to the album one gets the sense that this didn't happen by chance, that the infectiousness of Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist was well thought out, and that is a comforting fact.

You would do yourself a huge favor to check out Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist, and should you decide to instruct everyone you know to do the same, you'll certainly be afforded the title of Tastemaker. As the album's title suggests, Krist Kreuger is a truly talented storyteller, and with Southerly he has delivered just the kind of music the world needs.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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