Archive for December, 2010

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Top 20 albums of 2010.

December 30, 2010

Here are the top 20 albums of 2010.
BAND ALBUM
1. SURFER BLOOD- ASTRO COAST
Fresh sound, brilliant new band! Wonderful album.
2. Deerhunter- Halcyon Digest
please see: https://500records.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/album-of-21-of-500-deerhunter-halcyon-digest/
3. Stereolab – Not Music
4. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
When we all thought Damon was getting stale, he brought in legends such as Mark E. Smith and Mick Jones to produce this amazing album.
5. Spoon- Transference
6. The Thermals – Personal Life
A perfect name for this album, because Hutch totally opens up and tells you whats up. Sadly, it sounds like he is in a super rut. Sort of depressing album, and the b sides that didn’t make the album were better, “Separate” and “Canada”. The Thermals Pinkerton album, indeed!
7. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- The Brutalist Bricks
Ted’s best album since Shake the Sheets! see: http://narragansett.patch.com/articles/ted-leo-and-the-pharmacists-rock-the-met
8. Quasi – American Gong
9. Superchunk -Majesty Shredding
10. Wavves – King of the Beach
11. The Black Keys – Brothers
12. Beach House – Teen Dream
13. New Porngraphers – Together
14. Miles Kurosky – The Desert of Shadow Effects
The much anticipated album from Beulah’s frontman. He told me that it wasn’t what the fans expected but the turnout is different. Good job Miles!
15. Belle & Sebastian – Write about Love
16. Born Ruffians – Say It
17. The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack
18. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
19.Ty Segall- Melted
20. Admiral Radley – I Heart California

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Album 22 of 500: The Thermals-Personal Life

December 9, 2010

BAND: THE THERMALS
ALBUM: PERSONAL LIFE
LABEL:  Kill Rock Stars
RELEASE DATE:  September 7th 2010

“I give you all that I have, I tell you everything,” Hutch Harris sternly sings on “Never listen to Me.” He sure does lyrically on the Thermals new album, Personal Life.

Personal Life is the Thermal’s audio diary. Perhaps, Harris and the gang are channeling their Pinkerton side, and this album is depressing.  Someone broke Harris’s heart and he is lyrically letting people know how he feels. The album could be a month to month guide to a failing relationship. From getting to know someone and wanting to be apart of their life, as we hear in the opening track, “I’m Gonna Change Your Life” to the healing and letting go on the last song of the album, “You Changed My Life.”

Since 2002, Portland Oregon’s the Thermals have brought us albums about the norm a semi indie punk band would bring us, politics and religion. The band has tackled the topic of love lost before off the last album with the song, “I let it Go.”  They have not avoided the common band song topic through the years, they just mixed it well over the last eight years.  However, Personal Life, their fifth full length album, is their most personal album to date.

Song after song is as personal as it gets.  The single off the album, “I Don’t Believe You,” is a song about trust and being fed up with the other person. This album lets the listener become the shrink. Each song leads the listener into a deeper and darker downward spiral.

Track three takes a turn for the worse, its haunting and its the realization of a failing relationship.  “Never Listening to Me,” is perhaps a realization that one has rushed way too quickly into a relationship, and its starting to sink,

“Follow my call/follow my voice/like you know me.”

“Never Listening to Me,” is asking, do you even know who I am, or do you even care? Oh, but it gets worse! The most depressing song on the album is, “Alone, A Fool.” Lyrics that can bring a grown man to tears, “When I have you close/I miss you the most/I’m alone.” Almost a reminiscence of an Elliott Smith song, and with that said, the man is suffering.

In “Power Lies,” he asks when he can heal, yet throughout the album he puts himself down. An example of this can be hear in, “Our Love is so Strong,” where he begs to be deceived. Someone set fire to the thermals emotional state, and it can even be heard in the b sides from this record, such as “Separate” and “There’s Nothing You Can Learn to Accept.”

Overall, this is a very powerful album. This is by far not their best.  Yet, the Thermals put a lot of heart and soul into the album, and this is their version of  Pinkerton. Relationships can crash and burn even for our musical heroes. Most bands have proved its easier to write a song about heartbreak than any other topic. As author Nick Hornby wrote and later restated by John Cusack in the film, High Fidelity,

“People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobodies worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.”

Luckily for the Thermals, their fans will always be there to listen. Hutch Harris, Kathy Foster and Westin Glass need a hug.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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the Pinkerton Award

December 9, 2010

So I decided to make a music award of year, why not? I call it the Pinkerton award, and it goes to the band with the most personal and saddest album of the year.

Why Pinkerton? Easy, because Pinkerton, Weezer’s second album was so personal, excellent and sad, Rivers tried to forgot about it until he learned that it had a cult follow. Pinkerton is amazing record, and bands who really put their soul and heart into an album will receive this award, or just a recognition from only me.

Rivers, I just made this up, so don’t get bent out of shape. I am a member of your Pinkerton cult, and please read the first review of my blog.

Good Job Thermals, Personal Life gets the Pinkerton Award of 2010! Now make a happy album.

Top of 2010, soon to come!

RM