Bullz-Eye’s Favorite Albums of 2010: Staff Writer Ted Asregadoo’s picks

The days of getting lost in an album have passed me by. This year, I really tried to rekindle that lost listening art of playing entire albums – instead of compiling playlists in iTunes. It hasn’t been easy. I think the ease of digitally downloading albums has dried up the sense of anticipation that used to come with a purchase of a physical copy of an album at a record store. Now, the record store is just part of the millions and billions of distractions that await you on the Internet – much of it for free.

Now, I don’t mean to go on a diatribe against the devaluation of music because of the Internet, but one thing that has occurred because of the sheer plethora of music available with one click of your mouse is a kind of ADD when it comes to listening to music. My colleague both here and at Popdose (that would be Jeff Giles) has written about it more eloquently than I can, but the sentiment is very much the same: because of the volume of music that is available in downloadable form, it’s difficult for me to form a deep connection with an entire album. If we could flash back 20 years, it would have been a different story to feature 10 albums. Nowadays, it’s rare that an entire album can hold my attention.

But, never say never, right?

What you will find here are mostly my favorite songs of 2010, but occasionally you’ll find entire albums. I know, after all that “downloadable music is ruining my attention span” crap, I say that there were some albums that really captured my attention. But like I said, I’ve tried to rekindle the art of listening to entire albums, and while I feel I’m losing that battle, I haven’t entirely lost the war. So, here we go with my top 10 of 2010!

10. Paper or Plastic, “The Honest Man”
Every now and then a link arrives in my inbox that lives up to the hype. Case in point is the New York group, Paper or Plastic, who has a kind of Ben Folds thing going on with “The Honest Man.” The song is an example of some very lovely power pop, and you’ll find yourself humming the chorus after a few listens. The band is giving away their EP Ron Save the King on their website. Get it, if only for “The Honest Man.”

9. Somebody’s Darling, “Lonely”
In my review of this album, I was upfront about my allergy to country music – even if it’s alt-country. But Somebody’s Darling has enough rock-n-roll in them to make the musical waters safe for a guy with my particular affliction. “Lonely” is by far my favorite track on the album, and it’s not difficult to hear why. The song is just one big fireball of energy with a great driving beat and some wailing guitars. But it’s the full-throated vocals from Amber Ferris that takes this song from good to great.


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Lollapalooza 2010, The Final Recap: The Happy Hour Bands

As we recap the highlights and lowlights of Lollapalooza 2010, we can’t help but feel a little bad for the bands that play in the middle of the day, as their spot on the schedule means one of two things: either they haven’t ascended to the level of headliner and are holding spots until the big boys play, or they are big enough to headline, but are merely being used as bait to bring people in early. And, to add insult to injury, depending on which stage they’re playing, they get burned to a crisp by the sun. If you ask them, of course, they’ll tell you, like any player called up to the big leagues, that they’re just happy to be here. But we have to think that some of these bands would have preferred to play later to larger crowds, especially one group of spud boys out of Akron who are treating the comeback trail like a warpath.

Devo, Friday, Parkways Foundation Stage
Best show of the weekend that we saw with our own eyes, bar none. Devo’s currently riding a massive wave of good buzz with the release of Something for Everybody, the band’s first album in 20 years, and we were pretty sure that they would beat that new record over the heads of everyone here. And at first, they did, doing a new song/old song bit for the first six songs in the set. And then a strange thing happened – they played “Whip It” halfway through the set so the casual fans could leave (it’s a Lolla thing, leaving after hearing “the hit”), at which point they put on a fans-only show that left us stunned. Sure, we thought there was a good chance they’d play “Peek-a-Boo,” “That’s Good” and “Girl U Want,” but only in our wildest dreams did we expect them to break out “Going Under,” “Gates of Steel,” “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA,” “Jocko Homo,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” and “Mongoloid.” Both the set list and the performances were out of this world. Let’s hope the younger bands on the bill saw this show and took notes.

Devo
Photo by Dave Mead

Metric, Saturday, Playstation Stage
Ah, Emily Haines. We could watch her dance all day long. Our guy Greg raved about the band’s set at South by Southwest earlier this year, and he was not wrong. Playing the Playstation Stage, which is known as the Petrillo Band Shell the other 362 days of the year, the band sounded very good, though Haines’ vocals were drowned out here and there. The biggest drag is that the stage is sunken, and they drew such a large crowd that we had a hard time seeing Emily without peeking at the Jumbotron. The set wisely consisted primarily of their latest album Fantasies, and their version of “Stadium Love” had the entire crowd doing that “Ooooh-wooo-woooo” bit in the chorus, very cool. Haines could stand to work on her stage banter a bit, though. Actually, just about every band here could improve in that category.

Metric
Photo by Dave Mead

Wolfmother, Sunday, Parkways Foundation Stage
We still remember their performance from 2006 as being the most bone-crushing set anyone’s thrown down at the Chicago Lollas, and our man Eldred told us that the new Stockdale-plus-three-new-members incarnation of the band brought the goods as well. And while the set may have been predictable, the crowd still went “apeshit” for them.

Wolfmother_01
Photo by Dave Mead

F**k Buttons, Friday, Sony Bloggie Stage
We went to the media area to get some water after Devo, while our friend Tim headed north to check out this electronic duo. He was bored and moved on before we even got there.

The Big Pink, Friday, adidas Stage
The best thing we can say about the Big Pink’s set was that it ended 15 minutes early. “Dominos” is catchy enough, but as we were getting food – and well within range of their stage – all we heard was droning. Lots and lots of droning. The 15 minutes of silence before Devo’s set was a blessing.


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Lollapalooza 2010 recap: Friday

The Lolla grounds grew again, stretching the grounds out wider so that there is no chance of one stage bleeding into another. Which is awesome, if you’re a band, but bank on walking an extra mile and a half over the course of the day.

Foxy Shazam, Sony Bloggie Stage
Got there late thanks to the relocation of the media area (Roosevelt, really?), but their final song was a beast. Lead singer Eric Sean Nally leapfrogged onto the guitarist’s shoulders, then kicked his guitar as he was trying to solo. The keyboardist stood on top of his keyboard, stomping on the keys. It was bedlam. It was awesome. Definitely see these guys if they come near you.

First cover song of the day: B.o.B., covering MGMT’s “Kids.”

Ancient Astronauts, Perry’s
These guys got stuck in a reggae groove and couldn’t get out, but there was a neat mash-up of “Blitzkrieg Bop” thrown in, which was cool.

Playstation edit

“That’s right, I paid $200 to spend the weekend inside on a Playstation. So?”

Raphael Saadiq, Parkways Soundstage
I’m still not sure how he wound up on the bill but I’m not complaining, as his album The Way I See It was one of my favorite albums of 2008. His set was refreshing, the band decked out in suits while Saadiq dished out his vintage Motown jams. Then right in the middle, he completely threw down this gargantuan guitar track. Very odd, but the kids loved it.

The Big Pink, adidas Stage
So…much…droning…must…play…this…one…note…forever…

On the plus side, they ended their set 15 minutes early. Whew.

Devo, Parkways Soundstage
Hats off to the boys from Akron, as their afternoon set killed. They mixed in a few songs from their (damn good) new album Something for Everybody, played “Whip It” surprisingly early in the set, then went on a fans-only trip from there that had this old-school Devo fan flipping out. “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA”? Hell, yes.

F**k Buttons, Sony Bloggie Stage
Went to catch up with my buddy Tim at this set, but he was already bored and moving on before I got there.

Second cover song of the day: Matt & Kim doing Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.”

Kim of Matt & Kim also had the quote of the day, when she talked of wanting the people working the Jumbotron to do a close-up of her tits.

Neon Trees, BMI stage
These guys sounded pretty good, and the singer said he saw some kids sneak over the fence. It was amazing to watch everyone bail on their set after they played “Animal,” though. Same thing happened during Devo’s set after “Whip It.”

Hot Chip, Parkways Soundstage
There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with Hoy Chip’s set, but I had been on my feet for six hours at that point, and I needed to rest. Went to lie down on the hillside, and fell asleep. Damn, that felt good.

Meanwhile, the crowd gathering for Lady Gaga is without question the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, at Lolla or anywhere else. all of Grant Park is a sea of bodies. And there’s still one more band to go before she takes the stage.

Ass Pear edit

Lady Gaga wannabe ass pear.

Chromeo, adidas Stage
These band of funk poppers are about to jump to the next level. The new material was good, and they know how to entertain a crowd. They even fooled around with Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” with one of them singing in Auto-Tune, “I want my Chromeo.” Nice

Lady Gaga, Parkways Soundstage
Say this for the girl – she puts on an elaborate show. There was a car on the stage with a keyboard built into it, and one of her backing singers looked like Grace Jones. The problem is that there were a lot of young kids there to see her, and Ms. Gaga spent a bunch of the time swearing like a sailor. It grew tiresome. And at any rate, there was someone else we wanted to check out.

2ManyDJs, Perry’s
The brothers in Soulwax – speaking of which, any time you guys want to make another Soulwax album is all right with me – closed the DJ tent with a fun set that featured the Chemical Brothers, 808 State, Guns ‘n Roses, the KLF, Stardust (a.k.a. Daft Punk), the Clash, the Gossip and even Pink Floyd in a medley of songs about money. The graphics that they had synced up with the set were awesome too, taking the album covers of the songs they’re spinning and bringing them to life. Best of all was the shot of Nicolas Cage and what I’m pretty sure was Macaulay Culkin. Fun times.

Big, big opening day. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, Saturday isn’t quite as hectic. Looking forward to seeing Green Day tear the place down. They’re booked for two hours and 15 minutes, which is the longest set we’ve seen at Lolla yet. I’m pretty sure they’ll make it count. For now, though, it’s time for bed.

  

Devo: Something for Everybody


RIYL: Jerking back and forth, whipping it, playing peek-a-boo

Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain lived and died in less time than the gap between Devo’s last decent album and the present. (Add a year if you want to go back to their last truly good album.) The band’s last album, Smooth Noodle Maps, is almost old enough to buy its own beer, all of which is a flowery way of saying that it’s been a long, long time since Devo was even close to being on their game.

Devo_01

Or maybe they were just biding their time. After all, there was no point in Devo releasing new music in the ’90s or even the first half of the ’00s, as the musical climate would have been indifferent at best and hostile at worst. Now, on the other hand, is a damned good time to be Devo, on a number of levels. Between the New New Wave movement (most of which, frankly, stinks) and the emergence of former alt.rock chart giants dominating the kids music circuit, Devo, for the first time in decades, has options. And they’re striking while the iron is hot.

Something for Everybody, Devo’s first album in 20 years, is an embarrassment of riches. The songs are insanely catchy – “What We Do” and “Human Rocket” are among the best songs the band’s ever done – and the production deftly blends classic Devo (think Freedom of Choice, New Traditionalists and Oh No! It’s Devo) with modern-day flourishes. The lyrics are still oddball, but tamer; there’s no talk of slapping mammies or altruistic perverts, and that’s just fine. Not everything here works – “Cameo” tries a bit too hard, and “Sumthin'” is too slavish in its attempt to channel “Whip It” – but this is far better than anyone had a right to expect from a band nearly 30 years removed from its commercial peak. Bravo, gents. (Warner Bros. 2010)

Devo MySpace page
Click to buy Something for Everybody from Amazon

  

Freeland: Cope

DJ Adam Freeland, recording under his last name alone, has finally released his second full-length album, CopeTM. Teaming up with Kurt Baumann for vocals and guitar work, Freeland stays well within his breakbeat roots while taking a romp through the many permutations of electronica and pop. With a full coterie of guest musicians, he creates an intriguing collection of songs that are more rock than dance, more driving than grooving. Influences abound: “Under Control” sounds like a perfect LCD Soundsystem track, “Rock On” is oh so Beck-ish, and “Silent Speaking” could be off of any number of Delerium discs… but all of this is a good thing. Freeland and Baumann tie it all together with distorted guitar synths and a constant energy that demands a fast car with a booming stereo and windows down, especially on “Only a Fool (Can Die),” which teams them up with Jerry Casale of Devo fame. At over six minutes, it is the longest and flat-out best song on the album. If there is any real weakness on CopeTM, it is the opening track, “Do You?” The listener has to get through this rather repetitive, non-melodic, simplistic opener to get to the good stuff, and this is unfortunate. It would be a shame to dismiss this very solid collection because one never got past the first song. Marine Parade 2009

Freeland MySpace page

  

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