Music

El Ten Eleven: It's Still Like a Secret

Dylan Nelson

A consistent but unremarkable fourth album from the California post-rock duo.


El Ten Eleven

It's Still Like a Secret

Label: Fake
US Release Date: 2010-11-09
UK Release Date: 2010-11-09
Amazon
iTunes

El Ten Eleven draw inevitable comparisons to Tortoise and Ratatat, but its electronic post-rock suffers from a bland, characterless impact that the band's peers avoid by means of formidable technical mastery and bad-boy flamboyance. With electronic drums, buzzing guitar, and shimmering arrangements, the duo has the sound of post-rock nailed, but the music isn't progressive enough to be post-anything. The trouble for a band like El Ten Eleven is where to go next after three full-length albums, and on It's Still Like a Secret, it shows. If anything, this record is tighter and more conventional than the band has been before.

The implicit titular nod to Built to Spill's 1998 classic Keep It Like a Secret is a baffling one, since the two albums have little in common aside from an emphatic lead guitar and the position of fourth in the artist's discography. True, on a handful of tracks here, such as "Anxiety Is Cheap" and "Cease and Persist", one can imagine Built to Spill frontman Doug Martsch feeling right at home with the layered rhythms mapped out by Kristian Dunn's guitar loops and Tim Fogarty's drumming. In the end though, such thinking only reinforces the notion that something is missing.

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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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