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Gorillaz - Rhinestone Eyes

Top 5 Albums of 2010:

2.) Gorillaz: Plastic Beach

Featured track: Rhinestone Eyes by Gorillaz 

2010 will be remembered for many things, but no moment was more disturbing than BP’s oil spill in the gulf. Plastic Beach, a concept album about a fictional world with a decaying environment was the most prophetic album of the year. On top of being timely, the album is stunningly original. It’s a genre blurring affair that marries electronica, hip-hop, rock and art all in the name of pop. Gorillaz started out as a gimmick, but they’ve grown into much more.  The album combines its thematic relevancy with one of the freshest and most unique sounds of the last several years. This is the album that captured the year and our times. It will age well.

LCD Soundsystem - I Can Change

Top 5 Albums of 2010:

3.) LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening

Featured track: I Can Change by LCD Soundsystem

It says a lot about a year when the number 3 album is one of the best albums of the last 5 years. This is James Murphy at the peak of his powers. This is Happening takes inspiration from 70’s rock, but is anything but a rehash. James Murphy has digested his influences and ditched contrivance along the way. The album is long, but not boring; challenging, but easy on the ears; dance-y, but never forgets to rock. This is the album that most clearly communicates what LCD Soundsystem is supposed be; this is James Murphy’s finest achievement in branding and his best album to date. This is the record that merges the New York dance movement with indie rock and it will be remembered as one of the best albums to come out of the New York scene in the last decade.

Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) [Remix by Damien Taylor & Arcade Fire]

Top 5 Albums of 2010:

4.) Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

Featured track: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire

The Suburbs found Arcade Fire turning to familiar thematic ground by crafting a sequel of sorts to their beloved debut album Funeral. If Funeral was a record devoted to youth, The Suburbs is a record devoted to adolescence.  Both are remembered with a sense of nostalgia, confusion and drama. The Suburbs reaffirmed Arcade Fire’s role as the voice of a particular part of a generation; one that is slow to grow up, nostalgic for youthful innocence and sensitive as the day is long. The theme works and so do the songs. The album is sprawling, consistent, catchy and dynamic. Arcade Fire continue to be one the world’s best current bands.


Big Boi - Fo Yo Sorrow (Featuring George Clinton and Too Short)

Top 5 Albums of 2010:

5.) Big Boi: Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Featured track: Fo Yo Sorrows by Big Boi featuring George Clinton and Too Short.  

It was many years in the making and seemed destined for failure, but somehow Big Boi pulled off an opus that silenced all of his critics. It’s a deep record that’s fresh and funky. Though produced by a myriad of different producers and over a long period of time, the album comes across surprisingly consistent and thematically on point. The album shows Big Boi inspired and at his creative peak. This is Big Boi demanding the spotlight back from Andre 3000.  In a breakout year for hip hop, this album was one of the clear highlights and will be remembered for years to come.

Dispensary Review: Higher Level (San Diego)

Dispensary: Higher Level 

Grade: B/B+

Location: Discreet location in North Park that was a little tough to find. Parking is limited to street parking during regular business hours and there is a small lot usable after 6PM. The interior of the location is clean and professional. It has the look of a new age doctor’s office and features a waiting room with plenty of seating and a huge television. The budroom was spacious and well organized. 

Experience: Once inside, I was greeted by a friendly and attractive female receptionist. Check in was quick. The budtender was friendly and knowledgable. The vibe is high end and professional and the staff is accommodating.

Product Quality: I came looking for an edible, but took a look at all of their top shelf indicas. They have 3 tiers of quality. The first tier included 3 private reserve OGs that were priced exorbitantly.  They had about 8 top shelf Indicas (primarily Bubbas and OGs) below the private reserve strains and a couple lower quality strains for the budget minded. The 3 private reserve strains looked solid, not the best I’ve seen, but definitely of legitimate quality. I would have picked the Tokyo OG out of the 3. I’m not sure they warrant being priced without breaks for quantity, but at least they looked good. Out of the other Indicas, the Platinum LA Confidential (Platinum Bubba crossed with LA Con), Blackberry Kush and Mr. Nice Guy stood out. Ultimately, I felt that I had better versions of these strains or similar at home, so I passed. 

They had a wide selection of concentrates and edibles ranging in strength. I didn’t spend to much time looking at the concentrates, but there were several to choose from. I chose the Honey Almond Cookies that were a triple dose. They had 2 categories of edibles that were stronger (and pricier).

Price: The prices were a bit high for the quality. The 3 private reserve OGs were $20 per gram with no breaks.  The top shelf Indicas (primarily Bubbas and OGs) were priced at $20 per gram/$55 per eighth and a couple lower priced strains were available at about $40 per eighth. The edibles varied widely in price with a couple of options below $10 and some in the $20 range. The Honey Almond Cookies I picked were $12 for a triple dose. I’ve seen comparable or better quality in all categories at lower prices at several spots across the city.


The Honey Almond Cookie looked tasty and fresh. It is made with a “triple dose” of organic bubble hash. (I’ll post a detailed review momentarily)

Overall: Relatively fancy location, pretty good product and high prices. The staff was nice and parking wasn’t particularly convenient. I will return if I’m in the area and see something that sticks out on the menu. There are several spots I would frequent over Higher Level, but I still enjoyed my experience. Thanks to the staff for the hospitality.