» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
Express Gifts
Moteer Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

August 10, 2005
Express Gifts is an ode to the paranormal aura and womblike security of one's dreams. Most pieces are bathed in a purring film of processed xylophone and scorching comet tails of electronics; all the while, pulsing piano chords mimic the messy hands of children painting white walls canary yellow, watery blues and earth greens.

Within the plot of "Wheneveryouready", in particular, after icicle glitter and pretty piano tinkling sketch a repetitive bedtime melody, the dream takes a turn for the surreal: clatter-box rhythms and lost satellite signals are suddenly pelted by a barrage of high-pitched chirps and hisses; perturbed machine voices pipe from a large legion of toys who have suddenly sparked back to life on their owners dusty shelves, returning for revenge for years of negligence and oppression.

And yet, as the work ages, maturity is illustrated in the subtle organization of squealing overtones and weirdly languorous melodicism. Frequency modulations and bell-like tones stand as passengers in a slowly rocking boat made of a low G doom-drone that breaks through a frozen sea of electronics. Throughout the journey, the mood is that of an overcast sky: gray and gloomy.

Compositions maintain a slow, reflective tempo, with successive works offering only minor deviations from that which came before, or focus more heavily on a particular element to the exclusion of another - capturing it from a number of angles and nursing its distinctive features into prominence. "Natural Theatre", for instance, plunges underwater: seething clicks and eloquent pops are seen dancing above the waves like long shafts of distorted light, while the slap of water and the murmur of distant voices can be faintly heard from above; in one's ear there sits the constant, doleful hum of the waters' undercurrent, enticing one to swim deeper. "For Sure, I'll be Buried at Sea", meanwhile, resembles cupping a seashell to one's ear and listening: a mini-orchestra of gaping reverb, steamy tones of a static pump organ and gossamer slides of crystallized tones create a false sense of constant movement, lulling into a tranquil state.

Of noteworthy detriment is ending this album on the altogether-out-of-place, pristine house rumble of "Was until Today". This almost danceable tune comes like an intrusive ray of morning light, peeking through the blinds and stealing one away from an otherwise pleasurable night of fantasy and contemplation. One might also draw attention to the fact that, while compositions have seen obvious attention in the arrangement of texture and development of melody, this effort never confounds expectation - it sounds just like something one would presume to find on a label managed by such indie-electronica luminaries as The Remote Viewer. Admirable for its attention to tonal and textural detail, Express Gifts is a sensuous, if predictable, effort.

Reviewed by Max Schaefer
Nocturnal qualms and eyes that brim like lamps betoken slender sketches, poetry and short stories strewn alongside piano playing, a fiddling of knobs and murmured dialogue with a medley of electronic gizmo\'s. A twenty-one year old person lodged within the University of Victoria, Max harvests organic sounds on a sullen sampler, watching water unwind like two broad lengths of ribbon and nursing a book below the canopy of a cheery-tree. Max believes that the world is made present by people\'s presence in it and that art is one such way in which a distinctive disclosure might be crafted.

See other reviews by Max Schaefer



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