» 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!
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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
The Story Changes Every Day
Glue Factory Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Rod doesn't scratch my chin, let me get that out of the way. They don't stick out to me for many reasons, most important is that they don't sound like anything different to me. Lots of distorted loud guitars, a couple of time changes, familiar drum beats (especially on the symbols), and the vocals that change from out of tune talking to loud out of tune yelling. However, they may sound like something different to someone else. What if some kid out there hears Rod and thinks they are a great punk band because Rod is one of his/her first exposures to this kind of music? Well Rod will probably do the trick for this kid, they execute their roll well. They are talented musicians that can write some melodies and play their instruments as well as anybody in the genre. I guess to put it in simple terms, their music will either wash over you or konk you over the head, depending on who you are.

The vocalist Mark McMillion sounds desperate, as if his world is exploding from out of his control. It is quite familiar. I do not consider it insightful to put the lyric "this is not the beginning and this is not the end" in your song, but this lyric could be considered gold if you are depressed and into the melodramatic. I am really not trying to patronize. He sings of being misunderstood and being stuck. On "Focal Point" there is "two and one makes twenty-one years of living, laughing, learning from my mistakes I've lost in my forgotten youth". There are a bunch of lyrics like this, a lot of repeated themes throughout. Some of them, like the one above, don't really make sense to me, but context of listener is important and my context is probably to decipher lyrics way too much.

The actual music repeats its themes as well. Even after repeated listens, it was hard for me to pick out what song I was listening to without looking at the CD player. It's hard to tell when all of the songs seem to use the same formula. I mean you gotta throw in an occasional something to keep the fans honest. It seems like Rod tries, but . . . The song "S.O.S." has an interesting beepy part before the loud guitars come crashing in, but the guitars come crashing in, negating the interesting part. I don't want anyone to think the wrong thing. I like loud guitars. I really do, but there is definitely too much of a good thing. On "Focal Point", the most interesting point on the CD arrives and I was pleasantly surprised. With about a minute left in the song, the music sort of crescendos into a very interesting melody from a wall of distortion. With a snappy drum beat and a catchy bassline, it sounds like maybe this band is doing something interesting to their formula, but this only lasts twenty seconds. The guitars come crashing in, again. It seems like they have to, like Rod was never really given a choice. The guitars will come crashing in. This is their place in the musical world. This is probably where they want to be. On the scale of a disgruntled teen discovering punk aesthetics for one of the first times, they probably get a ten, on mine they get a five. Your turn, I guess.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher



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