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LITERATURE

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

MUSIC

 » 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]

MUSIC

 » 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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Billy Mahonie
The Big Dig
Beggars Banquet

Rating: 8.9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
In my mind, a good 90% of instrumental bands sound alike. Billy Mahonie is not one of them but, oddly, they call to mind the handful of other instrumental bands that I find unique. Funny how that happens - the bands who don't sound like everyone else end up sounding alike. At any rate, names can be thrown around as references for this UK quartet who, at various sonic intersections of time and space, mimic everyone from Euphone to Slint. At times the guitars sound as if Tom Fitzgerald (C-CLAMP) had tuned them, at others the bass jumps right out of a Blues Traveler tune. Taking a bit of a twist on the nipples is "We Accept American Dollars" (great title, by the way) with its nearly blueprint Tristeza qualities and mathematical leanings similar to June of 44 even pop up on songs like "Drago" and the noise of "Yeah." But there is a mirror image of someone lurking inches behind a thin veil of jangly guitar. Just listen to the lolly and dreamy "Marry Where am I" and you will instantly think of their isle dwelling brethren in Mogwai. The similarities are uncanny and there is simply no way around mentioning it. Of course they saved the best for last, Billy Mahonie did, with track number nine reaching their break point between the artistry of plucking and the rockandfuckingroll of grinding. The tension reaches a point where it is thick enough to wet your hair before chilling out again.

All the name dropping and referencing in those last few lines is what the brilliance of Billy Mahonie is - the fact that there are direct lines drawn to so many great names, yet the lines are dashed rather than solid. Sure, they sound like Tristeza on a few tracks, but when played back to back you could easily tell that they aren't the same band. To me, that is what modern rock is all about. You can't do anything new, because it's all been done before. But the fun part is when a band like Billy Mahonie takes snippets of other great bands and paste them into their own world to create a brand new scrap book of tight sounds.

I heard these guys played with the Violent Femmes and I find myself wondering why the Violent Femmes are even playing shows at all. Have they recorded an album since that horrible New Times back when I was in high school? I would have liked to see that show, at least the Billy Mahonie portion of it.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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