» 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
Here Is ...

Rating: 8/10 ?

August 22, 2006
Pulling off a full-blown rock opera along the lines of Tommy takes more money than Gosling is likely to see in its lifetime. Then again, with a deep-pocketed backer like V2 footing the bill, perhaps it's not such a crazy notion for the Washington state foursome. Their debut, Here Is..., is a rollicking caravan of riff-heavy, theatrical hard rock that Gosling must have bought used off a lot filled with old copies of the Use Your Illusion discs. When, or should I say if the new Chinese Democracy Guns & Roses model actually hits showroom floors, Gosling might go the way of the Edsel and Vaudeville, but for the time being they're all we've got.

Weaned on classic rock standards by Queen and Pink Floyd during their formative years, with a singer that sounds suspiciously like Axl Rose, Gosling steps into the void left by G&R with confidence and panache. While it lacks the nasty hooks of Appetite For Destruction, Here Is ... is a leaner animal than post-Appetite G&R efforts, with a Thin Lizzy-like crunch and none of Axl's bloated pretensions to weigh them down. Thundering piano and electric keyboard chords wage battle with distortion-fried guitar for air on Here Is ..., with the sinister "Mr. Skeleton Wings" seeing the heaviest fighting. A vicious condemnation of the get-ahead-at-any-cost attitude so prevalent in corporate cultures, with the kind of violent imagery and pounding instrumental blackness Murder By Death produces on command, the track includes the line, "If you want me I'm at the top of the hill/If you climb over all the bodies we'll meet," sung with venom and dark humor by vocalist/guitarist Davey Ingersoll. Though mean and unrelenting, it's also infectiously jolly, as if the narrator takes great delight in watching those he stepped on while rising to the top struggle.

Ingersoll's performances grow more dramatic as Here Is ... goes on, matching the arena-sized rock spectacle he designed with help from drummer Isaac Carpenter, guitarist Shane Middleton and keyboardist/guitarist Mark Watrous. Sets are elaborate, with Gosling filling out the White Stripes' spare blues and vintage rock framework on the devilish "Worm Waltz" with deep horns, keyboards that circle like vultures, and a noisy throng of guitars. The half-hearted stoner-rock creep of "Half Awake" wakes up when the energetic romp "The Burnout" hits the stage. A show tune from hell, or the Rocky Horror Picture Show, where Ingersoll - or is it Rose? - whines "There's something about the baby that just ain't right" in a scratchy caterwaul, "The Burnout" is a hot jazzy number that sounds a little like the Squirrel Nut Zippers covering "Sweet Child O' Mine."

Hitting the brakes, Gosling dips its toes into the golden waters of 70s pop on "Come Into My Room," with its acoustic caress and dreamy backing vocals, and the country-tinged heartbreak of "Stealing Stars." What happens next is hard to explain, but imagine if Ziggy Stardust made out with Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady, and she threw away her London finery and went glam. That's a quick synopsis of "Waiting For The Sun," its witty, existential monologue delivered with bite by Ingersoll. Boisterous and fun, the carnival atmosphere of Here Is ... exudes garage-rock menace and gypsy intrigue, all tied up in vaudevillian overtones and mustache-twisting melodrama. A wonderfully wicked drama that can build slowly into an apocalyptic epic, like the title track, with its "junkies and white trash" human debris, or drive guitar drawl with black intent through a storefront window, like in "One Hand Two Hand," Here Is ... is a libertine tour of a bad part of town and the evil hearts of men. It never stays in one place too long, always striding one step ahead of the critics and the law, and it's never boring. Accomplished? You bet. Dangerously original? Damn straight. When Broadway comes calling, remember the little people, Gosling.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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