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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
Sigur Rós
Sæglópur
The Worker's Institute/Filter

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


August 9, 2006
Marching across the rugged, verdant countryside of Iceland, a blonde-haired boy carrying an ancient toy drum leads a rag-tag band of moppets to a seaside cliff. Lifting his arm, he waits for the noisy, distortion-ravaged tumult of Sigur Rós' shoegazing colossus "Glósóli" to commence. At his command, they all run pell-mell to the edge and, with the white-capped surf pounding the rocks below, one by one they each take a giant leap of faith. And they all fall to their deaths, cursing the name J.M. Barrie. Talk about your surprise endings!

Of course, it doesn't go down like that. Like in Peter Pan, they fly off, surveying the scene below, unafraid of losing the gift of flight and reveling in the wonder of it all. The slow-motion cinematography is majestic and emotional, with gorgeous, wide-angle vistas of the raging ocean and softly etched close-ups of beautiful children anticipating a fairy-tale experience. A beautiful piece of cinema, capturing the innocence and wonder of youth, the video for "Glósóli" is one of three on a DVD included with an EP of three new Sigur Rós songs packaged with the 8+ minute epic centerpiece to Takk..., "Sæglópur."

Clad in a gatefold covering, with smudged stencil art of flying birds and a boy's face, the Sæglópur EP/DVD set is a wonderful companion piece to Takk..., Sigur Rós' jaw-dropping last record. The DVD alone is worth the price. Filmed with big-screen ambition and tender humanity, each video is a theatrical tour de force, from the Cocoon-like frolic of "Hoppípolla" to the unsettling underwater drama of the EP's opening title track. There's something perversely heartwarming about seeing two gangs of senior citizens do battle with wooden swords, water balloons and helmets forged from metal colanders in "Hoppípolla," and Sigur Rós' indulgence in Peter-Pan Syndrome fantasies is so playful one can't help but rejoice in the characters' feel-good triumph over aging.

But what about the EP? Isn't it redundant to release "Sæglópur," as mind-blowing as it is, in a more compact, less substantive format? Maybe so, but as far as I'm concerned, you could bundle "Sæglópur" with a flaming bag of poop and there'd be reason to buy it. Simply stated, it is perhaps the most awe-inspiring composition pop music has produced in years, and if you think that's a bit much, you either haven't heard it or you don't have a heart. Opening with a delicate piano figure and bare brass in the form of a distant glockenspiel, "Sæglópur" twinkles like a music box, and the friendly alien vocals of guitarist/singer Jon Thor Birgisson hold the melody aloft like an offering to God. Then, almost without warning, the floor of heaven gives way, unleashing a sonic flood of Biblical proportions in the song's tumescent middle. The piano turns dark and heavy, Birgisson's vocal enhancements light up the night, synthesizers billow, cymbals crash, the bass demolishes and rippling sheets of guitar crescendo in apocalyptic fashion. Impressive for its sheer audacity and power, "Sæglópur" and its devastating mid-section do give way to peaceful quiet moments, pregnant with unexpressed desire and longing. Encoded in its DNA is the secret to happiness. I'm sure of that.

After a lovely, all-too-brief piano piece called "Refur," Sigur Rós return to the difficult experimentation of () with the pretty, but ultimately unsatisfying classical fragments of "ó Fridur" - interesting only for its halting woodwind flutter - and "Kafari," a song that's allowed to simply fade out without any real resolution or build. In the wake of the tsunami that is "Sæglópur," the rest of the EP is a balloon with a hissing hole. It just sort of falls to the ground and deflates, its vibrant beauty now flaccid. Taken together, however, this EP/DVD is a must for Sigur Rós fans - at least those with DVD players. The rich imagery and unspoken dramatics, paired with powerful soundtracks, of the videos is to be treasured for a lifetime, like family photo albums or a favorite book from childhood. Peter Pan is alive and well.

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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