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 » 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
Lichens
The Psychic Nature of Being
Kranky

Rating: 7/10 ?


September 30, 2005
Guitar is the unlikely hero in Lichens' The Psychic Nature of Being. With the amorphous foundations - sphincter-tightening bass, subliminal drums, quasi-human siren calls - that Robert Lowe (also of TV on the Radio and 90 Day Men) sculpts, it would seem that the only thing a guitar could do would be to join in on the quest for the original Om. However appealing that idea may be, Rob uses a six-string to disrupt the trance, seeking the same sort of resolution in acoustic finger-plucking as Peter Brötzmann finds with bluesy alto sax bludgeoning in the tentet setting. It has a terrifying resolution, like the booming voice of a blind god in a field of confused lines.

Opening track, "Kirlian Auras", isn't too successful at bringing this universe to order; it's more of an exercise in tone-building, with each sound growing clearer and clearer but also adding to the track's weight. The low end thub comes first, followed by the undulating midrange wails; when guitar enters the fray, its spare, ringing notes never establish a relationship with one another or the rest of the song. We are left with a bowl of decadent primordial soup.

"Shoreline Scoring" follows a similar template but leaves a stronger impression. It delays the guitar's arrival until its drone is drawing to a close; when the acoustic noise does pipe in, it plays out like a lyrical Appalachian ballad, providing a narrative counterpoint to the tensionless swirl. Lowe creates a similarly pleasing effect in "You Are Excrement, You Can Turn Yourself into Gold," and takes his formula a step further by dismantling the first half of the song's placid environment; he spends the last ten minutes cycling through clattering post-industrial percussion patterns and mock triumphant effects-soaked guitar. This deconstructive passage of the closing track prattles on a bit too long, but by transforming the album's lone signifier of sense and order into yet another lulling, hazy ambient sound; it is an effective symbol as well as a fitting conclusion.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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