» 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
The Psychic Nature of Being

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



If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.


LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!