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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
Division & Wellesley
Save Me, Daylight Savings
Beat Broker Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The view out Jeff Wickstrom's bedroom window must be a lot different than mine. I see nothing but the dirty white brick wall of the local meat market across the alley. From the sound of Save Me, Daylight Savings, I get the idea Division & Wellesley's one-man band is treated to more bucolic scenery, where dusty fields strewn with rusted-out farm machinery end at a tree line of dark, imposing pines. Lucky bastard. Or is he?

Like the early colonists in America, I'm a little scared of the forest. They believed it was a playground for devils and witches. I'm just afraid a tick is going to give me lime disease. Or worse yet, some bearded woodsman that has rejected modern society will catch me trespassing; packing a shotgun, he decides on a whim to make me his bride for the afternoon. Loneliness can do strange things to people. Wickstrom seems aware of the effect too much solitude can have on a person's mental state. That doesn't stop him from toiling alone on this woodsy bedroom country-folk project.

In "Keep The Curtains Closed," the devil is a door-to-door salesman that has socks and gin for sale. With winter on the way, Wickstrom fights the temptation to make a deal, saying the devil "wants too much and I owe him enough already." So he keeps quiet, hoping he and everyone else leaves.

His weathered, melancholic tenor wavering, Wickstrom nimbly picks his acoustic guitar as soft bombs of rich piano drop from overhead. He's had his moment of weakness and overcome it. But Wickstrom's in no mood to celebrate his triumph of will. "Static On Through" and "Oak And Apprehension" follow and feel like bouts of depression until Wickstrom snaps out of it halfway through "Oak And Apprehension" and delivers a soaring coda of watery organ drone and lush acoustic strumming.

What we have here, despite the dour mood, is something I like to call "comfort music." If that sounds glib or dismissive, it's not meant to slight Save Me, Daylight Savings as trite - though certainly it lacks originality. Whereas with "comfort food," the taste of something sweet straight out of the oven, like cookies or muffins, sends you hurtling back in time to the loving, safe embrace of childhood, Division & Wellesley's sound plays Good Samaritan, offering the warmth and light of a crackling campfire to world-weary, nocturnal travelers. To keep the cold off your back, Save Me, Daylight Savings envelopes you in blankets of luxuriant acoustic guitar, wheezing harmonica, rich piano and haunting organ.

"Safe" is the operative word here. That's how Wickstrom plays it, and it's that fear of offending, that - for lack of a better word - politeness, that holds the album back.

You know what, though? I still like it, and here's why: it's heart felt, free of pretense and, at times, quite lovely. The acoustic finger picking gymnastics in "They Say You Forget Something New Everyday" have a forlorn, emo quality that smacks of early Death Cab For Cutie.

Throughout Save Me, Daylight Savings, you get the idea Wickstrom is wrestling with the question: just who the hell am I? In "Some Surprise" he's a Dylan-esque troubadour driving from town to town, staying in dive motels and yearning to get off the road, to get home - wherever that is - to familiar surroundings.

The slide guitar of "Bismarck" and "Static On Through" suggests an extended stay in Nashville for a broken-down urban cowboy, while "Burning Ears/Bleeding Ears" sees Wickstrom bleary eyed at 2 a.m. alone in a piano bar, playing gloomy guitar while an invisible friend tickles the ivories. Maybe it's Chris Carrabba, or David Bazan, or another Prozac-induced personality.

Division & Wellesley gets by on its rustic beauty - and its soul, much like Hayden at his most desperate. The recording is far from lo-fi, though there is a hint of tape hiss that seeks to lend an authenticity reserved for old blues men.

It falls a little short, just because you can tell Wickstrom is obviously comfortable with modern recording technology. The production is as clear as runoff from a snowcapped mountain. That's not a strike against him - neither is Save Me, Daylight Savings, a record that attempts to bridge the gap between modern emo and folk's sepia-tinged past - alternately failing and succeeding, though always doing so beautifully.

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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