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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
Sunset Rubdown
>Shut Up I Am Dreaming
Absolutely Kosher

Rating: 5.5/10 ?


May 5, 2006
Of all the Wolf-named bands out there, Wolf Parade is the obvious leader of the pack. The combination of songwriters Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner gives Apologies to the Queen Mary a bicameral feel; Krug's wildly creative antics are kept in check by Boeckner's straightforward rock tendencies, and vice versa. The album benefits not only from the collaboration of two songwriters but also from the guiding hand of Isaac Brock, who produced Apologies. There's no doubt that the boys in Wolf Parade are superheroes, but one wonders if they are the go-it-alone type like Batman or Superman, or if they succeed only when working together, like the Fantastic Four.

Sunset Rubdown, one of Spencer Krug's numerous side projects, answers that question. Shut Up I Am Dreaming is the second full-length Krug has put out under the Sunset Rubdown name, and it is a vast improvement over the Rubdown debut, Snake's Got A Leg. Mo lo-fi than Guided By Voices and just as wild as Captain Beefheart, there is nothing pleasant about Sunset Rubdown's first album. Krug's voice sounds grated, the instruments are far too fuzzy, and the lack of a proper rhythm section makes for a long, painful listen. The one curio on the disc is the alternate (early?) version of "I'll Believe In Anything" which proves Krug's songs are much better when polished - The Wolf Parade version blows this one away.

Whereas Snake's Got A Leg was unfinished to a fault, Shut Up I Am Dreaming is lo-fi in the right ways; stripped down arrangements that sometimes bubble up with multiple voices. Track one hits this aesthetic right off the bat, making a clear division between the first Sunset Rubdown album. "Stadiums And Shrines II" is a different take on a song from Snake's Got A Leg, now with crisp drums, defined guitar riffs and the proper amount of instrumentation to hold up Krug's eerie warble. It's not a Wolf Parade song, but it doesn't need to be; it's got character of it's own. Elsewhere on the CD, Krug flaunts his panache for lyrical weirdness, incorporating themes like drowning and filicide: "I've heard of creatures who eat their babies/ I wonder if they stop to think about the taste." Not everyone could sing a line like that, but Krug's unique vocal ticks match his lyrics well.

Shut Up's biggest downfall is it's speed, or lack thereof. The songs lilt and twirl with Krug's yelp, xylophones and processed guitars, but rarely does the pace exceed ballad-like levels. "Us Ones In Between" has potentially catchy moments that don't catch on because they move too slowly. Other songs like "The Empty Threats of Little Lord" and "The Men Are Called Horsemen There" are imbedded with Krug's telltale grandeur, but feel like drawn-out dirges that could use a faster beat.

The album is bookended with its two best songs, the aforementioned "Stadiums and Shrines II" and the closer, "Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings." Both tracks speed up and slow down and keep the listener guessing as to what the next movement will be. The body of Shut Up I Am Dreaming, though, just doesn't deliver the same kind of excitement. Mega fans of Wolf Parade are definitely advised to give Sunset Rubdown a chance, but Krug needs to exercise more control over his inner beast (or collaborate with folks who will do this for him) for this side project to compete with the main event.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown

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