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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
Cansecos
Cansecos
Upper Class Recordings

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Even MacGyver would have to admire The Cansecos' ingenuity. Armed with a four-track recorder, some obsolete, broken-down computers and little more, save their limitless imaginations, Toronto's Bill Halliday and Gareth Jones jury-rigged a pipe bomb of quirky, buoyant pop that blows up whatever preconceived notions you have of electronic music.

There's nothing sterile or clinical about The Cansecos. Their oily electronica practically oozes out of speakers with languorous vocal melodies slide over smooth, fat hip-hop beats. Walls of sound are spray painted with squiggle and glitch graffiti. Found sounds like chirping birds or the bong water gurgling below the surface of "The Shore" crop up everywhere.

Throughout their eponymous album The Cansecos play hopscotch with genres. Just when you think you've got The Cansecos figured out, they change their modus operandi. "Faster Than You Go" glides along on streamlined, Euro-rail tracks laid by Kraftwerk. Later, they explore more classic pop territory with simulated strings, horns and flute, like on the XTC-flavored "Another Ordinary Day", which sounds like a lost track from the Skylarking sessions. On songs like "A Common State Of Being" they take cues from The Beta Band and lace their electronica with acoustic guitar textures.

Lyrically, The Cansecos are idealists, alternately optimistic and existentially cynical, "like mice in empty factories/ like cars that drive on empty/ You choose to sputter on." One minute they're throwing the moneychangers out of the temple on the beat-happy "In Bloom" with the line, "Business hopes religion chokes the life out of the religious folks so we all can safely consume"; the next, they're starry-eyed romantics comparing lovers to satellites "sharing an orbit across the sky/'till our paths converge and destroy this girl and this boy."

Everything Jones and Halliday touch seems to turn to gold. Halliday moonlights as a director of short films and videos, including Manitoba's "Dundas, Ontario" clip. Jones started Upper Class Recordings, the Toronto label that's home to electronic pop sensations The Russian Futurists and GirlsAreShort. If world domination is next on their agenda, count me in. We'd all be better off with The Cansecos in charge.

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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