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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
Ida / Low / His Name Is Alive / Secret Stars
Angel Hall
Last Affair Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I won't lie to you, I bought this release for the presence of three songs, and because I am secretly depressed over the fact I've never seen Ida live. Time to let out a big sigh. For the next fifteen tracks, I am in a concert hall, listening to four seminal folkcore acts intimately pour out all they have. It's not the same as being there in the real world, but it is quite good.

Admitting the three songs out of fifteen ratio, it may not seem like a prudent value to pick this up. Let me first dissect the tracks I came for, and then reassure you that more unfolded to ensure the album's worth.

"Honeyslide" is one of the reasons I love Ida so dearly. It's a track that's never officially cropped up on any of their albums, but appears on live bootlegs frequently, and should be savored lovingly by its alternate title, "Facepants" (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you'll be happy to search for it). It is a crescendo put to minimalist piano and a heavily panting cello; in other words, Ida's private corner of heaven. Hearing them slur through harmonic layers of "Sweet, sweet, sweet mismatch", it was my prominent reason for picking up Angel Hall.

Next is Low's "Dinosaur Act", a dynamic track by any means, and even more desolate and frightening when performed live. At its barebones brilliance, you can hear the respectful crackle of the audience, erupting after their painstaking need to embrace every note. It is a reminder of why Low is so powerful live- because they can instill a hush in the audience without fail.

Lastly, I yenned for The Secret Stars' "Shoe-In" which, frankly, did nothing but disappoint me. Offering that opinion sounds like such blasphemy, but as Geoff Farina swiftly sing-speaks, off tempo and without the hushed emotion of the recorded version, you feel like he's only performing it because it's expected of him.

That doesn't sound like a convincing argument, but one does come around. It's the tracks in-between that took me by surprise and made me love Angel Hall for all that it's worth. As instruments and vocal finesse feel more appealing live, stripped of any production crutches, the tracks herein are presented in full, passionate force.

His Name is Alive's "Our Last Affair" was a track I'd never heard, being a touch-off fan at best, without truly delving into their catalog. It is marked by the bubbling, poignant voice of Lovetta Pippen, and at once, breathtakingly halts the album. What, when recorded, sounded like nice filler, turned into an arresting live moment.

Likewise, the slightly disappointing Ida release, Will You Find Me, gets represented by several tracks, all of which breathe stronger in a live setting. The spare danceability of "Shrug" and the hardened chill of "Down on Your Back" are given invigorating turns on stage. Judging from the audience's hearty outbreak, it was a mesmerizing show to attend, and will draw in newly appreciative crowds on disc. As it is a benefit for the SBLS AIDS project, those who find it in limited pressing will win all around.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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