» 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
Sean Na Na
Dance 'Till Your Baby's a Man
Troubleman Unlimited

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
A Tarot card for Judgement came in the envelope with this album which, I can only arrogantly assume, outlines the process for which I may render an ultimate decision upon this musical project known as Sean Na Na. The sub text reads: "Discovery, Development, Resolution, Conclusion."

DISCOVERY: I have discovered that the opening left in the wake of the plowing through of a giant brown spike made of post-punk neo-folk super-hyphenated singer-songwriters over the past few years is a huge chasm. Elliot Smith splits the ice like a 10 year old kid on a Minnesota pond in April and the next thing you know he's left a hole the size of Vermont like a black, sucking vortex through which so many Pedro the Lions and Bright Eyes and Matt Ponds and countless others can follow. (Note to audience: I'm no idiot, I know that Elliot Smith wasn't breaking any ground himself. I am merely speaking in terms of accessibility and hipness). If it has an acoustic guitar, a young male vocalist and a hip record label, you might as well buy stock in it because it is going to get some attention. This warm, fuzzy introspective movement is the sonic antithesis of Grunge but an idealistic twin, bubbling through a beaker with the exact same formula:

youth + angst + guitar = expre$$ion.

DEVELOPMENT: While I am not so naive to think that Sean Tillman and his ilk are penning these lyrics and strumming these chords in an attempt to get rich, I am also not so blind to realize that they are simply disenchanted teens of upper-middle class American parents who happen to listen to the right records and who happen to be in the right place at the right time. They're no different than anyone else. Let's face it, if some label called Troubleman Unlimited had come around in 1992 pedaling a CD by some kid/band named Sean Na Na with the first track titled "Unicorns" it just wouldn't have happened, and someone would have likely gotten an ass kicking. While I don't have anything against Sean in particular - to the contrary I rather enjoy this album for its clever bitterness and catchy beats - I am also observant enough to know that he is nothing at all special. Aloha are special because no one is doing what they're doing, in terms of sound. In terms of sound, Sean Na Na is not special. There are scores of people out there strumming the same chords, singing the same songs, pining over the same girls that Sean Tillman is.

RESOLUTION: Maybe if this album wasn't essentially the same song with different lyrics over and over again I might be more prone to calling it "brilliant." Maybe in a month it will change my mind through an eventual epiphany, which is highly possible because I have been listening to it a lot lately. There are a lot of maybes in this world, but I have taken it upon myself to try and sift through the chic and find the real McCoy's. I have resolved to do that, yes.

CONCLUSION: This album leaves me with an inconclusive review. On the one hand, I know a pissed off Ben Folds when I hear one. On the other, there are aspects of this album that really speak to me and that really grab my Gusanos (hey, if Sean can use the word in an illogical manner, so can I) and shake me around. Back on the first hand, the points of identity seem to be wholly lyrical, leaving the actual music in even more of a questionable light. Just like the Tarot card, record reviews are up for limitless interpretation. If you are into anything from Ben Lee to American Football you might be in to this. But you might not. But maybe you will ...

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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