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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
Pinback
Blue Screen Life
Ace Fu Records

Rating: 5.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Do you remember that show with Jo, Natalie, Tootie and Mrs. Garret? The Facts of Life I think it was called. Well you know how the girls kept fucking up on life's little tests, each and every week? If it wasn't Tootie on her roller skates it was Natalie stuffing her face with brownies from Edna's Edibles, or someone burning the whole damn place down. I even remember one episode when Blair became a coke head and wrote some comical term paper on Moby Dick in her Columbian state of mind. Of course the girls' bumbling and complete lack of judgment led to a convenient lesson at the end of each episode, which formed the premise of the show, and eventually the five girls blossomed into young women with lots of character. I can only wonder what would have gone down in the back room of Edna's Edibles if my mom had been there instead of old Mrs. Garret, the pushover. Because if there is one thing I know for certain it is that I wouldn't have been allowed to fuck things up that many times without a serious Tough Love Intervention.

I'm starting to wonder if Pinback might benefit from spending a little more time at the Jones place and a little less time at Edna's Edibles, because they sure do manage to bungle things a fair percentage of the time. Sure, there are plenty of picturesque moments to be had with the fellows from Three Mile Pilot, such as the absolutely scrumptious hooks in "Concrete Seconds", but there are an awful lot of missed opportunities as well. Much of this album, as exemplified in the latter half of the opening track "Offline PK", sounds a lot like the newer AM/FM material that I've heard. Some of the tracks with a nod to more of a Sam Prekop acoustic vibe fare well, with "Penelope" echoing the hooks of "Concrete Second" and likewise being a notable survivor, but most of the album falls pretty flat. And its frustrating, you know, just like it must have been for Mrs. Garret. She had her talented, All American white girls who couldn't keep from scarfing down chocolate chip macadamia nut specials at the shop or sucking up a rail of fine Charley. We have our pedigreed white boy indie rockers who can both hold a tune and pick a six string, but can't manage to keep it together for an entire album.

I eventually came to enjoy the simple, no-frills crossover mix of Some Voices, but I'm not sure that Blue Screen Life will grow on me the same way. Out of twelve tracks, only about half resonate in time - "Concrete Second", "Penelope", the similarly downbeat "Talbe" and the trademark Pinback pop crispness of "x i y". Even when the duo manages to hold the listener's attention its with a strange mixture of uncommon elements that is interesting but doesn't clearly work, such as the KC and the Sunshine Band meets Michael Jackson sounds of "Prog".

I suppose that someone has to play the role of disappointing daughter, constantly slipping up and dashing whatever hopes of perfection they had managed to build up, and it might as well be Pinback. As the duo of Zach and Rob trade off vocals, fumbling through the lead off track and saving a bit of grace in the second, they pretty much spell it out early on - "Anything I say to you is going to come out wrong anyway."

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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