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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
Piney Gir
Piakahokahoo
Greyday Productions

Rating: 7/10 ?


October 1, 2004
As far as I know, everyone has a certain food that they somehow love, but everyone else finds disgusting. I've heard of peanut butter and onions, peanut butter and dill pickles, hamburger and tartar sauce, and fruit cake and ketchup; each of these people swears by his concoction. Of course these just sound bad, but when your friends are particularly adamant in defense of their culinary "inventions", sometimes you almost want to try it for yourself - except the fruitcake thing, just eww.

Piney Gir (AKA Angela Penhaligon), when boiled down to her simplest ingredients, sounds a bit questionable. She mixes a minimalist, beautifully sugary voice with heavily-used Casios, 808s and keytars, and sensibilities that range from gothic dance to chintzy twee to burnt-out rock and roll.

Once you get past your initial fears of train wrecks and bad taste, and slip the disc in as tentatively as you please, Piney Gir's creation is thoroughly entrancing. She manages to make the sum of her diminutive parts sound amazingly full and lively, and pulls off every mood swing necessary to carry off covers of both "Que Cera Cera" and the Who's "My Generation".

Piakahokahoo is the work of an overactive imagination, allowed playtime 24 hours a day. It is triumphantly overcaffeinated but musically focused. Whether sounding like Mirah or Depeche Mode or Karen O., she hits the nail on the head each time, with an enormous amount of all-around glee.

Touched, quite literally, by Erasure on several tracks (backing vocalists include Vic 20 and the Erasure backing singers), their mark, and that of Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses is entirely felt on "Girl," the album's first true standout. Here, despite a coquettish tone in her voice, Piney abandons some of the cutesiness she entertained in the opening tracks and shows how deep her intentions lie beneath the surface. Followed by its soundmate, "Creature," it shows she is unafraid to display the darker, more gothic side of Casio dance rock.

The sheer volume, distortion and attitude found in her next choice, "My Generation," pulls the entire album up to another level. She has a winning spirit that, when combined with her saccharine hyperactivity, makes her a powerhouse - a giantess among her smallish toys. She can make the old folks swoon to foot-shuffling big band on "K-I-S-S-I-N-G," just as she can drink the Yeah Yeah Yeahs under the table with the spunky stomp and androgynous double-takes of "Jezabel." Leaving her calling card - a ring pop included in the press kit - as a symbol of her gaudy, sweet elegance, as well as fleeting memories of the breezy nonchalance of Astrud Gilberto, we not only get a taste of who Piney Gir is, but the numerous talents in her possession.

Here, she has created one of the most unique and unshakably charming albums I've heard in quite a while. From her perfectly-crafted originals to her hand-picked covers, each song sounds like it was positively made for her to breathe new life into it. While Piakahokahoo may sound a little weird at first, I encourage you to try it. It's pretty good, I promise.

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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