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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
Bloodthirsty Lovers
The Delicate Seam
Frenchkiss Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Admission: I was a Postal Blowfish. I belonged to the Guided by Voices mailing list, which exudes massive (MASSIVE!) amounts of content, per day, about Dayton's favorite drunken incompletists. Day in, day out, gauntlets would be thrown between Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes as taking the top crown, or whether their new material far outranks their old. Then, there would be a persistent voice - one that irked me to no end - claiming the greatness of their earliest work, Vampire on Titus, as the singular masterpiece you need to own.

Let this be read as my simple and still self-resolved protest; I do not like that album. I love Robert Pollard's work extensively, even when I feel he's just jerking me around, but between Vampire on Titus and Propeller, there's a lot of utter crap I have to sit through. I'd like to consider this phase his warm-up, and since I don't feel guilty about missing sound checks before shows, I can be comfortable with that.

Before anyone sends any hate mail or joins an internet discussion room to discuss what I'm missing out on, please understand - I feel the earliest periods of Guided by Voices were absolutely necessary to get them to where they needed to go. There's respect, there's just not a lot of singing along on my part. For my money, they were the greatest from 1994 to 1999, and I'll gladly pass those albums to my children as marks of historical greatness - as long as you don't make me give back my membership badge.

The Delicate Seam, by Bloodthirsty Lovers, seems to be their Vampire on Titus. After having acquired one of GBV's many drummers, Kevin March, as their own, they have incorporated a lot of the terse, slobbering, lo-fi love into their sound. While ex-Grifter and Bastard Soul, Dave Shouse, started this band as a tripped-out, electronic counterpoint to the Flaming Lips, this album moves them to a different sort of greatness.

The Flips still provide cinematic influence, especially on "The Mods Go Mad," as do the ever-present Beatles and the electronic glitch tomfoolery of folks like Cex. Overall, though, the sticky drumming, abrupt endings, winding tangents and everyday hallucinations are most directly affected by the works of the good Sir Robert.

Echoes of Vampire on Titus can be found in the bogged-down, molasses-like feel of "Stiltwalkers' Local #119" as well as the billowing smoke and sprawling, surreal vision of "The Conversation." The songs capture broken down philosophies and the kitchen sink mentality, and do so with great charm. On the whole, cuts like these resemble endless the theoretical ponderings of an overly smart group of stoners, seeking argument just for cocksure fun - knowing plenty of people, including laudable musicians - who engage in such tirades, trust that it makes them no less loveable.

Keeping this in mind, the true comparison comes with "Now You Know" - a rickety, piecemeal attempt at a grand march. The track clangs around empty rooms, making a divinely triumphant racket, and meshes sunny harmonies with drowned, cascading sound. While this is almost definitely their "Marchers In Orange," its plunking rebelliousness and spirited, vibrant youthfulness remind me, for one, of why Vampire on Titus gets such acclaim in the first place. This is a new beginning for a group of veterans - this is the inspired turn that will wake their eventual fate. Here, eyes are at their brightest, stage kicks at their highest.

While personal favor likes with the aforementioned dramatics of "The Mods Go Mad" and the subtle, deadpan reality of "Happiness" - and surely, there will be those who check out the disc just for the appearance of Young People's Katie Eastburn on "Medicated" - the slightly sweet, slightly mad and ramblingly inspired effort of The Delicate Seam will surely delight all kinds of Blowfish... or at the very least, get them excited for what's to come.

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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