» 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
Matthew Ryan
From a Late Night High-Rise

Rating: 7.3/10 ?

July 11, 2007
The spare, whispering synthesizers and distant industrial noises that open Matthew Ryan's latest album, From a Late Night High-Rise, immediately evoke a sense of isolation and ache. Given that Ryan began writing the album shortly after the sentencing of his brother to 30 years in prison and the death of a close friend, the sorrowful tone of the album comes as no surprise. Ryan's vision isn't bleak, though. Amid the turmoil lies a resilient hope: "I'm full of doubt/Still I believe" ("Victory Waltz").

The amalgam of sadness and hope makes many of these songs some of the most moving and universal of Ryan's career. A gifted and articulate songwriter, he has always displayed a knack for crafting poetic phrases, and he creates plenty of intriguing imagery on High-Rise - "Our igloo/ Will soon be/ In poisoned silver pools" ("Gone for Good"). But the lines that ring with the greatest poignancy are the simplest. As the driving "Babybird" climbs to its crescendo, Ryan declares, "And if you wake up scared/ I hope you're not alone/ I hope you're not alone/ I hope you're not alone" while on the aforementioned "Victory Waltz," he gently offers devastating truth: "The ghost of living is worse than death."

The beauty of simplicity extends to the arrangements of the songs. The unadorned instrumentation throughout much of the album, though a bit too austere at times, allows Ryan's raspy, world-weary voice to step to the forefront of the tracks, adding to the music's intimate feel. It's the slow, delicate tracks such as "Gone for Good" and "Victory Waltz," or the subdued uptempo songs like "Babybird" and "Everybody Always Leaves" that shine the most. "Misundercould" and "Love Is the Silencer," Ryan's rocking efforts, are insipid by comparison.

Though it lacks the variety and polish of his previous release, Regret Across the Wires, From a Late Night High-Rise is a more daring and challenging record. Ryan has crafted from his catharsis an album that is concurrently thought provoking, heartbreaking, and uplifting.

Reviewed by Jason Middlekauff
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Jason Middlekauff



If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.


LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!