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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
Quasar Wut-Wut
Taro Sound
Glorious Noise Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The circus that is Quasar Wut-Wut has come to town, bringing with it the quirky pop sensibility, sinister lyrics and rousing, oddball klezmer feel of Taro Sound. Thrill to the elastic, pumping bass of Jordan Frank, and the nimble twin acoustic guitar finger-picking salvos of Frank and his partner, Brent Sulek. Marvel at the crisp timekeeping, deft tempo shifts and eerie vibes of percussionist Doug Walsh, toiling away unfazed by the album's frenzied instrumentation - the wild accordion whirls, the angry strums of mandolin, the warped strings and howling tape manipulation. It's fun for the whole family ... the Manson family that is.

Under the big top, Quasar Wut-Wut spins dark yarns like the story of "Thankful Hank & The Guzzard", two sons of "An orphan in pearls [who] crank the handles of a great machine" and kept the villagers awake all night "with their banging and their clanging." One day, they were killed by a mob of angry villagers; when they awoke, the found that "the morning never came; the sun was delayed/Forever the dark sky and no one knew why." The tale is told with weird, electronically altered vocals drowning in watery vibes and shimmering guitar effluvium. The ending is a noisy, pagan bonfire of blustery drums, wailing keyboards and xylophone.

The show doesn't stop there. "Beaver Feaver" sounds like an old vaudeville tune, with burlesque show piano and accordion setting the stage for a striptease act of blaring horns and lyrics about a brokenhearted man who is "going down the river in [his] 4-door canoe" and takes off an acid trip that causes him to ask, "How many pancakes does it take to shingle a doghouse?" I guess that's what love can do to a guy.

Taro Sound is like some fevered dream that Tom Waits has never told anybody about. In it, the Squirrel Nut Zippers are doing the Charleston with The Decemberists in a seedy bar in sweaty New Orleans, while carnival folk gather round to watch and listen to the nerdy pop of They Might Be Giants.

The action is hot, hot, hot; every song offers a different set of rules, from the folk-pop psychedelia of "Enola Gay" to the ponderous funeral organ and disorienting cello of "Ass Kissin' Lips", which devolves into a riot of vintage hooks. "The Tramps of Taro Sound" is a bit of quiet melancholia, with electronic found sounds whirring above darting acoustic guitar. Then, there is "Oh My Dear", a haunting soundscape of Gram Parsons-style psychedelic country.

Quasar Wut-Wut rarely lets you take a breather. Your dance card is always full. When the action slows, there's a disturbing presence in the music, like the ghost of a murdered, painted prostitute or an alcoholic, peg-legged ship captain in limbo walking the halls of a condemned bar in the French Quarter. It's good to know that when Waits and other music eccentrics like him pass from this world, there are lunatics like Quasar Wut-Wut to take their place.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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