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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
Mahjongg
Raydoncong 2005
Cold Crush Records

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 24, 2005
As narrow as it sounds, one of the reasons it's great to be a music reviewer is that I know what I like. I have fairly settled tastes, and they've been verified, personally, time and again in my life. It's given me the chance to find out, and be content with, what I really love.

I love the swell of strings, an earnest, lofty voice, the warm buzz of distortion, a jagged guitar, a lilting sweetness - all in different proportions, depending on my mood. I like everything from Matt Pond to Shudder to Think - and a broad range in-between - but I'm confident in my choices. There aren't too many times when something completely out-of-the-ordinary floats me to my own personal sonic heaven.

But when something really kooky, really "not Sarah" makes its way into regular rotation, I know I've found something special. If it's good enough to break me from my happy little rut, it's done something spectacular. It seems to be something Mahjongg is absolutely made for.

This is one of the most bizarrely loveable CDs I've ever encountered. It's a junk drawer, full of sharp objects Mommy told you not to touch, and yet you can't stay out. It's a rattling, clanging, heartfelt homage to World Music, throwing in everything from political curveballs to, most likely, an air guitar (just because they don't list it doesn't mean it's not there - this band's too fun to be without an air guitarist). They turn their love of Timbaland, Eels, the Talking Heads and Can to a skewed 37.5 degree angle, making piecemeal, funk-infused rhythms for every dance party on land, sea or trampoline.

Exotic, exhilarating, and laced with questionable substances, Raydoncong 2005 is just rough enough to sound real, and just fanciful enough to make you forget the everyday claptrap. It's infectious, really, the way "The Stubborn Horse" employs a thumping, bubbly brand of soulful synth-funk… how "Vaxination" shows New Wave exposed, unraveling to its vulnerable core… how "Cottun" is sprawling and tropical, while its playmate, "Blivable Dogggiiieeee" sounds as though Jon Spencer were cast in a hyperactive Tarantino fight scene. Odd baubles and trinkets adorn the chipped, faux-wood shelves of Raydoncong 2005, but somehow it all looks beautiful in the light.

Just as their provocative influences broke the molds of their time to create something new, slanted and ultimately timeless, Mahjongg makes something so original, it can't help but inspire thoughtfulness, freedom and unwavering affection. For some, it will be another great album for the ages, but for many more, it should serve as an eye-opener to the distant locales of truly exploratory music.

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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