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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
I Need Sleep
I Need Sleep
2nMusic

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


January 17, 2006
I went to see the Mae Shi about a month ago at Chicago's Beat Kitchen. I didn't know who else was playing and, to be honest, didn't really care; I just wanted to get to the club right before the headliner and leave right after they were done. Sometimes things don't go as planned.

The opening act set up their equipment-a small percussion station to the left, a bassist/keyboard player to the far right, a drummer at the back of the stage, and a guitar player of some sort mixed in there somewhere. Nearly typical. Then, the foursome of I Need Sleep took the stage with streamers tied to their instruments ala Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and white dress shirt/black tie/dark jacket getups ala Arcade Fire, and fired through an eclectic but inspired set that left many, including myself, impressed.

It was a great sign of potential, and even the following act gave I Need Sleep's opening set props, advising them to keep going with the whole Arcade Fire thing. Anyone who has seen the Canadian indie rockers perform knows that this is a commendation more than anything, and an acknowledgement that I Need Sleep is on the right track. But the Chicago quartet is young and can still make some improvements, as evidenced in their cutting yet slightly disjointed eponymous debut full length release.

The album displays video game graphics and other adolescent themes - song titles such as "Dance Like An Idiot," "The Shower," and "Seattle Suxxx" - that let you know that the group collective is still coming into a formidable gameplan. It is moments like "My Girl" and "Pervert Like Herbert" that make you feel that even though the group is really fresh, they will have something more solid together fairly soon.

The band members of I Need Sleep have an energy and attitude about themselves that can be described as self-confident and whacky, somewhat similar to the Mae Shi. But where I Need Sleep falls short, in comparison to the 5RC group they were there to support, is the lack of a firmly engrained sense of mission. I Need Sleep feels like an album with character but, unfortunately, not with a sense of directed vision.

There are tracks that sound like pirate shanty punk rock jams ("Natural Disasters") and really good classic, indie rock stuff ("My Girl"). Then two minutes later there is a song with a loop-ingested guitar line, synthetic steel drum accompanying melody, and a harmonica solo. The whole thing is strangely coordinated like the early lo-fi, anything-goes style of Beck; Mellow Gold is no one's favorite Beck album, but it did foreshadow the good things to come.

I think I Need Sleep has put in some creative and original work with their first release, but have left themselves enough room to explore and mature with future efforts, which would be perfect on 5RC or some other label that is open to groups of similar eclectic rock buildings. I Need Sleep is not great, but its not too shabby either.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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