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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
Meow Meow
Snow Gas Bones
Devil In The Woods Records

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 1, 2004
There was a time when Meow Meow and I were close. But it seems lately we've stopped communicating and become more like acquaintances that nod to each other across the room at parties, and then quickly turn away. I think I now know why it didn't last.

We met when I received their debut CD, Snow Gas Bones, in the mail a few weeks ago. The band, which features former Pink Noise Test member Kirk Hellie and Brian Jones Was Murdered member Christopher O'Brien, used to hang out with me at work. I'd be slaving away at my keyboard while Meow Meow played fuzzed-out pop infused with Beach Boys inspired vocal harmonies on a boombox that has seen better days. Even their random bursts of Japanoise provided welcome comic relief when the boss would yell at us to keep it down, and we'd giggle uncontrollably like schoolchildren who'd just heard a dirty joke. Well... I did. They'd just go one playing, like nothing had happened.

We used to talk about how nice it would be to "tune into a new vibration" and how it was high time we "killed the cool kid" at the office to the driving guitars of the Superdrag-style power pop anthem "Sick Fixation." And Meow Meow really opened up to me on "The Killing Kind" saying how sick they were of waking up "to the sound/of the whole world putting you down" as effects-enhanced guitar pyrotechnics and static-laced percussion showered a gentle melodic zephyr in fountains of sparks and colored light.

Then we had a falling out. There wasn't "an incident" if that's what you're thinking. We just drifted apart. I blame myself. For days on end I listened to Snow Gas Bones trying to come up with something witty or brilliantly insightful to say about the record and... nothing. That often happens when you spend too much time with someone, or something, like a record. You simply grow tired of its company and have little to say - good or bad - about it. or them.

One night it hit me as I was lying in bed, trying to figure out what went wrong: we simply were never compatible. Obsessed with discordant sounds, Meow Meow tries to weld industrial, abstract pieces of eardrum-piercing shrieks and squeals to lazy, summery pop melodies. It's an unwieldy arrangement to say the least, applied mostly when there's a dearth of hooks. "Amaurosis" drifts aimlessly along on tendrils of static as gelled super balls of xylophone bounce all around before being ambushed by pealing guitar effects. "Finis" is dead keyboard desert air interrupted by ghostly whirrs and whistles. On "Disaffected" Meow Meow feign disinterest and wash a bored melody in white noise, ala The Jesus And Mary Chain. What's more, the guitar-intro to "All I Ever Got" sounds like a spot-on forgery of Wilco's "I'm Always In Love."

I don't mean to sound bitter. We had some good times together. The sun-splashed "Sick Fixation" is perfect driving music for a cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway, with its crackerjack drums and swooning chorus of background vocals. And "Cracked" offers up a majestic Oasis-like melody carried by a combination of acoustic guitar strum and warped pedal steel guitar, as well as blended vocals floating in the song's ether, before it clashes with a riot of misplaced noisy effects.

There's an aloof quality to Snow Gas Bones that I didn't pick up at first that is due perhaps to Meow Meow's propensity for Tourettes-like eruptions. I don't know if our paths will ever cross again. If they do, I'd like to think we could at least be civil because Snow Gas Bones is likeable. Too bad it's so flawed.

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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