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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
The B-52s
Funplex
Astralwerks

Rating: 8.2/10 ?


August 6, 2008
My friend Tracy confessed that until recently, she didn't know Fred Schnieder was gay. She seemed mildly disappointed; lord knows not because of his orientation, but that the B-52s, the cartoon characters beaming in from Planet Claire as we know them, have bodies that shit and sweat and need to do things to other bodies like the rest of us. That, apparently, wasn't her idea of the Athens legends. They're supposed to be the perfect machines, infallible in the application of a surf-guitar and a catchy Cindy-Kate harmony chorus, with an incandescent Schnieder outburst - say, "Do a white-hot shimmy in a Lurex gown!" - to punctuate. And can you see Schnieder having sex? It's hard to imagine him outside of any mode other than FRAG! MEN! TED! designated catchphrase bearer, much less dilating and grunting with the more fallible rhythms of intimacy. Unless he's always having sex, even when he records his parts. Which would be awesome, and maybe explain some things.

Ironic that they should drop their horniest record this late in their career (though it would've been a more political coup back inů oh, 2004), seeing how they're probably the least-corrupted Famous People of their echelon, in neither the U2/R.E.M. sense (art- and meaning-drunk) nor the Madonna sense (no three-way tonguings with the New Mickey Mouse Club). They do the swim, they chuckle, they want to go to your Bat Mitzvah. If any other band of their day had ridden a monster like "Love Shack" to the bank, you can bet they would've snorted up a good half of their legacy shortly after.

The only hint here that the B-52s - who've been bouncing off the satellites for 32 years now - have matured, is that they took that infernal apostrophe out of their name. It's never too late for good grammar, just like Schnieder's never too old to bark, "tell your skirt to take a hike!" With that disclaimer, Funplex, the band's first album since 1992, is loads of fun and totally free of 'plex. The shiny, faux-futuristic sparkle-synths fill out the hooks, their most layered ever ("Juliet of the Spirits!"), and truth be told, they sound a lot like Imperial Teen these days (albeit with the Rapture's cowbell hookups, see "Eyes Wide Open"). The guitars attractively mine the scratchy chug to which the post-Ricky Wilson lineup shifted on 1999's hits-comp one-shot, "Debbie." And the disco's at least as warped and kaleidoscopic as Hercules and Love Affair's. Will Devo's comeback be this good? Come to think of it, "Whip It" would party just perfect between "Love in the Year 3000" and "Deviant Ingredient."

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss

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