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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
Baby and Hide
Normal People
TEAM AV

Rating: 8.3/10 ?


August 14, 2006
When he graduated from high school, Jeremy Keller did what any self-respecting musician on the verge of flowering would do - he went off to college, started a band and worked at a hip independent distributor. As you might expect from a guy whose high school band was called Communist Barbeque (or something like that), whose college band was called Everybody Uh Oh, and whose current project is called Baby & Hide, Jeremy Keller stands out from a crowd. People notice him, much to his chagrin, but thankfully they notice his ability to write a good song as well. "Not only are the lyrics intelligent and the vocals and instrumentation wonderful," raved The Big Take-Over's Jack Rabid of Everybody Uh Oh's only album, Man Am I Brad, going on to add that "the mix is just perfect."

While still fronting Everybody Uh Oh, Keller left Champaign-Urbana on the heels of its last indie explosion (Hum, Braid, American Football) and holed up in his beloved Chicago, enrolling at Columbia College. It might not seem like it now, but there was a palpable buzz brewing around Everybody Uh Oh, a fledgling band who were easily glossed up on the internet, and it was during that time that Keller was taken under the wing of uber-hip producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Grandaddy) and opened a lot of big shows in Chicago for the likes of Spoon, Crooked Fingers, New Pornographers, Archer Prewitt, Stars and others.

Since the expiration of Everybody Uh Oh, Keller has continued collaborating with Deck as well as longtime friend and producer Matt Mehlan, who experienced his own 15 seconds of internet fame with Skeletons & the Girl-Faced Boys. Recording sessions in which Keller and Mehland cross-collaborate, which shift from Chicago to New York, ultimately produced the collection of songs Normal People, which can only loosely be referred to as an album. After all, how exactly does one explain the eruption of the collection's opener, "Friendmaker of Oppositedayland," to someone who has never heard it? It's like a mariachi band fronting a Caribbean percussion crew, with a few detached M83-isms bleeping about in the foreground. ???? What is that? Comparisons like that will go nowhere.

My point is that there are names that can be thrown at Baby & Hide - Xiu Xiu, Black Dice, Skeletons, Microphones, a more-drugs and less-dance Rapture - but none of them really stick to a body of work so scattered and cerebral. There are moments scattered throughout Normal People that are easier to grasp - the sugary, distorted guitar that harkens back to Keller's earlier work in Everybody Uh Oh, the blown-out backbeat, the flitting soft-twee keyboard flourishes - but that nonetheless manage to hold on to their artistic integrity within the flow of the 11 track collection.

Did I write 11? I meant nine, although there are 11 songs that make up Normal People. The sticking point is in the closing trio - "Tasting My Eye," "Take It," and "In Sails" - which were composed as one nine-and-a-half-minute whole, but broken up for the sake of convenience on the album. The entire, unabbreviated tour-de-force, appropriately titled "Tasting My Eye, Take It In Sails," can be heard as the opening track on a newly compiled TEAM AV label sampler. There the epic track is immediately followed by the previously unreleased song "I Love My Boyfriend."

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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