» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
Darkness at Noon
The Leaf Label

Rating: 9/10 ?

June 20, 2005
Shuffling through Eastern European flavours, Jeremy Barnes unleashes sections of tape recordings and spits out clumsy fragments of found and augmented noise in his most recent inception as A Hawk and a Hacksaw. Drummer for Neutral Milk Hotel's instantly recognized record, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Barnes doesn't cash in on the myth of the weird fuzz-folk scene; instead he chooses to punctuate his accordion-playing with moments of near-silence, efficiently applying the principles of some sort of musical renaissance.

The residual aura of appeal enclosed in Darkness at Noon - in case you were able to stomach and fully comprehend "Laughter in the Dark", the texturally-detailed first track - is its close reverence to a rural America - a far way from being commonsensical here. Words, almost inexistent in this record, seem to accidentally tumble from lips, as if warning you that this is a listening process to be deflowered petal by petal, with extra care. At times, it may seem like more of Emir Kusturica's political lip service, addressed as gypsy-driven memorabilia, but this is a sound work bound to put a spell on you once you lend your ear to it.

"For Slavoj", for instance, is a track that carries the whole world inside. Expanding from early well-ventilated strings, it builds towards a central point of overwhelming physicality, personified by all instruments resonating where the aural dots - appropriately connected - bleed into those of visual language. You get a picture of a ceremony taking place in the Balkans - especially when beautiful chants spring out and inflame your senses, pilling bricks of gravitational laments into a carefully built wall of call-and-response melodies.

Unlike some of Yann Tiersen's achievements, particularly those shared by Shannon Wright earlier this year, Jeremy Barnes succeeds in going past the casual oddities he finds in the way; he goes back and forth with his carousel-like slow rhythms and builds up cells of world music that only exist in dreams. "Pastelka on the Train" indivertibly shows what a mariachi ensemble would sound like if they toured around the far-eastern part of Europe. In a word: challenging.

The next track, "Goodbye Great Britain", is a glitch-fuelled number, whose reminiscence of New York-raised prodigal sons might make one or two wince, even if it doesn't exceed the two-minute mark. In fact, the eruption of these unconventional parameters occurs in inverse proportion to an adjusted deglutition of the whole work, but Jeremy Barnes soon redeems himself with a puzzled "Wicky Pocky" and a get together with his roots throughout "Portlandtown".

For some, this whole thing would be a shambles - particularly by someone who has worked with Neutral Milk Hotel (and their confessed love for Anne Frank) - but this is coherent with Barnes' other projects and collaborations, from Guignol to Oliver Tremor Control. As far as I'm concerned, Darkness at Noon is the most exciting record to be put out this semester, and is definitely more suited to a stuffy bar - located in the Balkans or even in Texas - than the moronic paraphernalia of any commercial radio's meagre playlist.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes



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