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

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 » 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
Hinterland
The Picture Plane
Submerge Records

Rating: 4.5/10 ?


March 13, 2006
If Hinterland were an actual place, somewhere in the Yukon perhaps, the local chamber of commerce would have a devil of a time trying to drum up tourism. Aside from the Aurora Borealis vocals of Michaela Galloway, there's not much reason to visit The Picture Plane, unless you like cold, lifeless dream-core that's more of a stroll through the frozen-foods aisle of your local grocery store than a scenic cruise through glacier-filled waters to Alaska.

There are icebergs to watch out for: too much breathy moaning from Galloway, classical instrumentation in the form of flutes and oboes brought out just for show, stiff-as-a-cadaver drumming, and predictable, overly dramatic Evanescence-like guitar swells, especially in "Inside-Outside" and "Object Lessons." As a singer, Galloway clearly drinks from the same pool of ethereal harmonies as Lush's Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson and Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser. She lacks Fraser's swooping phrasing and tonal richness, and without a foil like Anderson and Berenyi have, Galloway, by comparison, sounds a little thin here. And yet, she's the draw, with that frosty whisper of a voice layered over the frozen crunch of "Inside-Outside" and dancing with the glistening guitar melody of "ThisClose," one of the few highlights of The Picture Plane, despite the flat, confusing ending. After the big sweeping, yet sort of hollow crescendo, Hinterland grows quiet, sort of tinkering with their instruments, and you can just imagine the band in the studio looking at each other and saying, "Should we end it here?" and someone responding with, "Yeah, probably... whatever."

This band is dragging an anchor behind it. What that dead weight is exactly could be any number of things. My money is on the drummer. That's where you lay the blame when the pace is off and in "Halflife," the beat is agonizingly leaden. Even in "Sirens," when the bass is bouncing along and plastic-sounding synth is playing war games, you feel the heavy legs of this track running against the wind. Perhaps the problem lies with producer Caleb Stull. With his help, Hinterland has crafted an atmosphere that is pure and almost antiseptically clean, but you get the feeling Stull should have coaxed more movement out of the band and brought out some of the muscle in their playing. Then again, it's possible Hinterland just doesn't have it in them. But when you hear the lack of activity in "Western Development Museum," you wonder, "Where was Stull?" and "Why didn't they just leave this song on the cutting room floor?"

In the case of Hinterland, beauty is skin-deep. The Picture Plane has a wintery feel that as pretty as the first snowfall, when it's white everywhere. But it soon turns to road slush. When is spring getting here?

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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