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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
Bird Show
Lightning Ghost
Kranky

Rating: 8/10 ?


March 29, 2006
Ben Vida isn't a guy we often talk about as an auteur. Until Bird Show, his solo project, took off last spring, all most listeners knew of him was his work with Thrill Jockey artists Town & Country. Now, as the second Bird Show album and a new Town and Country album are being released less than three months apart, a comparison between the two projects finds that Vida has a pretty distinct artistic thumbprint. Both Lightning Ghost and Town and Country's Up Above revel in piecemeal drones: trances arise out of interlocking plinks and plucks, the lines between melody and abstraction blur, and each song seems like it could go on indefinitely. Vida's chasing nirvana one note at a time, and he's as close to achieving it right now as ever.

Lightning Ghost isn't just an extension of Town and Country or even Bird Show's last album, though. These songs feel more personal than Vida's sometimes impenetrable group work, but they're less concerned with feeling organic than the material on last year's Green Inferno. This is the point where lo-fi charm and mysterious haze converge; for every instance that Vida lets his guard down, he throws up a sonic smokescreen to remind us that this is a piece of art rather than a conversation on his sofa. In balancing out his aesthetic, Vida will certainly alienate some of his listeners - I doubt that a Tony Conrad-head would have much interest in a song that borders on the cuddly as much as "Sleepers Keep Sleeping" does, while "First Path Through" drifts too far out to sea for someone whose iPod doesn't accommodate anything edgier than the last Animal Collective album. But this album is more about inclusion than exclusion, and Vida's ability to assimilate gamelan, bedroom folk, krautrock, and Fenneszian soundscapes into his highly personal vision demands that we follow suit and expand our palates.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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