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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
Baleen
Soundtrack to a Normal Life
LiquiLab Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
A band like Baleen, from what is implied on their press sheet, is a bit of novelty in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They do a lot of genre-bending, incorporating bits of rock, R&B, jazz, and electronics to create a sound that is all its own in Chapel Hill. Soundtrack to a Normal Life, especially on "Sweetspot", reminds me a lot at times of Oysterhead's The Grand Pecking Order, which is the brainchild of Phish's Trey Anastasio, Primus' Les Claypool and the drummer from the Police (I think), which attests to the experimentalism that persists throughout Baleen's release.

It's important, however, that Soundtrack to a Normal Life doesn't sound exactly like Oysterhead on each song, the band taking numerous different forms as the album progresses. Baleen sounds like two different bands on the wonderfully jazzy "Muted" and on the R&B sounding "Unmedicated."

The first time I heard this album, I thought it was absolutely awful. Too many different genres all melded together on one album. Once you listen to it a couple of times, though, you realize the experimentalism of such a diverse array of music is what actually ties it all together in the end. Though it isn't great, Soundtrack to a Normal Life surely isn't the worst album ever, either.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn

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