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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
Sinks Of Gandy
Trust=Damage
Tiberius Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


August 18, 2006
Not found in any math textbook or self-help tome, the equation Trust=Damage has real applications for living. Drawing an "X" on the chalkboard, let's use it to represent a reliance on someone's discretion to keep a secret or energy wasted on a lost cause. Word leaks out and whatever it was that was marked "Classified" or "For Your Eyes Only" becomes public knowledge, or the hopeless fuck-up that can never change falls off the wagon. The incredulous "Y" that results manifests itself in heartache and disillusionment. Though not exactly Nobel Prize material, the formula does provide endless fodder for afternoon TV talk shows. And for that, we should all be grateful.

Instead of going on Jerry Springer and starting a chair-throwing melee, Russ Fox deals with such betrayal and anguish the early- to mid-90s DIY way: he channels his angst through melodic, guitar-powered indie rock therapy. And, voila! Catharsis is at hand. In Sinks Of Gandy, named for a cavernous sinkhole at the head of West Virginia's limestone-rich Gandy Creek, Fox teams with drummer and percussionist Matt Gingerich and a host of guests, including former Boyracer Stewart Anderson, on a 30-minute power-pop blitzkrieg that's full of hits and misses. The problem, however, is not their aim.

Humble to a fault, with dog-eared production values and gigantic hooks, Trust=Damage doesn't fire at targets it cannot hope to reach. Guitars up front and center at all times, Sinks Of Gandy smartly keep their aspirations low, achieving punk journeyman status with the poppy, Flip Your Wig-era Husker Du throwback, "Wholly Generic." Going after larval-stage Superchunk with cannibalistic zeal, Fox and Gingerich feed off the Merge founders' Red Bull-guzzling energy and then crash in labored tracks like "Medication" and the predictable rave-up "Story Of Her Fate," while swallowing whole their barbed hooks. The careening, buzz saw guitars and distorted vocals (which are used excessively on Trust=Damage to mask the album's weak vocals) of "When It's Over" approach the bash-and-pop glory of Tossing Seeds or forgotten-favorite Spent, while "This Song" lays down thick carpets of chords over threadbare megaphone-enhanced entreaties.

Seeing himself as both victim and perpetrator, Fox lifts up his shirt to reveal the self-inflicted wounds of "Baggage," admitting, in a moment of reflection, "I'm the one with baggage on this flight." Blinded by radiant guitars that themselves are unfortunately obscured by foggy production, Fox forges ahead with the one-track-mind anthem, framing it with bittersweet organ and taking the fall for a relationship gone south. Such tasteful, if somewhat amateurish, touches make it hard not to like Sinks Of Gandy, as does the Moog-immersed, guitar-wrenching opener "Thought We'd Start." Far from perfect, Trust=Damage suffers from a lack of melodic variety and a sense that Fox and Gingerich aren't always on the same page with regard to pacing, but there's no denying the enthusiasm Fox exudes. The potential is there, but the duo is a long way from reaching it. Then again, Superchunk wasn't built in a day.

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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