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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
Red Channels
Red Channels
Silver Girl Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Sonic Youth is one of the few bands that I refer to as "one of my favorites", so I'd say that I have a pretty high tolerance for weird, seemingly self-indulgent songs. My introduction to them was through their willfully inaccessible and non-guitar oriented NYC Ghosts & Flowers, and I actually liked some of it. Why do I bother mentioning this? Simply put, the Red Channel's debut is what Sonic Youth would sound like if they actually were self-indulgent elitists who believe that throwing together a bunch of "processed triggers, samples, synths, electronics, misc., etc" makes a song worth listening to and not just the soundtrack to a video game.

It should be noted, however, that this record is not completely unbearable for every second of its duration. There are moments, such as the stunningly beautiful guitar lines in "Doesn't Play Well" and "Amer", that actually show a hint of certified creativity (at least in guitarist Ryan Block) behind the failed attempt at sounding sophisticated and artistic.

In fact, most of the songs display very capable playing that almost overpower the high pitched moaning of vocalist Elaina Azari, whose vocals are not singing so much as they are an extremely annoying voice speaking in a constant monotone, a drone reminiscent of a witch casting a spell. Perhaps if what she was singing was as deep and profound as she seems to think based on her snotty delivery, one could overlook the style in which the lyrics are delivered. With obvious lines like "I'm everything you never thought I'd be", however, her lyrics seem more like something a middle schooler would write in a diary than profound observations about our role in the universe.

This album is a pretty amusing example of why some music remains unappreciated and misunderstood. Obviously, some people are incapable of grasping the beauty of many wonderful records simply because they aren't on the Billboard Top 200 or don't have a verse/chorus/verse structure. There's a difference, however, between having an open mind and liking something simply because you're afraid of being viewed as someone who doesn't "get it". There's nothing to "get" on Red Channels, besides the idea that there is such a thing as bad art.

Reviewed by Tom Nash
A former LAS staff member based in Vienna - that\'s Virginia, not Austria - Tom graduated from high school and we are all just so, so proud of him.

See other reviews by Tom Nash

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