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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
Catfish Haven
Please Come Back
Secretly Canadian

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 1, 2006
Catifish Haven are country, but I'm not talking about the singin-a-song-about-my-pickup-truck-havin-sex-with-a-cousin country that already has your mouse headed for the back arrow, so just hold up a moment. Catfish Haven are more like a rebellious, get-drunk-on-whiskey-in-a-dirty-bar-and-rocking-out kind of country, and while Please Come Back could be superficially dismissed as another ironic and pretentious gaggle of tousled-hair hipsters posturing as good old boys with Americana roots, I can firmly attest that such an assumption would be false.

Catfish Haven are the real deal, and Catfish Haven rip. The band, named for the Missouri trailer park in which George Hunter grew up, formed on the outskirts of Chicago in 2001 and since that fateful year the band has pretty much been working on a slow build of self-financed CDs and small shows. Ultimately the trio raised the awareness of those around them to the point that Secretly Canadian took notice, and now they've release a proper EP of new material. It may seem tedious to imagine (or even read about), but that slow, organic growth has helped Catfish Haven release an EP that comes off as an accomplished offering, rather than a hasty cash grab.

Many bands, particularly those who weren't all that "rocking" to begin with, loose their edge over time, but for all the time and maturing it took for Secretly Canadian to get on board, Catfish Haven haven't toned themselves down at all. To put it bluntly, Please Come Back is fucking energetic. The eponymous opener is urgent and earnest, George Hunter pleading his case with a wail that sounds as if he's been blasted straight out of 1974 when Lynyrd Skynyrd and the founding giants of southern rock were king. The backing music, provided by Hunter, Ryan Farnham and Miguel Castillo, has a subdued but rollicking quality to it that leaves Catfish Haven's sound as raucous but also sparse. This three-piece has a penchant for simple guitars, and distorted lo-fi production.

Stylistically speaking, there is no way around the similarities that these guys have to alt-country leaners like Kings of Leon and farm-rock heavyweights My Morning Jacket. Not being personally all that fond of the two latter-mentioned bands, I have oddly found myself a fan of Catfish Haven by nature of their excellent melodies and solid, unflashy songwriting. "Madeline" is a memorable foot-stomper and "Still Hungover" is a straight-up roadside bar rocker that even recalls Springsteen and is garnished with some nice saxophone at the end.

Please Come Back is an appropriate title for such a short debut with a lot of promise and no pretension. The music'll have you from the first blast and will have you stomping, rocking and sobbing along until the liquor's gone, leaving you thirsty for more.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams

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