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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]

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
East River Pipe
Garbageheads on Endless Stun
Merge Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
As a late convert to East River Pipe, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do, but that it's well worth it. Garbageheads on Endless Stun is the eighth album from F.M. Cornog, complete with a creepy clown cover and the winning lo-fi intimacy we've come to expect.

The best compliment one can give Mr. Cornog is that he is a strikingly intelligent man, and a veritable army of two hands. It is impossible to fathom these deeply melancholy, lavish tracks are the thorough creation of a single man. The instruments are too thick and well placed, the atmosphere and emotion are too fully encompassing. And yet, in unassailable, reflective grandeur, he is but one man whose many facets we can understand.

Another characteristically solid album, Garbageheads on Endless Stun reflects on themes of money, broken lives, and the moral debauchery of modern man. Like the fractured takes on ethical recidivism offered by Pedro the Lion and the Mountain Goats, Cornog brandishes a bleak picture of current human nature. Unlike those contemporaries, however, his picture remains blackened, through and through, without any residue of prior hope.

In fact, the conclusion of the album, entitled "It's Always Been This Way" takes disturbing solace in the fact that the preceding tracks touched on an evil that could never be nostalgically idealized away. Things will not get better, though they never were. If his thematic choice of money is meant to spark thoughts of "the root of all evil," indeed it does - and the dryly-grinning clown in suspenders and tie is just a toothy mask to that malevolence.

When one really stops to ponder these broader issues, the album becomes a look at the disturbing possession of power and greed, but a casual listener may not suspect a thing. It is a clever bit of trickery employed by Cornog that his devilish little novellas are disguised by unsuspecting beauty.

The music of Garbageheads on Endless Stun is as intricate and appealing as any Red House Painters or Tindersticks release, with the hint of country sensibility that makes Lambchop his apprentice. The siren-like guitar wail muffled in the introduction of "Monumental Freaks" is one of the few subtle sonic clues amid the down-tempo songwriting. As one pretty folk refrain rolls into the next, one could bat a clueless eye if discounting the lyrics in favor of ripe melody. Yet the feel is still profoundly sad and imploring, drawing close listening to account for rightful quivering.

"I Won't Dream about the Girl" calls upon ghosts of lost loves that lie in bed with current lovers. Its stark and dreamy soundscape is undeniably heartbreaking in tone, affirming his tracks suggest potent emotions on every level - musically, thematically, lyrically, and personally with each listener. As in "Girls on the Freeway", when he asks, "Wouldn't it be something to take all the pain and throw it off for a day?", hope is already broken before it escapes his lips. Every track is beautiful and scarred: Garbageheads on Endless Stun may be wrapped in a comforting blanket, but is still misery, shivering cold and inescapable.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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