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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
Helio Sequence
Love and Distance
Sub Pop Records

Rating: 4/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Back in high school I remember a fellow student once asking me a brain-teaser over a couple of plastic trays of cafeteria food. He asked me if I could think of any two beverages that I drank on a regular basis, one domestic and one party-oriented, that I wouldn't mix together at an upcoming get together at his house if it were on a bet. I thought for a minute, considering the possibilities: vodka and milk, tequila and soda, beer and juice. Most of them seemed fairly un-tasty, but none of them put me off so much that I wouldn't down a glass for $10, so I told him I couldn't really think of anything. He of course replied with the ultimate in bloating and barf-inducing concoctions, which his friends had apparently sucked him into chugging the previous weekend: beer and milk. Blech.

That somewhat odd inquiry (which I'm still not so sure wasn't just an excuse to flirt/ask me to his party) prompted a more lengthy discussion about mixtures of all sorts. We discussed the social faux pas of mixing horizontal and vertical stripes, oils and acrylic paints, lights and darks in the laundry, ketchup and barbecue sauce. For whatever reason (perhaps our age and our complete boredom with the schoolwork at hand) we were suddenly obsessed with disastrous mixtures, and for the next couple of days we'd pass each other in the hall and exchange random pairs of things, usually off the tops of our heads, that were great on their own but poison when mixed with something else. Diesel and unleaded fuel. Camels and giraffes. Socks and sandals. It was entertaining, if a bit childish.

Oh, how I wish I would have had a copy of the Helio Sequence's Love and Distance a few years back. The entire album, which has been incredibly hyped and no doubt released on the venerable Sub Pop label simply because one half of the group, drummer Ben Weikel, was recently implanted in indie mega-darlings Modest Mouse while original and current member Jeremiah Green took some time off. I can only imagine the hand jobs that Weikel and partner Brandon Summers are giving Green in thanks for the in they received in Seattle while he was getting his personal shit together.

But back to the music, and the mixtures. The Helio Sequence are basically an experimental laboratory of sound, tossing everything they might consider marginally hip and/or credible into a big aluminum tank and churning it up with an industrial size egg beater. The problem is that the raw ingredients - which their bio oh so conveniently mentions as luminaries such as Bob Dylan and Can - are like beer and milk. They're great on their own, but stirred together they instantly trigger a gag reflex.

This record is so bad that I can't bear to pay close enough attention to pick out individual tracks to bad mouth. Everything runs together in an extremely ambitious but none the less tacky potpourri of laptop beats and loops, folksy harmonica, psychedelic pop guitar and keyboards, and trademark indie pop percussion. If the post-rock noodling on Summers' guitar were lowered in the mix, the cringe worthy Blues Traveler harmonica squawking were omitted, and the obvious influence of Cornelius were brought down a couple of notches, Love and Distance might be tolerable. But the thing that really pushes this disc over the edge into the abyss of total garbage is the vocals, which alternately sound like that twit from Roxette and the whispered posing of every other lame emo band that has the entire Death Cab For Cutie back catalog.

I'm giving these guys a 4 for effort, because the disparaging ideas they attempt to incorporate reflect a true experimental ambition (and the drumming isn't that bad), but otherwise this disc is a nasty stain on Sub Pop's catalog. File this under Yeah, whatever.

Reviewed by Cassie Glanney
An occasional contributor to LAS magazine who loves life, liberty and libation. As of the last report, she was living in Houston, Texas with her dog, Ponch.

See other reviews by Cassie Glanney

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