» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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!
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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Geoff Farina, Luther Gray, Dan Littleton
New Salt

Rating: 9/10 ?

September 26, 2005
Geoff Farina is one hell of a guy. As the front man of the innovative Karate, he has deployed a battery of guitar techniques and instrumentation for almost a decade and a half. Dissecting music as if profanating corpses was allowed, the trio - with Jeffrey Goddard on bass and Gavin McCarthy on drums - explores the listener's inner sanctum by stealing his or her virginity from minute one. Nevertheless, Karate's music represents a huge challenge to the incurious, casual enthusiast. In fact, pummelling off-centre chords served with loose beats that blur like an overreacting spermatozoid is not an easy meal to digest.

Like I said, Geoff Farina is one hell of a guy. I don't know him personally, but I wish I did. His music, along with the other Karate folks or any of his multiple collaborations, has soul-stealing properties, and succeeds in hybridising the post-everything tactics of all stripes. One year after forming Karate (1992) - whose last year's Pockets was dubbed an "indie gem" by no less than CNN - he co-founded the folksy Secret Stars with Jodi Buonanno. Since then, he has been busy working with an array of musicians, and in 1998 he finally dropped his solo debut, the cohesive Usonian Dream Sequence.

This New Salt record is the first output coming from Geoff Farina as accompanied by guitarist Dan Littleton (known for his album with Tara Jane O'Neil) and the jazz drummer Luther Gray. It's a 7-track cerebral journey which purposely sutures your brain while extracting your attention from the outside world. Its ill-tuned guitars insist on sharp, contemplative spasms while Gray's beats trap themselves in locked, panoramic grooves.

What makes this new collective cuts above the generic, post-90s space rock norm is its ability to sound fresh, anaemic and simultaneously powerful within the incidental, microscopic details it releases. The final track, "Pouring Water on Stone," proves just that; it instinctively seeks a direction but, in the end, is more than willing to resignedly pack its instruments and leave the room to come again tomorrow. Considering that the idea of New Salt came after they sonically illustrated silent movies live - notably Beckett's and Ray's classics - suddenly everything makes sense.

But the languorous path was drafted from track one; the 3-minute "Harmonia" would possibly work better as an interlude than as an opener, particularly because it then segues to the epic title track. "Song for Che" is as political as Godspeed You! Black Emperor dared to be on Yanqui U.X.O., that is to say, barely. This hasn't been a poor year in analytical music after all; if you enjoyed David Pajo's solo debut, you should love this. Just try and fill it with the words you like and it will soon become the best soundtrack to over-caffeinated mornings, guaranteed.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes



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