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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
I See Spots
Cantilevered Heart
Arlingtone Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I'll bet Sean O'Brien, Peter Vidito and Joel Rosenquist are sick to death of the word "heartfelt." They must hear it all the time in music reviews and interpretations of I See Spots. And, although I'm tempted to say that I see why, I don't. What is heartfelt anyway? Heartfelt in what way? Felt by whose heart? What does that mean, exactly? Do these guys really pour it all out for us, bearing themselves in a naked honesty? It sounds like it, but how do we know? I mean, one of the most "heartfelt" looking/sounding performances I remember was Nirvana's Unplugged version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" on MTV. Kurt was really wrenching himself into the vocals and the mood was thick as hell. But that was a cover song. So was it still heart felt, even though the words were someone else's? Can you really do something of someone else's in a heartfelt manner? It sure seems so, don't it?

So, I'll refrain from using the words heartfelt. And sincere; that's kind of up for interpretation as well. Which leaves me with words like dusty, haunting, personal. The fifteen songs on this album are definitely dusty, haunting and personal. Having made it through the first track, which sounds an awful lot like that big Chris Penn hit from way back when, I actually found this record quite rewarding, which is surprising considering my current music mode of hardcore and metal. The success (or failure, depending on how you see it) of this record is due in large part to the mixing of the vocals - they are wound in and often times behind the music, giving them a surprisingly helpful underpowering effect. It is hard to describe, but it works.

I'm sort of sweet on "Six Weeks" for it's low end jangling and subliminal bass line, the way it reminds me of rockers gone folk rather than hippies gone folk. It's kind of upbeat, yet undoubtedly subdued. Songs like "Alcova" bewilder me altogether. It's about a minute of instrumental, sleepy guitar strumming. What's that about? Acoustic songs are one thing when you're spinning a goddamn web like Tristeza or something, but these little simple ditties don't belong on a record. "Wal-Mart" quickly redeems the boys, however, and is probably the most complete work on the album.

With the tracks on this album being so guitar and vocal driven, you'd think that more of the song titles would be complete sentences. Whatever happened to names like "The Last Time I Fed My Dog was the Last Time I Loved You Under the Shade of the Old Oak Tree Down By the River" and stuff like that? All of these one word song titles feel way too macho.

If you're the sort of person who likes the whole singer/songwriter, personal late night jangly humming so sad with a bit of pep kind of thing, you'll surely like this. As with most post-folk hum and strum outfits, I See Spots is pretty limited in what they can and do do. You can add stylophone, bells and harmonica here and there, but you can't really change too much with them. A good listen, good for what it is and nothing more.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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