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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
Fu Manchu
California Crossing
Mammoth Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
It really is a shame that Fu Manchu left the Bong Load label for the greener pastures of Mammoth in the mid 1990s (with the release of In Search Of). What could possibly fit this band more than a record label referencing a phat pinch of marijuana? How about palm trees, beach-front parking lots, babes and a cherry red El Camino? Sweet, bro!

If you're new to the 'Chu, California Crossing is as good a place as any to be introduced to their muscular brand of what I like to call SoCal dank-rock, otherwise commonly known as stoner-rock and sometimes referred to as "psychadelic". It is heavy and fuzzed out, something like the Melvins laced with THC and shot into space on a surfboard. This album starts solidly with the out-of-this-world "Separate Kingdom", ending with a ripe guitar wail and segueing into "Hang On", one of the album's true blasters.

From guitar solos to drum solos, everything on California Crossing is cleaner and more crisp than on previous efforts such as The Action Is Go, which leads me to believe that the 'Chu scored a righteous bag of grass before recording the new tracks. Like the guitars, everything is more glossed over on this album, which seems to be a fact of life for albums released later in a successful band's career. More money somehow equals more slick, contrived sounding production which, in the case of bands like Fu Manchu, is a bit of a disappointment. The band honed their skills on the tripped out and fuzzy instrumental, which is particularly absent from this album. "Squash That Fly" is the lead single from the album and, all things considered, is most likely the strongest track on the album.

The riffage is still gnarly as ever and the drums are rock solid, standing out more than ever simply for the fact that Brian Bjork is leaving the band. How they will replace this guy I'm not sure, but putting fliers up in the local head shops would be a good place to start.

Reviewed by Clifton Gates
Currently sleeping on beaches in Costa Rica, Clifton Gates is an occasional contributor, editor, idea springboard and moral crutch to LAS magazine.

See other reviews by Clifton Gates

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