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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
Big Thick Skin
The Private Life and the Public Eye
Novelty Horn Productions

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Elaine Doty's former band, Nymb, was a staple of the Chicago independent rock circuit, frequently opening for bands across the Midwest. While she helmed the drums in that particular rock outfit, Big Thick Skin finds her as a solo singer-songwriter, this time using a guitar to narrate earnest ballads.

The Private Life and the Public Eye focuses more on the former than the latter, basking in haunting acoustics to share the stage with Cat Power, Julie Doiron, and Sarah Dougher. Her voice is lilting and bothered, bravely facing life's scary situations.

The highlights are numerous and deep-delving: "Prelude to a Conversation" is a simple minor-chord torch in the darkness, heartbroken but holding on. "Take That Back" shares the distortion and ethereal quality of early Cocteau Twins albums, bringing the otherworldly to a fingertip's reach with roaring and fading high notes. "Request Your Best" captures the bitterness of Jen Wood's angry youth-amid-harmony movement, using apt vocal layering to create a false sense of camaraderie despite a solitary, lonely vocal.

On the disc's more rock-tinged excursions, like "The Slow Fade," an early K Records kind of melodic intensity is immediately accessed, swallowing a bit of Sleater-Kinney and spitting it into acoustic forcefulness. The final track, "Most Diseases", capitalizes on this by creating an atmosphere that would make PJ Harvey proud. By placing harsh feelings in the context of melodic ingenuity, Ms. Doty unleashes an emotionally satisfying look into the depths of a tortured soul.

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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