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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
The Dead Science
Frost Giant
Absolutely Kosher

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 25, 2005
The strange quiver in the high, whispery vocals of The Dead Science's Sam Mickens makes my blood run cold. No kidding here, it's scary. Think of what former Shudder To Think singer Craig Wedren would sound like if Hannibal Lecter took over his body, replacing Wedren's smoldering, cheeky sexuality with serial killer menace. That's Mickens' delivery in a nutshell. The lambs are still screaming, Clarice, and apparently they're making a lot of noise in Mickens' head as well.

With song titles like "In The Hospital," "Blood Tuning" and "Black Stockings," Frost Giant explores the dark, treacherous territory of the human soul by cutting into the chest and laying open the fears and black desires of the heart in some sort of black ceremony or surgical demonstration. Enveloped in a billowing cape of dark, experimental art-pop that has all the epic grandeur of the Arcade Fire, Mickens is conversing, almost talking to you in a voice infected with schizophrenia, trying to get you to understand his malady and his melancholy like a modern-day Edgar Allen Poe. Communication is difficult because his delivery is prone to episodes of fainting and distracted reverie, but his performance is captivating, exhilarating and terrifying. I'm convinced he is the bogeyman.

Teaming with upright bass player Jherek Bischoff and drummer Nick Tamburro, Mickens and company eschew the heavy handed goth influence of Bauhaus, preferring to capture more reality-based emotions of anxiety and tension in arrangements that combine the sparse atmospheres of Calla with the dirges of The Black Heart Procession. Songs surge with power as The Dead Science lets loose turbulent, Unwound-style storms of circuit-blowing guitar, violently fitful bass and drum gusts that move gracefully from hushed to angry and dramatic in a heartbeat. The opener, "Last Return," and "Blood Tuning" recall the urgency and energy of Fugazi's Red Medicine, while the intoxicatingly beautiful "Sam Mickens' Dream" leaves you wandering through a world of shadow and vibrant colors.

This Seattle band is now on tour with their musical cousins, Xiu Xiu. They share a similar bent for hysterical sonic flourishes and unsettling lyrics imbued with misery, though The Dead Science come off as more mysterious and their sound isn't so chaotic. If you're alone listening to Frost Giant in an empty, creaking old house, it'll send you running to the door to make sure it's locked. Every sound will make you jump; it'll make you question whether you can trust your senses. But it's not a horror movie that's all about the shock factor, and it offers no real insight into what makes souls so troubled. It's more of a study of the depths of human depression and madness that makes you wonder if you're capable of falling prey to similar distress. At the same time, it'll scare the hell out of you - and that's worth the price of admission, isn't it?

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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