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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
Casper & the Cookies
Oh!
Happy Happy Birthday To Me

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Athens, Georgia might just be the greatest place in the world. How can so much great music come out of one city? It's really quite an anomaly. From R.E.M. & the B-52's to The Olivia Tremor Control & Of Montreal, there have been so many great bands from Athens; it's almost impossible to keep count.

What's even more amazing is the slew of newer bands that still continue to pour out the place: 63 Crayons, Visitations, Marshmallow Coast, Fablefactory, and Casper & the Cookies, just to name a very small few.

Other than Athens, the one thing all of these new bands have in common might just be Casper Fandango (Jason Nesmith) himself. He runs his own Bel*Air Recording Studio, which is responsible for the recordings of most of those newer Athens bands (The Late BP Helium, The Shut-Ups, Marshmallow Coast, 63 Crayons and a slew of others). He's also been seen recently on the road with Of Montreal as their 6th member, playing everything from bongos to triangles, dancing around like a lunatic while belting out the harmonies and backing vocals behind Kevin Barnes.

One might say he keeps himself busy. So busy, in fact, that it's inconceivable how he could find the time to record an album with his own band, Casper & the Cookies, much less an album that sounds so incredibly fantastic!

Oh! starts off with a light strum called "Your Stereo" in which Casper gives his thanks to the listener for allowing he and his Cookies to perform on their stereo. "I can't grant your wishes/ I just make a pretty sound," he proclaims. If a pretty sound is my wish, I get to have my cake and eat it too.

Any preconceptions this track gives with its lazy strum and slow tempo is immediately erased with the pounding drums and opening words of the second track, "Take It Away Kathy": "I Get Ants In My Pants/ And It Makes Me Want To Dance." The track could easily be an Elvis Costello B-Side, it's got that perfect power pop sound that he helped create and refine - not to mention Fandango's voice bears a striking resemblance to Costello's.

Another great thing about Casper is his storytelling. Many of the songs on the album (such as "Sneaky Snake," "Oh!," "Summer Spider," and fan favorite "Barnacle Bill The Sailor") are not just songs but soundtracks to great stories. I get the feeling I should have a read-along book to go with them, with illustrations of Sneaky the Snake falling in love with a Penguin, or Barnacle Bill getting kissed by an alien.

The highlight of the album for me is the title track with it's straight-up ska drum beat and jazzy guitar. Casper Fandango is one of those rare performers who gets completely immersed in his work. It's a good thing, too, enhancing the already great songs here. Fans of The Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, The Talking Heads, or the Elephant 6 Collective should already have this record. For the record, I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this record, really, unless they have no heart or listen to heavy metal... And neither of those is really any excuse, is it?

Reviewed by Stephen Smith
In a recent staff survey Stephen Smith included a picture of his cat, Nikolai, since he said he didn\'t have any of himself.

See other reviews by Stephen Smith

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