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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Von Iva
Von Iva EP
Cochon Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

January 31, 2005
Drifting back to my high school days - at the tail end, when I was just beginning to earn some cool points which never fully materialized - it makes me laugh. I was as straight-laced, buttoned-up, wide-eyed and oblivious as you could be, and yet I hung out with a tough crowd. I was best friends with the punk kids, who were all inordinately nice despite any appearances, and we sat around dissecting the classics every summer day.

One girl (excuse me, grrl) in particular, Jessie, would hand me glitter-coated, hand-pasted cassettes of Hole demos, Bikini Kill and 7 Year Bitch. Her ambiguous sexuality and constantly stoned demeanor made her fairly intriguing, though I didn't realize either of those two facts back then. Her glazed eyes and slow movements just oozed rock and roll, and in my mind, she's still the exact same way somewhere.

It's probably not likely, or fair, to keep her trapped in that beautiful post-grunge glass, as it's been quite some time since high school, and changes abound everywhere, but still I do. The same goes for rock, fair or not. Von Iva is like a "Where are they now?" from my punk rock years. Members of 7YB are back, and retain a little of their smart, snarling sound, but for the most part, there's so much more body shimmer, disco balls and lip gloss to coat over those fond memories.

It's not as rewarding or pointed as 7 Year Bitch's earlier stuff - Von Iva is too overdone, too neon pink, without the depth and pitch of their usual blackness. It needs more. This fake pouts instead of bruises; it's gone soft and girlie without the additional RRrrs.

I realize this is a different band for different times (and with the dance punk window closing a little more each day), but 7 Year Bitch used to be a force to be reckoned with. The girls could give you lip, verbally or physically. Now, the only expressions and actions are of a mawkish glamourpuss. It's not entirely satisfying; instead, it's coquettish - and while there's lots of people out there making fun music for the sake of fun, somehow I don't buy it from Von Iva. Speaking for myself, anyway, I want, and expect, more from these gals.

"Same Sad Song" recalls the Kills or Karen O., but is far too smooth around the edges. It's even a little staid in places, and when changing things up with an odd beatbox style scratching, it still lacks momentum. As the pendulum swings the opposite way, "Feel It!" ups the Ugh Factor with its blatant shaking of the groove thing, yeah yeah. "Showboat" gets a little warmer with a warbly punk ethic, but still comes off as a bit too princessy.

From there, the only two life rafts come in the form of "Not Hot to Trot" and "Soulshaker," which, while a good overall ratio for an EP, doesn't show a lot of promise that they'll be going back to their roots. The two are darker and more disjointed, and, while slick, are propelled from within instead of being simply dance reactive. This purpose is what I remember, and it's what Von Iva is mainly missing. Knowing that it's there at all, though, ultimately gives me more than memories to cling to.

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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