» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
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
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Live at Perkins' Palace
Sanctuary Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
If music could be offered in comparison to the military, then a decorated and well-served military career would be the equivalent of rock stardom. Along the way to an honorable mention from rock 'n' roll, each music veteran must complete certain training sessions and tasks that prove their worth.

Banyan is a special ops assignment for four extraordinary rock 'n' rollers that have played with the likes of Porno for Pyros, Jane's Addiction, the Minutemen and fIREHOSE. The formation of this quartet acts as an exercise of these players' skills and simply adds another bar above their decorated left breast pocket. The group's presence is not greatly significant, but it is an ingredient to the greatness of the involved musicians.

Live at Perkins' Palace comes off as an impromptu creation. It's almost as if Stephen Perkins (drums/percussion), Mike Watt (bass), Nels Cline (guitar), and Willie Waldman (trumpet) got together at an open mic one night, had a few Amstel Lights and just decided to rock the place out.

But this is not the case, as the group has two previous releases in Banyan (released in 1997) and Anytime at All (in 1999). The current album takes an immediate diversion, in that it boasts only the collaboration of its four members, whereas the first two releases were packed with contributions from Flea, Buckethead, John Frusciante and the Dust Brothers.

With the inclusion of the term 'Live' in the album title, a non-stop recording process seems to be expected. Live at Perkins' Palace is just that - an entity of open-ended ideas played straight through, all behind the guidance of the rhythmic and creative leader, Perkins. There is an overt contemporary rock/acid jazz feel to the recording effort; much of it steered in some way by the improvisational expertise of Cline and Waldman.

Then there are those tracks that take on a categorical life of their own. "El Sexxo" features Arabian influences of hand drums, hanging chimes, China cymbals and other world music percussive colorings. The guitar and trumpet parts forge an Eastern musical atmosphere with traditionally Western-utilized instruments; horn mutes and pedal effects drape a veil over sauntering solo melodies.

The overall playlist runs a range from spacey jams ("King of Long Beach") to perky, eccentric punk rock experiments ("A Million Little Laughs") to everything under the improvisational sun. Most importantly is that Live at Perkins' Palac works and is held together by the vision of four experienced players. The hour-long session is not for everyone, but it is for those who appreciate rock music as it takes its first invigorating breath of fresh air and exhales something altogether different.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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