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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
Piglet
Lava Land
Team AV

Rating: 7/10 ?


July 28, 2005
Illinois, as we have just been told so poetically by Sufjan Stevens, is a place of great history and diversity. The Land of Lincoln has been known for it all: gangsters, The Fire, tasty eats, hardworking people and infamously shitty sports teams. Beneath all these larger items is its identity as one of the best places for music. And it's not just the urban center of Chicago that develops this talent, but also downstate in Champaign-Urbana and in the Chicagoland suburbs. C-U has been home to rock labels Parasol/Mud, Polyvinyl and Arborvitae Records, as well as bands like REO Speedwagon, Hum and Alison Krauss. Even more recently, the 'burbs proved their worth with rock acts Alkaline Trio, from Elk Grove Village, and the Redwalls, from Deerfield.

Another thing that Illinois is known for is producing indie rock bands by the handful. Piglet falls into this category but somehow manages to avoid stepping on the corpses of all those forgetful bands fallen before them. Even more amazingly, the band manages to define their character entirely throughout their first proper release, Lava Land, which runs a measly 24 minutes over the course of six songs.

Drawing opinion from such minimal exposure can be a dangerous game involving scrutiny and projecting. From the outset of the first song, "Bug Stomp," it is apparent the band has the desire to perform in the air of fast, loud and technically sound music. Additionally, the trio flashes apparent talents to vault past the acceptance level of many other well-practiced instrumental indie/math rock bands found under the same genre umbrella.

Piglet utilizes themes and structures within songwriting to further explore their innate sense of tempo, natural and creative transitions and dexterous performance skill. Unfortunately, the points where this group excels - melody and pattern complexity - are exactly the elements that many people don't want to hear in the music they listen to. Even whereas most metal fans would be drawn to the finger-tapping guitar sound and the palm-muted distortion chugs of "Caramel", these marginalized music appreciators are just as easily disgusted by speedy transitions and indie "groove" sections.

Normally comparisons sting with the insinuation of imitation, but in this case it helps to place Piglet on a map of closely related acts: you can tell that Lava Land is a release influenced by the ideas of Don Caballero and Pele. At this point in their career, Piglet is definitely more crafty and melody-minded than Don Cab was with their first release, For Respect, but not nearly as metal or heavy-noise friendly. When stuck next to Pele there are greater similarities, as both utilize weaving guitar styles and clean-channeled, hook-filled, patterned song building. An even closer comparison is to Ghosts and Vodka, where there are related tinges of emotional inspiration balanced by technicality - fucking with time signatures, tempos and heaviness.

Altogether, Piglet wields a raw package of goodies at a tender musical age, but in time they may build to the level of any of the aforementioned bands. Then again, as Illinois goes, this band may be forgotten just as easily as they were found.

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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