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

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 » 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
Sabertooth Tiger
Extinction is Inevitable
Gold Standard Laboratories

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 24, 2006
When Rage Against The Machine broke up - even though they hadn't been all that potent in their latter years - there was left a void of political voice in the arena of heavy rock. Given the current global cultural/political/economic landscape, this would be the perfect time for Zack de la Rocha and company to re-emerge. Although such a scenario seems unlikely, there does exist a reason for politi-punks and mosh pit militants to get excited, as a new voice may be emerging to fill the void left in the wake of The Battle of Los Angeles.

It's a bit premature to claim that any newly discovered band is going to match the status or effect that RATM once fulfilled, but it is obvious that Sabertooth Tiger is a band with similar influences and mounting potential. The band is comprised of Aaron Farley on vocals/guitar, Chris Burnett on vocals/bass, and currently one of three drummers - Jon Theodore (of The Mars Volta), Dave Ferrara (Original Sins), and Erin Garcia (Brother Reade) all recorded drum tracks on the album. Word is the band started in 2002 and since then has been gathering an audience while playing out in LA. Extinction is Inevitable is their first crack at something material and long playing.

A quick tour of some online music review sites unearths little about the band, if anything at all - in fact frontman Farley is best known as a photographer with work spread around online indie photo galleries. Bottom line is that this album and band are sleeper picks. Even though they don't say it in their press bio (which is a good idea), their sound is heavy and angular, like early At The Drive In, they have the grungey soot of indie post-hardcore, preach like Zach de la Rocha, and still have full appreciation for the punk rock aesthetic.

From the beginning of the first track, "Death Valley," it is readily apparent where Sabertooth Tiger is headed. The guitar and bass lines are discordant, dropped tuning and forcefully energetic, similar to post-hardcore underground band Gainer (of Ground Rule Double infamy). The drums are just as aggressive with deft cymbal-snare punctuations followed by an off-to-the-races beeline into a punk rock, hyper-tempo drum beat. One of the more defining characteristics is the timbre of the vocalists - there is a confident command, a higher pitch, and the distinct filter of reverb that works its echoing magic just like whenever you've heard Jon Spencer sing.

Many bands have had equally impressive lead-ins to their albums, but few of them are able keep a consistent level of energy and creativity for any duration. Sabertooth Tiger, on the other hand, comes correct, the album running deep enough as to make choosing a cut for a mix tape anything but easy. Extinction is Inevitable isn't all killer, but the standouts include songs #1 ("Death Valley"), #4 ("Love Money"), #7 ("Argentina") and #8 ("Get A Gun"). All of them are high points of political dissemination and hardcore musicality.

Some of the lyrics - but again, not all - are just as heavy as the music. In "Elephant Army" the words are especially biting when referring to American propaganda towards involvement in Middle Eastern war: "Say don't you see the fun/ Advertised for everyone/ Yeah, it's fun for everyone/ Yeah, in the sand and in the sun/ Get your fill before we're done/ But we never will be done/ Free flight, free suit/ New gear, new boots/ Just shoot back when they stare at you."

A healthy dosage of real-world expression is something that music has been lacking of late, especially considering the current conflicted state of world affairs. Music is a forum that needs to encourage the right of discourse, and Sabertooth Tiger helps to vigorously exercise that muscle. Likewise, the band isn't just throwing out random ideas - the album artwork includes links to socially concerned websites (www.greenaction.org and www.indymedia.org to name just two), a pulled quotation from Noam Chomsky, and a short essay of personal philosophy from the band. Rest assured that Sabertooth Tiger are a band of more than just emphatic politics (what the world doesn't need is another Midnight Oil), they are a band of energy, a band that fills the void and encourages others to join in and do the same.

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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