» LATEST FEATURES

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
Headlights
Kill Them With Kindness
Polyvinyl

Rating: 7/10 ?


August 29, 2006
Recipe for cooking up some jubilant Pop Music in the year 2006: Two heaping spoonfuls of Stars; grate some Mates of State; a dash of Fiery Furnaces (making sure to avoid the potentially poisonous parts like Granny's ramblings); blend together; top with heavy dose of strings; add keyboards, preferably 1980's era synths; pour on rich mixture of female vocals; bake on medium for 42 minutes; remove and slice off any hard edges. Label finished product Kill Them With Kindness.

Hey, it works for Headlights, the band "born in an Illinois farmhouse during the spring thaw of 2004." If this all sounds a little too uh, cheery, well by golly it is. The group contains three former members of demised Illinois wormhole rockers Absinthe Blind. I actually saw Absinthe Blind years ago at a tiny club and was impressed enough to purchase two of their albums on the spot. The blood relation between the two bands is noticeable; when I first listened to Headlights I could feel some distant familiarity. Absinthe Blind was somewhat 2-sided: uplifting, but occasionally a more brooding face would show through, and it made for an interesting listen. Headlights, on the other hand, traffic solely in the life affirming aspects of pop music. If listening to Kill Them With Kindness doesn't get you happy, don't fret: the band ends their "We Would Like To Thank" liner notes with "And You." Stuart Smalley would be proud.

The music itself is solid enough, with a consistent formula throughout. Charming harmonies layered over peppy beats, strings and keyboards. Song titles include "Your Old Street," "The Midwest Is The Best," "Lions," "Lullabies" and "Hi-Ya!." Vocals are mixed surprisingly low, but when they can be deciphered lyrics are as innocuous as one would expect. From "Owl Eyes" come the lines "If all is the same wherever we go/ Then I suppose that we should change our name/ Settle into something they say/ Will make the world a better place to run to." An Explicit Content warning label would be wholly unnecessary for this album.

Kill Them With Kindness works on some levels, but overall it lacks the gravitas of other contemporary pop specialists like aforementioned Stars. However, Headlights do show that they are willing to step outside of the storybook element from time to time, as the closing two songs of the record prove. "Signs Point To Yes (But Outlook Not So Good)," despite its cumbersome and trying-to-be-dark title is the album's best track. Sung in male and female harmony, the anthemic song is awash in glorious synthesizer glory before ending abruptly with a trail of toy keyboard sounds. It then leads beautifully into "I Love, You Laugh," a quiet composition sung over a simple backdrop of piano and white noise. Scoring highest with a number heading off in an entirely different direction than the previous 11 tracks, we will have to wait for the sophomore effort to see just where Headlights intend to aim.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!