» 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
The Dilettantes
101 Tambourines
Stranger Touch

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

August 7, 2007
During a follow-up interview for Dig!, (the documentary film about "rival" bands the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre reviewed here, Joel Gion noted "I can [play music] with other people. Not be a tambourine man or anything, but just put something together with people and share ideas." In that film, the Brian Jonestown Massacre's amiable tambourine and maraca man provided a personable side and iconic look for his former band, but although he was front and center in all of the band's exploits he appeared to contribute little musically. So when Gion alluded to the prospects of creating new music, few expected he'd resurface with another band in which he was front and center in the writing process, let alone get behind the mic.

The Dilettantes debut album, 101 Tambourines kicks off with two swaggering numbers showcasing Gion's raucous, measured punk swagger. Opener "Ready to Go" highlights Gion's unique vocal stylings with the straightforward titular message, and with less resonance than Jim Morrison but more bark than Mick Jagger, Gion proves he has a sound that's all his own. "Subterranean Bazaar" travels under the breezy guitarwork of Jefferson Parker, but the song digs in with power chords and a verse that shows Gion as a less literate, equally brazen Bob Dylan: "At the subterranean/ bazaar I was given the gun."

More than a one trick pony, the band moves into '60's pop folk harmonies a la the Byrds and updates the California sound to compliment the clear jangly neo-psychedelia influence of Gion's former band. As indebted as The Dilettantes are to the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Gion doesn't appear as concerned with the revival musical aesthetic as BJM frontman Anton Newcombe. Listeners will find hints of Cracker ("Never Go Without"), Graham Coxon ("Like Crazy"), and even Queens of the Stone Age ("Kiss & Run") interspersed throughout the album; while the somewhat surprising influences show the band shedding its roots, they also suggest that the band is still finding its sound.

With Gion's newfound role, fans will be caught up in the post-Dig! aspect of the Dilettantes debut, but the overall success of 101 Tambourines isn't predicated on his fame. Parker and guitarist Brock Galland take credit for a large portion of the songwriting, and it's Parker's "Don't You Ever Fall" that shows the most promise for the band. On the next go-round, if Parker and Galland further balance their creative potential with Gion's freewheelin' possiblities, the Dilettantes will prove more than the exceptional sum of its parts.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill



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