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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]

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 » 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
National Skyline
This = Everything
File 13 Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
This is the first installment of what I like to call Situational Reviews. The review is subject to my current situation (if you think about it, this is a universal truth for record reviews) and is written in a case-in-point, matter-of-fact style. Here it goes...

This evening I frequented a nice house party with bands and kegs of beer and the talk ultimately turned to the past five years of local indie rock. The story of National Skyline, already long and complicated and filled with a cast of ex-members several times as large as the current cast, becomes a trilogy with the release of the band's first full length. From the get-go, the mythical beast of the band called National Skyline had somewhat of a post-rock pedigree that included over-achievers, under-achievers, indie rock credentials and the major label bank roll. People came, people went, and ultimately the band settled on a skeletal studio ensemble and a sketchy (at best) live line-up. Shows happened, years passed, and eventually a pair of EPs were released (see below).

Fast forward to 2001. The members of National Skyline are undoubtedly going through a few transitions in life, as most mid-twenties types are. I find myself in the same boat as the band, in a state of transition in so many ways: geographically, emotionally, chronologically, economically. Everything in our lives is broken, hyphenated, incomplete. Plans are made, reality is checked, and a completely scattered final product is unveiled. We move, we adapt, we reflect our environment. The debut album from Champaign-Urbana's National Skyline is undoubtedly a document and unquestionably a soundtrack.

Haunting, languid, transitional tracks hover together in the form of an album on This = Everything in a way that may momentarily feign cohesion but ultimately fail to lend themselves to any sort of fluidity. From the opening notes of "Some Will Say" the atmosphere for the album is framed perfectly. A few cored-out drum beats bounce brokenly through the speakers like red carpet rolled out for the introduction of Garber's moony vocals. A xylophone crescendos in and remains buoyant over the band's patently distorted, delayed and pureed guitar buzzing. For "Reinkiller" the recipe is altered a bit with the spice of James Minor's guitar and the punch of more active synthetic percussion that could very well be included in an upcoming car commercial. The album continues on in an un-dramatic form of the same cloth but with a hyper-languid fluidity that establishes a mood to perfectly score the spacious, humid evenings of sipping vodka gimlets this summer.

Unfortunately, the album's title is more than likely a nod to the coming of the end of National Skyline's creative road. With the members scattered between Texas, California and Illinois and a Don Caballero distance project unlikely, the band's summer tour has already gotten the axe. While I would certainly have no objection to future material, This = Everything serves well as a swan song.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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