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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]

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
The Malarkies
10,000 Back Doors
self-release

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Sometimes I get suspicious about these handcrafted CD covers with their self-released music inside, just waiting to get all twee and lo-fi on my ass. I give them my most questioning squinted right eye, thinking to myself Come on, bring it, you wuss, Let's see how sensitive and just plain bad you are gonna be. I think it is all those Sentridoh tapes from the early 90's that really started to grate upon my tolerance for the whole do-it-yourself homemade music movement. It's not fair really, especially in this age of easily created, burned and recorded at home stuff that pops up all over. I am in favor of this movement really, any technology that enables folks to make their music on the cheap and get it out there on the semi-cheap is OK by me. It's just that so much of it kinda sucks. The Malarkies, however, do not.

The Malarkies are Matt Sutton and Ruth Keating playing a variety of instruments, mainly guitar and drums, but also Matt's newest stringed discovery, the baritone guitar, along with banjos, glockenspiels, pianos and some wurlitzers. This male/female duo just finished up a stint as backing band on the latest k. record, Goldfish, out on Tigerstyle. Soon afterwards they retreated to their Brooklyn apartment and spent last summer churning out this record, 10,000 Back Doors. As I mentioned earlier, the CD case is a nicely done arts and crafts experiment with messy typeface and a nice piece of felt on the inside which you can use as a pillow while you listen to the record. The songs on the album are nice little pop jewels, all with a fairly spare sound but sometimes filled out by the addition of other instruments. "Laughter" starts off the album with a simple drum pattern under harmonized vocals. Matt handles the majority of the singing, but when Ruth chimes in, it is pure poppy bliss. This ain't twee however- the structure and songwriting are way too thought out and melodic to fall into that dreaded category. "Firebug" has a country-twang feel to it, as pedal steel moseys on into the mix. "Rowboating" has what sounds like handclapping games (you know, like Patty Cake?) under poppy vocal melodies with drums and guitars interspersed throughout. "481" is a Red Red Meat style instrumental with steel string slide guitar and various percussion driving home sentiments of rural Americana.

Avant-pop? Visions of America via playful DIY songwriting? The Malarkies make a little bit of both, and their debut album deserves to be heard. They used to be a trio but the paring down they have undergone doesn't seem to have done them any harm. 10,000 Back Doors is a heartfelt effort full of melody and atmosphere.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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