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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
Psyopus
Ideas of Reference
Black Market Activities

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
It's no real secret that editors at indie music magazines have a hard time assigning metalcore and grind records. While the writers at specialty publications like Vampire Magazine and Metal Injection may wax philosophic over the latest Commit Suicide release, most music scribes will huddle under a pile of Luomo and Clientele CDs until the editor's hand passes and they can exhale and wait patiently for the next DFA or Kompakt release.

Editors who feel obligated to assign these releases usually slip them in with a pile of friendlier records, ensuring groans from critics reluctant to touch something so far out on an unfamiliar genre's fringe. Like the most blunted rap, the most avant-garde jazz and the most ambient electronica, the extreme reaches of hardcore and metal can be unfathomable for general-interest critics.

This is why an album like Psyopus' Ideas of Reference is such an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Although I occasionally enjoy listening to metal and hardcore as I jump around and hurl expensive vases at my mom's cats, it's a rare experience; my exposure to the genre is limited to some Hydra Head and Chicago groups from the late '90s.

But Ideas of Reference scatters metalcore's calling cards before a whirlwind of guitars and a blustery rhythm section. Breaking up attack waves with noodle guitar codas and eerie prog-carnival music, the band rips through nine blistering tracks without letting up. The high point is at the two minute mark of "Death, i" when the beat drops out and guitars suddenly turn upward to raise their voices at this brief crack in the storm. It's simply amazing.

Ideas of Reference is remarkable because while it does hurtle into the extremes, it is firmly grounded in solid structures with an intelligent sense of sonic craft. It is by no means easily accessible to those unfamiliar with the genre, but should prove remarkable to anyone with an open mind.

Reviewed by Erick Bieritz
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.

See other reviews by Erick Bieritz

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