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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
Brandi Carlile
The Story
Columbia

Rating: 8/10 ?


April 10, 2007
Two years ago, a lightly-dropped self-titled debut picked up rapid steam behind relentless touring, visceral songwriting and an emotional, heartfelt vocal delivery that left critics grasping at proper descriptions for the weathered rookie known as Brandi Carlile. After all, these were elements properly reserved for industry veterans who had lived enough of a life worth writing about and whose hearts had been rung out enough times along the way to be believably weary.

Working with famed producer T Bone Burnett on her second album, the question is whether Carlile could deliver in the same stellar way she did the first time. And the answer couldn't be clearer on The Story, a thirteen-song journey even more convincing than her debut.

The best evidence? Listen to the title track, on which Carlile wails her way through the chorus, waging battle against a torrent of emotion with each line. The somber alt-country sounds of "Until I Die" evoke an animated Aimee Mann, while "My Song" reveals Carlile's sharper vocal side and a rugged guitar arrangement.

The laid-back Carlile that first drew comparisons to Loretta Lynn still remains, found mainly in acoustic tracks like the simplistic "Cannonball" and the piano-tinged "Wasted." It's almost as if these tracks are necessarily positioned between others so intense that, without the acoustic interludes, could almost make The Story too taxing.

Carlile is clearly a woman at the forefront of the country/rock genre, willing to let loose for anyone who will listen. The Story is heartbreakingly beautiful and clearly bests her celebrated debut.

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner

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