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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
Akrobatik
Absolute Value
Fat Beats

Rating: 8.2/10 ?


July 14, 2008
"A to the K" is nicely threatening in a 1991 Cypress Hill way, which Jared Bridgeman had to have planned, or else he wouldn't have begged B-Real ("Akrowho wants me on his record?") to be on it. After all Bridgeman, the Boston rapper better known as Akrobatik, is a guy who beat Los Campesinos! to "trying to find the perfect match between pretentious and pop" by a few years with "Balance," a theme song that disses both guns and big words. Some think the middle between guns and big words means boring, but on the title track of our balancing act's second album in five years, the lyrically nimble one says those critics can "eat a fat di-dick and a side of sack with it." I only agree if the same ones who ignored this early 2008 triumph (released back in February, pre-Carter III) are breaking down Wale's door for the same reasons.

One thing Akrobatik's debut (called Balance, natch) lacked was beats to go with his fresh attitude and throwback vibe, beyond the singsong "Hypocrite" and the reflective "Remind My Soul," that is. The Perceptionists' (his trio with Def Jux-stamped fellow Bostonite Mr. Lif and DJ Fakts One) album Black Dialogue remedied that with harder, harsher throwdowns. And while nothing here drills quite like that collab's "Blo," Akrobatik has developed a signature sound that ebbs and collapses in all the right spaces; from the menacing piano-plunks that punctuate "Be Prepared"'s looping collage to the sliced detuned strings of "Put Ya Stamp on It," Absolute Value is unlikely to be matched beat-for-beat this year. It's just too juicy on detail. Aurally, that is - Bridgeman makes excellent use of Jurassic 5/Cool Kids-style spareness on the Lif feature "Beast Mode" and the beatbox-driven "Ak B. Nimble" and widescreens back effectively into high-drama hornscapes like "If We Can't Build," which could've been on a Freeway album. "Soul Glo" mutes and melds Dixieland and ska, "Step It Up" a numbing church organ and some kind of Eastern scale.

The balanced one is an average-to-good serviceable rapper, though the musical flow is clearly the attraction here. He's not hungry like Jean Grae or creative enough for El-P's twisted Imagineering, but his pleasing normality could sub in for the recurring battle champion at your weekly hip-hop locale of choice. He only overreaches on the admittedly touching "Kindred" (with such an admirable choice of Narrator as Chuck D himself), but otherwise he's an average KRS-One-next-door. And what's KRS-One without overreaching? So while Lupe Fiasco can put him through a wall almost anytime, I can at least trust Akrobatik to be an under-appreciated Motorhead, still working his mildly excellent hustle in 20 years no richer or more ambitious than he started. After all, balance never made anyone famous. Let's see how long this guy stays sane before he succumbs to the pressures of quitting. Maybe that's the fun part.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss

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