» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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!
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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
National Skyline
Hidden Agenda

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Jeff Garber has been making promises about this record for what seems like an eternity. I first heard about National Skyline and the rumor of their 40 minute sleep rock saga back in the winter of 1996/97 when I was basically living in Champaign and sporting a huge hard-on for anything remotely related to HUM. National Skyline was the brain child of HUM bassist Jeff Dimpsey and has, without ever releasing a song, included a host of Champaign-Urbana's hottest rockers, everyone from Nick Macri (C-Clamp, Heroic Doses) to Steve Lamos (American
, DMS) and Derek Niedringhous (Castor, Sarge). Here we are, over three years later, with National Skyline fully realized and swirling around us, only Dempsey remaining from the various aborted lineups, accompanied now full time by Garber, the dream rocker himself. To stretch the dairy-belt connections a bit further, Jim Minor of Compound Red fame has also taken up the National Skyline flag for touring duties.

Now that it is here, was it worth the three year wait? Well, no, but it is damn close. As a modern rock commodity, Garber's voice alone is worth about one billion dollars, a trade secret only half realized on Castor's amazing sophomore record. Although National Skyline may be Dempsey's test tube baby, it's sonic identity belongs solely to Garber and his voice. The seven songs on this EP are all smooth as silk, mixed up the wazoo and very light, almost transparent. From the love sick "Metropolis" through the European sounds of "Karolina" this EP sounds like the true soundtrack to a movie like Natural Born Killers, paralleling passionate and disturbing in one instance, a new-wave spin on Brit-pop somehow referencing the smoothest parts of goth and trance, all filtered through a Marshall half stack. Yeah, this record is that hard to pin down.

If all the name dropping leads you to buy this record you may be sorely disappointed, as there is rarely any inkling of anything remotely related to the droning guitar murder of HUM, Castor or Compound Red in this album. The National Skyline is a purely pop, purely rhythmic, purely sexual mood machine, riding many of the same rails as Antarctica's recent full length with a few Radiohead-esque measures thrown in the mix. You can read that right off the press sheet and it is dead on accurate.

Castor is gone, Compound Red is gone, and although people persist to the contrary, you can stick a fork in HUM. The decomposition in death nurtures new life, and that new life is National Skyline. And I'm getting that hard-on all over again.

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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