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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
Elephant Micah
Low Energy Dance Music
Landmark Recordings

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Joseph Martin O'Connell is Elephant Micah and he sounds a lot like the Counting Crows on Valium playing an acoustic show. Compared to poor O'Connell, Adam Duritz is about as jaded and unhappy as Richard Simmons, and his music is as danceable as Britney Spears' latest. I'd say he's the kind of guy you'd feel for except his music lacks that vulnerability that a lot of people can attach to. There's a picture on the inside of Low Energy Dance Music's cover of a figure passed out in a bar with a spilt drink in his hand and a bottle of liquor in the foreground, and that's more the type of guy O'Connell comes across as. He's that brooding character sitting at the end of the bar. He's not vulnerable looking, he's just incurably world-weary.

Low Energy Dance Music is a terribly difficult album to get in to during the summer, at least if you're relatively happy. Because of this, I waited until I was fairly depressed to give the record a real chance. I definitely appreciated it more, but no matter how Low Energy I am, a lot of the album sounds pretty similar and it can be kind of frustrating to listen to. It's mostly Joseph Martin O'Connell's low, melancholy voice (except for a couple of tracks where Carrie Neumayer of Second Story Man helps out with vocals like on "Loud Guitars," where her vocals really do the music great benefit), acoustic guitar, banjo (sometimes) and little else giving the foundation for the whole album. Elephant Micah does sound best when he's sounding more twangy, like in "Put To Bed." When he sings "Sometimes you can't tell whose drunk from who's only insane/ you don't know who's drunk from who just can not refrain." I'd feel safe calling that line the album's finest moment.

There are definite wonderful moments and songs (see "Story of a Hospitalized Heart") on Low Energy Dance Music, but there are definite not-so-great aspects of the album as well. I don't know what it is, but Joseph Martin O'Connell needs something to keep his music from dragging a bit. Though the music is quite beautiful, it's often hard to keep engaged.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn

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