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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
The Six Parts Seven
Lost Notes from Forgotten Songs
Suicide Squeeze Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


February 14, 2000
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been sucked into American Idol this year. I've never watched it the whole way through, as it was basically a passing fancy that I'd catch at a friend's place on trips back from the refrigerator. Grabbing something cold, I'd quip about how I couldn't believe "a girl who can't sing made it to the finals," and other comments of that ilk. Then this year, John Stevens IV came along, and I go on...

I witnessed something new, to me at least, in that the contestants were given a list of ten song titles, fourteen hours, and an assignment to write words and music to their choice. This seemed a bit unfair to me, since most of these singers presumably possess a working knowledge of top 40 radio, and many probably hadn't written anything before. Then again, in a sadistic way, it was delicious to see them try and find a rhyme for "Simon."

The same concept (see, I'm getting back to task!) is employed on Lost Notes from Forgotten Songs; it's a good one, and infinitely more fitting. The Six Parts Seven, a predominantly instrumental group with some well-liked releases under their belt, took a batch of their older songs and enlisted indie talent to remake, revolutionize and redeem them with lyrical layers.

There is no choice but to embrace these new favorites, as both parties are given new life throughout. Some artists make the tracks their own, while others use the one-off nature of the collection to explore new terrain: We can marvel at Sam Beam's "Sleeping Diagonally", with the flavor of Iron & Wine streaming in full folk splendor, turning toward the backwoods. Isaac Brock's take on "From California to Houston, on Lightspeed" is perhaps more Ugly Casanova than Modest Mouse, with tin pan electronic tinkering and inebriated mystery. Carissa's Wierd's "On Marriage" sounds as melded and agreeable as Ida, though with the spit of cold Seattle rain soaking through. David Bazan tries his hand at back porch IDM, turning Pedro the Lion into a Four Tet windscape on "A Blueprint of Something Never Finished."

One aspect that is never lost on the album is that the original instrumentals are striking in their own right. Yes, it may be a small thrill to hear some modern crowd-getters emote drolly over new subtexts, but the music itself truly shines as an inspiration to so many. If the idea was to lure me into checking out their previous, solely instrumental work, the disc has done its trick.

Further, if it introduced me to the wondrous opus of Brian Straw's "Now Like Photographs," an artist and sound I'd never heard, I am entirely indebted. The skillfully stoic, rusty country sound rolls to a fever pitch, then hangs like pure white Christmas lights on the eave of a drafty shed. Tumbling with grace and tension, it highlights the intensity of the original work while adding a whole new level. This is the track where the overarching goal of the project works best: the music is given a place to shine, and is thoroughly enhanced by another artist's contribution. It is at the twelve-minute mark of this song that Lost Notes from Forgotten Songs proves itself utterly rewarding. And they didn't resort to using the word "Lymon".

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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