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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]

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 » 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]

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 » 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
Wolf Parade
Wolf Parade EP
Sub Pop Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


July 12, 2005
You've probably heard the hype until it all started to blur together - Alltomorrowspartiesarcadefireisaacbrocknewyorktimes subpopbelieverliveshowphenomenon - but you still may not know what to expect from Wolf Parade. If you are about to experience Wolf Parade's sound for the first time, you're in for a treat - more because you likely do know their sound, but have never heard it sound exactly this way.

It is easy to imagine Wolf Parade, and the aged, somewhat embarrassing characters within their songs, as marionettes at the hands of a bored child. With their mouths agape, their words are mismatched as if poorly dubbed, pouring out when the timing's all wrong. And when the puppet master tires of playing and releases the strings, all life completely halts - be it mid- sentence, thought or tantrum. Animation, and the lack thereof, is erratically abrupt, and a tangled heap is nearly always left behind.

Consider the standard indie rock conventions a large container. On "Shine a Light," swishing electronics, pestering, too-prominent (but perfectly placed) drums and ghostly, conflicting moans are each pieces to add to that container. Capacity is larger than once believed as the strained, chugging momentum continues, "waiting for something that has never arrived." The sentiment lingers; frustration grows and options deplete, and at 3:44 the integrity will not hold. Everything, inevitably, explodes. Each piece drips and pools like liquid all over the floor - the breaking point has finally been reached and we're left with a great, uncontrollable mess.

The anguish of "Shine a Light" continues on "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son" and becomes a valid mark of character. The uneasy hero of the second track claims his own legend, but also new humility. Like a lonesome, dejected former onscreen cowpoke, he laments, "I was a hero/Early in the morinin' I ain't a hero." As he admits his glory and his latent inabilities, we can easily recall vintage Modest Mouse tracks: while disheveled in appearance, each piece is actually skillfully placed. The strained vocals feel empowered and lost all at once as shredded harmonies echo the bad advice of schizophrenic villains; the whole track is tormented by demons, the sound of whom is signified by a Vaudevillian piano theme. "You Are a Runner" is blocky and ill-fitting, as awkward as the narrator himself. In an instant, he is silenced - perhaps medicated, perhaps ignored - before he harms himself.

The first of two b-sides, "Disco Sheets," lacks the same affecting power of the preliminary album-bound tracks and is the EP's sole misstep, but is nevertheless enjoyable. Reminiscent of the twitching dance calls of Hot Hot Heat, Arcade Fire, Interpol and Bowie, its unhinged nature is royally appealing, if not remarkably original. Whereas the previous tracks took conventions and broke them to form something unique, "Disco Sheets" is contented to walk with standards, step for step; while the output is fiercely danceable, in the two short tracks preceding "Disco Sheets" we have already come to expect innovation.

"Lousy Pictures" closes with a sizeable upswing from this mundane slip, presenting a serene backdrop that can't calm the unease. While it, too, doesn't quite measure up to the first half of the EP, the sedated composition has its fair share of dramatic relapses; a bizarre synthetic tango rolls into chaos, overwhelmed by a snarl of good and bad memories that take over and promptly drop out. The calling card for Wolf Parade has been left in plain sight: what sounds incomplete is, in fact, strikingly finished, and the comfortable indie-pop formula has been amazingly reborn.

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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