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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
Sigur Rós
Ageatis Byrjun
Fat Cat Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Today I went to the dentist, and endured what is likely some of the worst pain I have ever encountered in my life. As I sat there, in the uncomfortable vinyl chair, hands squirming, eyes darting around the room, gums bleeding, and teeth being mercilessly prodded, I could only wish that I was somewhere else. As George Michael crooned on the soft rock radio station that was being pumped through the office of pain, I couldn't help but consider the awfulness of the sounds I was hearing. I got to thinking, "Isn't there anything better they could be playing over the radio? Something more relaxing, more distracting, like those whale sound soundtracks, or those 'sounds of the forest' CD's?" Or, now that I think about it, Icelandic foursome Sigur Rós would be a nice aural distraction while getting my mouth beat upon by the vengeful dentist-monsters.

With their second full length release, Sigur Rós' beautiful musical ballerina act will dizzy and numb you all at once, making a tooth invasion at the dentist a bit more tolerable (even with the re-release on a major label that may leave a sour taste in your mouth). The good fortune of opening up for and being endorsed by Radiohead last year did this band a huge amount of good, making their angelic brand of slow-core space-rock more accessible to the rabid followers of Thom Yorke and company, as well as late night MTV News watchers alike. Although Radiohead may be the first band to draw comparisons with, the sheer soaring power of "Ageatis Byrjun" will leave many listeners wishing the boys from Oxford would go back to the majestic days of "The Tourist" and give up on the blips and bleeps of their modern day work.

The absence of the old Radiohead, however, works best to Sigur Rós' advantage. With helium-voiced vocals, brilliant string arrangements, and an emotional soul deeper than any ocean, Sigur Rós transcend the boundaries set up by their lyrics (which are in their own language, "Hopelandic," which is comprised of Icelandic and English, blah blah blah, you've heard about it I'm sure). Their concentrated and dense wall of bowed guitar feedback manipulation could just as easily melt all the ice on Iceland's mountaintops as their softly brushed drumming techniques. On songs like "Vidar Vel Til Loftarasa," Sigur Rós definitely have found a perfect mixture of restraint and power, that could teach other quiet to loud bands like Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor! a thing or two.

Comparisons aside, Sigur Rós are definitely wading their proverbial boat of rock through uncharted waters, and are quickly proving to be one of the very few bands that actually stand up to all the hype that crash against their sides. Who knows, maybe someday every dentist, along with their trusty toothbrush, floss, and fluoride, will be issued this amazing record as a new kind of dental tool that could actually make the experience less, well, painful.

Reviewed by Ryan Allen
A former staff writer with fabulous hair, Ryan Allen once fronted Red Shirt Brigade with his brother, Scott. He currently fronts the art/fashion punk band Thunderbirds Are Now!, with is brother, Scott.

See other reviews by Ryan Allen

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