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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]

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
Holopaw
Quit +/or Fight
Sub Pop Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


August 26, 2005
The most I've ever found on the sidewalk was a twenty dollar bill, and I didn't even spend it; I gave it to someone to pass the good fortune along. Holopaw found one of their most effective lyrical works, the title track of this album, aptly in FOUND Magazine, and their philosophy seems similar to mine - they offer Quit +/or Fight to us so that our lives can be enriched and changed. They are the vessel for a powerful and remarkably human message, but more than that they are messengers and symbols, personifying the news they deliver.

While it can be categorized as a winter album and a heartbreak album, Quit +/or Fight works on far less harsh levels than that might convey. Those chilled themes are at once melted by the warm breath of acoustics and natural-feeling electrics that have become Holopaw's comfortable, amicable signature. Though bubbling with bitter contexts, the opener, "Losing Light," is a mild and rolling boil. In it, a whispering, quivering wail rises just above a pastiche of blurred and blended noises; we get the feeling that, in the midst of one of life's down cycles, Holopaw is fortified by wonder and strength.

There is rarely a faltering moment on Quit +/or Fight - the songs are marked by a right and natural feeling - but in that, there is more identification than amplification. It is a subtle album by which to nod your head and sync your heartbeat. Its only dalliances with incongruity are when it strays too far into unknown territory, breaking the suspension of disbelief. To Holopaw's credit, this only happens on one track, the bouncing "Holiday," where surreal electronics and an unsustainable pace bring disassociation to its audience.

For the rest of the album, we are greeted with muted atmospheres that may be colored in low blues, grays and blacks, but seem beautiful from afar. "3-Shy-Cubs" could not be more ably named, as connotations of bashfulness, softness, playfulness and possible danger flutter about through the song and the album. Spare clicks and claps lay intimate inroads between Holopaw and their audience; as the track warms with determination, a latent alt-country twang and amiability, we easily recognize the album was made from, and for, affection.

On "Velveteen (All Is Bright)", this translates to emotional tenderness, as the reindeer's song conjures thoughts of lost innocence, tribulation and a rekindled spark, capturing the hurt and hope of looking back to childhood. "Ghosties" maintains this desire to return to the past, its haunted home ruffled by the air of passing spirits. Though the stunning title track recounts the hardships of war - and the at times more difficult return home - it is the final sentiment, "Shiver Me" that makes the most lasting impression: shimmering, layered in swimming harmonies and cloaked in the majestic gauze of imagination, it is a lovely, surreal dream that makes us evaluate the reality of the rest of the album. It is clear Holopaw know how to unearth beauty when grounded in the harshness of reality; they also have the wisdom to leave the indisputably beautiful moments just as they found them: ready and able to elevate the soul.

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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