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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
Funeral Diner
The Underdark
Alone Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


May 25, 2005
Where I grew up, you were never supposed to show any emotion. It didn't matter what was going on, you had to keep your cool. You had to play it tough, you had to stay hard, you had to make sure everyone knew that nothing could faze you. Something good happen to you? Can't show anyone that you're too happy about it. Having a bad day? Better just to say "fuck it" than let people see that you're upset. Something piss you off? Laugh it off, don't even sweat it.

Judging by some of the music that's been coming out lately, none of that seems to apply anymore. So many bands wear their emotions on their sleeves, screaming and yelling or even flat-out whining about whatever seems to be bothering them. Maybe this is for the best - don't they say that bottling up emotions is bad for us? Maybe it is healthier to be affected by our feelings.

Certainly, listening to some of this emotionally-driven music can be cathartic. On The Underdark, the latest record from Northern California's Funeral Diner, singer Seth Babb screams out passages like he's just about on the verge of yelling himself to tears. This is combined with highly proficient and bombastic guitar-bass-drums driven music, and with all the tension and release in the music, you can't help but feel the same way.

The Underdark is nothing if not a serious record. There are no light-hearted moments here. For example, the song "Collapsing" starts with, "The darkness surrounds you/The darkness shrouds everything/Movement is apparent and the movement is dangerous." Even the instrumental pieces convey a sense of foreboding and menace.

Funeral Diner is clearly a band that is unhappy with society's ways, and they are not only going to let those ways affect them, but so much so that they want to thrash on their instruments and scream. They're obviously not worried about faux-tough posturing. Instead, they'd rather kill off the type of emotionless cool that turns people passive, allowing everything to fall apart around them.

These aspects lead to a highly effective record, if not one you'd necessarily want to pop on when trying to enjoy the first days of summer; The Underdark is more for the days when you want to let anger or frustration out - for those days when you can feel free to finally let your guard down and let your emotions run unchecked. For those days, Funeral Diner would suggest that instead of trying to be cool, let yourself be real.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz

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