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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
Xiu Xiu
Chapel of the Chimes
Absolutely Kosher

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


April 1, 2003
For the average fan of the average popular music, Xiu Xiu can taste like a mouth full of chalk. In a lot of ways the pompousness of the whole "tortured art genius" concept gets to be a bit too much, leaving the listener feeling like they've been duped by some sort of Tim Kinsella side show midget. But for as stupid as some of the moments seem from the outside, Chapel of the Chimes can be remarkably captivating in a grossly cathartic way once you're on the inside. I mean Jamie Stewart's frail vocals in "I Am the Center of Your World" sound like they were yanked out of a Charlie Kaufman nightmare, but after a few spins the track flows almost seamlessly despite the lulls, the throbbing bass pumping like a beating heart. Before you know it "Jennifer Lopez (Sweet Science Version)" has rattled past like a rock-filled soda can sailing through a plate glass window and "Ten-Thousand-Times-A-Minute" is sounding off, an admonition from a craggy, fog-drenched coast somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

It's a shame that Chapel of the Chimes is only an EP because it takes so long to be fully enveloped by Xiu Xiu's inebriety. Like an aural creeper weed it takes a while to really feel a part of what is going on and by that time Chapel of the Chimes has run its course. The feeling of being emotionally gypped is augmented by the fact that the EP is bottom-heavy, with the true gold not surfacing until after the abrasive, bowed-cello noise of "Jennifer Lopez". In the EP's closer, a cover of Joy Division's "Ceremony," Stewart fully emerges from his shell to wail in a sickly sort of tremolo over a cacophony of instrumentation that sounds like a soundtrack to some scene in a sci-fi-comedy where a one-eyed waiter dumps a glass of water down the pants of that robot from Short Circuit.

Interesting to say the least, Chapel of the Chimes is a challenging listen for those not acclimatized to such vibrant pallets of noise rock, a sordid amalgamation of shallow vocals drenched in self-loathing and scattered noise along the lines of Deerhoof's most eclectic work. Fans of Alkaline Trio need not apply.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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