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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
White Rabbits
It's Frightening
TBD

Rating: 9/10 ?


June 29, 2009
It's a truism that popular music reflects its times: we get the bands we need, deserve and desire. What to make, then, of the names these musicians adapt? Are they a mirror of a cultural trend, or just random marquees that sound cool? To wit, there is a run of recent indie acts choosing animal monikers. Fleet Foxes sprint with Band of Horses, Wolves are on Parade, have Eyes, are maternal. Brooklyn's Antlers nabbed that cool image about the same time a band on the left coast was Crystallizing. Animal Collective, what hast thou wrought? Not to be left in the dust of the bandwagon, here come the bunnies: Frightened Rabbit from Britain, and White Rabbits from New York, two notables of late. To further muddle things, the Stateside upstart named its superb sophomore release It's Frightening.

If bands are getting down and dirty with their natural soul, It's Frightening could be the primitive poster child. The cover in itself neatly captures the kinetic energy within, a blurred drummer in front of an old-timey piano, looking like a conductor swirling batons. Rhythmic, raw, complex and simple, it is a stunner from start to finish. Melodies fly over beats, so graceful and slick, it brings to mind another outfit working these rounds: the esteemed Spoon. Before the comparisons take wing, it should be duly noted that the album was indeed produced by Britt Daniel. The opening studio live laughter is a nice nod, yet any hand the minimalist vet had in shaping White Rabbits' album is due to the art of production (and it should come as no surprise that Daniel is right on point). At its core, however, It's Frightening is not double-dipping Spoon, but rather a wholly original, forked extension of the Rabbits' own excellent debut Fort Nightly.

It doesn't hurt in writing this review that I recently saw the band live for the first time. After numerous spins of their disc, the performance was downright revelatory. Percussive piano, pounding drums (played at least once by every member), sizzling guitar riffs, oozing bass lines, off-kilter vocals; these youngsters put the life in live. Echoing the show, It's Frightening kicks into high gear from the get-go, and never looks back. Classic rock-n-roll instruments are played exuberantly to the hilt, with barely-tuned piano the centerpiece, as if the Walkmen suddenly stumbled upon the fountain of youth. The six men behind it are aiming for the lights, brimming with enough talent to shoot them out. I boldly predict Britt will be back, and this will be a band to watch, follow and love. Catch them now, before they break big, and get your copy of their frighteningly great record.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro

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