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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
Red-Eyed Legends
The High I Feel When I'm Low
Gold Standard Laboratories

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Easy now. Don't make any sudden movements. You don't want to chance agitating feral Red-Eyed Legends vocalist Chris Thomson any further. On the band's sizzling debut EP, The High I Feel When I'm Low, the former front man for Washington D.C. punk firebrands Skull Control, Circus Lupus and Monorchid hisses and snarls like an alley cat cornered by animal rescue workers in a pile of piss-stained newspapers and fast food wrappers. At the slightest provocation, he lunges at listeners' throats and sinks his fangs into the band's snarling art-damaged garage punk, giving it a raging case of rabies.

The rest of the Chicago band hasn't had its shots either. Wrapping coils of barbed-wire guitar riffs around sinister organ drones, strutting bass and drums that kick like mules, guitarist Steven Denekas, drummer Paul Higgins, bassist Jason Dummeldinger and keyboard player Kiki Yablon are as tight as a straightjacket and their live-wire post-hardcore sound practically foams at the mouth. It's a good fit for Thomson, whose grating, nasally David Yow-ish caterwaul gets under your skin and irritates like an unexplained rash you can't stop itching. They probably make a cream for it, but you won't want it.

"Is this the fast lane?" asks Thomson in the song "Locked In." You bet it is. Here, and elsewhere, scratchy, Wire-like guitar lines scorch the earth as clouds of organ haze fill the skies and the Legends' rhythmic locomotion gradually picks up speed until the brakes fail and the train jumps the rails. On the title track, Thomson staggers and whines, "Meanwhile back at the hospital/ what am I going to do about these scars?" He cleans out the bacteria by dousing them in whiskey-soaked sarcasm. "You know me, I'm an open book store-bought valentine card." He's about as sentimental as capitalism.

All the while, Dummeldinger's bass tromps through your mother's flowerbeds and Denekas' slashing guitar lines cut the heads off your daughter's doll collection. Above the rhythmic desert floor of the opener "Hamlicus" circle scavenger guitar riffs that alternately ring and chime before exploding in a mushroom cloud of radiation blues. Red-Eyed Legends follow that up with a spacey dub exploration of that same song that shows just how easy it is for the band to switch genres.

As lean and tough as rawhide and mean as a snake, Red-Eyed Legends measure up to every skeleton in Thomson's expanding closet. Someday he's going to settle down and get hitched when the right band comes along. Maybe this is it. Or maybe it's more like a casual fling with coked-up prostitute. Whatever the case, make sure you stock up on Visine. You want to look your best in the morning for work after the Red-Eyed Legends have kept you up all night, taking you to seedy bars, forcing you to do shots and blowing clouds of smoke in your face while you try to hook up with that hollow-eyed babe at the end of the bar.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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