» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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!
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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
You Are Here
Bluhammock Music

Rating: 6.6/10 ?

March 26, 2008
South return to their chilling, dense musical pallet on You Are Here. Their latest is a move away from the electronica oriented Adventures in the Underground Journey to the Stars of 2006, and a logical continuation of the With the Tides sound. In 2003 the latter album demonstrated a great leap forward for the band, and while the return is reassuring, You Are Here makes less headway than its predecessor.

The positive upshot of this release is the likelihood that South will make a name for themselves as a consequence of returning to a formula that works: intensely drawn material with three multi-instrumentalists working toward a singular goal. But one drawback is that the trio seem dedicated to the wind-up as much as the payoff, and consequently South's songs rarely seem at full force during their opening verse. Guitar lines are characteristically simple, spiraling and wandering with their buzz of potential energy, yet never quite reaching full kinetic force until the chorus. On this go around, "Opened Up" presents a downtempo shift that allows for previously unacknowledged possibilities, namely a lone, weepy guitar and hushed background vocals.

The band varies its M.O. on songs like "The Pain," a '60s psychedelic tromp into British heritage, and "She's Half Crazy," a Talking Heads/David Bowie new-wave experiment. Tagging them as regressive is not to say that these tracks are bad - in the right moment, at the right venue, they might be downright contagious. But it's the songs that are signature of the band's sound (and make a great leap forward in that realization) that make You Are Here a worthwhile listen.

You Are Here may have even been without peer for this sub-genre of rock had South been able to duplicate the blissful listening experience of "Tell Me"'s stuttering hook-laden verse: "T-t-t-t-t-t-t-tell me/ We can make it out alive / D-d-d-d-d-d-d-do I realize / It's tearing you up inside / P-p-p-p-p-p-push it too hard/ I never looked into your eyes/ How can I offer a solution / When it's tearing me up inside?"

"The Creeping" is an acoustic gem left unadorned by South standards. It looks wistfully back to the soft rock of America - much in the same manner as Midlake - but does so without compromising their brooding and atmospheric sound. "Soul Receivers" takes an alternative, yet equally commendable route. Adorned with distorted guitars, major key tints of sound, and pulverizing drums, the track allows vocalist Joel Cadbury to be at his most post-grunge without overdoing it.

Those aforementioned songs set some much-needed boundaries for the South sound, which has at times flared unchecked. Everything filling the space between those new lines would sound like "Tell Me" in an ideal world, but in reality the penchant for tracks like "Better Things" and "Balloons" to come off as renditions of '90s adult contemporary drivel is somewhat problematic. Over time, these missteps will be worked out, leaving three musicians who can write some catchy, controlled tunes.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill



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