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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
Phosphorescent
Aw Come Aw Wry
Misra Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


June 7, 2005
Great artists from time immemorial have presented the world with meditations on various subjects - reflections from varying perspectives, tied by a unified voice. They delve into life's mysteries and attempt to resurface with knowledge, insight, peace, or at least the utter humility that comes from getting it all wrong. Matt Houck, under the name Phosphorescent, is a whiskey-mused modern philosopher who's current belief, Aw Come Aw Wry, feels like a mantra on the way to coincidental enlightenment; as he repeats the album's title in three variations, he is dangerously close to unearthing a profound secret.

Aw Come Aw Wry is not your typical twang-soaked country rock album - in truth and in reputation, Houck's mark hits closer to Neutral Milk Hotel and Vic Chesnutt, professing his artfulness - it is a look at salvation by the most unlikely means. Just as insanity is sometimes categorized by repeating one's actions and expecting different results, so too is deliverance, in a way: trying and trying again until you get a hopeful glimpse. The phrase "Aw Come Aw Wry" may sound nonsensical at first, but it represents a cycle - so close to the beginning and the end at every point, and never fully knowing your exact location.

Making huge leaps for the disheveled poet in his first track, "Not a Heel," he states, "I am not a monster, but I will eat your heart," and the line can't help but make true monsters and empathizers smile in charming agreement. From there, titles like "I Am a Grown Man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day)" and "Endless, Parts One and Two" further reveal the sarcastic, playful wisdom of the album.

As the album shows, in all-natural tones, how thin the line is between being carefree and being overwhelmed, we learn quite a lot about the flaws of human character - and yet we have fun doing it. Houck's warmth and wit, his creativity, his singular voice, and the whimsical, vulnerable tones of his music make him a talent worthy of acclaim. He is a true diamond in the rough - and he would not sparkle as brightly if not for the coarse surroundings.

While works will likely retain the observant, honest, slanted country tones that have become a strong signature, the path of Phosphorescent will undoubtedly grow more and more experimental, as seen with his previous junk-drawer masterpiece, "When We Fall" and its new bookend, "Nowhere Rd., Georgia, Feb. 21, 2005"; it is unimaginable to think of Matt Houck's forthcoming artistic journeys as anything but sincere, substantial and breathtaking.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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