» 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!
[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
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
Casket Lottery
Survival is for Cowards
Second Nature Recordings

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Although most people probably think that 90% of the kids today are hung up on superficial tags and whatnot, I don't think that's the case. I never was, and honestly very few people I knew growing up were. There were always a few rotten apples who had issues with that sort of stuff, the kind of people who would have an aneurysm over Modest Mouse signing with Epic, sure. But for the most part, I don't imagine that anyone really cares about that garbage. At least I hope so, for the Casket Lottery's sake.

Survival Is For Cowards is a remarkably written and executed album, an oven-hot chisel that pounds right through a stereo speaker and stereo headphones with equal precision. "Code Red" blasts the album off with a thunderous roar, disorienting with ringing guitars and never relenting on the forward push. Even the song's slower transitional moments are precise and powerful. The song isn't lengthy in the traditional sense, not quite reaching the five minute mark, but it is long for an opening track with such intensity. How Nathan Richardson keeps his forearms from going numb is beyond me, but the guy is a pack mule on the drum kit, altering cadence but never really shifting the tempo of the song.

The following "What I Built Last Night" is more of the same, like a track from the epic Source Tags & Codes taken back a few years and bolstered on the drum kit. The guitars are soaring, rightly pushed to the forefront, but the power continues to come from the rhythm section. The bass lines are tight and nimble, oscillating between the thundering drum beats and the frenetic guitars. The formula is tweaked and presented again throughout the album, sometimes with a bit of unnecessary, uh, emotional emphasis, but is generally mutated into a cohesive string of similarly structured but intrinsically different songs. If Source Tags & Codes got your panties all up in a bunch, you might very well swoon for this new Casket Lottery. Its a little harder in places I suppose, but not really. Parallel but more punk.

On the strength of Survival Is For Cowards, Casket Lottery could be the band to really break out in the wake of And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead's success this year. I'm not talking about major-label scale success, but they could certainly outpace and eclipse the mediocre crew of bands that they're continually touring with, and while it certainly shouldn't matter in a perfect world, a band can only get so far in the company of bands like Small Brown Bike and Sweep the Leg Johnny. Hey, for some people, reaching ten thousand high school and college kids is like nabbing the Holy Grail, but with an album as potent as this, Casket Lottery could easily put the backpacks and glasses of the Fireside Hole behind them rather than stalling out like so many Cursives before them.

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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