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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
Lemon Jelly
'64-'95
XL/Beggars Group

Rating: 9/10 ?


March 15, 2005
Q: Band "X" releases a CD that is appreciated by music aficionados and advertising agents alike. Because of the album's broad appeal, it is very likely that some of the tracks will be bought by advertisers and placed in car commercials or in restaurants attempting to be hip. If the band agrees to this lucrative arrangement, have they sold out? Does this diminish the quality of the album is some way? -30 mins, show all work

A: The concept of "selling out" is a tricky one. At one point, I used to believe that a band that stooped to the level of commercials wasn't serious about their art, and should therefore be ignored. Moby's Play is a perfect example of this treachery, as EVERY song was signed to Nike ads and TV shows, thus rendering the album unlistenable.

Then I saw the infamous Honda commercial in which "Gravity Rides Everything" plays in the background. I was alarmed at first; I couldn't believe that Isaac Brock had sold out. Then, I thought, if I was in Modest Mouse and someone was throwing wads of cash at me to play a song on national TV, I would be a fool not to take it. There comes a point when a band has to consider what is more important - a DIY reputation known only by hardcore fans or getting music out there in the first place. Both have their merits, but hardly is it a matter of heroics, rather it has to do with trying to make a living as a musician.

Enter Lemon Jelly, the electronic duo comprised of friendly Brits Fred Deacon and Nick Franglen. The group has been making songs as smooth as their name would imply for nearly a decade, to the delight of techno-heads and advertisers alike. Their sweet blend of thumping beats and sunshiny melodies has caught the attention of TV producers in the past, and many of the tracks from their EPs and first proper album, Lost Horizons, have been featured on British television. As Deacon explains, "We got pretty mercilessly plundered. If they're doing up the bathroom in Home Improvements - hey! - It's 'In the Bath.' Not what we had in mind when we made the track."

Purists may be skeptical about statements of intention like this, but we are talking about a group that put on a concert where the ticket was a certain t-shirt everyone had to wear to enter - who put out an EP in a denim sleeve that included a condom in the back pocket. Just because their songs have appeared on TV doesn't mean they've sold out.

Their latest release, '64'95 is perhaps their best outing yet. The name of the album is a reference to the samples they use on each song, including snippets from 1964 to 1995 (the oldest being a weird narrative from none other than Bill Shatner).

As usual, Lemon Jelly have injected their dance-friendly beats with a soft meringue of cutesy samples and bright guitar licks, making '64'95 appropriate for the discotheque or a Discman. You won't have trouble shaking your rump to heavier tracks like "88 AKA Come Down On Me" and "68 AKA Don't Stop Me Now," nor will you feel like a wallflower if you prefer to enjoy the happiness of "68 AKA Only Time" in the comfort of your own room.

Naturally, the Jelly is tastiest when they combine the salty with the sweet; "76 AKA Stay With You" positions tiptoe scratching sounds and a bubbly melody over a beat that just won't quit. The effect is one of the sexiest (and therefore, best) electro tracks to come around in a long time.

As if the sonic joygasm of '64'95 weren't enough, Lemon Jelly have taken a step into the visual medium and have also released a DVD version of the album. Fred Deacon moonlights with the design company Airside, which incorporates the cheerful sounds of Lemon Jelly into its trippy, and often hilarious, graphics. Volcanoes erupting eggplants, dancing neon skeletons, magical caterpillars - this is the stuff of pleasant dreams. Try to imagine a visualizer that doesn't suck and actually adds to the music being played, and you've got the '64'95 DVD.

Because the album is so strong from start to finish, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that some of the tracks will be bought by advertisers desperately trying to appeal to a younger, more attractive demographic. To judge Lemon Jelly for making palatable tracks, however, would be to turn a blind eye to all the amazing and unique things that show that they care about their music, not the money.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown

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