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 » 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
Weakerthans
Left and Leaving
Sub City

Rating: 8.8/10 ?


October 10, 2000
I am at a crossroads of description that leaves me rather lost. The Weakerthans are one of those bands that could be reviewed in a single paragraph just as easily as they could play the role of subject in a two thousand word essay on the intricacies of post-punk-neo-emo songcraft. The Winnipegians exhibit a plethora of qualities that make them noticeable and memorable, but for those not paying attention Weakerthans songs can float out the window like the tunes of so many bands easily written off. The Canadian eco-punk posterboys write convincing, totally disarming folk-punk that reminds of nearly every notable rock act of the past ten years, and unwind a completely disparaging sound from the leftist knucklehead punk of vocalist John Samson's former band, Propaghandi.

Left and Leaving, the Weakerthans' second release, is book-ended by folksy punk ballads that channel them up some American Pie-era Don McLean and display Samson's' ability to unfold tales of daily life with the romantic luster found only in the arsenals of the truest tunesmiths. There are traces of other sounds scattered about the album's dozen cuts - the music in "Aside" buoyant as The Promise Ring's wind-up in "B is for Bethlehem," the Better Than Ezra-lite simplicity of "Watermark," and the political perspective of Propaghandi visible just below the surface of "My Favourite Chords," just to name a few - but they're all traces of pretty much the same vibe, that angsty-introspection-by-white-guys-who've-probably-banged-a-few-chicks-who-live-in-trailerparks. But the most enlightening aspect of these dusty blue-collar Americana references is the fact that none of them really relate to the whole picture, each one is a moment lost in the soft, glorious roar the Weakerthans create, like recollections stilled for a moment only to flutter away again.

After all the comparisons, dissections and inferences that record reviewers and media gnats unload, the truest test of an album is the way that it makes a person feel, and Left and Leaving is capable of making someone feel a lot of things all at once. Within the album's tracks the Weakerthans sketch out all of the universal themes of the pop craft - love, fear, loss and hope - and they do it with an acute, almost cutting detail. Which one of us hasn't been through the garage sale, pawning off knick-knacks and vacation souvenirs, more so for the chance of healing that departure brings rather than the 50-cent value scribbled on the adorning scrap of masking tape,? Who amongst us has not squirmed through the awkward conversations with lovers of yore, just wanting someone to give in but not having the strength to admit our wrongdoings? Those moments are inside each of us, universally, and they are also spelled out in verses and choruses of Left and Leaving, a touching collection of aching, remembering, forlorn, dusty and light-dappled cuts laid down honestly and clearly, with overdubs and production gloss found few and far between.

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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