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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
Pas/Cal
The Handbag Memoirs
Le Grand Magistery Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Some good friends of mine were in town a few weeks ago to play a show. The antics of the previous evening necessitated a trip downtown to procure a new guitar slide before the upcoming fracas later that night. As expected of a music student and a touring musician, both admittedly record geeks, the conversation between my friend and I naturally turned to what we had been listening to lately, and then on to some of the other bands that they had played with over the course of the tour.

"Most nights I just stay in the van and drink until it's our turn to play," Nate told me. "I think the biggest problem with most bands today is that they just don't know who they are. When you watch a good band play you can tell that they know who and what they are and they just go up on stage and do it. I mean, if you're going to be a pop band, or whatever, just be a pop band and do it well".

So, as I'm sitting here thinking about that conversation, and how much sense it really does make, you are probably thinking to yourself what does this all have to do with Pas/Cal and their EP The Handbag Memoirs? If there is one compliment that I can pay to Pas/Cal, it's that they are a pop band, they know it, and they do it well. You can argue about validity, creativity, necessity, and overall impact until you're blue in the face, making completely justifiable arguments all the while, but you cant argue with the fact that as a band, Pas/Cal executes.

Staying true to all the precedents, The Handbag Memoirs coasts through six easy-going, light, and tuneful songs in under twenty minutes. A smooth low end, and consistent backbeat temper acoustic guitars, horn melodies, organs, handclaps, and falsetto vocals. The arrangements develop with ease making this little recording the perfect accompaniment to my first glimpse of the sun in almost two weeks, and it's hard to not feel a warming trend even while listening to "I Wanna Take You Out In Your Holiday Sweater".

And now I finally have the unmentionable 'E' word hater's eyes rolling. Sometimes the lyrics do push the envelope of taste, occasionally forcing some snide literary references or toeing the line of trite, but my defense of their admirable balancing act is that the text is well within the style. As the title of the final track openly admits "This Ain't for Everyone", but those who dive in just may find a gem or two.

With their debut EP under their belts, these Motor City Gentle-men, only have to step up to the full-length plate. Though the means to the end might be a bit different, and decidedly American, Pas/Cal could quite possibly have the old-school Belle & Sebastian sweet spot that has been left in your heart centered right in their crosshairs.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper

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