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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
Asahi
Head Above Water
West of January

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
There must be something in the water of Bellingham, Washington that makes everything come out verdant and serene. After Death Cab for Cutie put the town on the indie rock map, it seems that everything to come out of that fair lakeside village reflects the beauty of its surroundings. Asahi take up their rightful role as surrogate tour guides in Ben Gibbard's relentless touring absence, and make me feel right at home in the splendor.

It warms my heart to see a band with six people who actually thrive off of the inclusion of each member. I can't imagine a band as lush and striking as Asahi with any fewer people. Amazingly, with all the fullness employed in their brand of orchestral chamber pop, they still manage to sound sincere and stripped-down in all the gorgeously simple places. Within the first refrain of their debut, I am willing to give them a glowing endorsement, and petition to have them share stages with the Jim Yoshii Pile-Up, Ida, or the Velvet Teen.

"Baltimore" is a stretch of slowcore with male/female dynamics and lilting harmonies that trickle like clear water. At over six minutes, it is a gradual and warm welcome to the rest of their sprawling epics. "Westward Expansion" takes a cue from Pedro the Lion in his earliest form, intimately broken and starkly beautiful in its direct, personal indie pop. Likewise, "Song for an Absent Friend" takes this introspective slant even further, with a near-a cappella homage to Jeff Buckley with winding, lamenting lyrics.

The sextet also shows their straight pop side in places, like "I Fought the Dragon," where jangly, subtle guitars match dually buoyant team vocals smile for smile. While their depth shines more clearly through in their melancholic efforts, their claims at indie pop are as endearing and enjoyable as any early Rainer Maria track.

Impressively, every song is increasingly grand in nature, bravely unfurling in its moment and opening up in boundless ways. With their ability to expand so fully within their artistry, they create something thoroughly affecting and undeniably lovely.

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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