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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
Mogwai
Government Commissions
Matador Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


April 22, 2005
Mogwai have been the progenitors of post-rock and sweeping epics of moody waves of sound wash for some time now. That's a mouthful, indeed, but these Scottish lads certainly run the gamut when it comes to that genre… whatever name you may want to give it.

On the heels of Happy Songs for Happy People comes Government Commissions - a collection of BBC sessions recorded for the legendary John Peel and Steve Lamacq. The songs date from 1996 to 1998, and offer pretty much what you'd expect: solid, majestic, imperial songwriting and crafting of sounds, the kind of which lull you to sleep one moment and blast the grey matter out of your left ear the next.

Beginning with the pretty, psychedelic "Hunted by a Freak," all effected vocals and swirling guitars, and lasting all the way through "Superheroes of BMX," comfortably laden with synth swells, drum machines and distortion waves, this collection both soothes and stirs up the soul. These two songs are perfect examples of the prowess of this band, as the former was recorded in 2003 and the latter in 1996, proving that Mogwai was onto something from the get-go.

As evidenced on "Hunted by a Freak," it isn't all about the instrumental here, a type of song the band is definitely associated with more often than not. "Cody" isn't afraid to let Stuart Braithwaite's vocals shine over an almost country-western backdrop (post-rock style, of course). But the instrumentals do take center stage, and one really can't complain. "Like Herod" almost manages to frighten you off, as this 18-minute novel goes from cruise ship to destroyer as it launches into slow-mo monster guitar riffs after a typical space-coaster beginning.

This is, by no means, Mogwai's finest hour, but Government Commissions deserves praise for its proof positive of the consistent quality of the band; even if you could shake up the recording dates, drop them on random tracks and no one would be the wiser: Mogwai does what Mogwai does. No matter, what Mogwai does is damn good. All they ask for is a little patience, an ability to digest some pretty post-rock meandering, and a tolerance for face-melting rock.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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