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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
Bonnie Prince Billy
Lie Down In The Light
Drag City

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


May 23, 2008
Over the course of his 15-year recording career, Will Oldham's musical output is staggering. Under the moniker Bonnie "Prince" Billy alone, Oldham has released such classics as the haunted I See a Darkness, the lighthearted jaunt Ease Down the Road, and the delicately beautiful Master and Everyone. In 2006, The Letting Go merged Bonnie "Prince" Billy's always consistent songwriting with stronger arrangements than his work previously allowed. Accompanied by the brilliant Dawn McCarthy on much of the album, The Letting Go demonstrated a new level of complexity for a genre relegated to the musical margins based on nothing more than its lack of musical advancement.

With Lie Down In The Light, Bonnie "Prince" Billy again favors superior production and a range of tempos. Oldham is accompanied by repeat players Paul Oldham and Emmett Kelly, as well as new additions Shahzad Izmaily (multi-instrumentalist, who also plays the ambiguous row of wrenches) and duet partner Ashley Webber. Webber adds an Appalachian-country flavor to the sound of the album, but her role is nowhere near as essential to Lie Down In The Light's success as was the ethereal presence of McCarthy on The Letting Go.

This setup allows Bonnie "Prince" Billy to draw on various influences ranging from Celtic folk ("Glory Goes") to country gospel ("So Everyone"). Opener "Easy Does It" resembles early Jerry Garcia, but the album's predominant sound closer resembles Joey Burns and John Convertino's work with Calexico. Just as qualifying Calexico's sound is a painstaking exercise, outlining Bonnie "Prince" Billy's genre-bending arrangements is an arduous task (and that daunting prospect is really the only link between Lie Down In The Light and The Letting Go). Lie Down In The Light melds acoustic, electric, pedal steel, fiddle, bongos, maracas, piano, and harmonizing vocals, the whole of which unequaled by the sum of its parts. On top this, there is a noteworthy jocular buoyancy in Oldham's melodies that has really been under-explored in his past catalog.

As the title suggests, Lie Down In The Light is largely uplifting. On "You Remind Me of Something (The Glory Goes)," Oldham sings "You remind me of something/ A song that I am/ And you sing me back into myself." Maybe he has had some positive events take place in his life; my hunch is that we are experiencing a songwriter's growth beyond the self-referential ups and downs so often documented in verse. "Other's Gain" chugs along like a slow train with very little in the way of flourishes and an uplifting message: "And keep your loved ones near/ And let them know just where you be/ Cause others need you right nearby/ Just as you need me." This maturation of lyrical character is the Bonnie "Prince" Billy we would hope for and expect at this juncture in his career. While there may always be a darkness, it's refreshing to bask in his newfound light.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill

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