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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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!
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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Coyote Bones
Gentleman On The Rocks
CoCo Art

Rating: 5/10 ?

May 25, 2007
Is it somewhat dubious when the debut album from a relatively obscure artist is heavily touted for the well-known names of its contributors? In a word: yep. The media barrage leading up to the release of Gentleman on the Rocks has prominently name dropped everyone in the Omaha music scene save Conor Oberst's kid brother's fourth grade teacher's long lost grandson's best friend. Apparently he didn't have some sort of basement with a recording studio or musical instrument lying around his house, otherwise he would have been asked to contribute to David Matysiak and Mason Brown's debut as Coyote Bones.

Recorded in various places in Athens (home of R.E.M., not the Olympics) and Omaha, the hodgepodge sound of Gentleman on the Rocks ranges from laid-back acoustic ditties ("Expire in Style") to new-wavey pop ("Grand Eclipse") to sounds-a-whole-crapload-like-The Faint ("Your War," recorded with two guys from The Faint!) to, well, a whole lot of indie rock. Ultimately, the final result is equivalent to a homemade turkey sandwich. It gets the job done. I mean, I like turkey sandwiches as much as the next guy, don't get me wrong. I just don't give them much thought five minutes after I've ingested one.

The majority of the songs here don't give the listener anything to latch onto. When you're penning pop songs, this quality is inestimable. Namely, the hooks are all but missing. "39 Forever" is easily the album's highlight, featuring a prominently catchy guitar line in the verse and anchored by a steady rhythm that is hard not to enjoy. An album full of these and we'd have a damn fine indie rock album on our hands. However, the latter half of Gentleman on the Rocks falls prey to the aforementioned lack of hummability. Songs such as "Don't Lose Your Cool" and "Paint On Your Jeans" sound almost half-finished. Such untidiness may stem from a goal to create a lo-fi sound that gives the listener a unique intimacy with the songs, but in the end the tracks just sound somewhat thrown together.

As the album title suggests, Gentleman on the Rocks is about alcohol. All the topics are covered: typical laments on failed sobriety, vows to finally get on the wagon and problems with loved ones' bouts of intoxication. While Matsyiak possesses a sincere vocal delivery, the lyrics never really venture past a general observation on the situations, and as a result the songs never really take off.

Name-dropping is perhaps the oldest trick in the publicity book, but when the tactic is used to the extent it has been for Gentleman on the Rocks, well, you have to wonder what they're trying to compensate for. In turn, Coyote Bones have a debut album that isn't necessarily good but isn't necessarily bad. It just needs a bit more mayo.

Reviewed by Kelly Johnson
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