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 » 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.
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 » 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
Cool, Cooler, Coulier!
Stickfigure Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

February 14, 2005
So the devil went down to Georgia again. Some fallen angels just never learn. This time he wound up in Athens, home to a trio of juvenile delinquents and musical anarchists that call themselves Coulier. The dark lord took a liking to the boys, and over some barbeque and fried okra, they talked up a deal. The devil tried to take their souls, of course. He even offered them a shiny fiddle made of gold. He's got a whole warehouse full of them, you know. Can't give the damn things away, even with the price of gold these days.

Coulier wasn't having any of it, though. They turned him down flat, and then took to putting their hands under their sweaty armpits and flapping their arms to make fart noises, like at the end of the furious, mathy instrumental "Red Bricks," off Coulier's debut Cool, Cooler, Coulier!. And they commenced giggling, as they also do after setting off a honking noise at the beginning of "I'm Down With Brown Town." Satan couldn't stay mad at them, so he laughed too and let them off the hook.

They all got on swell, and Coulier, perhaps feeling a bit sorry for the old guy - seeing how he'd failed again to reach his quota of souls - asked him to lay down some distorted, twisted vocals done up in evil backwards masking for the aforementioned "Red Bricks" and the album intro, "Close Your Eyes And Feel." Grateful for the chance to spread his perfidious message through song, he leaned forward and gestured for guitarists Adam Newman and Brion Kennedy to come close. "I have something you might be interested in," he said. With that, he rummaged through the pockets of his black overcoat and pulled out a ball of searing, dual-guitar riffs that he won from Iron Maiden in a poker game.

What in the hell was Coulier going to do with that? Why not put them to good use, they thought. And so guitarists Adam Newman and Brion Kennedy unleashed the beast, running their fingers up and down their fretboards as lightning strafed the black velvet night sky; their strings snapped and smoked, choking the darkness till they coughed out the contents of their lungs. And Cool, Cooler, Coulier! became the air-guitar album of 2005. The best part: they didn't have to give up their souls... or did they? he asked, twirling his moustache.

Coulier's minister might disagree, but that question is moot. What's important here is the band's incredibly visceral, explosive guitar work. Imagine a cock-rock, grindcore version of Don Caballero, especially on the fret free-for-all "There's A Monster (Riff) Under My Bed", which briefly segues into a completely unexpected jazzy guitar interlude.

Forget the dumb title. We're not dealing with intellectuals here. But the guitars... my god, the humanity. Lasting all of 1:57, the song takes a short detour into Drive Like Jehu-style guitar wrangling before carpet-bombing you with riffs that fill you with shock and awe - the good kind, not the variety that kills people and destroys cities.

In a way, Cool, Cooler, Coulier!! is like a video game, like Grand Theft Auto, or an intense action movie that's short on dialogue, but filled with edge-of-your-seat car chases and fireballs. Cool, Cooler, Coulier! clocks in at 23:03 and feels like it's going at warp speed the whole way.

"Start Believing In Dreams And Others Will Catch The Fever" sets the tone with big, dramatic guitar salvos that disintegrate and then reform in a blinding flurry of notes and chords. "Noah Gets His Swerve On" flies at breakneck speed around hairpin tempo turns before discordant horns bring things to a screeching halt. As if being chased by hit men, Coulier downshifts into a melodic bridge to throw them off track before smiling and dropping a lit match in a pool of gasoline and blowing up the joint.

The unexpected appearance of swooning strings, seemingly apropos of nothing, breaks in suddenly in "So, This Is Your First Time With A Dude" and the song flows seamlessly into "Red Bricks" before a wall of Sweep The Leg Johnny-style guitar skronk comes crashing down on top of you. Cool, Cooler, Coulier! is like an old ferris wheel that's going to break apart at any second, shooting nuts and bolts into a thousand directions. And Coulier are the carnies who were too busy gawking at tube-topped girls and shooting off firecrackers to do proper maintenance work on it.

Utterly incomprehensible at times and full of surprises, with soft, jazzy effluvium crashing into drummer Navid Amlani's dizzying stickwork, like in "Throw The Knives At Someone Else", Cool, Cooler, Coulier! is unlike anything you've ever heard. Coulier throws so many twists and turns into each song, you'll need the number of a good chiropractor after one listen. It's almost too much to process at once and . The good news is, it doesn't last long. Coulier trims off all the fat and excess, and leaves meaty, roiling arrangements that simply beat you up.

Coulier certainly doesn't tow the Athens party line, musically speaking - you won't find the murky, pastoral pop of R.E.M. here. Nor does Coulier indulge in the backwater psychedelia of the Elephant Six brigade. Coulier plays chaotic metal instrumentals that rock so hard, you'll swear Satan had to have had something to do with them. The Godhead Silo-like atom bomb Coulier drops at the end of "I'm Down With Brown Town" sounds so destructive, it feels like Judgment Day. All that's left to do is sit back and watch it all unfold as the world comes to an end.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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