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LITERATURE

 » 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
Jenny Owen Youngs
Batten The Hatches
Nettwerk

Rating: 7.3/10 ?


July 5, 2007
Judging a book by its cover, she's definitely not what one would have expected. After all, the playful photos on her MySpace page hint at Jenny Owen Youngs as simply another who-the-hell-cares teen songstress chirping someone else's songs and siphoning off media time from other artists more talented and deserving. Of course books and their covers have a storied metaphorical history, and when giving a listen to her full-length debut, Batten The Hatches, it becomes clear that the New Jersey native is, as a MySpace fan dutifully notes, not a low-rent imitation Liz Phair.

The reality is that Youngs is quite the songwriter, mixing simple acoustic arrangements alongside varied samples and other minimal instrumentation to great effect. "Voice on Tape" interweaves real voice mail messages in between simple strum patterns and stoic keyboard as she sings, "I want you back and forth/ I want you up and down." The track has a Feist-y feel that pushes Youngs beyond any borders her whitebread WB teen drama look might place around her.

Yet the singer/songwriter feel is still prevalent. The banjo takes center stage on "P.S.," although it muddies the water a bit much and becomes almost distracting. "Fuck I Am" finds Youngs at her vocal best, as the mature delivery feels like a soft fabric as she sings, "Skillet on the stove/ It's such a tempation/ Maybe I'll be the special one who doesn't get burned/ What the fuck was I thinking," the gentle voice and acidic lyrics providing the perfect contrast to invite Youngs' misery into your heart.

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner

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