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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
Frog Eyes
The Folded Palm
Absolutely Kosher Records

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
What did The Folded Palm say to the face? Slap!

With apologies to Dave Chappelle for stealing material, I have yet to hear anything this year that so immediately knocked me on my ass like the first three songs on this Frog Eyes record. Three songs, none longer than two minutes, and yet from the very first second, this has your attention.

Drummer Melanie Campbell starts the first song, "The Fence Feels Its Post," with a quick jab of what The Folded Palm is going to be about: aggressive, vaguely unusual. Then Casey Mercer starts singing - a sharp right across your chin that lets you know playtime is over - you're going to have to take them very seriously. He yelps and gutturally growls and brings to mind a less gravelly Tom Waits, and yet isn't quite like any other singer, either. The lyrics are free-association, abstract, feinting, dancing around, ducking you.

The rest of the band, including Michael Rak on bass and Grayson Walker on keyboard, matches Mercer blow for blow, expertly equaling whatever he throws at them, whether anarchic haymakers or menacing whispers up close.

Every song here is tense and challenging. They mix it up with slow dirges like "New Soft Motherhood Alliance," and with the aggressive, almost punk-like "Ship-Destroyer." They come at you from strange angles with songs like "The Oscillator's Hum" and "Russian Berries but You're Quiet Tonight," that are more or less unclassifiable, but undeniably compelling.

As good as this is as a whole, it really all comes down to those first three songs. No more than five minutes total; that's as long as it needs to be for The Folded Palm to say: "We're Frog Eyes. Bitch."

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz



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