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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
Peter Walker
Landed
Dangerbird Records

Rating: 6/10 ?


March 24, 2005
Landed has more stars than an episode of Fantasy Island. The only character nobody knows is Peter Walker himself.

Joining him on Landed is Jay Bennett, playing the role of a Wilco expatriate trying to revive his sagging music career. On drums is a mercenary with a colorful past, Joey Waronker of R.E.M. He teams up with slightly crazed Beck bassist, Justin Meldal-Johnsen to form a rhythm section with mysterious motives. Cast as Mr. Roarke and his faithful sidekick, Tattoo, famed producers Joe Chicardelli (Frank Zappa and U2) and Tony Hoffer (The Thrills, Beck and Air) - you decide which is which - are the puppetmasters laying out conceits to teach this group of alt-country misfits life lessons they can use when they get back to civilization.

And just like the show, a lot of the plot lines on Landed are bland and familiar, rarely deviating from what's come before it. "Please" has the ragged electric guitar twang and meandering current of The Jawhawks, circa Hollywood Town Hall, but the hooks aren't as gripping and the vocal melody is dull and uninspired. Whereas "I Came Around" takes what's best about that record and makes a sincere, sad lament out of silvery guitar veins mined from later Jayhawks records and sleight piano flourishes that trail off like smoke.

Too often, though, Landed swims in a stagnant melodic bog, like on "Neighbor", which drowns in dark, plodding piano, as traces of feedback flit about overhead like dragonflies. And "Regular Woman" is what Janis Joplan would have sounded like had she been hooked on painkillers instead of alcohol, it's drowsy medicine concocted from sleepy electric keyboards and gentle acoustic guitar strumming.

Getting drunk on the Midwestern country rock melodies of the aforementioned Wilco and Minnesota's Gear Daddies, Landed tends to drift off and leave you hung over. "Invitation" has the substance and the sinewy guitar picking that's missing from "Neighbor", inviting you to "Come on over and mess up your mind" with its bright acoustic pop melody and meaty electric guitar chorus.

Walker's coarse rasp is perfectly suited for the loneliness of "Different Kind Of Romance", with its simple beats, its acoustic sway, its circling electric keys and hard-bitten lyrics about a rocky romance that's working itself out as the two lovers see it for what it is and stop expecting it to go easy. And "Pluto" has more of a driving rock melody that plays to the strengths of both Walker and Bennett - namely, their effervescent keyboards and lost planet electronic whirrs, and the stinging guitar lines that offer a venomous contrast to Walker's easy vocal drawl.

Still, Landed doesn't take full advantage of the talent that's here. The elasticity and sly groove of Meldal-Johnsen's bass is missing in action. And Waronker's drums, though steady, are unspectacular. There's nothing unique about Walker's songwriting either, although the dead-air of "Gone Away" is special. A painful portrait of a friend who's succumbed to his additions and " ... fallen much too hard" after trying to fly ever higher, "Gone Away" offers up an interesting instrumental touches, like the dark, rippling saxophone solo and slight warp of the keyboards. Walker doesn't always stray far from his influences, but every once in a while, he goes out a little further, like someone who's just learning how to swim. Soon, he'll be able to take off the water wings.

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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