» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[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!
[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
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
The Mountain Goats
Palmcorder Yajna
4AD Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There's a room in a flea bag motel where a bunch of tweakers gather together for an all-night methamphetamine binge. One of them feverishly dreams of "a camera pointing out from inside the television" and raves like a madman that "the headstones [have] climbed up the hills." It looks like somebody needs an intervention - and a long stint in rehab.

This is the seamy drug underworld of "Palmcorder Yajna", the first single off the Mountain Goats' new album We Shall All Be Healed. If nothing else, the poisonous folk-rock ode to hard living, released before We Shall All Be Healed on an import-only EP with two bonus tracks, shows the Goats' John Darnielle hasn't gone soft.

The debauchery of "Palmcorder Yajna" is unapologetically chronicled in first-person narrative by a main character that hates his addiction, his life and everyone around him. Too embarrassed to be seen in such a state by people outside this meth-addled sewing circle, he tells the group, "If anyone comes to see me/ tell them they missed me by a minute." To himself, he adds sardonically, "If anybody comes into our room while we're asleep/ I hope they incinerate everybody in it." There's anxiety and tension in Darnielle's agitated nasal bleat. Plinking piano, steady drum beats and the song's sharp, stabbing acoustic guitar strum give the piece all the urgency of an ambulance flying through town, sirens blaring, on its way to save the sorry ass of someone who's overdosed.

"Butter Teeth" could be the day after. Sleep-deprived and blinded by daylight, these "stray electrical currents trying to find the ground" walk along sun-baked sidewalks of acoustic guitar and mellow electric keyboards until they hit a pharmacy. There, they wander through the aisles "artlessly shoplifting random things" to get a thrill. After all that drama, the escapist fantasy closer, "Snakeheads", with its tropical imagery and lush, laid-back piano grooves, is a welcome change of pace.

The way has been prepared for We Shall All Be Healed, album No. 12 for the Mountain Goats and their second for 4AD. Whether or not Darnielle's characters find the redemption promised in the album's title is anybody's guess. They've been living on the edge for a long time. So has Darnielle - if not in real life, then vicariously through his dysfunctional characters - and as a songwriter, he seems none the worse for wear.

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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