» 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
Left For Dead
Shake It

Rating: 7.4/10 ?

September 28, 2007
Wussy's Funeral Dress slipped under the radar at the very end of 2005 with little fanfare, a real shame for a perfect album. From the goofy name down to the band members being a bit older than your average alt-rock fare, there's nothing overly fashionable about Wussy, nor is their sound very groundbreaking; they play fairly basic three-chord jangle rock, with hints of country and a bit of indie noise. Their songs comprise brief narratives rich in bizarre turns and literary value. In a perfect world, they'd have R.E.M.'s fans and Lucinda Williams' reviews, but this isn't a perfect world and Shake It isn't a major label. Instead Wussy will have to settle for good old word of mouth, which will hopefully leave Ohio and, if we're lucky, ten years from now Funeral Dress will have developed some kind of cult status to rival, maybe, Freedy Johnston's Can You Fly in 1992?

The just-released Left For Dead doesn't mess with the formula established on Funeral Dress, which would have to be considered a bit of a step backward because the formula coughed up less standouts this time. Where Funeral Dress was one tightly-woven synthesis of all its parts, with melodica and harmonica hooks inseparable from the matter-of-fact storytelling, Left for Dead works a little too hard to hammer one distinctive element into each song. This is probably out of nervousness, justified because "Trail of Sadness" and "Rigor Mortis" start like anything on the debut but don't make the gorgeous left turns that launched the old songs like megaton bombs.

A bit slower and less dynamic, Wussy's follow-up is still quite impressive for Funeral Dress' leftovers. Just one track reaches the highs of "Airborne" or "Crooked,": Lisa Walker's gorgeously penned "Jonah" marches along first with some modest arpeggios, then her scratchily pretty Lucinda-esque vocals yearn the chorus before a monstrous guitar hook and fake strings lift the whole mess into the sky. Other highlights evoke everything from above-average Feelies (the punky "What's-His-Name") to Sonic Youth (the damning crunch of "Rigor Mortis" gives way to a surprising storm of feedback and amp noises) to even Arcade Fire (the warmly melodic "Sun Giant Says Hey," sounds like a folktale rewrite of "No Cars Go").

Elsewhere, things seem a bit too smoothed over: Chuck Cleaver's voice has grown almost too easy to take since his days in Ohio's psych-roots watershed Ass Ponys, and the instrumental attack is less complex. When a melodica hooks "Millie Christine," it feels more like an excuse to keep from learning new chord changes than a cherry on top; just compare the instrument's use in 2005's astonishing "Soak it Up." Left for Dead sounds either too eager to please or too lazy to go somewhere new. Maybe both. The one delightful surprise is the rocked-out "Killer Trees," which properly mines a fuzz-bass chorus riff that would've been a horn chart if they had the budget, and with Walker doing a fun, strangled Kim Gordon impression that would've sounded fine on Sonic Youth's Dirty. With more tunes like that and the lovely "Jonah," the foursome may have another chance at a critical hit next time out. But right now, in the hedged middle, they sound more than comfortable, a blessing and a curse.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss



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