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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
Breather Resist
Charmer
Jade Tree

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 1, 2004

Jade Tree is starting to hit the hard stuff - the musical equivalent of grain alcohol, the kind that burns in your throat like battery acid. Breather Resist is a screamo outfit from Louisville, Kentucky that's so loud it makes the Blood Brothers run for cover. The record label that brought you the bleak acoustic work of Pedro The Lion and the warm, fuzzy emo of The Promise Ring now introduces a reasonable facsimile of the Jesus Lizard; only instead of the demented story-telling vocals of David Yow, we get interminable yelling and screeching.

It's too bad the vocals, or what passes for them are so far up front in the mix. My philosophy: if you care so little about them - and the lyrics - that all you do is scream unintelligibly, bury them. They're no good to anyone. Pare back on the words and take a seat, Steven Sindoni. Let the dense, turbulent guitar work of Evan Patterson - you may know him from the National Acrobat and Black Cross - seethe and roar, like in "An Insomniac's Complexion" or "Honest To God", two wasp nests of sound so frenzied you feel like you're in a riot. Or, sit and watch Patterson's Allow for the powerful squat thrusts of Nick Thieneman's bass to heave and groan, like in "A Social Worker's Nightmare" or the Shiner-esque "As Far As Goodbyes Go." And quit smothering the quick-change time signatures and heavy, ebb-and-flow dynamics, especially in the titanic, Dead Meadow-like "Amphetamine Praise", that kept me surprised and riveted.

There is a pattern to Breather Resist's brand of hardcore mayhem that emerges after a while, and that routine wears on you. Often, at the beginning, is chaos: hard-charging guitar gathers steam and mauls you like a lion. The drums fly apart like parts of a machine that's been stressed for so long, it simply explodes. All the while, the bass pulverizes you like a trash compactor. Then, suddenly, Patterson comes riding in from out of nowhere - like some cowboy - and lassos this raging beast, calming it by throwing thick blankets of power chords over its back. It still makes for interesting music, but once you've figured it out, it loses some of its power to amaze.

But that's small potatoes. The real problem here is the vocals. You know how some hardcore singers actually sing from time to time, maybe when the beat drops out, and you see the actual eye of the storm. That's a good time to change things up, to stop the screaming and let loose with a sinister whisper or something raspy. Study what Mike Patton does. Or, better yet, hire yourself a female singer, like Isis does, to add haunting, soothing textures. But, that's not Breather Resist.

I understand that you have to shout to be heard above the raucous din. Maybe the problem is that I have a fundamental misunderstanding of the genre - it is called screamo, after all. Maybe the reason why the Blood Brothers' popularity is on the rise is because people want to hear vocals that sound like their being rammed through a wood chipper - chords being shredded like exculpatory files at Enron. I guess I'm not one of them.

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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