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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
Mouthus
Loam
Ecstatic Peace Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


May 11, 2005
The two Brooklyn-based gutter-dwellers of Mouthus have successfully managed to channel the same noise-rock-w/o-the-noise vibe that has served Lightning Bolt so well. While the two artists approach the chaotic skree-punk aesthetic with different sets of instruments, tones and song-crafting techniques (yes, I will go as far as to deem the stuff these bands spew forth "songs"); they both cut the crap and get right to sawing through the bone.

By foregoing sparse, meandering electronic squibbles, impenetrable ramparts of formless bludgeoning and tedious foreplay (i.e. the amateurish noodling that arises when all but the most locked-in, perfectly synced players kick into an improv), Lightning Bolt have made dangerous, difficult music appealing to nubile noiseniks who would bristle at the very thought of an SYR release or a Black Dice album - let alone one of the Rhode Island duo's label mates. Though Mouthus' songs run a bit longer and lack da Bolt's cock prance gusto, they're wank-free and pointed enough to serve as a similar kind of bridge - and, like Lightning Bolt, Mouthus makes enough bona fide shit-kicking racket to appeal to folks whose LP shelves are lined with Borbetomagus and Jandek records.

The first side of this vinyl-only release plays out like a raygun discharging into a whirlpool, with a torrent of droning, liquid feedback refracting an armor-piercing particle beam. It's difficult to tell when "Yota" ends and "Sheep Dust" begins - but both cuts are primarily guitarist Brian Sullivan's show. At any given time, at least four distinct layers of guitar slice through the speakers; it's difficult to keep track of them because each remains in a constant state of flux with the hazy subliminal lulls petering out into gasping wisps and piercing shards of jagged Albini metal machine music thrusting into the high-pitched, steady, almost-rhythmic shredding layers.

By the time the needle runs its course, we don't really find ourselves in a different locale than where we started, but stasis is a good thing as the array of sounds that form the side's foundation is so thick and ripe with possibilities that careful exploration and subtle shifts are enough to make for a satisfying, engaging listen.

Side two opens with the pile driver that the first two songs anticipate. Jarring riffs and Nate Nelson's caveman percussion drive "Trough" and make it the album's most interesting moment. It's easily Mouthus' most violent outburst, but it's also their most accessible, sticking closest to rock and roll conventions. "Must Anubis", on the other hand, is something entirely foreign to the fully-awake mind; it's bed of backwards, mangled guitar drone ebbs and flows with disarming beauty, while Nelson smears shit all over it with more bare-chested beating.

Tribal chants add to the surrealism; I'm still not sure if the song is a hypnotic charmer or a horrific monstrosity - either way, it's not to be missed. "Throat" winds the album down with more hollering and clattering, stripping away a few layers of guitar in an act of dismantling. The saber-toting warriors of "Trough" are reduced to loincloth-clad artisans, left pounding stones against clay in a quest to form something of some use or beauty out of the unyielding earth.

Though it would likely still exist exactly as it is now without My Bloody Valentine's crowning achievement, Loam seems to pay homage to central pretty/ugly tension in Loveless' guitar work. Like Kevin Shields, Sullivan uses all means of six-string manipulation to transform warped bottom-end tones into crystalline foundations and blissed-out high-end into shrill torture devices. Mouthus' hardcore-derived sense of angularity only allows the MBV comparison to hold up so far, though, and unlike Loveless, Loam has a clear victor - the ugly parts decapitate the pretty parts and drink rum from their hollowed-out skulls (then again, isn't a proficient aesthetic rendering of this spectacle a form of beauty unto itself?). These fellas are searching and scraping just like ol' Shieldsy did, and their adventurous spirit pays rich dividends.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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