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LITERATURE

 » 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
Olo
Still Life With Peripheral Gray
No Karma Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Olo is a hard band to review. I will try hard not to them compare them to other bands. Oh hell, I can't help it in this bands case. I mean, if The Sea and Cake had never come along, Olo might still have found their niche in the annals of light, pop, Caribbean, electronic jazz. However, I can't deny that the Sea and Cake don't exist, so I must say Olo bears a resemblance to the Sea and Cake. So shoot me.

Having said all that, still life with peripheral gray is still a good album on its own merits. It is familiar, but it still feels good. It is not a copy. I am always in pursuit of the perfect album to listen to while I am on the beach (the last time I was on a beach is almost two years ago, but it's a theoretical thing). For years it was the first Isotope album, then it was Pet Sounds, then it was one song off a Barry Black album (the eighth or ninth song on Tragic Animal Stories), now it may be this album. It is very smooth.

"tennis on Swaymore. . . Swaymore" is driven by a two-note noise or loop or organ groove or whatever. I must admit I am not usually a fan of these type of things, even when done by my favorite bands (see "Assassination on Christmas Eve" by the Archers of Loaf), but this one works because the band plays off of it. It goes away for awhile in the middle of the song just about when you start to get sick of it, melding into a jazzy mid portion. Then the two-note deal comes fighting back at the end and it grooves. "to me you are the setting sun" would not be out of place on a Stan Getz album and it is very beautiful. I have become a real sucker for songs like "pizzazz" with its hazy organ backdrop. I can't resist it as it closes with a cool synthesizer that almost reminds me of Zelda (the original and in a good way). The only part of the album I didn't like was "interruption" which is an appropriately titled fifty seven seconds. The album closes with "press on" which is very good, but may sound just a little too much like you know whom.

It amazes me that a band that currently locates itself in the middle of Bloomington, Indiana is making the perfect music to bring to the beach. I can see it all right now; the sun is setting, the sand is warm beneath my feet, there is a slight breeze, I am drinking Malibu and pineapple juice, and the tide is going in or out I forget what it does at night or I guess that depends on where you are... and Olo is right on.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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