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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
Koenjihyakkei
Angherr Shisspa
SkinGraft

Rating: 9/10 ?


January 3, 2006
Ruins' charm lies in their embrace of stupidity. They reduce rock to its most guttural essentials (bass and drums - the rhythm) and rub prog, punk, and avant-garde forms in the mud, creating a pastiche of leftfield sounds that makes underground sensibilities sound as base and debased as the most primal Screamin' Jay Hawkins ditty. Ruins albums appropriate "higher" rock forms to draw attention to their pretensions - and rather than eschewing these excesses, the band revels in their ridiculousness. Their music thrives on purposeful and accidental silliness.

Ruins' drummer and mastermind Yoshida Tatsuya's large group project, Koenjihyakkei, carries his primary band's mission out on a larger scale. Koenjihyakkei throw more instruments into the mix, adding keyboards, reeds, and a chorus of female voices into the fray, and as a result open up more possibilities for absurdity. Magma-esque choral prog, Laswellian jazzbo skronk, classical music, and modern jazz all get their comeuppance in Angherr Shisspa, as the ensemble churns these disparate styles into madcap bursts of fragmented ecstasy.

In many ways, this might be Yoshida's finest album. Angherr Shisspa offers as many momentary stays against calamity as it does rousing deconstructions, bringing the very forms it thrashes together for some vibrant refrains that rival Sufjan Stevens's most elaborate compositions in terms of beauty and unity. "Rattims Friezz" does this best, with cascading pianos and undulating reeds forming some sort of jubilant whirlpool of melody; even at seven minutes long, it's easily the catchiest, most instantly loveable song Yoshida's ever written.

This isn't to say that the album isn't without flashes of pure insanity, of course. For instance, "Mibingvahre" rolls through an early Boredoms-like tribal chant and seems intent on smashing every piece of melody it comes across. If anything, Angherr Shisspa applies the fragmented forms of Yoshida's songs to the album format, refusing to establish any sort of pattern or narrative arc. We're forced to take each song as it comes and enjoy it on its on merits; there's no illusion of a cohesive whole, and that's fitting.

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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