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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
Jarboe
The Men Album
Atavistic

Rating: 8/10 ?


March 10, 2006
In this mystery meat pot-roast of goth-industrial-futurepop sub-Björkings, Ex-Swan Jarboe offers the most hiply presentable slices of her life over the past half decade. The Men Album represents what Jarboe has been up to since the release of her last studio outing, the Crouton-released Over, paraded around as an egghead's-eye-view of an egghead-male's-eye-view of feminine 'mystique', much of which will only serve to prompt eggheaded males to write themselves little Post-It reminders to not sleep with kooky art chicks.

Not to Simon Cowell-ize things - her voice is in as fine a shape as ever, and the remarkable list of male deconstructionists (Jim Thirlwell, Ministry's Chris Connelly, etc. etc.) who've collaborated on this aren't holding back - but most listeners would be faking it if they claimed to grasp the "significance" of things like weirdo inhale-screech noises ("Into Feral"), fawning answering machine messages from someone who's tagged her recently, and a few thickly-accented spoken words about German beef gravy. Aside from this and other dribbles of Wolf-womyn frothing-about-the-mouth, much of The Men Album is good. "This is Life," which leads off the first disc, stands as a fine example of DIY on its own, with Jarboe doing a Girl Interrupted nick of Weed's Cristina Handrabur, but the track is even better, after receiving a Front Line Assembly-style makeover, as the opener for disc two.

The goth gears go into overdrive with "Feral," a group grope involving guitarist Steve Von Till laying down a 3/4 time mud-metal line alongside bassist Paz Lenchantin from A Perfect Circle, all of this taking place after Jarboe helps herself to a gloomy outburst of Queensryche pomposity finished in augmented haunted-house arpeggios which, she eventually decides, needs to become a note-holding contest - at no point does she dissuade you from keeping in mind that you are in the presence of an indie legend.

As hinted at above, The Men Album's second disc shifts toward a more techno/tronic direction, at least initially. Following the Percy Howard redo of "This is Life," electro producer Robert Kaechele and Bauhaus bassist/singer David J provide the backdrop for the slithery obeisance of "Angel David," in which Jarboe conjures Vampirella dancing with a snake in an Egyptian temple. "Bass Force/Angel Jim" begins with a fuzz-bass solo courtesy of Kris Force that bleeds into a bolero-disco affair wherein Thirlwell powers down his decimated nitro-wielding-freak croon to seduce the lady fair.

Unfortunately for you, you're going to have to get past the answering machine stuff and the other spontaneous bizarro hiccups, because in the end, given the length and breadth of the contributions, this is as radical as having a radio station that's an alternative to your alternative radio station - there's a reason that all these (let's admit it) important Men turned out for this, and it's not merely her (let's face it) nice lips.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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