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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
Arab On Radar
The Stolen Singles
Three One G Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Listening to Arab on Radar with CNN war coverage on in the background is a surreal experience. Their hyperkinetic fuck-punk provides an odd soundtrack to the constant barrage of night vision infotainment provided by the government's latest media lackey. And of course we must consider the name - it sounds like it could be a call that goes out from the troops in the 101st when they spot Iraqi tanks. It offers the same ambiguous discomfort that listening to The Cure's "Killing an Arab" conveys at this time, although that song is supposedly based on Camus' The Stranger. This Rhode Island based band is part of the same experimental head smash form of post-music practiced by likeminded bands such as The Locust, Lightning Bolt and Melt Banana, the former two with whom they have toured. They recently called it quits, so don't expect any live show in the near future, but this collection of 7" singles, demo tracks, comp tracks and unreleased material is a good sampling of their career from 1995 trough 2002.

Eric Paul's vocals are buried in the trebly mix for the most part, occasionally emerging from the techno-apocalypse haze that is full of warbly distortion on songs like "Pig Roast," as wah-wah bass and helicoptering guitars smash up against one another. "Inventor" moves along with a coked-up disco beat, sounding like labelmates The Moving Units after a night of whiskey and nutmeg. All of Arab on Radar's sounds range from distortion drenched cacophony to ultra clean tin pan percussion and guitars. This is clearly music for computo-zombies, but only those who still have enough blood left in their rotting limbs to dance a bit. "Samurai Fight Song" stomps forth at a sludge-march tempo, distorted bass attacking the punchy guitars like a swarm of killer bees, while the spare "Running For Asthma" rocks out to random Crash Worship percussion sounds after a frenetic bass intro.

The final track, "O. Henry" is one of the best; an epic blues tinged jam that stretches its feet out lazily as it builds under a walking bassline and insane asylum vocals. Arab on Radar seems to make sense in their nonsense. They may be spindly but they could certainly kick The Faint's ass. But they're gone now, and all we have left are the artifacts. The Stolen Singles is a worthy career retrospective.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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