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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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!
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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Day Action Band
Right on Dairyland
Captain Cape

Rating: 8/10 ?

April 18, 2006
Day Action Band know how to package their music, wrapping their album with an agrarian image on the cover (a reaper in a field under a big sky, a few skeletal telephone wires stretching out and over). The album's title, Right on Dairyland, evoked the rural Iowa and Wisconsin landscapes from my formative years. The band's publicity materials made mention of a barn-like, tin-roofed outbuilding, located deep in the North Carolina woods, where the album was recorded. Shit, the band is a family operation comprised of two brothers, Matt and Nate O'Keefe, and the afore-mentioned press statement was written by Leah Stewart, Matt's wife; it all sounded so quaint and honest and real that I was a bit unnerved.

My fears were assuaged after a few minutes of listening. Right on Dairyland is a very sweet and very solid piece of Americana and will almost certainly serve as a launching pad for whatever neo-folk classic the band releases next. Other reviewers have drawn comparisons between Day Action Band and the Stevens (both Cat and Sufjan), early REM, James Taylor and Ben Folds. I can understand the Cat Stevens references, but otherwise I would say that Day Action Band learned far more from After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young and early Steely Dan than from Michael Stipe or the author of "Brick." Day Action Band's employment of organ and keys, coupled with a percussive method of guitar strumming, are implemented quite nicely throughout Right on Dairyland. The drums are spare and tight and work well to anchor the background, keeping the pace and easing the songs through transitions.

Matt O'Keefe's vocals lie exposed, pushed high in the mix to create a layer of sweet vulnerability that envelopes every track. Lyrically, things are simple and straight forward; these are plaintive songs of young love lost and found, marriage (and all of its implications) and of course some folksy bitterness. "Heartless" nods to Bob Dylan while discussing all the aorta-exercising emotions that come with an unrequited love. In "Eyes in the Back of My Head," the track's narrator confronts the woman who has made him into a cuckold: "How can you talk all the things that you talk/ and still take your midnight walk/ at home/ under the sheets?"

As I mentioned before, the organs and keyboards shine on this disc. According to the informative Stewart, the brothers O'Keefe have a habit of collecting old keyboards, and it is the implementation of these instruments that truly makes Right on Dairyland a pleasure to listen to. The organs set the mood, paving an aural road to drive on, and at times the album's almost carnival-like atmosphere evokes images of gothic southern chapels. You can hear the organ filling the room, making the tin roof hum and echoing out and into the surrounding woods. Seriously, if you turn the volume up on some of these tracks you can hear the North Carolina woods and weather making their mark on the tape.

The bottom line is that I highly recommend this album by Day Action Band. These guys have potential and hopefully Right on Dairyland is only the beginning. If you want to support something truly independent, get this disc.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke



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