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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
Selfmademan
The Daylight Robbery
Smallman Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The treacherous north, home of snowy tundra and the displaced French, unlocked doors and a dying hockey economy... this is where the good punk has been hiding? Our neighbors to the north, while the butt of many a fine joke, seem to be producing some of the best sounding emotional punk music, especially with a social conscience.

Stellar poli-punk bands are as scarce as Winnipeg Jets season ticket holders (hoohaa!), and one of them, another Canadian outfit (not merely good, I mean truly stellar), Propagandhi, seem content releasing an album every five years, leaving a nasty gap on the quality punk rock calendar. Now Selfmademan give us The Daylight Robbery, really a shining example of what emotionally driven, political punk can sound like when it's done well.

It's always difficult to incorporate politics and social commentary into music, especially punk. You can come off as sounding too narrow minded, preachy, or just plain childish, and it's a crapshoot as to how it will work out in the end, since the formula has yet to be written. It takes a delicate balance of style in music and lyricism and the right vocal delivery to boot: too snotty and you're obnoxious; too soft and you're Lilith Fair fodder.

Selfmademan really coalesce on all levels, with driving punk with a slight edge, sung vocals (vocals that need to be qualified as "sung?" 'Tis a sad time in music…) with fantastic melodic choruses, and well thought out, well-written, affecting lyrics. For a debut album, there's little left to chance, and little left on wanting. It's easy to see why Smallman Records (launching pad for swelling Moneen and deceased Small Brown Bike) has been making a buzz of late, easier still to see why they signed Selfmademan.

From beginning to end, the album is unyielding in drive and never disappoints. It's one of the few times I wasn't left wondering "what if?" of late, and that left a lemony fresh taste in my mouth a the scent of mint in the air. It's fresh and it incites rebellion - after lines like: "The day is gone/I walk among my kind/Most of them wear ties/I told myself I never would/I told myself I'd only be hanging by one," I was left holding a lighter to my badge and access card for work (I quickly doused the flame realizing that I have bills to pay, but damn, if it didn't get me going).

The disc tops off at 10 tracks, with the final track written and performed in French. I'm not quite sure what they're saying and by the end of the disc, that didn't bother me. The music is great on its own and coupled with the previous song's social pleas and cries for change, I was happy to rock along and trust that Selfmademan weren't trying to sell me Happy Meals or leather sneakers by disc's end.

Perhaps it's the reminiscence of my own futile rebellion that never amounted to much of anything that rings so true with this band: they're taking action and striving to make a difference and it doesn't matter who listens, just as long as someone does. It's honesty that I can appreciate and respect; their effort to do something about their beliefs that I respect even more: "Start your own collective/spread your own word and message/to everyone that listens/get it in the open/start a band/spread these thoughts/plot your movement to liberate." Take note, kids…take note.

Reviewed by David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other reviews by David Spain

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