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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
A Silver Mt. Zion
Horses in the Sky
Constellation Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


April 4, 2005
A pattering of moments pass along; Efrim's chafed warble bemoans, "they put angels in the electric chair, the electric chair" against the temperate waltz of a cello. Marching drums eagerly clasp hands with a clanking of percussion and sporadic, vacillating violin as the spectacle takes on an old-time swing aura. As this sketch may exhibit, Horses in the Sky, the fourth full-length from A Silver Mt. Zion, fosters a furtherance into feral, immediate territories, where strangled vocals abound through clearly laid paths of traditional song-structure, guided by bucolic guitars as opposed to swollen strings.

Whereas previous efforts spawned a shrouded sadness that sought engagement by keeping a distance, this work squares its shoulders at once, fervent in its desire to have its audience lend an ear for at least a moment. From Efrim's drunken drawl to solemn guitar arpeggios slumbering in a slovenly bed of gritty generator hums, these compositions are impregnated with a strangely opulent and worryingly irresistible desperation.

This mark is firmly impressed onto the skin of "Mountains Made of Steam". At this point, a wobbly guitar grapples with a meek coda of cello, much like a river rolls pebbles. Efrim's strained voice is once more at the forefront, but is joined by a host of chanting others, saturating the piece with ominous hues as the voices take flight.

Other attempts, however, such as "Teddy Roosevelt's Guns", are stained by a menacing reverb that meanders about stately piano chords, hit like a startled horse stamping its hooves and somewhat stale squealing: "Oh Canada, oh Canada I have never been your son". Honest desperation, as becoming as its sight may be to behold, is endowed with the potential to cripple; every now and again ASMZ are unable to control this dragon by its tail.

Though there be moments in which violin and viola take on the scraping and sawing qualities of before, a particular nostalgia remains for the flowery string arrangements drawn in the notebooks of previous works. Horses in the Sky has other aspirations: namely a straight-forward communication which aims to be understood by all, without sacrificing sentiment and still galvanizing thoughtful self-questioning. It is in such a manner that this meticulously meditated montage of plaintive pianos, rustic guitars and dissonant string clusters battering harmonic ranges, has all the tenderness of a hand extended.

Reviewed by Max Schaefer
Nocturnal qualms and eyes that brim like lamps betoken slender sketches, poetry and short stories strewn alongside piano playing, a fiddling of knobs and murmured dialogue with a medley of electronic gizmo\'s. A twenty-one year old person lodged within the University of Victoria, Max harvests organic sounds on a sullen sampler, watching water unwind like two broad lengths of ribbon and nursing a book below the canopy of a cheery-tree. Max believes that the world is made present by people\'s presence in it and that art is one such way in which a distinctive disclosure might be crafted.

See other reviews by Max Schaefer

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