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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
Relay
Still Point Of Turning
Bubble Core

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


January 29, 2007
Unless your name is Steve Albini, being a studio engineer can be a faceless, anonymous profession. For example, does the name Jeff Zeigler ring any bells? I didn't think so. Nobody on the street would know him from Adam... or Adam Franklin.

That could be about to change, though. After years of trying to coax amazing sounds out of bands like Aspera, the Swirlies and S Prcss at his home, Zeigler is trotting his own project, the shoegazer outfit Relay. Formerly just a four-track bedroom of Zeigler's - or bathroom or whatever other part of the house you want to name - Relay is now a band, and not just Zeigler's hobby. But, with the spotless production of Still Point Of Turning, not to mention its swirling mass of carefully sculpted dark, dreamy sound, it's clear this is still Zeigler's baby.

Modeled after Swervedriver, but also embracing the dark wave pop of bands like Echo And The Bunnymen in much the same way The Life And Times does its thing, Relay darts in and out of the traffic that clogs up this genre with amazing ease. Driving into the night on a full tank of clean, effects-laden guitars, spacey synthesizers and vintage Farfisa that wouldn't sound out of place on a Stereolab album, complex drum patterns and smooth-shifting bass lines, Relay's engine hums with sterling sound quality and Zeigler, whose studio wizadry would make indie villagers scream, "Witch, witch," is able to lasso clear melodies out of Still Point Of Turning's dark sonic flood. Tracks don't float by, as they did with the old 4AD crowd; Zeigler is not going for a Cocteau Twins revival.

There is muscle, stretched long like a swimmer's physique, in pieces like driving rockers "New Domestic Landscape" - which sounds like Sebadoh landing on the moon - and "Context," the closest Zeigler comes to Mezcal Head zeitgeist. And yet, Zeigler saves his greatest tricks for "Season (Start)," in which he conjures up a starry netherworld of atmospheric, epic guitar rock. All the while, Zeigler pushes a beautiful, entrancing melody out through speakers and lets all the converging elements bloom like hostas in a hot house in space - ridiculous analogy, I know, but it's the best I could come up with. Half-formed instrumentals like "Several Circles" and troubled experiments ("Pre") damage the overall mood, but when the My Bloody Valentine squall of "IDK" hits, it's as if a rocket is taking off and burning pieces of it are falling off the ship before it makes a beautiful melodic arc that's stunning to behold.

"Ode To Guesswork" is not the best track on Still Point Of Turning, but it does sum up Relay's mission, and that is to overwhelm ears with awesome sonic power and simple melodies that don't sound simple to make. It's intricate rhythmically, and that makes it a little clunky in parts, but "Ode To Guesswork" is also stormy and melodic, with vocals that sound ever so much like Lou Barlow. That dichotomy is what makes Relay an intriguing proposition. You better recognize.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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