» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[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!
[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
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
Concentration Face/Homeboy
5 Rue Christine

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

November 15, 2005
Rating: 6 (DVD)/7.5 (CD)

Music DVDs are still around because they oftentimes offer an intimate look into the lives of a touring band that, until a few years ago, had been accessible to only tour managers and weird groupies. DVDs are filled with music videos and concerts, but their real draw is the candid touch of backstage footage or sound check and pre-show goofing around; these elements add another, more tangible dimension to the artists and their music.

Hella's first DVD, Concentration Face, does not take full advantage of the medium. Covering their recent tour of Japan, the DVD offers both snippets of several shows and also a Tokyo concert in its entirety. The combination sounds exciting right off the bat: an American band in a foreign country breaking down cultural and language barriers through noise rock. However, the film is 90% performance footage that doesn't show much of the context.

There are occasional moments when Spencer Seim and Zach Hill hang out with fans after the show, getting their picture taken on camera watches and communicating with a series of bows and thumbs up, but these seem to be only flashes in a DVD clocking in at over 3 hours. The amount of this kind of non-music footage would be tantalizing if Concentration Face was half as long, but there just isn't enough travelogue to make the DVD much different than Hella's CDs. There isn't much to say about the bulk of the disc dedicated to Hella's sets other than the fact that drummer Zach Hill moves faster than lightning and is susceptible to injury - which is something you could have guessed from listening to Hella anyway.

The included Homeboy CD is (thankfully) not nearly as extensive. Somewhere between an EP and a mini LP (two relatively short songs sandwiched between two songs over 11 minutes long), it doesn't plod along as much as the DVD does. In fact, it's quite the opposite, as Spence and Zach sound as tight as ever. The longer tracks, "Gothpel For You Not Them" and "If I Were In Hella I Would Eat Lick," change directions rapidly without losing momentum; Seim moves from glitches and straight up 8-bit sounds to his more standard fret-tapping madness with ease - I'm not sure if this is made more difficult or easier by Hill's virtuosic drumming, which is the fastest thing I've ever heard over an extended period of time (he never stops on the 30 minute album, and rarely on the 3 hour DVD).

The shorter numbers on the disc don't do so much sprawling and are more to the point. "Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde Wreckage" carries a fanfare buzz throughout, "BC But Not Before Christ" has more of a flight-of-the-bumblebee feel with a ladder of electronic tones climbing up and down the furious sonic landscape. Between these combined efforts, Hella show that of all the noise rock bands tripping out these days, they remain one of the finest and make the best case for the genre's legitimacy.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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