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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
Bonny Prince Billy
More Revery
Temporary Residence Ltd

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The following is from an email I fired off to Pitchfork magazine about a reeee-diculous news blurb they had posted:

"What hipster planet are you living on? Chicago? Completely disconnected from reality? To say that Johnny Cash "will take a bold leap into indie credibility" by covering a Will Oldham song is one of the dumbest things I've ever read, and I couldn't believe I was reading it on Pitchfork. Johnny Cash isn't a "Country" artist. He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The man is timeless and genre-less. Country, Rock, Gospel, Punk. He's a musician. He doesn't rely on music genres or scenes or hip record labels or tours or gimmicks like changing his recording moniker. He has achieved what Will Oldham, Elliot Smith and whomever else you want to mention never will. You've got it wrong; Will Oldham will finally receive some real-world credibility when Johnny Cash does him the honor of covering his song, proving that someone without a subscription to a punk magazine knows he exists. Will Oldham will be lucky if 500 people know who he is 20 years from now (and I'm not saying exposure or popularity equal talent, ability or accomplishment). I'm not anti-Oldham, I like Palace as much as the next guy, but you have to be realistic and put things into perspective instead of looking through scenester horn-rimmed glasses. Everyone knows that Will Oldham is one of those you-like-it-or-you-don't artists, not a legend. He's not even Wilco, really. Even his bio in the All Music Guide grants him "a moderately successful cult following" at best. C'mon, I thought Pitchfork was a music publication, not some lame ass "Indie" 'Zine. You should print a retraction for that. That's embarrassing."

I still get a big chuckle out of that email when I think about how blown away to the point of being pissed off I was, and I think that attitude extends toward the latest Bonny Billy release, which happened to have come out on Temporary Residence, what I consider to be one of the best labels on the planet. More Revery is a solid release, especially for a covers album, which probably goes to show what a skilled songwriter and singer Oldham is. The quality of this collection of John Phillips, PJ Harvey, Bill Withers, The Renderers, John Holt and Tim McGraw covers doesn't, however, lessen the disgust I feel when indie rock buffoons and punk morons rant about Oldham's genius. Is he talented? Yes, of course, I've granted that several times. But put in the perspective of music in general, on this release Oldham is only slightly more than forgettable, achieving such notoriety only because he works in a medium that has amazingly low standards for songwriting. Indie rock, and punk in specific, worships what country and mainstream pop would often throw away. Oldham may be talented, but his work doesn't so much as make a dent in the bodies of work presented by Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Whitey Ford, Merle Haggard, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Leonard Cohen, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg - you get the idea. The reason Oldham has so much notoriety is because he exists in a microcosm where people like Rebecca Gates are considered "great" songwriters.

If you appreciate warm, personal and folky song craftsmanship or if you're an established fan of Oldham, you'll want to pick this up. Smooth and sweetly presented, this collection of covers is random enough to show that Oldham, unlike most of his following, doesn't have his head stuck in Spin or up his ass.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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