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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
Aviso' Hara
Made From Scratch
Powerbunny4x4

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
One thing I always loved about Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation is that there are songs on it that I don't like, but I think are good because they were so uniquely particular. I mean, the vocals on "Eric's Trip" are just awful, and yet the guitars are beautiful. I'm not saying that Aviso' Hara (who keep mentioning in all their press stuff about what their name means, as if I care) are of the caliber of Sonic Youth. They do take many cues from that mid-career, looser Youth period, both in that they have flailing guitars choking on effects and distortion and because much of their melodic approach to songs seems half-assed.

There seems to be a split between the emo-ish songs and the more Built to Spill influenced pop songs. The hot Hara make a better go at the poppier songs, because they seem to be trying to balance noise and pop, and yet the emo-ish songs don't have very good melodies. "Red Five (Standing by)" has an early Built to Spill or Promise Ring (because Promise Ring are pop, not emo) flavor to it, accentuated by the high pitch vocals. The tight melodies allow the guitar noise to spread beneath the song and hold it up, rather than just being "the noisy part" as an old (and not very good) band of mine used to call the parts when we hit all the pedals. "Drop the Mids" starts off with a cool Sebadoh-sounding repeated guitar hook played through some trebly distortion over a march beat, but then moves into a section that sounds like a pop band trying to do a metal part. When Aviso' Hara get their Unwound-masks on for "HOV Lane Carcrash", I get bored.

And yet the appeal of Aviso' Hara on this CD is that they always pop out with some appealing moment in each song, whether it is a fishhook melody or a layered noisy guitar cascade. I can dislike the songs and appreciate the finer moments. I just wish the finer moments were all congealed into good songs. There is no "Silver Rocket" on this CD. Interestingly, there is a second version of "Red Five (Standing by)" at the end of the CD, it's cleaned up and sucked clean of its appeal, and it ends up sounding like that silly Verve Pipe song about that college kid who kills herself.

There is a long and detailed history of how each song on this compilation came to be recorded. It reads a bit more clearly than those lists of genealogies in the Old Testament, except that it doesn't matter to me - it turns out this is the second CD from the band and already they've decided that the world needs a collection of earlier singles, demo recordings, and covers. The cover of the Crue's "Shout at the Devil" seems unnecessary, but the cover of "Raspberry Beret" is surprisingly good, feeling like a late night enjoyable romp. I think the world would have been more likely to appreciate about half of these on an EP, but the other half of these songs would've been better left in the bottom drawer of that old chest.

Reviewed by Mathias Svalina
Living in Lincoln, Nebraska, Mathias Svalina is pursuing a PhD in creative writing at the University of Nebraska and also co-curates The Clean Part Reading Series and co-edits Octopus Magazine.

See other reviews by Mathias Svalina

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