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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
Two Gallants
What the Toll Tells
Saddle Creek

Rating: 8/10 ?


March 7, 2006
The past few months have been pretty rough. It seems like every other week I've had to get on a flight at the crack of dawn on Monday morning to spend the week working in LA, only to catch a late flight back to San Francisco on Friday night. In between is a whirlwind of work, traffic, and confusion stemming from the feeling of being displaced so frequently. The bright spot of the whole ordeal being the time I get to spend with a certain someone while I am in town, the happiness of our reunion unfortunately gives way to the realization that I will once again have to say goodbye to her. By the end of the week I am dragging myself around, ready to sleep through the weekend in my own bed, but sad to be leaving.

Luckily, I have Two Gallants to listen to as I fade out in my seat on the return flight home. Closing my eyes, their heartbroken tales take my mind off of my own weariness and grief. Commiserating with the songs of sorrow and vulnerability, I can't help but feel a little bit better as the plane takes off.

Evoking the twang of early country, straight forwardness of rock n' roll, and emotion of indie-rock, Two Gallants sing caustic tales steeped in anguish and pain as seen through the eyes of the lonesome outsider. While the music on What the Toll Tells is more upbeat than their previous album, The Throes, lyrically the songs tackle the same themes. Sounding wearier than a young man should, singer Adam Stephens' narratives are a perfect compliment to the bluesy guitar and drums. Both voice and music are stripped down and raw, easily conveying the underlying emotion in each of the songs. As an added bonus, a harmonica is frequently employed, just begging the comparison between a certain folk hero who also sang rich narratives.

Not an album for a sunny day, What the Toll Tells can seem gloomy and filled with shadows. In fact, the specter of death seems to pervade most of the songs but unfortunately, as is often the case in life, there is nary a happy ending in sight. But that doesn't mean the Two Gallants should be written of as being exaggeratedly morose. In the tradition of American music, they are the most recent in a long line of musicians who are just telling it like it is.

Reviewed by Kevin Alfoldy
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.

See other reviews by Kevin Alfoldy

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