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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
Marah
20,000 Streets Under the Sky
Yep Roc Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The year 2000 is a historically significant one. There are the obvious reasons, such as the fact that the world did not end at the strike of midnight on January 1st (nor, I might add, did all the machines and computers of the world rise up against us all and take over the universe in a bloody fight for domination), and the inauguration of President George W. Bush and all of it's controversy that still lives today.

On a smaller scale, the year 2000 was a great year for music. "Punk Rock" began making its mainstream comeback, and "Indie Rock" started to become popular among the kids, as bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes started to knock the Britneys and the Backstreets off of the charts on their way to world dominance. Also in 2000, an unknown band named Marah released their quiet masterpiece Kids In Philly. It was greeted with rave reviews as it took us all on a ride through Beatlesque melodies and pitch-perfect power pop.

Enter 2004. In these short (long?) four years, a lot has changed. The world is marked by war and death -it's like watching an episode of G.I. Joe every day, only to realize that it's not a cartoon, and Duke isn't going to wake up from his coma at the end. The aforementioned George W. Bush has forced his place in history by being reelected to a second term. We need help. We need another Kids In Philly.

Just in time, as if on cue, comes Marah's newest masterpiece, 20,000 Streets Under the Sky. In the midst of all the darkness surrounding us, "Streets" kicks off with an upbeat pop number, "East," about getting high on the city while walking down a side street.

It's ridiculously catchy, bringing to mind vintage Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, or Summerteeth-era Wilco. The next track, "Freedom Park," starts off with a team of doo-wop cheerleaders, and from there we have a page torn out of Elvis Costello's secret diary. It's a great power-pop ditty, complete with E-Street saxophones and Springsteen-like epic chorus. It's like Marah is trying to take us back to a better time... and, thankfully, it's working.

The rest, as they say, is history. Wonderful power-pop, fantastical melodies, tight breakdowns and - believe it - happiness. That seems to be what Marah is trying to sell on this record, and their attempts are certainly not unwelcome. It's nice to be able to put on a record, close your eyes and pretend like things aren't so crazy. It's nice to be able to go back in time once in a while, even if only for 11 songs.

Reviewed by Stephen Smith
In a recent staff survey Stephen Smith included a picture of his cat, Nikolai, since he said he didn\'t have any of himself.

See other reviews by Stephen Smith

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