» 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

Rating: 8.1/10 ?

March 7, 2008
First things first; let's try and figure out what kind of movement is actually happening here. What am I supposed to call these not-quite-hip-hop-experimental-indie-anti-pop-experimental-experiments that cLOUDDEAD and their alum projects Subtle and Why? have been producing for almost a decade? It's all well and good to be unique and unclassifiable when a fan is passively absorbing your work, but when those fans are writers and are expected to comment on your studio records intelligently, some ground rules need to be set. Yoni Wolf and Adam 'Doseone' Drucker probably don't enjoy being judged against one another, but the distinctive similarities between both of their current creative outlets are so great that it is impossible not to hold them side by side and see who has nailed this sound so far.

But honestly, you probably have no idea how frustrating it is to give this album the rating that you see above. Almost every review I've ever read of a record by Drucker and/or Wolf gives them a good amount of credit for their creativity but then yammers on for a thousand words about how they ultimately feel that the record falls short of being a true stand-out for some reason or another. So I'll save us all some time and effort: It's fun to listen to a song or two of a guy talking really fast, using bizarre lyrical imagery over genetically-altered piano loops, but after forty-five minutes of it, so far, it's tended to get old. Subtle's "I Heart L.A." from their Lex Records debut, A New White, is the crowning moment of the sound on record, but neither Wolf nor Drucker has been able to make an album cohesively as good as the flashes of excellence contained in every one of their releases, which worries me as to what the artistic potential of this un-namable genre in the long run is when the novelty of it all has worn off.

I give Alopecia a lot of credit in that respect - out of all the albums I've heard out of the camps of both of these artists, it's probably the one that is the most enjoyable to listen to as a complete work. For whatever it's worth, Alopecia is a quality background music record, and I give you the LAS guarantee that it will make you look cool if you're hosting a get-together, if that kind of thing is important to you, which it probably is. The best moments on the album build upon and compliment one another, and "Good Friday" will probably end up as being as close Why? will get to the transcendence and ambience "I Heart L.A." inhabits. As a rule, I have been wary to trust Why? and Subtle albums because even though what's being said sounds cool and is seductive when appreciated at the surface level, when you set about trying to unearth some meaning in the imagery, they tend to leave you unsatisfied. I'm happy to say that Alopecia will not take advantage of your curiosity - there is an atmosphere and a depth to this record, and it can be enjoyed on a more personal, headphones level. Heck, this could even be an important record in shaping the whole of adolescence, if you're hip and confused enough.

Ultimately, however, no matter how frustrated your local independent record shop is in finding a suitable category to file this record on its shelves, the greater problem facing Why? and Subtle is that of divided skills. Why? makes the listenable records while Subtle makes the interesting records, and until either one of these fellows can make a record that is both welcoming and exciting, every release is going to fall a few steps short of being essential. As it stands, Alopecia is a very good, occasionally great record that is just a little bit closer to nailing this hip-hop acid nightmare of a sound than what's come before it. Thankfully, they've still got a few albums to prove it's possible to make the Alan Ginsberg/Endtroducing… mashup that this clique of musicians have been fantasizing about for a little less than a decade.

Reviewed by Dave Toropov
Introduced to music in the womb with a pair of headphones on his mother's stomach, Dave Toropov has yet to recover the experience. A writer based in Boston and New York, he has also written for Prefix Magazine and What Was It Anyway, and is the maintainer of the "Middleclass Haunt" blog.

See other reviews by Dave Toropov



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