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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
The Walkmen
Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone
Star Time International

Rating: 9/10 ?


May 8, 2001
I have a soft spot for this band because I helped to book them in their former incarnation - the much-hyped Jonathan Fire*Eater - at a basement show in
Peoria, IL some four years ago. To make a long story short, the basement show ended up being an attic show that the cops broke up about six songs into their set. (We also ate our shorts on that show, but the band was gracious to play for gas money and an air-conditioned home to sleep in, so all was well.) I feel a bit of guilt, to this day, and that guilt propelled me to drive to Chicago to see the new lineup (organ, guitar and drums intact with a new vocalist and bassist) perform at the Abbey Pub. Guilt aside, they were spectacular - as is Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone.

The Walkmen's debut (which has already garnered the band some attention from Alternative Press and MTV2) is a likely departure from what you've been listening to lately, and hence will ultimately fail you if you don't allow a proper amount of time for the group's sound to fester inside your head. What The Walkmen are doing is not simplistic, naive or a derivative of Jonathan Fire*Eater. It's a calculated risk, not another retro rip-off rock band ala The Strokes (despite the media's eagerness to position NYC as a current rock 'n' roll hotbed, hence grouping all of the city's rock bands together). Paul Maroon's psychedelic garage-rock guitar coupled with arcane organ, sustained piano and a truly interesting rhythm section create a rock 'n' roll sound familiar yet sincerely unique. It's as if the band sat down with the Nuggets box set and hand-picked a hundred of their favorite instances and then meshed those together into something all their own. Add to the music Hamilton Leithauser's Bono-like croon and urban coming-of-age tales and you've got an incredibly compelling sound. The Walkmen create an atmospheric noise - not always song-oriented - that is eerily empty and sonically inspiring. Imagine Joy Division as a less-intense late-'60s garage band and you're starting to get a sense for what The Walkmen are all about.

Due to the fact Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone is so off the beaten path of the current rock 'n' roll map, it's quite possible that you'll drop $15 on this album and discover that you absolutely dislike it. But isn't that the kind of risk that makes good rock 'n' roll inherently compelling in the first place?

RIYL: Jonathan Fire*Eater, garage psych-rock, Joy Division, a flair for the dramatic ala early U2.

Reviewed by Doug Hoepker
A former staff writer for LAS whom we like to call Diggles, Mr. Hoepker is currently laboring away on various music-based projects. He now works in academic publishing (ahem), but is perhaps still best known by his DJ moniker, The Noiseboy.

See other reviews by Doug Hoepker

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