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 » 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
Born Heller
Born Heller
Locust Music

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I have to admit that it took me some time to get into Born Heller. For the first few listens, I didn't get past the first half of the album. Eventually I did it, and have fallen in love. Born Heller is intense and intimate; their minimalist approach to folk music makes every listen to their debut very personal in a forceful way.

Born Heller is Josephine Foster and Jason Ajemian, both of whom sing and play just a handful of instruments: mandolin, guitar, harp, and bass. Foster truly makes it a touching experience - her voice is fatally delicate, full of incredible force. She obviously believes in every note and word that she sings.

The majority of Born Heller's eponymous record features her breathtaking falsetto. "The Left Garden" is Foster at her most melodic as Born Heller offer their most traditional folk song on the album. "The Left Garden" melds the modern pop sensibilities of the chorus with a very traditional folk sing along verse.

Arjemian takes lead vocals on two other standout tracks, "First Kiss" and album closer "Big Sky #4." His voice is laid back to a drawl and sounds right at home among the strummed guitar and acoustic bass.

Recorded at a very low level, in what must have been a very intimate environment, Born Heller doesn't sound low-fi, but manages capture the warmth and closeness of a low-fi folk recording. The entire album is very delicate; every bass pick, harp strum and guitar chord can be heard.

At times, the emptiness is just as important as the music itself. On "Lullaby #5" the guitar sounds hesitant as Foster lays in her delicate voice over minimal accompaniment. Most of this album is vocal, accompanied with a chord here and there. This is some of the most naked music I have ever heard, and Born Heller bare their all musically.

That said, this can be very frightening at first listen, Foster's vocals coming at the listener with such force that they can be over powering. But it's her ability to put such intensity behind something so delicate and beautiful that makes Born Heller really pay off. The minimalist personal touches that make their self-titled debut so appealing listen after listen are what make Born Heller a must-have for your music collection.

Reviewed by Craig Mertes
Craig lives, works and listens to music in the general vicinity of Orlando, Florida, where he absorbs everything from hip-hop to indie, pop, rock, punk and metal. His all time favs include Hum, Clutch, Dismemberment Plan, and the Reverend Horton Heat. The last we heard, Craig was spinning Vast Aire, Soul Position, Blues Explosion, Motörhead, the Blood Brothers and Dead Meadow. Craig is also a life-long, die-hard Cubs fan, so lay off.

See other reviews by Craig Mertes

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