» 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
Insects With Angel Wings
Rowdy Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

September 2, 2005
Pretend this is your performance evaluation. You're sitting across from your supervisor and he's reviewing your file. Closing it, he leans forward, hands clasped as if he's about to say a prayer. In a grave voice, he calls you "steady," and says that your work is "solid," and that he's impressed by how "consistent your output is." A slight smile creeps across your face. You thought he'd found out about all the Internet surfing for porn you do at your desk, but no... this was praise, and not the faint kind either.

In a different context, say a record review, those same words always seem to ring a bit hollow. I remember waiting excitedly to read critiques of new Shiner or Silkworm records - R.I.P. Michael Dahlquist, you will be missed - and how crushed I was to see The Egg and Italian Platinum being described as "workmanlike" and "strong" but not very special. Sure the reviews were... well… nice and positive, but I was looking for "brilliant" and "tour de force" and the freaking "album to end all days" kind of stuff. That's what I thought of them and I figured all right-thinking people would feel the same way. - and when they didn't, something like road rage would rise up within me and a stream of invectives would fly from my mouth.

So to Dropsonic and their loyal legion of fans, I apologize. If you want confirmation of your belief that Dropsonic is the be all and end all of human existence, you're going to be disappointed. That said, there's nothing wrong with being "consistent." It's all right to be thought of as "steady" and "solid." Dropsonic is all of these things and, perhaps, even a tad "brilliant" in their own way.

On Insects With Angel Wings, the Atlanta band's fourth release, Dropsonic swings a mighty hammer of bluesy, 70s rock-god guitar crunch that would fall right in line with the playlists of any AOR radio station. Influenced heavily by classic rock dinosaurs like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, Insects With Angel Wings is a beast from beginning to end. Meaty riffs grind out of Dan Dixon's guitar like so much sausage, especially on the Zeppelin-esque boogie of "Everyone's A Stranger." And when the spirit moves him, Dixon can let loose a torrent of notes and chords - like at the beginning of "Wedding Day," or crushes rocks with the punishing Queens Of The Stone Age-style riffage of "Spiders." In keeping with his Southern roots, Dixon adds a heaping helping of slide guitar to an already full plate of meat-and-potatoes rock that includes the Bonham-like fury of drummer Brian Hunter and Dave Chase's thick bass gristle.

Weighty, Southern Gothic-inspired lyrics about tragedy and love gone horribly awry cast a pall over the proceedings, especially on the ponderous epic "It Makes No Difference." When Dixon sings that a "wrecking ball" is coming for you and that "it makes no difference who you are/kings, queens or movie stars," it sounds like he's predicting the fall of an empire. Dramatic verse like that seems tailor made for the Radiohead theatrics Dixon and company employ in "The Big Nothing" and the aforementioned "Wedding Day," with their wailing, creosote-stained melodies and the heavy, pounding piano footfalls you hear in the former.

Having committed every Jimmy Page lick to memory, Dixon and the raw power of his muscular guitar playing are Dropsonic's calling cards. From the stomping, blues workout of "My Girl" to the delicate acoustic spider web he constructs in "Headless," Dixon proves he is a master guitar craftsman who's getting better at writing songs. There's nothing on Insects With Angel Wings that parts the Red Sea or heals the lame, but as a whole, it rocks with intensity and focus. What more could you ask for?

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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