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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]

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 » 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
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matt Sweeney
Superwolf
Drag City Records

Rating: 9/10 ?


May 27, 2005
The combined sensibilities of Will Oldham and Matt Sweeney are sure to result in something truly great - profoundly musical, delightfully archaic and simply touching - but who knew that it would be this good?

Oldham, who needs no introduction as a certified board member of bearded folk-rock in his various Palace guises and current Princely incarnation, and Sweeney, who shouldn't need an introduction as the heavyweight of Matador rockers Chavez and recent member of Zwan, among other endeavors, put their respective strengths to tape and the results are spectacular. As tends to happen, the collaboration gets weighted in Oldham's direction in terms of musicality, texture and lyrics, but Sweeney's contributions are strong nevertheless; their roles are described as "words" (Oldham) and "music" (Sweeney), but their jobs seem to have blended and blurred in the process.

For instance, on the softly rolling "What Are You?" Sweeny takes over lead vocal duties, backed by Oldham's creaky croak. Oldham plays a bevy of instruments on the record as well, and there's little doubt that his hand played some part in writing the music; to have created this record any other way would have not sufficed, as the talents of the two are immeasurable and only appear stronger back-to-back.

Beginning with the rollicking "My Home is The Sea," a Grateful Dead-styled jam with arpeggiated classic rock guitar solos and occasional falsetto vocals, Superwolf feels right from the get-go. The sweet and mournful "Beast For Thee" quickly follows up, changing the tone, but not the direction, of the record. The quiet "Goat and Ram," another of Oldham's lyrical grapplings with our Lord and Savior, erupts into choir-like rapture with a burst of harmonized chorus action, before settling back into the depths. The beautiful, and dare I say, inspiring "Rudy Foolish" finds both gentlemen singing a simple melody that follows the same notes as a confidently picked distorted guitar, soft bass tones ringing clear underneath. The haunting "Bed is for Sleeping" is an emotional centerpiece for the record, as Oldham gently sings, "Where are you going?/Why are you leaving?" and you want to find out for him as Sweeney's banjo and guitars cascade underneath. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Sweeney's guitar playing on Superwolf is most clearly distinguished and discernible from a typical Oldham release due to his penchant for soloing and high-pitched note bending, although the focus is decidedly on picked and strummed folk-based tunes; this dash of rock fits the overall Appalachia vibe like a glove, the two elements never feeling disparate or out of place. Superwolf is collaboration in the truest sense of the word, and the talents of the two musicians involved feel revitalized and meaningful in ways that they may not have for some time.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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