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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
New Black
Time Attack
Thick Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


April 5, 2006
New Black is on something more dangerous than trucker speed. What that is, I don't know. Maybe they don't have a name for it yet. Maybe it was dreamed up by a chemist whose notes were stolen by the government and used to create a drug that attacks the nervous system in such a way that anyone who takes it will never, ever be able to sleep again. I can tell you this: if you happen to swallow it by mistake, watch your heart rate and get your hands on your grandfather's nitro pills.

Cooked up in some meth lab masquerading as a recording studio, Time Attack is the frantic second album from Patti Gran, Liam Kimball, Nick Kraska and Rachel Shindelman - four people who generate more energy than the Hoover Dam. Their DNA is different from that of your usual dance-punk sleeper cell, altered perhaps in some horrible nuclear accident in a former Soviet republic. A freakishly visceral ball of radioactivity, New Black is a no-wave/new wave animal/robot that burns on a synthetic fuel of female vocal hysteria, arty sensibilities, pulse-racing rhythms, horror-movie organ and edgy, serrated guitars.

No genre jail can hold New Black. Walls quake at the sound of the jackhammer title track and the demolishing distortion of the album intro "Mere Cats," while the cutting guitars of the rolling boil "Khalil!" could saw through iron bars. This album is tense and relentless, and surprisingly well contoured, as evidenced by the curve-hugging burner "Nothing Scares Us" and the fun, flipped-out dance blitz "Big Haus." But nothing compares to the cat-and-mouse menace of "Devil In My Car," with its unsettling male/female vocal interplay and bleak Joy Division-like machinery. Though it's hard to tell from the obscure lyrics, "Devil In My Car" sounds like a cautionary tale of a driver who picks up a hitchhiker and lives - or maybe, dies - to regret it. I guess when it comes to lyrics, psychological thrillers are the New Black.

As a group, New Black is leather-tight. And scary. Less melodic and more straightforward than Q And Not U, and nowhere near as weird as Erase Errata, New Black is always on the offensive, always in your face. Kimball's nasty, post-punk bass grooves and Kraska's driving drums give New Black an engine most bands only dream of, while Gran's guitar is vicious and sharp. Everything is up front; nothing is subtly buried in the background, waiting to jump out. It all leaps at you like a tiger - a Selby Tiger, perhaps. It would help New Black to try to relax its sound a bit. A song like "Der Spook" is so out of control and frantic, its nervous energy is off putting. That said, New Black is great, adrenaline-fueled rock n' roll and everyone else who's trying to reanimate James Chance should step it up.

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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