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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
The Firebird Band
The City at Night
Bifocal Media

Rating: 5.5/10 ?


January 21, 2005
Never underestimate the power of an excellent editor. An editor has the power to take something messy and sprawling and turn it into a tightly focused masterpiece. He or she can search through the volumes of output and find a perfect showcase for the artistic talent on hand. All musicians and writers should take note: Produce your work without a strong editor at your own peril.

The Firebird Band, consisting of John Isberg and Chris Broach (formerly of Braid), could have used someone to help them edit the songs on The City at Night. This could have been a very solid record, mixing Death-Cab-style sensitive singing with a blend of electronic beats and unusual instrumentation. There are some really remarkable ideas here, and yet something about the whole project really fails to come together.

The major problem is that most of the songs here go on for far too long. All but three of them are over four minutes, and four of those run over six minutes. If we were talking about songs with sections, movements, tempo changes or something similar to that, the running time would not be an issue. However, the themes of these songs are mostly repetitive, so nothing really needs to be longer than three or four minutes. With this type of music, there is a line between enjoyable and grating, and it's usually crossed right around the 4:30 mark.

The City at Night seems more like a draft than a final product. No doubt a highly talented editor would have figured out that there is a very enjoyable, 10-track, 45-minute album trapped inside this 14-track, 1.2 hour muddled opus. Instead, we are left with many tracks that beg to be skipped through and forgotten, simply for being seemingly interminable, which no self-respecting editor would have allowed.

This is now the perfect opportunity to thank my own editor, Sarah Peters, who no doubt would tell me that another paragraph in this review would be entirely unnecessary and just repeating the same point over and over again. Get in, say what you've got to say, and get out, she would tell me. And she'd be right, of course. So let me get out by saying that I hope The Firebird Band can find themselves someone to help them trim the fat a bit next time. Because it sounds to me like they've got the potential to make a notable album, if only they trust an editor's strong hand to guide them.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz

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