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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
Beta Band
Hot Shots II
Astralwerks

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
As with any type of journalism endeavor, writing reviews often lends itself to the development of a writer's individual style, at least in that format. While I may not have a particular style, I do seem to get some uniform complaints and questions regarding my reviews, which lends me to believe there is something tying them all together and making them identifiable as my work. One of the most comment of these complaint/questions is directed at my regular practice of critiquing the artwork in the review, which irks some people. "If the music is good, what difference does the packaging make?", they often ask, their reasoning coming along the lines of the age-old "Beauty is Only Skin Deep" adage. My reply is generally that while music may be the meat, records are a complete experience, of which the packaging is an integral part. After all, who wouldn't be a bit turned off by plain, silver CDs in empty jewel cases? Of course not. Although I could certainly offer up a host of examples on how not to present your album to the public, the newest release by Edinburgh's always amazing Beta Band takes the cake. Of course the genius of the Beta Band lies in the fact that they are talented enough to pull off such tasteless visuals when backed by such mesmerizing sound. Much like fellow islanders Radiohead (whom they are currently supporting on tour), the Beta Band excel in excessive minimalisim - by burying rock songs with pop hooks deep inside bleak ambient compositions. In the case of the Beta Band, layers of textures are replaced by an emphasis on Stephen Mason's vocals and the beat-heavy sample framework laid by John Maclean. Hot Shots II serves up eleven tracks (the US version includes a bonus track, "Won") of progressive electro-pop bliss that begins with the short "Squares" and rolls right through the finish line without ever really missing a beat.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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