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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
Campground Effect
Kindling
The Local Cannery Recording Co.

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Nothing says indie rock like clip art of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco. Why Campground Effect chose this image as the cover art for Kindling, the band's sophomore effort, is anyone's guess. Perhaps market research indicated their brand of fist-pumping post-punk would appeal to rodeo clowns and Texas cattle drivers. Lord knows they love to mosh to their favorite Cursive records down at the bunkhouse.

My guess? The horse symbolizes Campground Effect's sound, a contorted mix of locomotive mid-1990s guitar wrangling. And you, the listener, are the rider getting tossed about like a mobile home in a tornado. Kindling succeeds on its roughhewn charm. The energy is raw and palpable as Campground Effect strips away the production varnish to reveal songs with sinewy dynamics that shift direction on a dime. Opener "We Box" leaves the garage going 100 miles per hour, capably handles a few hairpin turns, then grinds to a halt under the crushing weight of bulldozer riffs. "Box Her Up" cops the angular guitar geometry of Jawbox and builds to a swirling vortex of sound. Anthems abound, and so do melodies. "Permanent Hospital" and "This Is Not A Threat" are powder kegs of teenage angst, putting on a brave face after a bad breakup with lyrics like, "Scrape the skin away/the place where she touched you" and "Since you're married now/I can't find a use for you."

Campground Effect's music conjures up ghosts of long-forgotten bands like Tanner, Guzzard and Garden Variety. When it fails, it's because it leans a little too heavily on its influences, such as the obvious Nirvana aping in "The Coming Kill." Kindling doesn't break new ground. The crunchy guitars, pummeling rhythm section and gravelly vocals that scream and sneer like Cobain all sound familiar. Some would call their sound generic, but they'd be missing the point. Yes, it's meat-and-potatoes rock but sometimes a simple meal is the most satisfying.

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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