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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
Of Montreal
Aldhills Arboretum
Kindercore Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
When Jack was a little kid Jack's mother used to listen to Beatles records all the time. By the time Jack was twelve, the young Beatle-worshiper-in-training knew every word to every song on the records his mother loved to play. It wasn't long after Jack learned to drive that his newfound sense of freedom became less exciting. Jack became bored with his po'dunk hometown and what little it had to offer in the way of entertainment, so, like many kids Jack's age when faced with the boredom of small town life, Jack began getting high.

When Jack got to college Jack met his roommate, Tom. Tom, two years Jack's senior, grew up listening to Beatles records just like Jack. The two boys became instant friends. One afternoon, whilst getting high together in their dorm room, Tom put on an Of Montreal album that he had purchased from the college town's local independent music retailer.

Jack was enthralled. The little tiny voice emitted by the speakers sounded even more like an Oompa Loompa when Jack was high. Jack chuckled at the thought of Oompa Loompas. Jack liked the fact that the members in Of Montreal could actually play their instruments with more than a passing semblance of proficiency, which was rather unlike a lot of those goons Jack heard on the local alternative radio station in town. From that day on, Jack listened to Of Montreal incessantly. Whether happy or sad, bored or busy, the albums provided him with a nostalgic sense of peace while still retaining just the slightest, subtle air of newness. It was soothing, kind of like that new car smell Tom sprayed in his ragged-out '92 Honda Accord.

On the day of the release of Of Montreal's fifth full-length record, Aldhils Arboretum, Jack ran to the store, bought the album, and swooped down upon the campus residence halls with a blinding quickness. He was eager to return home to his bedroom stereo and the fat bowl of weedies that awaited him there.

As Jack pushed the play button and sparked his lighter the album's opening track, "Doing Nothing," greeted him with bouncing keyboard melodies and raucously poppy guitars. The album, while not a concept record like several of the band's previous efforts, did have one thing in common with their prior output in that it covered almost every nook and cranny of the pop spectrum from rockers like the opening track to more exploratory mid-tempo pop in "Old People in the Cemetery" and "Isn't It Nice" then downshifting for an acoustic ballad on "Predictably Sulking Sara" before segueing to the Copa Cabana ballad "Kissing In The Grass". Grass!

Eventually Jack graduated from college and moved on to a 'real' job in the 'real' world. Jack didn't get high anymore and he began to find the tunes on Aldhils Arboretum less amusing. Jack realized that the songs were still rather pleasant, intricately structured, effectively home recorded and under-produced, and nothing if not a bit odd, but they weren't breaking any ground that hadn't been pioneered well before his 'heyday', and he began to find the album rather, well, boring. So Jack began to spend his 'hard-earned' paycheck on sounds that he found a bit more revelatory in this day and age, and Jack then lived happily ever after.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper

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