» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Death in Vegas
Satan's Circus
Fuel 2000/The Lab

Rating: 7/10 ?

July 22, 2005
Ever taken a really long, truly excellent vacation? Not just "pretty good," or "okay," or "it was fun"? Truly excellent, meaning everything went well and there were nothing but positives all the way around. Every one of these sorts of vacations always has two types of days: The first are the kind of days that take the vacation over the threshold of "okay" into "truly excellent" - these are the days that you tell your friends and family about when you get back, the story days. The other days, well, they definitely aren't bad (they couldn't be, or you couldn't call the vacation "truly excellent", of course), but they aren't exactly story-worthy, either. These days are pleasant and enjoyable, if not mind-blowing. They are the kind of days you think back fondly on, even if you can't remember anything you particularly loved about them.

Satan's Circus, the latest release from British electronic duo Death in Vegas, is a lot like one of those days that are generally agreeable, yet, in the end, not out-of-this world. For Satan's Circus, Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes have embraced their love of electronica - Krautrock in particular. On most of the songs, they pay direct homage to the bands that influenced them, like Can and Neu!. "Heil Xanax" sounds like something The Orb may have done, and in a good way. Death in Vegas even goes so far on "Zugaga" to re-play parts of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express."

The effect is generally nice. This is the kind of headphone or background music that won't have you looking to change discs, but won't distract you from whatever else you're doing, either. If this seems like a back-handed compliment, it isn't meant to be. I'd take a hundred very good, very competent and ultimately enjoyable records over pretentious, steaming piles of garbage any day; I firmly believe you need records like this - not everything can be the absolute best thing you ever heard, all the time. A record like Satan's Circus is like comfort food: it goes down easy and you know you like it.

In this, the US release of the record (it was released in the UK in 2004), they've included a second CD with a live recording of a Brixton show. As an addition, it is an impressive recording, with a much fuller and more bombastic sound than you'd expect from a primarily electronic band performing out of the studio. The live version of the song everyone knows, "Girls" (which was on the Lost in Translation soundtrack), sounds particularly compelling in the live setting, with the rest of the material fitting right in with the newer songs on the first disc.

All in all, Satan's Circus is a solid and pleasurable hour of music. After it's over, it ends up feeling like that time you spent that Wednesday down in Acapulco when you didn't really do much but eat and hang out on the beach - perfectly fine and perfectly fun.

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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