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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
The Lord Dog Bird
The Lord Dog Bird
Jagjaguwar

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


September 22, 2008
American bard Lew Welch very uniquely and poetically shuffled himself out of this world in 1971. He left a suicide note and then wandered into the mountains of Northern California - pistol in hand - never to be seen again. Welch simply disappeared into the wilderness. The new eponymous album from The Lord Dog Bird conjures images of Lew Welch's last lonely moments. The album's guitar sound is antiquated and rustic, similar to albums by Sixteen Horsepower and Iron & Wine. The recordings were done on a four-track and have the DIY, lo-fi rock sensibility of Guided By Voices. All comparisons aside, what truly makes this album worth hearing is the bittersweet ache in Colin McCann's voice, as it melts over his junkband guitar and a thumping, oft-plodding beat. McCann has created a one-person funeral procession with this first solo album.

Colin McCann's guitar work with his band Wilderness is a soaring, stratospheric hybrid of fellow Baltimoreans, Lungfish and The Chameleons UK. Wilderness' extended hiatus from touring and recording led McCann to create this solo effort and, in the absence of his mates, he chose to take things in the opposite direction. The Lord Dog Bird's sound is so stripped down in comparison that none of the tracks soar higher than a Wright Brothers test flight. Tinny, droning guitars, a bass drum thump and McCann's pain-filled (but not painful) voice rise above the hiss of the four-track recordings. McCann's lyrics evoke almost Depression-era imagery, telling listeners to "set a table for death," on the track "The Shedding Path," and on the epic "The Gift Of The Lion's Den," McCann places his tempestuous relationship in the midst of the beasts' lair. The Lord Dog Bird's lyrics are simple but not trite and they certainly benefit from McCann's mournful, lupine delivery. The combination of the lo-fi guitar work paired with a heartbreaking lyrical delivery adds up to a great and visceral listening experience.

Unlike Lew Welch, McCann headed out of the Wilderness on his journey. But, just like Welch, he undertook the trip on his own. This haunting collection of songs is yet another gem in Jagjaguwar's growing canon. While it may depict a despairing journey, the effect of The Lord Dog Bird is ultimately uplifting and serene. Here's to hoping that McCann returns to the fold of Wilderness from this compelling solo effort refreshed and renewed, ready to resume flight with their next record - due in November.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke

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