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[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.
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 » 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!
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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
Dirty South Still Life EP
Organik Rekordings

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

August 30, 2005
Somewhere in the midst of the frantic buzzes and industrial squelches emitted from the laptops of the world's population of bedroom-dwelling electronica producers quietly resides Dave LeBleu, who, between fulfilling drumming duties in post-rock outfits The Mercury Program and Macha, has emerged from his studio with a warm and deeply satisfying set of mixes. Dirty South Still Life features two tracks from the debut Textual full-length, Hindsight Sunglasses - which was released exclusively in Japan last year in an apparent bid to end the project's elusive presence - and gives off reverence and awe-inspiring tranquillity; the project's presence is certain to remain brief.

Dirty South Still Life is one of those rare, instantly infectious albums that tempt the listener into repeating one or two tracks over and over; so perfect are "In Echo Park" and the three separate "Benzodiabolic Suite" episodes that the later-lying tracks almost seem unreachable. Textual's signature sound coolly interweaves laid-back R&B beats with gentle Rhodes-based chord progressions. While Hindsight Sunglasses utilized scattered beats, the production of the Dirty South Still Life EP emphasises simplicity and noticeably bears in mind its own live capabilities. Its sound is streamlined, compact and, in comparison to Hindsight Sunglasses, enunciates fewer dimensions within each song. It subsequently conveys a relaxed, deeply soulful feeling, ideal for background listening during long summer evenings.

The bawdily-titled "Cash-Rich, Porn Hungry Killbillies with Filthy Feet are Taking Over the World" captures Textual's growing maturity, remaining contently instrumental, groove-based and easy-going. LeBleu's beat programming is markedly captivating; while his construction of the light-yet-rigid blip patterns that line the spaces in-between the bass and snare brings to mind the work of Telefon Tel-Aviv, it resists similarly stealing the show and instead provides an understated second rhythm in which the beat can take root.

One of Dirty South Still Life's striking features is the extent to which it is bass-heavy. LeBleu has sought to overcome the live limitations faced by producing a set of songs that are organically reproducible, and with the help of such musicians as The Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle and Mercury Program pair Whit and Sander Travisano, this is achieved. Although live performance is barely hinted at during the course of Dirty South Still Life, it is an aspect that enhances Textual as a complete project; the prominent use of bass synths during the likes "Bendoziabolic Suite No. 3" and the "Welcome to Narita" remix stresses this assertion.

Closing track, "What is False can Now be True," which features the vocals of Rain Phoenix, completes a record that appears to ride one perpetual peak. In the right setting, the Dirty South Still Life EP conveys itself flawlessly, as embracing as a calm and even-paced mix will allow. Textual's ability to absorb the subtly jagged components of electronica into such a free-sounding production grants Dirty South Still Life its rightful status as one of the year's muted standouts.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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