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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
Black Cat Music
Hands in the Estuary, Torso in the Lake
Lookout! Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The first time I heard Nick Cave's coming-of-age shock-rock band The Birthday Party I was blown away by the indecency and guttural emphasis of Cave's vocals and the slutty distortion-heavy rock and roll of the band's music. My young ears had never heard such a racket. Of course, Cave wasn't singing of lollipops and dandelions. On "Nick the Stripper" Cave describes (presumably) himself as "hideous to the eye", "a fat little insect" and "dancing on all fours" in his birthday suit. While Black Cat Music's singer Brady Baltezore isn't sex's number-one solicitor on the group's debut full-length, he does possess a bit of the swagger and a lot of the guts of Nick Cave's early days. As does his band's music.

Primarily relying upon a heavy, bluesy classic rock sound (think Bon Scott-era AC/DC, The Saints, The Real Kids and Alice Cooper mixed with Social Distortion and a touch of Drive Like Jehu), Oakland's Black Cat Music is a staggering mixture of noise, melody and dynamics, perfectly content with a mid-tempo rocker or an up-tempo screamer. But what separates the group from the pack is its ability to sneak in a few magical moments: when the guitars bend beautiful notes over a subdued rhythm section and set the stage for Baltezore's often grim lyrical tales sung through a snotty off-kilter set of pipes (which at time reminds one of Television's Tom Verlaine posing as a punk). One such moment occurs in "The Cipher in the Snow," in which Baltezore sings "the rest of the world died on the day that we met" as the heavy verse melts into a single electric guitar picking away as the "ting ting ting" of the ride cymbal keeps the time.

Surprisingly enough for a band with its roots firmly placed in Bay Area punk rock (The Criminals, The Receivers), Black Cat Music has a wide appeal and comes highly recommended to those who happened to miss their set at The Independent Media Center in February.

Reviewed by Doug Hoepker
A former staff writer for LAS whom we like to call Diggles, Mr. Hoepker is currently laboring away on various music-based projects. He now works in academic publishing (ahem), but is perhaps still best known by his DJ moniker, The Noiseboy.

See other reviews by Doug Hoepker

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