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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
New End Original
Thriller
Jade Tree Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
In most worlds of music, the prefix "featuring ex-members of," is rarely a good thing. Often, this title is reserved for the supposed all star bands that grace our nation's Fourth of July festivals. An ex Foreigner guitarist here, an ex Charlie Daniels Band drummer there, and you've got yourself a veritable 70s jukebox to wash down your corn on the cob. In rap, it works a little differently. A rapper hits it big, and then goes and makes some shameless guest appearances of marginal content or relevance, just so the sticker on the CD of the guy that no one has heard of will say "featuring Xzibit." And there goes your cred. But indie rock tends to like to do things all backwards ass. The "ex members" tag is a cherished possession, one that many bands will fudge with just so they can say it. A glance at the current Fireside schedule shows six bands all about the "ex" or "featuring." If you're going to say you're ex-such and such, don't you think that the such and such better be of note? Then why is it I've never heard of five of the six? The one I was familiar with was the seminal emo band Texas is the Reason. New End Original apparently also touts members of Far, and the guy from Onelinedrawing. Super. So these guys have learned much from their previous efforts, and have come together to create something unique and noteworthy beyond the fact that some guys from some other bands did this, right?

The answer is a resounding Hells No. Every possible element of the godforsaken psuedogenres of emo or pop punk that have become terribly clichéd (and really, sucked in the first place anyways) is present and prominent on this record. Periods after the album title, band name, and all the song titles? Yep. Safe poppy riffs that might sound edgy to a Sum 41 fan? Yep. The token smattering of sensitive ballads to try to take Dashboard Confessional's market share? Yep. Using yr instead of your in the lyrics? Yep. On Jade Tree? Yep. The truth is, the album isn't bad, in the same way Jets to Brazil or Alkaline Trio aren't bad. If someone puts this record on, you're not going to hold your ears and go running; you probably just won't notice it altogether. The saving grace is the final two tracks, the folky "The Name", and the hella whiny but mostly bearable soft-loud epic "Better Than This".

If you're the kind of kid that'll eat whatever Jade Tree, Vagrant, Deep Elm, etc...feeds you, you'll probably like this album. It should do a good job of tiding you over until that new Get Up Kids record that you've been just, like, totally waiting for comes out. But if there's more to the world than that for you, take Michael Jackson's Thriller over this one. Hell, take Blood on the Dancefloor over this.

Reviewed by Jeremy Keller
A staff writer for LAS, Jeremy Keller uses his uncanny ability to intellectualize sports for the greater good of mankind.

See other reviews by Jeremy Keller

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