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Music Reviews

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Castle Talk
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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No Age - Everything in Between
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Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
The Heart, the Product, the Machine and the Asshole EP
Midriff Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
First off, the title of this release is a little excessive. It's not a terrible name for an EP, but it is a long name for an EP, so it will here by be referred to as The Asshole EP, which is short, succinct, and as much fun as transcribing an Eddie Murphy comedy routine.

Secondly, The Beatings is a completely misleading band name if ever one existed. If you've never heard the band, try and guess what type of music they play. Times up- and your guess? Punk? No, this band (judging by this album) has as much in common with punk as The Mendoza Line. Balls out rock? Hardly. My unexercised heart is moving faster than this music. They're not emo, hardcore, or electronic either, nor are they the newest super hip-hop group out of Detroit.

Oddly enough, this Boston quartet plays a raucous brand of twangy indie rock, fairly slow and meandering. The songs are fairly simple, mildly country-tinged tunes with rare bursts of manic drum work and pace changes, but nothing overly sophisticated, otherwise moving from one point to the other in a straight line. Vocally, three of the four band members are tagged as "lead singer," and the only one I can confidently identify is the bassist, Erin Dalbec, the only female in the band who sounds like an annoying younger sister trailing at your heels complaining about the long walk. Guitarists Eldridge Rodriguez and Tony Skalicky also sing, or rather, one drones on in an off-key monotone, and the other is adept at yelping and screaming.

After sifting through the press releases accompanying this release, I was even more surprised. Some pretty hefty sources are praising The Beatings previous releases with tags like: post punk, pop punk, descriptions I associate with emo, and even comparisons to the Pixies- none of which The Asshole EP really embodies. This being my first taste of The Beatings, perhaps they're chameleon in style, defying any one genre or brand. Then again, maybe the other reviewers are complete asses, because I know it can't be me. Right? Am I right here?

Anyway, The Asshole EP consists of six songs, clocking in at a surprising 30 minutes. Not bad for the $10 you'll likely dish out for this release, but given the ambition of some of the song's lengths, the music wears thin and it's a wonder why the songs weren't ended minutes earlier. Longevity is best applied to gum and sex. I could have done with some more variety as well, with this leaving me completely undecided about The Beatings and back where I started when I first played The Asshole EP - utterly in the dark.

Reviewed by David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other reviews by David Spain



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