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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 Strugglers
You Win
Acuarela

Rating: 6/10 ?


August 28, 2006
Although my street cred may irreversibly turn to dust, I kind of like this record. While most alt-country artists take advantage of the momentum created by Richard Buckner, Will Oldham and Ryan Adams - sounding merely pictorial and unashamedly flat - The Strugglers offer a more prosaic association with a certain folksy American tradition. You Win takes no conceptual jump but the band, hailing from North Carolina's "Paris of the Piedmont," Carrboro, manages to savagely grow early seeds still bearing fruit.

It's not an original idea, though - it never was, really. And it definitely stretches back to Neil Young, (Smog) and the like. But The Strugglers do so in a defiantly manner, which is half the way to prevent their final work from getting a depreciative look. Always exploring an introverted terrain, these songs possess the comfortable scent of a fireplace burning constantly on a Sunday afternoon.

From "The Rejection Letter," a spacious, silent outburst of restrained anger, to the self-titled epilogue, this album is eminently coherent, a solemn chant of the disenchanted, if you will. Does my heart feel warmer at the completion of these 50 minutes? Only slightly. Nevertheless, I can see this was the only way songwriter Brice Randall Bickford II had found for his music to keep pace with his ideas.

Let all music history fall down like yellow, aged print matter - by that time, The Strugglers' page will probably remain blank and this record will feel like a cucumber in the gardener's ass. But for now, it's no crime to crank these songs up, incorporate the solitude of reclusive numbers like "Necrophilia" and "Distant Demands," and contemplate the big black hole on the wall.

Enjoy the inertia provided by the guitars, the banjos, the drums, and the rich string and piano arrangements. The next Bonnie 'Prince' Billy record is only a few weeks away to warm up fall evenings.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes

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