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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 Almost
Southern Weather
Tooth & Nail

Rating: 4/10 ?


April 25, 2007
Citing Dave Grohl as his main influence, Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie has ventured into solo land with the first album from his side-project The Almost. Like Grohl's reinvention with Foo Fighters, Southern Weather affords Gillespie a platform from which to explore a more melodic and personal side of music, one that rests in stark contrast with the screamo sensibilities of Underoath.

Unfortunately Gillespie's decidedly good intentions and ambition are hampered by Southern Weather's emo sensitivity; the album positions itself as emotional and insightful but in fact sounds like every other emo album of recent memory, replete with generic lyrics that speak of guilt, fear and youth, topped by loud and conventional guitar work. By and large Southern Weather comes off as generic and derivative, a dispensable album with few new ideas to offer. That said, it is not a total loss, and has a few redeeming qualities, those being the moments in which Gillespie spontaneously disregards the formulaic customs that emo music is subject to. When those instances arrive, one wishes that Gillespie had stuck to them a bit more often.

"Amazing Because It Is" is precisely the highlight of the album for this very reason. The song finds Gillespie playing a gentle rhythm on acoustic guitar, and its effectiveness is augmented by a horn and string arrangement, culminating in the use of a church choir towards the two and a half minute mark, making it all resonate somehow. When compared to the rest of the album, which is characterized by abrasive guitars, admittedly great drumming and vocals that, following emo standards, are whiny and obnoxious, the song is undeniably different, as it veers away from the formula. It proves to be one of the few moments in which Gillespie is capable of overcoming the limitations of the genre, giving way to one of the few striking and spontaneous moments in an album that is filled with predictability and unoriginality. Really, it's actually a good song.

After the horrible single "Say This Sooner" and "Drive There Now," Southern Weather delivers the country-tinged "Dirty and Left Out," which features former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk on guest vocals. Here again is a song that shines amidst a swamp of tunes that are instantly forgettable; it manages to be emotional without becoming overbearing, and its tender melody is effective. Nevertheless, little does it do to unshackle the rest of the album from utter mediocrity.

All things considered, Southern Weather is a rather poor work and, while Gillespie's enthusiasm is hard to deny, his music leaves a lot to be desired. Dave Grohl may have been a primary influence, but Gillespie's debut with The Almost undoubtedly pales in comparison to Foo Fighters' self-titled debut. Perhaps Gillespie should simply cling to Underoath, even if that is, inevitably, not saying much.

Reviewed by Pabs Hernandez
A staff writer for LAS, Pablo Hernandez keeps up pretty well with the ever-changing \'indie scene\' from his home in Madrid, Spain.

See other reviews by Pabs Hernandez

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