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 » 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
Sad Riders
Lay Your Head on the Soft Rock
Doghouse Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Lay Your Head on the Soft Rock is heart-achingly simple, down to earth, and just plain good. The Sad Riders play mellow, rootsy music that borrows influences from across America, from the folksy, Leonard Cohen intimacy of "Past the Belvedere", to the bouncy, standard blues-scales of "Maybe Just on Friday", and the southern twang of "The Plains and the High Roads".

While listening, I had the urge to pigeonhole the band, perhaps because of the music's surface simplicity - Chris Wicky, the singer-songwriter behind The Sad Riders, does often employ a twang - but then I found out he's from Switzerland.

Nonetheless, this record sounds really American, and I mean that in a good way. Similar to Wilco, The Sad Riders pick out all of the best elements of country rock and light pop, and mix it all into a surprisingly genuine sound.

Wicky's voice beautifully resounds in the middle; he sings clearly, slowly and emotively. When he raises his voice for the chorus in the ballad "The Radio Man", you'll want to join him; and when he lowers his voice in "Past the Belvedere", you'll perk up your ears to hear him.

"The Plains and the High Roads" and "Ace" are exceptional. On the former, Wicky's voice conveys the tone and words of a hopeless man out of work and money, but the chorus rises to an amazing emotional climax - the sort of which I've never heard on a blue-collar folk song. "Ace" is completely different - its lyrics recall a stream of consciousness, its references to endless streets and wasted years are reminiscent of beat poetry. The song begins with a pulsating piano and twice builds to a shimmering chorus, alternately tragic and uplifting.

Like a slew of new and old not-quite-country bands, The Sad Riders combine rootsy music with a polished, clean feel. Sometimes this can sound formulaic and commercial, but Lay Your Head on the Soft Rock comes out just right.

Reviewed by Josh Kazman
No infro.

See other reviews by Josh Kazman

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