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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
Blonde Redhead
23
4AD

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


April 9, 2007
There are a few labels whose stable of artists have near universal appeal to me. When it comes to such blanket interest, 4AD is the first label that comes to mind - especially when considering perfect musical rosters. The team of artists 4AD currently has stabled, when combined with those they have worked with in the past, read like a music lover's wet dream: The Pixies, Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, TV on the Radio, the Mountain Goats, Red House Painters and Beirut are just a few of the amazing groups that have spent time in the house that Ivo built. One of the more recent additions to 4AD's roster is Blonde Redhead and, like so many that have come before, the band is creatively thriving on the British label.

Blonde Redhead's last album, 2004's Misery Is A Butterfly, was the most crucial album in the band's career. Lead singer Kazu Makino had been sidelined for years due to injuries sustained from a horse riding accident; the album was a pained and dark exploration of the accident and Makino's long recovery. With its sounds and themes were so much darker than the band's previous work, Misery… divided a lot of the band's fans. Makino and her bandmates, the Pace brothers, were at a point of confronting their musical identity, and with 23 the band was set to either continue down the trail they had blazed with Misery… or return to the more conceptual, albeit less interesting, sounds of the band's early work. Three years later it has become clear that Makino and crew made the right choice - 23 is a delirious fever-dream of an album that continues to impress with each consecutive listen.

Foreign and angelic and so gorgeously innocent, Makino's voice adds an emotional depth to even the blandest lyrics. Listening to her whisper sweet vocals over the band's mechanized rhythms, the fragility is striking. Makino's voice seems always at a distance, as if filtered through wire, creating the effect that she is confessing her sins to the listener over the phone. Musically 23 is programmed and automated, to spectacular results, into a shoegaze meets Radiohead meets Blondie cacophony. The track "SW" nods to Kid A and Sgt. Peppers in the same instant while remaining completely in the realm of homage. "Publisher," the album's most complex track, is heavily layered with synthesizers and guitars supporting a unique vocal interplay between one of the Pace brothers and Makino; the track is infectious to a fault and will most certainly be in heavy rotation on a million playlists.

Fitting nicely in with the rest of 4AD's discography, 23 is a highly recommended listen. It also is an interesting milestone for one of the most interesting bands working today.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LAS’s editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke

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