» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Guild League
Inner North
Matinee Recordings

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

May 10, 2005
When I listen to Inner North, I begin to feel like this whole damn thing - this compulsively consuming music, this nagging need to be fully aware of every single new release, this desire to constantly discover out new sounds, this drive to compose lists and assign numerical rankings, this bizarre discourse in which I write about and critique works of music that I've had a chance to listen to for, at the very most, a month, and quite often, only two or three weeks - is completely worthless.

The Guild League pushes all of my pop fetishist buttons. They're wry, literate, charming and genuinely moving. They're sincere enough to pen shameless "ooo girl I luv you" lyrics ("I fell for you the full five fathoms/You seemed to be just what I lacked") and smart enough to get a little meta within the same song ("And even pop songs sound so true/Now that you let me look at you"). They're competent as both a stripped-down bass/guitar/drums trio and as fully-orchestrated, studio usin' and abusin' Spector-ites. They're catchy as hell, but not in a lowest common denominator way. They're practically perfect within their own idiom.

The Catch: The part of me that actively/obsessive compulsively craves internet age rapid pop music consumption won't let the pop fetishist in me enjoy this record for what it is. I'm constantly reminding myself of who's done this album better, who did it first and who's doing it in front of a wider audience (and thereby becomes the more historically "significant" band).

I'm drawing comparisons to frontman Tali White's main gig, The Lucksmiths. I'm noting that only maybe half of these songs would work well on my next batch of mix CDs, and that the other half are great within the context of the album but probably won't wow my friends. I'm well aware that, deservedly or not, this album will probably be relegated to the record shelves of a very select crowd - the folks who dug the last David Kilgour album, the ones who find their artist and constrict their purchasing to his or her output alone, the ones who snatch up every Parasol and Sarah Records release.

Inner North offers a number of points for extended meditation, both compositionally and lyrically. It's worthy of being lived with and lived in, plain and simple. Unfortunately, it's caught in the worst of middles - for the guy who's heard it all, it's very interesting, but will undoubtedly be eclipsed by better, bolder, and quirkier things; for the person who hears very little, it will probably remain unheard, and understandably so, for when you've little time or money for music, it's difficult to justify venturing past the Kid As.

Here's to deliberately losing track of what's happening in the pop music over and underground, cracking open a bottle of bubbly and taking the time to enjoy and fully explore Inner North without any nagging persuasions to do otherwise. You'll lose a little cred, and you can probably spend your time getting to know a better album, but by the same token, you probably won't regret a minute of your vacation with The Guild League.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan



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