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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
American Football
American Football
Polyvinyl

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
American Football have been one of the fastest hyped bands since the Get Up Kids blew up a few years ago. Unlike the KC popsters, however, American Football didn't take off running with the attention they garnered. Until this album the band had only released a 3-song EP as part of the Polyvinyl single series, had barely managed to put together enough songs to play out and, subsequently, had only played a handful of shows. Something tells me that all of that will soon change.

American Football's superficial claim to fame is drummer turned guitarist Mike Kinsella of Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc fame. Beneath the surface, however, AF have their own potential for excellence. Kinsella and Steves - guitarist Holmes and drummer Lamos - combine the standard elements of their beloved Midwest emo rock into something altogether fresh and interesting. There are no groundbreaking moments in terms of musicianship yet everything sounds very honest and clean, as if it were delving into new territory. The guitars are both cleanly played and create a sliding interplay with the added on bass tracks, lying comfortably atop the backdrop of jazz-gone-punk-gone-jazz drumming ala Roy Ewing circa Braid. Lamos also lends his trumpet skills (see Braid's- "Lining Lake Michigan" and "Brass Knuckle Sandwich") to "The Summer Ends," adding something a little different yet cohesive.

For all of their musical prowess, Kinsella's vocals will surely gain them favor with the kids. With lyrics straight out of a college freshman's diary, a scaffolding of pain and insecurities like a skeleton around a bleeding heard, you can't go wrong with the emoconsciousness that pervades our youth culture. Adding to the appeal of the words is their delivery; Kinsella's high school voice, sometimes squeaky and sometimes burning bright. I wouldn't be surprised if "Honestly?" with its duel vocals and macho low end wound up on an episode of Dawson's Creek.

It is hard telling what makes American Football a winner. It could be that all the unsensible rock ideas finally released from Kinsella's brain after years of repression in the progressive rock of his previous outfits. Or it could be Holmes and Lamos finding someone who has been around the indie rock block and forging a sensible yet creative core. Or it could be their connection with John Madden. Who knows, and as long as it works who cares?

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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