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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
Euphoria
Precious Time
ZoŽ/Rounder

Rating: 9.5/10 ?


March 29, 2006
It's this simple: this indescribably gorgeous album already has a first-class seat reserved in my year-end Top Ten. With Precious Time, Emmy-nominated composer Ken Ramm has released what should have been the soundtrack to Brokeback Mountain, what should come bundled with every iPod, what should be your personal getaway music.

Simply dropping a high-end 12-string guitar on the floor can create some sweet sounds, but Massive Attack/Madonna producer Steve Sidelnyk mikes it up as if it were intended for use in a Doobie Brothers album; Ramm adds a slide here and there and lets fly with a flurry of perfectly matched open-string chords that would make Ry Cooder weep. Add to this the incidental vocals of Tina Dico and Tracy Bonham and you have unadulterated zen, soundscaping unencumbered by distractive, wrong-minded goal-setting.

In most cases, going over a band's history in the middle of a CD review is about as worthwhile as a quick check of the weather during the Super Bowl, but since Euphoria is more a studio entity than this week's heroin-drooling lot of nu-mod arm-wavers, it may (no guarantees) interest you to know that you've heard their music before, unless you're a TV-avoiding yogi or a Hilton. 1999's "Delirium" was a major hit that's been used in a ton of commercials as well as the trailer for "Vanilla Sky," while fans of "As the World Turns" should note that Lauryn Hill's theme music was scribbled by Ramm.

With that detestable business out of the way, we turn to the guitar-electronica contents of the band's third release. As alluded to above, much of this is made up of multi-tracked Ovations strummed over Cinemascope synths, which you might correctly interpret as a caviar-and-blue-jeans branding of mature, well-adjusted and slightly edgy cowboy-techno, an indecipherably hybrid sort of aural wallpaper that makes all the trailers for stupid movies featuring stupid but beautiful celebrities appear quanta more appealing than they are. Of the 12 tracks, 8 are instrumentals that play Slap-It with every big-money genre in modern American history, from early Floyd psychedelica to poignant shades of Tim McGraw. Tracy Bonham does a whiz-bang sensual job with her two tracks ("Anyone Can Lose" and the title track), but it's Tina Dico's hi-def mid-scale soprano that truly enraptures, particularly in "Blue," where she evokes a love-wearied woman leaving prairie dust clouds behind her pickup on her way to Somewhere.

This is music you'll be hearing everywhere soon enough; familiarizing yourself with where it actually comes from offers a way to invoke kind thoughts on demand.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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