» 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
Two Guns, Twin Arrows
54' 40 or Fight!

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 2, 2002
For a while now I've been thinking that the whole noisy, discordant post-punk spring of Chicago had dried up, but damn if I wasn't wrong. Sure, there are a million cookie-cutter bands made up of kids who were 16 when people like Alex Dunham and Kevin J Frank were blowing the Windy City underground to pieces, but aside from a few marginal exceptions the post-rock mafia has systematically pushed the punks back out to the suburbs. For the past few years it's been virtually impossible to argue with the weight of bands like The Sea & Cake, but in the blink of an eye it seems as if all that might be changing with the maturation of Abilene, all smoldering and unpredictable, and their Two Guns, Twin Arrows. Fans of bands like Hoover and the Sorts should take note of this disc, stacked to the ceiling with a high-grade arsenal of sound.

Although this is the Chicago outfit's sophomore album, the general consensus - and the band makes no bones about it either - is that Abilene have only recently truly arrived. I had heard the band's eponymous debut, a half-hearted attempt at standing apart from the masses, and like most was not thoroughly impressed. The difference this time around is that Dunham's acerbic guitar is dutifully complimented by the free jazz panache of Fred Erskine's captivating trumpet. Erskine, who tugs the bass strings for June of '44 and jam'olicious heavyweights HiM, has sharpened his sense of direction on the trumpet while doing work for the likes of the Sorts, Trans Am and Eamonn Vitt. It might seem like a disservice to the rest of the players to paint Erskine as the pack mule carrying their hopes but, in all frankness, his addition has taken the band from forgettable to fantastic.

Opening with a track like "Twisting the Trinity," the new and improved Abilene is hard to deny. The traditional rock trio of Dunham, bassist Craig Ackerman (of Lustreking fame) and drummer Scott Adamson (of the criminally overlooked Chisel.Drill.Hammer), initially seem to diverge from Erskine's sultry horn blowing, but by the end of the track the quartet have settled their sonic differences and intertwined their voices into a contrasting but oddly harmonious braid of incisiveness. For those who still haven't uncuffed the denim above their black boots, tracks like "Fellini" hark back to the more Hoover-esque moments of Abilene's career. All in all the tracks are rather mesmerizing when you get down to it - awkward and generally shrill but ultimately harmonious enough to give the REPEAT button a serious workout.

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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