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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
Brazilian Girls
Brazilian Girls
Verve Forecast

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 7, 2005
An independent record store is a healthy representation of what's hot in the world of music. From The Game to Fantasia to The Shins, the biggest releases of late are those that have garnered a massive amount of support throughout other mediums, whether it be from print (the magazine/internet hype of The Game from his alliances with 50 Cent and Dr. Dre), television (Fantasia from American Idol), or film (The Shins - from the Garden State soundtrack). It's simple enough to say that the popular sells are those that are most widely marketed.

So then how does this explain the hot movement experienced recently by electro deviants Brazilian Girls? The group's debut self-titled album has struck a chord with big names and small fans alike, but without the proper hyping that comes with many fast movers. Instead, it is the solid substance and energy that the album brings to new listeners, exciting them to tell friends and vibrantly dance about while they do so.

Brazilian Girls filters a sound of the experiences of the members' differentiated pasts and their current situation together as a four-member collective. No, the group is not from Brazil and no, it is not composed entirely of girls. The makeup consists of singer Sabina Sciubba (who has lived in Rome, Munich and Nice), bass player Jesse Murphy from California, drummer Aaron Johnston of Kansas City, and - the closest of all to being Brazilian-raised - keyboardist Didi Gutman from Buenos Aires. They currently all reside in New York City.

The influence of the band members' geographies contribute the single-most present intricacy in variations of instrumental and vocal styles. Each region of origin has supplied something to the musical melting pot - Latin horn stylings and dub influences from south of the US border, a rock/punk edge from the US Midwest, and an electro/dance flavor that comes straight out of New York City clubs.

Additionally varied is Sciubba's singing, which is presented in five languages on the album (English, French, Spanish, German and Italian). The switch between romantic languages along with Sciubba's sexy yet stanch vocal style (a cross between Beth Gibbons of Portishead and Emiliana Torrini) ties punk, dub, dance, rock, Latin, etc. together as one fluid sound. Instead of sounding as if they tried to make an album of split genres, Brazilian Girls come off as if they are representing a new one as worldly diverse as the (NY) City that they all came together in.

The album is less concept than it is a constantly interpreted feel. Throughout ambient keyboard murmurs, string section curtains and filtered electronic sounds a stomping beat is always nearby. That pulse can be seen as the beam that holds up the structure, keeping any listening body in a constant motion (whether it be by a bossanova swoons, a reggae second-beat heavy stomp, or straight up on-the-beat dance pulse) until a new peripheral layer (a blaring horn section or vibraphone sound) can take it to new heights of infectiousness.

Another defining element to this "feel" is a paradoxical smooth-edge that pervades the recording. Choices in ambient textures (soft vibraphone, keyboard, and bossanova beats; and Sciubba's warm voice) and tight-chopped instrumentals give way for the group to invade edgy sounds such as the Brit horn segment of "Corner Store" and the lyrical/vocal hilarity of dub jam "Pussy" with the chorus, "Pussy pussy pussy marijuana."

Many will be sucked into Brazilian Girls by the dance friendly moments like "Don't Stop" or "Dance Till the Morning Sun," but will stay until it's over, eventually finding out that the group stacks it 12 deep and doesn't stop until "Ships in the Night" brings it all back down to a silent ripple.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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