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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
Mark Eitzel
The Ugly American
Thirsty Ear Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Mark Eitzel is one of the most intelligent and thoroughly captivating figures in indie rock, and his latest release solidifies that status entirely. While most artists would be content re-releasing standard singles as a "best-of" compilation, Eitzel recreates a compilation of his favorite tracks (and one new offering) with the flavor of a different culture and the warmth of age.

He flew overseas (though in spirit, I'm sure he sailed) to drink in the sights, sounds, and influence of Greece and bring those elements to his classic holism. Having recruited a crew of traditional Greek musicians and esteemed composer Manolis Famellos to enhance his experience, The Ugly American plays like a completely new album laced with déjà vu and eccentricity.

While the title of the album may be a play on Eitzel's status as a lone American among the mythos and tradition, his retrospective is anything but ugly. A breathtaking look at his life through different eyes, it plays heavily on American Music Club's United Kingdom (four of the ten tracks are culled from that album), yet feels balanced and complete in its composure.

"Western Sky" begins the affair as if it were always meant to be gracing the sun-drenched streets abroad. His voice mingles softly and securely between rolling mandolin, sweet, enticing winds, and a relaxed mood. "Nightwatchman" encompasses the same sense of belonging within exotic, swirling violins that delightfully drench the hushed romance of his vocals. Each track is given new life in balance of nostalgia and proven artistry on all sides. The new song, "Love's Humming," was made specifically for the festive crossover, twirling judiciously in adventurism and revealing his unabated passion for creation. All feels rich and invigorated, and we may welcome him with open arms, again and again.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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