» 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
Film School
Film School
Beggars Banquet

Rating: 8/10 ?

May 10, 2006
The internet can bring interesting things to one's world, when one least expects it. Sure, everyone gets the hilarious spam emails about international money-making schemes and 18-year old virgins, but I'm talking about those instances when the web delivers something a little more meaningful.

A while back I was looking around my iTunes store online in hopes of discovering something new.
- believe it or not, the enormous digital retailer has a reasonably good indie section which keeps getting better every week. One of the media player's marketing tools is an engine that makes recommendations based upon a user's past listening habits, and this album by Film School came up as a recommendation so I took a chance and I bought it. As it happens the chance paid off; I honestly enjoy this album and it prompted me to do a bit of research on the band.

Film School has quite a history - apparently have been together for close to eight years and just released their debut album in January. After years of neglect as a side-side project, Film School has finally worked its way into becoming a creative priority in the eyes of Krayg Burton and company.

Risiding in San Francisco, this group of five artsy shoegazers take a lot of chances with the music they create, while still wearing their influences on their collective sleeve. Long, patient guitar drones with 80's synth sounds build an atmosphere, while reverb-heavy chords are struck to pierce the layers of sound, a deep voice bellows about relationships. It's Interpol drinking with the Stratford 4 while doing their best Catherine Wheel impression. Apart from the pop-gothic aspect, the one thing all of those bands have in common is lengthy songs. Film School doesn't shy away from a good riff; in fact they like to revel in it. "11:11" (and its accompanying video) clocks in past the six-minute mark, but luckily it's a dark and catchy tune that suits being drawn out. It is a definite highlight in latter part of this self-titled album.

Opening an album with a long, minute-plus wall of echoing guitar feedback is a bold step, but to hear Film School transition the squall into "On and On" is to appreciate a brilliant beginning to one roller coaster of an album. Both musical and emotional ups and downs keep the works in motion for the entire ride, "On and On" building itself up with a strong drum foundation that is co-anchored by a penetrating bass riff. The guitar flutters around, echoing the sentiments of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-era Cure tunes. With a strong chorus and repetition, "On and On" is one of those songs that will stick in your head for days.

The second "song," "Harmed" reminds me of a poppier Stratford 4, again heavy with reverberated guitar and rife with pleasant poppy keyboard tones running up and down the chorus. The song dances around with both heavy and light elements, its fast-paced drumming and bass notes romping down the scale.

One place that finds many bands faltering but sees Film School excel is in their penchant for setting a different tone in each song. Overall their material is a little dark, in a My Bloody Valentine way, but there are punkier elements to some songs - and even an instrumental thrown into the mix, making it a great first time out.

On a recent tour these five gentlemen fell victim to theft, all their gear stolen. It can't be easy to reproduce Film School's sound in a live setting, but with new gear in tow the guys are kicking off their second tour this month. Having learned to fully appreciate their album, it will be interesting to see how these beautifully recorded songs translate live.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig



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