» LATEST FEATURES

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
Halfacre Gunroom
Wrecked
Deathwish Inc.

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Bryan Hartley is giving up on "Amy", the subject of the forlorn alt-country ballad he wrote for Halfacre Gunroom's debut, Wrecked. Licking his wounds and strumming a dusty, beat-up old acoustic guitar, he laments, "It's a shame your heart's a disaster and there ain't nothing I can do." It doesn't take him long to pick up the pieces.

Just as "Amy" ends in a hail of distortion-fried electric guitar gunfire, Half Acre Gunroom kick starts Hartley's heart with the ferocious cow-punk anthem, "Dirty Yankee Punk Rock Girl #2." Yelling out "I'm too good for you" over riled up guitars and the fury of Justin Fox Burks' drum tantrums, Hartley offers up the redneck answer to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." He's grown strong and he's learned how to get along.

Memphis' Halfacre Gunroom is the real deal, knocking back whiskey-soaked shots of punk courage with chasers of twang in a rust belt tavern where factory workers gather to watch Jerry Springer. Wrecked will satisfy the Uncle Tupelo acolytes whose faith in alt-country lapsed when Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar parted ways, but if you're expecting another Anodyne, you'll have to wait for the next bus.

Wrecked is more like Son Volt's Straightways, with its creosote-drenched production and half-formed melodies. Only here, the guitars are louder and - to Halfacre Gunroom's detriment - the song structures are much simpler, more one-dimensional. The band floors it on revved-up, Social Distortion-style rockers like "Miles Away" and "Palisade", the perfect song for stealing a Ford Mustang and burning rubber on your way out of your hometown after your alcoholic dad kicks you out of the house. "East Memphis Girls" raises the Rev. Horton Heat's kind of hell-billy, but the riffs get repetitive and stale, as they do in "1989".

With its pounding piano and arena-sized guitars, the solar-powered closer, "The Winter Wind", captures the power and the glory of Southern rock heroes Lynard Skynard and Molly Hatchet. Rolling on to Athens, Georgia for "The Wheels Rolled North", Halfacre Gunroom takes a slight detour into R.E.M.'s jangle-pop backyard, but the song, despite a tasty vocal hook, shrinks in the company of such charging guitar-based rhinos as "Palisade" and "Dirty Yankee Punk Rock Girl #2".

Pretty ballads like "Amy" and "Lorna" are tough enough to rise above the noise and bluster, but Halfacre Gunroom specializes in rudimentary, balls-out country-punk that steamrolls melodies and hooks into the ground. Bent on self-destruction, Halfacre Gunroom drives these songs straight into walls, like they're trying to test how the framework holds up in a crash. You might want to wear a helmet when test-driving Wrecked. At the very least, make sure to wear your seatbelt. Wrecked is an accident waiting to happen.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!