» 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
Rebecca Schiffman
Upside Down Lacrimosa
Some Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Rebecca Schiffman's debut had two biases working in full force before I even spun the CD. One, that I am unfairly biased against singer-songwriters, because most of the solo albums from people I don't recognize warrant a lot of criticism (and it seems like any person with a guitar and two cents worth of recording time can and will make an album).

The other is that after reading her biography, I developed a sugary and blushing girl-crush on Ms. Schiffman. It's not like me to admit that readily, but after hearing her stance on music and her own undying creativity, I caved in. The Upside Down part of her chosen title refers to the fact that she often turns established sheet music on its head to hear how it would sound. Already, she strikes me as a person who sees with different eyes than most, and loves to relish in the creative. In full, she says that since "Lachrymose" means sad, then Upside Down Lacrimosa might just mean happy. It is in the spirit of playing with one's own words, intentions, and emotions that my little crush was furthered along.

Luckily for me, her music justifies my good feelings toward her. The album is resplendent and charming. Her influences are beautiful, from Classical music to The Softies, Shannon Wright, Bebel Gilberto and Lois, and bring forth a heartily-steeped, harmonious sound. She is, undoubtedly, a serious musician- and yet she maintains the sweet quality best characterized by her lilting voice, and shows a softened heart.

Keyboards, drums, and luscious strings swirl ambitiously, even when aptly pinned to Mozart's "Lacrimosa", which she recreates at the album's center. For some, this attempt may result in the pretentious, but Ms. Schiffman manages to emote a labor of love. Tracks like "Long Ride Home" dote on her crystalline, twee side, relaxing amid buoyant harmonies; others such as "Pigeons and Igloos" focus on her form carefree faux-Brazilian jazz, meshing competence with touch-toed exuberance. Her proficiency as an instrumentalist is versed but never intimidating, and though her graceful voice is treasure enough, her ability to support it with technical expertise and tremendous creativity makes this album a true gift.

As I have the ability to carry this portable memento along as I stride around the lake or enjoy the comfort of my patio, I can happily court Rebecca Schiffman. While this is unbeknownst to the artist, I'll more than willingly adopt her as secret muse and companion. The world just looks a little prettier with her around.

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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