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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
Hilde Marie Kjersem
A Killer For That Ache
Rune Grammofon

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


October 2, 2008
Every so often I have the pleasure of happening upon a record that embodies the best of nice-and-easy background music. These collections consist of songs that can be played over and over again, enjoyable even on repeat, but with the unique characteristic that, at the end of the day, they remain largely unmemorable. That may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it isn't; such finds can be rare and as such be rather coveted. These albums are worth listening to, after all, they just lack that sticky quality that makes them truly distinctive. Call it Teflon-rock.

Hilde Marie Kjersem (who has previously released a record with the now-disbanded TUB Quartet, as well as a collaboration with jazz guitarist Jon Eberson) is the latest in a long line of such non-stick artists, and although her first proper solo release features songs with a thick coat of slippery fluoropolymer sounds, the album is, for background purposes, undeniably good. Each spin through A Killer For That Ache gives a feeling of déjà vu-like surprise that only comes with rediscovering something good.

The album is a jazzy, slightly airy release, with a pinch of theatrical drama thrown into the mix for good measure. Each of the eleven songs stands well on its own, but as an ensemble they also work surprisingly well together; A Killer For That Ache unfolds almost like a collection of short stories that, after being read, are realized to be subtly tied together in a larger narrative.

Stand-out tracks on the album include the opener "Sleepyhead," followed by "Mary Full of Grace." Granted, the songs have the afore-mentioned non-stick quality, but while playing they fill the air with a sense of safety and homeliness, creating an atmosphere that lingers far longer. I guess that's the true strength of the songs; that they leave a sort of emotional aftertaste. There is warmth to Kjersem's music, and it is of an unobtrusive nature that, unfortunately, is fairly uncommon these days.

A Killer For That Ache makes for a fine companion, and Hilde Marie Kjersem's rarified skills give her album the endurance for a few hours of play time. This is music for the moment, and who really cares if the songs stick or not? Teflon-rock can be as good as the catchiest club cut, and, especially if you have a bad memory, it can be refreshing over and over again.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg

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