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 » 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
The Russian Futurists
Let's Get Ready To Crumble
Upper Class Recordings

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Listening to The Russian Futurists is like riding a carnival carousel. Around and around it goes, splashing blurred light everywhere. Canned circus organ music echoes from the speakers. And there you are, riding a plastic horse, laughing uncontrollably and feeling a little motion sick, but still wishing it would never end. It's kind of like being in love, something 23-year-old Matthew Adam Hart knows all about.

On Let's Get Ready To Crumble, his second album, Hart somehow manages to encode all the pleasure, pain and nausea love induces in cavernous, analog synth-pop that sounds like it was recorded in a canyon or a cathedral, not somebody's bedroom- like Hart does here. That he does this with cheap keyboards and a drum machine is all the more amazing. It's high art, even if Hart himself would disagree. On the first song and title track, he defiantly states, "I do pop 'cause that's what my heart goes/ I don't call it art, no sir/ That denotes that when I wrote it I had other motives." Whatever his declared intentions, Hart is an ambitious composer, crafting melodies that seem to echo forever in your mind. Yet for all its epic grandeur, Let's Get Ready To Crumble never sounds pretentious. It retains the lo-fi, electronic pop charm that made his debut, The Methods Of Modern Love, so enjoyable.

What's more, Hart's lyrics reveal an understanding of the human heart that few ever approach. He is always in love, and more often than not, it leaves him heartbroken- but never defeated. "Even when it all goes to Hell, our love for one night was pure as sunlight/ and our great big happy ending is still a dream trapped in a guillotine." Unrequited love never sounded so tragic.

On "Precious Metals" Hart has a heart-to-heart conversation with a former lover who finds adulthood and all its complications unbearable. "You used to think that your life was precious metals and rose petals/ But now as you're growing up you're finding it's nail-biting and teeth-grinding/ That crown you wore with the Rhinestones is now just thorns, needles and pine cones/ And here's one last thing that you must learn too: what keeps you warm can also burn you." Hart knows he's touched a nerve, but he doesn't pull any punches and his brutally honest aim is always true.

Of course, this is musical and lyrical territory Stephin Merritt has explored with The Magnetic Fields- the same biting wit, the same raw, naked emotion, the same New Wave-inspired synth washes that made the Fields' Holiday such a fun, nostalgic trip back to a time when The Human League ruled the charts. But Hart is his own man and what he's produced is a sonic wonderland- check out the simulated cannon shots on "Your Life On Magnetic Tape"- that takes a back seat to nothing Merritt has wrought. Enjoy the ride.

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

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