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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
Scout Niblett
Kidnapped by Neptune
Too Pure/Beggars Group

Rating: 8/10 ?


July 22, 2005
The first time I saw Scout Niblett several years ago, she was opening for Swearing at Motorists at Spaceland - then and still a prime venue in Los Angeles' Silverlake neighborhood. At the time, I was utterly annoyed by her. Veering wildly (and what I took as amateurishly) back and forth between drums and guitar, playing half-formed songs that seemed to meander and weave… I just wasn't having it.

Now I realize it wasn't Scout who was immature - it was me. Well, maybe we both were, or maybe that's a bunch of bullshit, but the point is that over the years and after seeing her perform live several times more, I've come to realize her many charms and talents as an artist and a musician. Her latest record, Kidnapped by Neptune, finds an exponential increase in her reach while still relying on some of her time-tested tricks; the results are wryly melodic and never ever boring.

The most immediately catching attribute about Scout Niblett is her voice. Slightly askew and girlish, it can also be fierce and strong and it's always truly a unique sound - I don't want to make this comparison, but it's appropriate: Bjork. Scout doesn't actually sound like her, nor does she seem to be trying to, but she certainly shares an appealing warbling quality with the Icelandic songstress.

The track listing of this newest record, recorded by Steve Albini, is full of minimal, simple, yet constantly shifting and attention-grabbing songs. Many change halfway through, becoming something completely different. Case in point: "Newburyport," which starts out with a fat bass and synth repeated riff, lulling you into its arms, before switching up completely - if you're not paying attention, you will probably think it's a new track. But it ain't.

Scout's drumming is rudimentary, and her guitar playing a bit better, but it's not technical skills that sink her songs into your grey matter - it's her interesting vocal melodies, her quirky and autobiographical lyrics ("Fuck Treasure Island" is apparently about missing the exit to the island just outside of San Francisco on the Bay Bridge and saying, "Fuck it") and her ability to switch from an intimately plucked guitar pattern to a gigantically beefy metal riff in the blink of an eye. Opener "Hot to Death," one of the prettiest and suspense-ridden tracks included, begins with a simple, bended-string riff and keeps at it for a while before launching into distortion whitewash. She'll repeat this format several times over the course of the record, but the songs are unique; Kidnapped by Neptune doesn't wear out its welcome.

When playing live, she often performs solo - though sometimes backed by just a drummer - but Scout enlisted some help for this record, including drummer Jason Kourkounis (Burning Brides, Hot Snakes, Delta 72). Still, her tribal therapy and repeated vocal and guitar phrases are as personal as ever, and her avant-garde punk referencing is as cathartic for the listener as it must be for her.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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