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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
Need New Body
Where's Black Ben?
5RC Records

Rating: 5.5/10 ?


June 29, 2005
Weird things happen when rock label 5RC is involved. I'm not sure yet if weird is good or bad; Where's Black Ben? makes me even more uncertain.

If it is any indication of Need New Body's appeal, one can look at the label's more popular entry points: Hella, Deerhoof, and Xiu Xiu. Hella is freak-out spaz rock, Deerhoof is noise rock and Xiu Xiu is avant garde art rock. Need New Body is somewhere in the galaxy of these three genre classifications, but where that leaves the band I am not sure and I have thoroughly listened to the album.

Take the liberated concept behind freeform jazz and apply it to the characteristics of rock and roll. Then link this central meeting point with the principal characteristics of noise, spaz, roots-folk, party funk, and electronic pop music. Add the stimulant(s)/substance(s) of your choice and puree. This is Where's Black Ben? in a nutshell.

Hearing descriptions of an album of this nature and listening to it are two very different things. It's somewhat like explaining how it feels to be punched in the stomach then actually having it done to you. To some, this album could cause the feeling of nausea that would result had they been socked in the gut. To a small niche of indie rockers, though, it could be viewed as an album of great depth and exploration.

It is most accurate to say that the album contains a lot of ideas without one extraordinary concept to bind them together. During the course of the album, just as in the course of each song, there are moments of passable clarity and harmony. Track 3 ("Totally Pos Pass") links together a Stewart Copeland rock drumbeat with dotted guitar notes and vocal harmonies, whereas the next song ("Poppa B") finds the group busting out the banjo, upright bass and brush drumsticks. For these segments I give the band a B-.

Surrounding these moments of listenable material are track 2 ("Magic Kingdom") - which features random metallic drum clicks, rambling piano chords and a cracking female voice sounding like Gilda Radner as Roseanne Rosannadanna on SNL - and track 5 ("Mouth Breather") which is a Nintendo video game sounding synth line, a drum machine part sounding as if it was programmed by a 5-year-old and someone spazzing out doing a mic check. These segments warrant a grade no higher than a D+ and receive a checkmark next to 'distraction to others.'

Need New Body sounds like a band inspired by the ingenuity and unconventionality of Captain Beefheart but without the chops or originality to pull it off in the current day. The release breathes experimental noise more than anything else, and unfortunately any sort of exceptional creativity is stifled by these distinctive and often distracting techniques.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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