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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
Scout
This Soft Life
Mod Music Group

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I am currently looking for a reliable twelve-step program to curb addiction to my Launchcast player. I've had bad experiences before with treatment, but the first rule is I can't tell you about it. So I guess I'll have to pull through on my own.

Scout is a band I came to adore from their inclusion on said playlist, appearing as a welcome surprise here and there, recommended by a usually unreliable targeting service. Their music brings me back to the glorious spell between 1993 and 1994 when American Thighs and Exile in Guyville were still fresh on everyone's ears. Those being two staples I can count on when perusing my music inventory, This Soft Life will doubtlessly become another consistent choice.

Ashen Keilyn begins the disc by showing off her vocals, which have a quality much like Chan Marshall's: she takes husky breaths between emotive lyrics and still sounds unaffected. It is as though the pain she's expressing to us all has left her numb, or that her worries have worn clear through. "Unlimited Weekends" does sound a little like a Cat Power track, only with synthesizers replacing piano parts and a curiously warm tone that offsets her impervious nature.

The following "Before You" starts the Veruca Salt-like power rock, which lifts the album in several places. "Here's the Thing" and "All We Ever Wanted was Everything" sound more like Liz Phair (before her current corporate whoring), but the whole of their upbeat, forceful tracks bring back notions of solid female alternative rock - when that actually meant something.

"Good Enough for Now" reminds us that Scout is as mainstream as they are indie. The track is very radio-ready, or perhaps more accurately, soundtrack-ready. If it appeared in an episode of Gilmore Girls, I wouldn't be at all surprised. In fact, the pairing may be a perfect match; that series' inclusion of Mazzy Star, The Shins and Yo La Tengo shows that their choices are good, and Scout would be no exception. While it may be set for mass consumption, This Soft Life is definitely worth winning a popularity contest.

Influences of the Replacements and the Pixies abound, most notably on "Never Never", where sideways guitars spin uncontrollably toward a torrid peak. Ashen and company grew up loving the same rock I did, and they are fearless in recreating their passion. While I may have heard these sounds ten years ago, I never stopped missing them. Scout breaks the staleness of current radio trends, and the pretentiousness of many independents, just by taking a step back.

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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