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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
Giant Drag
Hearts and Unicorns
Kickball Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


September 15, 2005
"I don't care what you think! I do what I want, when I want, and there's nothing you can do about it!" Such a sentiment, no matter how cliché, has roared or blurted out of every teenager's mouth at some point or another, and it's in that same spirit Giant Drag has made their first full-length album.

While [thankfully] not teenagers themselves, everything about the band is proudly juvenile, undyingly youthful and bursting at the seams with unruly, unquestioning energy. Yes, on the surface, track names like "My Dick Sux" and "Kevin is Gay", and cover art culled from the composition notebooks of Napoleon Dynamite may threaten to rub we indie know-it-alls the wrong way, but take heart: Hearts and Unicorns remembers just how good it is to be bad.

This debut, residing somewhere between Veruca Salt's American Thighs and their loud, electric [and patently abysmal] follow-up, Eight Arms to Hold You, houses snarling 'service industry' rock for lovers of crunchy guitars, mean hooks, and pout-lipped princesses like Pat Benetar and Karen O. It is as sarcastic and acidic as the neighborhood punk kid, and likewise, as gawky in its growth spurts.

Even when coining heart-on-the-sleeve poetry - as they do with the repeated, diary-ready insistence "My secret's safe" on "You're Full of Shit (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)", and the unwitting spurt, "Love/this isn't it/you wouldn't know it if it hit you" on the mirror serenade, "This Isn't It" - or when flaunting unnatural peacock shades of eye shadow to get the guy on "Everything's Worse", they manage to do so without sounding annoying or contrived. This sincere ability to remember the amplified feelings of youth is Giant Drag's primary success, as the unflinching, awkward coyness of Hearts and Unicorns has not truly been captured since the likes of that dog.'s Totally Crushed Out!.

Though it never purports to be a brilliant record, Hearts and Unicorns is, at its best, instantly likeable and filled with pounding guitars, kinetic beats, an irrepressible spirit and even some hard-won wisdom: on the closing "Slayer", Giant Drag reflects on their experiences with a few years' distance. As it coos, "Baby, I'm sorry" over 80s style reverb, its newfound perspective allows some closure on the youthful indiscretions and headstrong emotions that preceded it. Hearts and Unicorns manages to bring out the best of the worst of all our former selves as well as illuminate our capacity to get better with age. Barring any sophomore slump, Giant Drag is on par to do the very same.

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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