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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Hokkaido Concern
Circuits Flooded EP

Rating: 5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Knife goes in, guts come out; that's what the Hokkaido Concern is all about. Aside from being a Simpsons quote worth a personal snicker, it's truly fitting: Circuits Flooded is as serious and visceral as expected.

This second EP from the talented post-rockers of the Hokkaido Concern picks up where their self-titled debut left off, and shows little change. This works to a small disadvantage, in that the first time we heard the gasps of life from this band, they seemed to fit well as another skilled proponent of the math-rock climate. Now, as math has often bridged the gap to more experimental trends, the Hokkaido Concern has been left idling. Yes, there are arguably countless bands that have stuck to the same edgy formula and have shown the intensity of the genre. However, when the audience is left to shrug their shoulders in anticipation of what's next, it seems as though the repetitive nature could render itself stagnant.

That's not to say that Circuits Flooded is a forgettable EP - each track is as brash and hurried as its better contemporaries. It's just that on the whole, straightforward math-rock tends to be absent-minded in a sense, as cuts have little differentiation, and reintroduce themselves time and again in similar incarnations. If you've heard one track, you essentially know what to expect until a band makes the inevitable leap forward. Played by rote, it feels like a frozen evolutionary step. The Hokkaido Concern, in their second offering, may not be 100% ready to dabble in more wayward currents, and that's good enough - especially since their released material can be counted on fingers and toes - but one can sense that when they uproot from their patterns, they could really do some damage.

Proof of this comes in the upbeat, nearly poppy track, "Axl Royz", which mixes the prerequisite noodling and challenging time signatures with a surprisingly lighthearted nature. Its presence, which calls attention to itself, brings about the welcome change of individuality. Even in more conventional tracks, The Hokkaido Concern are a cut above the crowd, weaving intricacy into "Maria", and delving into the long and confounding "Fugue in Lee Minor". As the door has been left wide open for them to cross into brave territories, and foundations are undeniably solid, there's a great deal of excitement awaiting their first long-player. Judging by their proficiency and the hints toward advancement, it's going to be worth waiting for.

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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