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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
Milton Mapes
The Blacklight Trap
Undertow Music

Rating: 7/10 ?


April 18, 2005
Crawling deeper and deeper into the bottle, Milton Mapes is in danger of falling prey to The Blacklight Trap that got Jimmy. An alcoholic who's "awake but not moving/Like a fighter who's been knocked off his feet," Jimmy is the subject of the title track off Milton Mapes' latest release, The Blacklight Trap. He's been drinking his way to oblivion for a long time, and he's almost there. It's past time for an intervention. No 12-step program is going to save him. He's beyond help, having flushed himself down a toilet full of booze. Asks band lyricist, Greg Vanderpool, "Is this where he belongs… in The Blacklight Trap?"

The same question could be asked of Milton Mapes. Drowning in human misery, The Blacklight Trap drips as slow as molasses. Colored with the same burnished hues, it's drinking music for the loner still awake at the wee hours of the morning, sitting at his Formica kitchen table with a glass of whiskey and a loaded gun.

Dark, amorphous movements inspired by Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska creep through the album's dank atmosphere. This is the third release from these Texans and it's their bleakest by far. Where light occasionally seeped through the black velvet curtains of Westernaire, The Blacklight Trap keeps them closed. And in the inky silence you feel a menacing presence. It may be shapeless and vague, but there's no denying it's there.

Perhaps it's why Milton Mapes turns up the volume, thinking that maybe the woolly indie rock swagger of "In The Corner Where It All Began" will drive its demons away. Traces of Milton Mapes' alt-country roots are still found in the bitter, and far from sweet, waltz of "Waiting for Love to Fail", with its dry organ air and dusty harmonica. And there's the swaying, sepia-toned title track, with its slight threads of banjo and a spinning fan of mandolin stuck in a screen window - but that's about as country as the album gets.

Sopping wet from standing in a driving rainstorm of distorted electric guitar, "When The Earth's Last Picture Is Painted" rides the rugged, craggy rhythmic terrain of Crazy Horse and crescendos in a flood of cymbals and brackish guitar squalls. With words and phrases lifted from the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name, it's apocalyptic and hopeful, with the lyric "We might win if we survive the fall" offering resilience and strength, however weary Vanderpool sounds.

So will Milton Mapes, if they can drag themselves out of the mire of death tomes like "Bowie, Az." There is muted thunder in its simple bass drum pounding and drought in its sparse acoustic guitar breeze. "Tornado Weather" stretches out like a prairie at night and with elongated bass, minor-chord piano and doomsday slide guitar fury foretelling a storm of Biblical proportions, Vanderpool waits for the end in his rusted out trailer home.

"Underneath The River Runs" is the most haunting song present. Seemingly ripped from eyewitness accounts of Civil War battles, the song talks of a hundred dead bodies lying by a bridge as a river of feedback and dour piano meanders past. Its melancholy is hard to take, especially when you listen to the album in its entirety. The melancholy weighs on you like depression, and sends you to a dark place. And that's The Blacklight Trap: you sink and sink until you can't breathe, and before you know it, you've disappeared, just like Jimmy. Say hello to him will you. Milton Mapes sends their regards.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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