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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
Skeletons
Life and the Afterbirth
Shinkoyo Records

Rating: 9/10 ?


February 10, 2003
Last year, my New Year's Resolution was to take on 2003 'so fresh and so clean', which, in my eyes, meant a healthier lifestyle and sleeping hours more in tune with the rest of society. This year, my resolution consists of the same vague declaration, one that I find very much in tune with the New Year's spirit, not only on the individual level, what with individual resolutions and house-cleanings, but as a sort of temporary societal trend.

While boisterous, drunken crowds sang "Aud Lang Syne" in bars early in the morning on January 1st, sanitation crews already started the long clean-up process in big cities across the world. Similarly, less than a week after the appearance of yearly top ten record lists, music lovers and critics alike were scrambling to put together lists of records they'd overlooked. I was no different, and for 2003 I'd like to nominate Life and the Afterbirth, the second full length by Everybody Uh Oh producer Matt Mehlan's alter-ego, Skeletons, as an oversight from my Best Of list.

Released back in August by Mehlan's imprint Shinkoyo, Life and the Afterbirth passed quietly under most critics' radar, finding its way onto only a small number of yearly top ten lists. Its swirling, synth-infused backdrops, dreamy, melodic guitar work, and ethereal vocals, however, warrant its place as a contender for one of the best records of the past year.

By the two minute mark of the seven-and-a-half-minute long "the telephone rings", Life and the Afterbirth has a gripping quality to it, a mesmerizing force that allows anyone to overlook the sometimes pretentious nature of the recording and even the unnecessarily cumbersome song titles (track four is entitled "things are completely different, weren't we just somewhere else in more than one way? (this is also the part of the story where all the sudden)."). Whether it is the gorgeous strings on "a male angel (crash) means business" or the early Múm-esque bubbly electronics of "crash", the backdrops tend to be the immediate drawing forces within Skeletons' music.

Lending Boards of Canada at its most organic a Chicago post-rock twinge, Life and the Afterbirth is a most impressive endeavor on the part of Matt Mehlan. It seems that there couldn't be a more perfect album for a dreary, sluggish afternoon early in January, before we all become lazy and jaded once again.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn

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