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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
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Is Is
Interscope

Rating: 9/10 ?


July 19, 2007
What better way for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to kick off their new EP than with the marching beat of Brian Chase, the muffled guitar of Nick Zinner, and the signature yelp of Karen O? On "Rockers To Swallow," Karen O says more with an echo-y "hey" and a tiger-like "woah" than most singers do with a blackbook full of verse. Talk about overtly understated.

The Is Is EP is a divergence from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' studio explorations of Show Your Bones, which presented varying sonic tempos and at times showcased a restrained effort from the raucous trio. While some fans (this writer included) found Show Your Bones a nice transition from the garage driven Fever To Tell, the stripped down effort of Is Is will especially appeal to fans who found Show Your Bones a little soft. On the other hand, this release should appeal to any and all Yeah Yeah Yeahs aficionados.

On this short collection, the band updates some songs from its back catalog, including the disc's opener, "Rockers To Swallow." Another revisited track, "Down Boy," begins with an unbroken confessional of fragments before Karen O's growl kicks the song into the smooth regularity of the verse bearing the title's recurring call. Only Zinner's guitar breaks away from its pull with any sense of urgency, and the few moments of spontaneity make the track all the more unrefined.

"Kiss Kiss" and "Isis" show the dual sides of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs repertoire. "Kiss Kiss," with its Metric-like arrangements all the way down to the streetwise lyrics about kissing everywhere that kids meet, is alluring enough for an i-Pod commercial while still remaining edgy. On the other side of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Janus-like offering, "Isis" plays against the radio friendly notion of former single "Maps." There remains a pint up rage in "Isis" that wasn't there with its predecessor, and it gets unleashed-in mythological fashion-as Karen-O chants "Wild night" in her signature screech for the song's final 45 seconds.

This EP is not so much a transitional statement as it is a reflection on where the band has been. But the effort is self-conscious. Is Is isn't foregrounding any new direction for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs so much as it's further demonstrating what most fans have already known: that the band is as raw and provocative as it was since the release of their first slew of EPs-meaning that if they don't make question all other music out there, you may not have a pulse.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill

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