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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
Copeland
Beneath Medicine Tree
The Militia Group

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I've yet to pinpoint the moment where soul baring became equated with woe baring, but it has become painfully obvious that far too many songwriters have the two confused these days. Billed as an album about 'finding strength through the hurt' of watching the declining health of lead singer Aaron Marsh's girlfriend and grandmother, Beneath Medicine Tree ignorantly walks right into that trap, undermining the wonderful, clean production by Matt Goldman (Denison Mars, My Hotel Year) and the rather beautiful artwork that accompanies the album.

Whether trying their hand at a piano ballad on the opener "Brightest", or trying to get things moving with guitar rave-ups such as "Testing the Strong Ones" or "There Cannot Be A Close Second" that are reminiscent of fellow southern emotional rockers Elliot, Beneath Medicine Tree never manages to emerge from the run-of-the-mill blandness - "If it's not too late for coffee/ I'll be at your place in ten" is just a brief snippet from "Coffee" - that seems to hang like a pall over the discs running time. The lyrics, whose specificity to the situations in Marsh's life not only grotesquely expose his fears and neurosis, but also fail to provide the space necessary to allow for re-interpretation and personal connection among an audience who might not prefer to have simple narratives or emotional baggage ("Let me draw the blinds for you/ You can watch the sunset from the bed in your hospital room/ I'm sure that I don't understand how I found a love so pure" from "Take Care") nailed to them, all the while sung in a falsettos that occasionally waver just a little to much to be pleasant to the ear.

With so much attention paid to the little details like artwork, instrumentation, and production, it's unfortunate that the songs on Copeland's Beneath Medicine Tree, while intensely personal and probably quite meaningful to those who were concerned in the subject matter from which their creation sprung, don't have the super glue substance necessary to tack themselves to the general public's listening ear.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper

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