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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
Bagheera
Twelves
Asian Man Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Wow. I've reviewed a lot of punk rock lately. A lot of it has been good, so I can't complain, but noting that this new band was from the Asian Man camp I had completely predicted something brash and political. When I learned Lance Reynolds produced, and that he had contributed to the Blue Meanies, Alkaline Trio, Nil8 and MU330, I took a pause to brace my ears a bit. My apologies to Bagheera for attempting to pin them down before even putting the music on, because boy, was I wrong.

Bagheera is made for fans like me: people who love Superchunk, Yo La Tengo, Grandaddy and Rainer Maria. It's a duo of Theodore Moll and Heather Dallape, and despite signature hardened guitar lines and distorted squeal, these two are softies in the best way. Twelves comes for the rock, but stays for the undying melody.

Like Jejune and P.E.E. before them, Bagheera focus on pretty female vocals, and allow a plain-and-low male counterpart to play the straight man. They blend layers of full, contagious, and often noisy rock styling with unabashed enthusiasm, constantly sounding like they're hitting their stride. Fans of Lefty's Deceiver and Helicopter Helicopter will no doubt be pleased; even more impressively, so will followers of Built to Spill, if only for the sheer freedom demonstrated by their shameless guitar tangents.

Highlights can be found immediately, often cushioned by eccentric thirty-second instrumental meanderings. "Long Division" is quite possibly the best conclusion to P.E.E.'s "Treeeeed" that I've ever heard - it's spunky, full of propulsive guitars and cathartically prolonged vocals. There's no choice but to feel good singing along.

"Bulbchanger" feels consciously arty, in a similar vein as Veruca Salt's American Thighs or the Breeders' Pod. It is a song of exhilarating momentum: it begins almost bleakly with a slow rumble but is countered by sweetly crooning complimentary parts, then moves toward a roaring intervention and brooding, wounded release.

Despite being an instrumental, and leaving their pitch-perfect vocal dynamic behind, "The Halloween Disguise" is one of the most immediately loveable tracks. It is a reckless keyboard romp akin to the Warren Commission or the Anniversary, lively and hypnotic with an excess of distortion and winding guitars.

Finally, "Better at Night" recalls the spunky restlessness of Sleater-Kinney or Sarge, standing as a discontent punk number with a bitter punch. As it momentarily deconstructs into an atmospheric, groundless lamentation, you get caught off guard just long enough that the second inertial wind is given more lift. Like many of their tracks, it masters a sense of manipulation, changing things up ever-so-slyly so that the format can be reconstructed to greater effect.

Twelves is not meant to be airtight, leaving space for these deliberate sidebars and patient listeners. As such, it is continually rewarding, and shows Bagheera as a band to follow - track to track and from this remarkable debut forward.

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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