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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
Aerogramme
Seclusion
Sonic Unyon

Rating: 8/10 ?


March 29, 2006
Measuring the earthquake that is the chorus to "Dreams And Bridges," Aerogramme registers a 6.5 on the Richter scale. As Craig B., indie rock's David Banner, sighs acidly, "Your lies, your bitterness, always wins," Campbell McNeil's monolithic bass movements flatten out and loud, amplified aftershocks start. The earth shakes and cymbals crash, and it feels like the apocalypse all those Bible-thumpers warned you about is finally here. But the worst of it hasn't hit yet. That comes at the end of the track, when even a 7 wouldn't do the moment justice.

Nor would it tell the whole story of Seclusion, a six-song EP that marks the return of Scotland's savage, yet gentle emo/orchestral-metal beast known as Aerogramme. Emerging from a five-year, self-imposed exile, Aerogramme is heavier than ever and from the sound of Seclusion it is evident that the band, now a four-piece, is even more skilled at employing loud/soft dynamics to drive a semi-truck load of emotionally explosive baggage to its target... umm, make that destination.

With A Story In White, Aerogramme mapped out a craggy, snow-covered musical mountain range that was difficult, but rewarding to traverse. Seclusion, the precursor to a full-length due out in late 2006, has the same sort of wide-screen ambition and cinematic appeal, but this world isn't as icy, although it may be more forbidding. A thaw comes in the form of "Inkwell," a surprisingly warm pop uprising from a band known more for its unfathomable depression and dark, sonic tempests. Next is the aforementioned "Dreams And Bridges," a song that's beautiful and crushing, with a lovely bridge of strings that gets demolished by huge, binge-and-purge riffs, demonic vocal distortion, stormy drums and brief patches of electronic violence.

A movie projector is left running at the beginning of the sprawling 10:58 epic "The Unravelling." That's Aerogramme's not-so-subtle way of saying what you're about to hear is something you'd pay $7 to see in the theater, not counting popcorn. Cavernous drums set an ominous tone that's offset by Craig B.'s earnest, choirboy vocal hemorrhaging and warm keys. It's an emotionally gripping track, like most of Aerogramme's work, and its floods your ears with sound as Craig B. sings, "I'll suck the life out/I'll break the bones." With oceanic depth and tense drama, "The Unravelling" feeds off the Isis power grid and overloads on Led Zeppelin-like excess, letting its strength gather and the momentum build to a thunderous conclusion.

The delicate, mewing ballad "I Don't Need Your Love" is Aerogramme at its worst. Laden with synthetic strings, it swoons placidly, crippled by its own emotional malfunctions. And yet, despite being overloaded with studio effects and a one-dimensional arrangement, in Aerogramme's trembling, all-to-human hands it still works. So do the prog-style keys in "Lightning Strikes The Postman," which saturates you with sound, letting ponderous, muscled riffs beat you black and blue.

Mining the same rich lyrical veins Aerogramme always has, Seclusion explores themes of betrayal, loss and personal politics. It's the standard menu from Aerogramme, but the evocative imagery, combined with thrilling music, makes Seclusion a monster that'll break any chains. Forget King Kong. Aerogramme is more dangerous and destructive.

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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