» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Mountain Goats
4AD/Beggar's Banquet

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
John Darnielle's stinging voice and dense folk lyrics are reminiscent of Loudon Wainwright III (Rufus's father for all you youngsters), though unlike Loudon, Darnielle's tales are not autobiographical. Tallahassee is fourteen songs about a Florida couple on the brink of divorce, held together only by an alcoholic illusion of unity.

This is an album that operates more like a Raymond Carver short story than a folk singer's diary, and truly the lyrics achieve literary quality at times. Take this bit from "International Small Arms Traffic Blues" sung in a mock blues refrain: "Our love is like a Cuban plane/ flying from Havana/ up the Florida coast through the glades/ Soviet made/ Our love is like the border between Greece and Albania/ trucks loaded down with weapons/ crossing over every night/ moon yellow and bright."

I think my favorite song from Tallahassee is "No Children," in which a chorus of "I hope I lie/ and tell everyone you were a good wife/ I hope you die/ I hope we both die," sung to a snug and dancing piano riff. Wonderful.

Darnielle pieces together a lurid portrait of a husband and wife in constant battle (with each other, with alcoholism, with the rest of the world) in Florida's savage, lush and bright capitol, the perfect location for his characters even though he relates their story not with harsh criticism but in a subtle and understanding manner, while still portraying their struggle with the violence and hatred of life which results in an oddly suitable clash between style and content. The Mountain Goats shake out dangerously catchy melodies about decomposition and arson and war. The last song, one of the poppiest on the album, is entitled "Alpha Rats Nest". Track number four is "the House that Dripped Blood." Bravo.

Reviewed by N.D. Burkey
A longtime infrequent contributor to LAS, Neil David Burkey is a painter, writer, sculptor and all-around artistic type. He currently lives in London, England, where he is, at long last, a legal resident.

See other reviews by N.D. Burkey



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