» 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
Painted Saints
The Bricks Might Breathe Again

Rating: 7.2/10 ?

May 1, 2008
The rise of violin-based Gypsy-influenced bands in popularity has been one of indie rock subculture's more pleasantly left-field turns this decade, with DeVotchKa, Beirut, Balkan Beat Box and Gogol Bordello sharing significant buzz time with say, Andrew Bird or Phosphorescent. The medieval element in the Gypsey/Balkan style isn't often pushed to the forefront, though, and some new folkies such as the Pierces are starting to bring back the really creepy stuff, the haunting Transylvanianism, sawed violins, barbaric percussion, and slow, vampiric vocals.

Painted Saints, whether they know it or not, are co-conspirators of this stuff, with Lemony Snicket-worthy song titles ("Lights Hanging Low from the Heavy Cottonwoods," "The Lament"). The quintet, which hammers on everything here from bandoneon to singing saw, generally stays in one dour place after another, conjuring cartoonishly dark moods and shading songs like "The Bricks Might Breathe Again" with war-like marches and fugues.

The Saints' most spectacular novelty of all, though, is their dimly lit revamp of Neutral Milk Hotel's well-celebrated "Oh Comely," still nearly seven minutes long, and now filtered down with haunted-house theremin and Paul Fonfara's gradually loosening folksinger wail. He struggles to hold the notes, but so did Jeff Mangum, and the ghostly vibe genuinely adds dimension to the Elephant Six original, making a convincing argument that all it needed was a little Vincent Price like it was "Thriller" or something. The neo-classical violins the swoop in at the five-minute mark are convincing as well.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss



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