» 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 Advantage
5 Rue Christine

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The year is 1988. I am 7 years old, and I am at my sister's friend Julie's house while they are playing with dolls (or whatever it is 9 year old girls in 1988 play with). The question you are asking yourself is, "Why? What would a cool 7 year old dude like Stephen be doing hanging out with his older sister and her friend playing with dolls? Is he gay?"

No way! The answer is simple: Julie had a Nintendo. Not only did she have a Nintendo, but she had Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3, Duck Tales, Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers, that Bugs Bunny game that was really freakin' hard, and Double Dribble Basketball. Why wouldn't I have been there? I used to love it when my sister would go to Julie's. I'll even admit, I totally used to think that if I stood up and moved the controller up and down it would help Mario get over those long jumps.

You see, my mom never bought one for me, and it was all I ever wanted. I loved it. I loved video games, and I still do. There is nothing quite like losing yourself in a video game. No matter how incredible the graphics of game systems like Playstation and X-Box get, there is still nothing quite like the feeling inspired by playing the classic 8-bit Nintendo games from my childhood.

Now I can relive all the frustration, sweat, anxiety, hardship and joy of a great Nintendo game like Bionic Commando or Wizards & Warriors through my stereo, thanks to The Advantage.

The Advantage is a five-piece band from Nevada City, CA who specialize in - get this - nothing but tunes from Nintendo games. Now, we've all heard the hippies and their jam bands covering Nintendo classics like Super Mario Bros. during their exasperatingly long live shows; that is not what I'm talking about. The Advantage pour every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into their music as they would trying to beat Metroid (and Good lord, that was tough).

Listening to this record all the way through is not only a joy - it brings back tons of memories. There is nothing like the feeling of recognizing the music from your favorite old video game. Moreover, it's a workout! It's like playing the games all over again.

While you might think something like this would only work as a novelty, it holds up surprisingly well on it's own. Musically, the band is incredibly tight; I can imagine the long hours spent arranging the music. Picture 5 guys sitting around playing Mario and every few minutes one of them exclaiming "No, dude, that's totally in B Minor!"

The guitars overlap each other with intertwining melodies while the crisp drums click and clack their way through the rhythms of these tunes that, until now, were made solely of blips and beeps. To top it off, most of the tracks circle the one or two minute mark, so it doesn't get old; it stays fresh, leaving you wanting more.

Added to all this, there is the thrill I get every time I play it for a different friend; I get just as excited as I was the first time I heard it. That is really quite an incredible feat. I'm willing to put my own personal guarantee down that The Advantage will be THE party album of summer 2004. It's a no-brainer.

Madly danceable, ridiculously catchy and full of that retro-power that is all the rage these days, it's a lock. Oh, and incase you're afraid that one disc isn't enough, don't worry: The Advantage have vowed to record every single Nintendo song in their lifetime. If they keep that promise, it's safe to say that we've got plenty to look forward to.

Reviewed by Stephen Smith
In a recent staff survey Stephen Smith included a picture of his cat, Nikolai, since he said he didn\'t have any of himself.

See other reviews by Stephen Smith



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