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LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
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.
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!
Me: "I'm on the Astralwerks list."
Him: "Looks like you have a photo pass."
Me: "What does that mean?"
Him: "You can take photos."
Me: "I don't have a photographer. Or a camera."
Having dropped the ball, I lowered my head and went inside. After some opening rumblings from Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, the lights dimmed for Sparklehorse. Emerging from an exhaled cloud of smoke, Mark Linkous slinked on to Webster Hall's stage last week, somehow simultaneously looking dapper and rumpled in a three-piece suit. Stepping to the microphone and blinking into the stage lights, he offered a caustic hello to an audience already eagerly hanging on to his every word. After the ensuing applause died down, Linkous' band began a string of nearly uninterrupted songs that pulled remarkably evenly from their entire back catalog.
Part of the joy of listening to a Sparklehorse album is slipping on a pair of headphones and soaking in the intricacies of the production and the beauty of the compositions. Even though the band inevitably lost any inclinations of intimacy perched at the front of the cavernous venue, the songs refused to suffer for it. Rather than resting quietly as little jewels of headphone secrecy, Sparklehorse's material instead became more raw and more immediate; the songs were equally affecting with their stripped down instrumentation and imperfect vocals.
Appropriate to their style, Linkous and company ended the night softly, going out not with a bang, but with a quiet hush. After about an hour of music, Linkous offered a terse thank you before exiting the stage. Following the inevitable applause and whistles, the band slowly made their way back onstage to play two encores, each consisting of just one song. Although excelling at somberness and introspection, Sparklehorse still managed to leave an already rowdy New York audience excited and happy, duly illustrating the power of their craft. SEE ALSO: www.sparklehorse.org
SEE ALSO: www.astralwerks.com/sparklehorse
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.
See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.
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