» 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
We Are Amateurs, You and I
Self Starter Foundation

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Back in 1996, when the Los Angeles based Crank! records was still a functioning entity, a split 7" single was released between the bands Haywood and Mariner 9. Haywood's contribution, "Trophy Case" was a respectable track, but not exceptionally noticeable in one of the most prolific years in post-punk indie rock. Evidently most everyone felt the same, because I scarcely heard a peep about the band, and after transferring both tracks from the 7" onto a cassette (long since lost) I parted ways with the single.

Now, half a decade later, Haywood resurface with We Are Amateurs, You and I, which I at first took to be a different band because, hell, if this was the same Haywood that I'd heard before I'm certain I'd still have the Mariner 9 split. This album is apparently one in a long line of what must be obscure releases, as I can't imagine the Haywood detailed here not making more of a splash earlier on, unless they are only now finding their voice on We Are Amateurs, You and I.

Although not necessarily the best track on the album, "Hotel Bar in Moscow" exemplifies what is so great about the entire record. In a word, it's soulful. In another word, it's honest. I could give you a third and a fourth and a fifth, but they'd all relate the same thing.

There's an undeniable Superchunk connection to the songs, in that they're both capable of being intricate and intelligent at the same time that they're sloppy and disheveled. The front man's voice echo's of Superchunk's Mac more often than not, which in most camps can only be seen as a good thing and, for better or worse, it completely fits the music. Even when "The Kids Are Taking Aim" smacks of the catchiest bits of a Rick Springfield rocker, there is a nerdy reservation to it. It's an uncoordinated anthem.

We Are Amateurs, You and I is wistful, whimsical, wobbly and weird in just the right places. "Button Up Buttercup" reminds me a lot of Modest Mouse in the same way that "Hotel Bar in Moscow" reminds me of Superchunk. It's deceptively noisy and crunchy, and you can almost reach out and touch the bed-head hair and wrinkled button down shirt. It's more upbeat than Modest Mouse and, indeed, for all the lamenting going on there rarely infiltrates anything that could be taken as macabre.

While I'd certainly recommend picking this up as a backdrop to your smoky bar room nights ("Hotel Bar in Moscow" would pair perfectly, in much hipper fashion, with Semisonic's "Closing Time") I'll also have to deliver the news that Haywood have broken up. Closing in on ten years as an outfit, and with this great collection of academic indie pop sealed to tape, they've elected to call it quits. What terrible timing.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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