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LITERATURE

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

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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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!
[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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Feelies
Crazy Rhythms/The Good Earth
Domino

Rating: 9.3/10 ?


December 24, 2009
Having the Feelies back was one of the true prizes of a late-decade 80s college-rock reunion blitz that also included Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Mission of Burma and the wonderful Pylon. The ever-modest Haledon, NJ arpeggiators returned to play a couple Hoboken/NYC-area shows in 2008, most notably an opening gig at Battery Park for Sonic Youth on July 4 that blew the minds of those such as I who'd only heard their ringing gorgeousness via thin, subterranean mixes from out-of-print albums I'd had to acquire via download. Even the new songs burned.

So even without 1991's special Time for a Witness in tow, these two early 80s reissues of debut Crazy Rhythms (which had the geeky-gawky balls to take on both the Stones and the Beatles) and the six-years-in-waiting follow-up The Good Earth (far richer due to impeccably smooth production from R.E.M.'s rival Rickenbacker-rattler Peter Buck) are somebody's Christmas miracle.

At very least, it's best they claimed some turf: Weezer stole the Crazy Rhythms album cover 15 years ago, while Clap Your Hands Say Yeah swiped their up-and-up hyperdrum jangle a mere five. This year New Jersey's own Real Estate sold some 3,500 copies aping the same summer-y, lazy treble tones under the so-called guise of "chillwave" just as Bar/None finally sprang into action. With help from Animal Collective- and Dirty Projectors-backed Domino, indie fans craving the roots of the childlike jangle they're holding in (somewhat too) high regard right now would do right to get on these post-Velvets sunsoakeds, who ran parallel to R.E.M. without the tightness or hooks, like a chiming echo. Of course, dub fans know that echo has its pleasures, and Feelies neither needed tightness or hooks to begin. You might remember "Fa-Ce-La" or "Slipping (Into Something)" or the occasional rave-up like the nonsensical "Raised Eyebrows" but like prime Yo La Tengo or Luna (both of which they preceded) only with far less emphasis on cleverness and lyrics, Bill Million and Glenn Mercer's clean-reverberating unit aimed to hypnotize you with guitars-nothing more, nothing less. Mercer's running Lou Reed impression (especially on Rhythms's rockabilly-ish title track) existed for timbre and er, feel. His murmurings couldn't be less concerned with decadence.

Which isn't to say nothing of the consistently jittery drumming that's hard to believe came from different sources: John J. on Crazy Rhythms and especially future Luna pounder Stanley Demeski on Good Earth. While probably not intentional at the time, the revolving-collective/jam-circle lineup was reflected in the music, which had moments of brilliance (actual moments, like the vaguely Spanish guitar solo in the first break of "On the Roof") and lots of swirling, swooning ether to swim in. The more punkish debut is more celebrated for its distinctive nerves (typified in slower-than-expected opener "The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness") that went with their nerdy look and probably confused fans later with the more pastoral stuff. But since their two most rocking albums bookended their four-album career (I haven't mentioned Only Life, whose title track will be worth the price alone when it and Witness finally see daylight again), initially only canonizing Crazy Rhythms as "the classic" no longer makes contextual sense. If nothing else, these minor cause celebres from my college hometown sold consistency. And crazy rhythms.

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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