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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
Trans Am
Thing
Thrill Jockey

Rating: 7.7/10 ?


April 20, 2010
Though the D.C. trio is now celebrating 20 years of existence, Trans Am didn't really solidify the Trans Am sound we've come to know until 1997's Surrender to the Night. Informed in equal parts by Kraftwerk, prog-rock and the freeform philosophy of Thrill Jockey labelmates like Tortoise, their breakthrough record signaled the groundwork for a torrent of quality albums to come, including 1999's Futureworld and 2000's The Red Line.

But seeing as the band is just as prone to taking hiatuses as they are defying categorization and earning notice mostly via intense live shows (which probably explains why they're still sadly flying under the radar), it's amazing how few missteps there have been leading up to their ninth album, Thing. Having dusted off the vocoder that was sorely lacking on 2007's Sex Change, Nathan Means and his space cadets quickly get to work after a swirling liftoff intro with "Black Matter". An ominous slab of electro-rock, the track punches you in the gut in a similar manner to "Total Information Awareness" off of 2004's Liberation, while shoveling the political agendas of said record under the rug.

Still, don't expect the bruising cut (or any herein) to set any tone whatsoever as Thing arguably represents Trans Am's most eclectic offering yet. The band bounces from Chemical Brothers-like b-boy breakbeats on "Naked Singularity" to distorted dub on "Bad Vibes" then goes completely spazzcore on "Heaven's Gate". Despite the dizzying effect, all three tracks pay tribute to the virtuosity of drummer Sebastian Thomson, whose skills are a sight to behold in concert. Thankfully, Thomson gets to rest his arms as the band settles into the closing "Space Dock," a blissful homage to 80's sci-fi soundtrack bliss that hopefully doesn't signal the end to Trans Am's own otherworldly mission.

Reviewed by Kiran Aditham
When not contributing to LAS and other music/film publications, Kiran Aditham toils away during the day in Manhattan as a reporter for an advertising magazine…though he’d rather not say which one.

See other reviews by Kiran Aditham

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