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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
Gorillaz
Plastic Beach
EMI

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


March 23, 2010
The cartoon novelty might've worn a tad, but Damon Albarn's musical inspiration hasn't. While he's kissed and made up with Graham Coxon and restarted Blur, Albarn's projects outside of his iconic Britpop band have actually been far more interesting in the last decade than they had any right to be; the most commercially successful of those of course has been Gorillaz, which has deftly maneuvered inside the pop culture bubble over the years making animated characters be the reps and letting the 'choons do the talking.

While the man-behind-the-curtain approach employed by Albarn and Gorillaz cohort/animator Jamie Hewlett hasn't deviated much, the sonics have somewhat on the group's third full length. While there's no immediate pop hit present a la "Feel Good Inc" or "Clint Eastwood" to get sucked into straight off, Albarn's ability to juggle his rotating ensemble cast and still spin a cohesive yarn for all of sixteen tracks remains something to behold. Whether he's convincing notorious crank Lou Reed to grumble over bouncy pop on "Some Kind of Nature," utilizing The Clash's Mick Jones and Bomb the Bass' Tim Simenon on the surfy, dubbed-out title track or letting Mos Def and Bobby Womack take turns over pure 80s electro on "Stylo," Albarn's increasingly confident production is what truly brings Plastic Beach to life.

As with Massive Attack, things still seem to work out best when the hosts reclaim the party for themselves, as Albarn does on the beautifully understated "On Melancholy Hill," which perhaps signifies the form a Beatles and Kate Bush collaboration might've taken. You have to hand it to Albarn - what seemingly began as sideline dalliance born perhaps out of his disenchantment with his rock star status has persevered and grown into something more substantial than anyone could've predicted. Can celluloid-drawn miscreants actually mature after all?

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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