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 » 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
Blitzen Trapper
Wild Mountain Nation
self-released

Rating: 7.3/10 ?


March 17, 2008
Don't blame the guy who did the cover art for hearing what he heard: for once, we are all alike - critics, fans, cover artists. These strange country boys might've grown up Kings of Leon if they could stilt their grooves rather than stumble through them, and because not a rhythm here has its shoelaces tied, we critics all came to a logical conclusion. If that Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain-style cover didn't give you a hint, these guys have nailed Pavement's shambolic crabwalking down to the last off-beat.

The sense of song-inside-a-song pacing, clumsily leaping over pauses between tracks; apparently it can be taught. So if you're reading online criticism, you read it before: put Skynyrd or Drive-By Truckers through a cheese grater, lacquer down the leavings, and tag it Wowee Zowee Mark Two. Not bad at all. But the songs are where that business ends, as Blitzen Trapper prefer carefully folded guitar and nearly Andrew Bird-like, clean progressions to basement freakouts, and most of the tracks here reflect a reluctant kind of prog rock more than anything else, save for the occasional jam, like "Miss Spiritual Tramp," that really does sound like Pavement. But even that noisy trifle tosses in a harmonica and Jew's harp just to remind you these boys never turn off their penchant for layering and overstuffing a jam.

Easy to hate and easy to love, I camp on the ridge betwixt the two. Almost a year after they released it themselves, I still wish I could remember something other than the title track (which is lovely, FYI) when Wild Mountain Nation's not playing. But returns won't be so diminishing if you can remember to return at all: "Devil's A-Go-Go" is a crafty hopscotch of an opener that'll be as pleasing to hear when you dust the album off again in six months as it was the first time. Just the same, "Woof & Warp of the Quiet Giants" and "Wild Mtn. Jam" may remind you why you haven't picked it up in so long in the first place. If nothing else, let this talented, identity-confounding minor band remind you that there was a time when charming misfits served up hit-or-miss mishmash all the time. And like Wilco or the Wrens or any other tinkering roots outfit, these guys may well outgrow hit-or-miss mishmash for the pursuit of the Great Work of Art before you know it. Catch them at this stage while you can.

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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