» 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
All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
Thrill Jockey

Rating: 9.1/10 ?

November 12, 2009
When I first heard that the new Califone album--which I was foaming at the mouth to hear--was tied to a film of the same name, I couldn't help but groan a little. Having witnessed the members of Red Red Meat preview its title track (in a more upbeat, jangly version) at one of their reunion shows, this new bit of information certainly dampened my salivation and, as bad as it sounds, hampered the first couple listens as I tried to pick out what connection, if any, this record has with its sister film.

Thankfully, if you never see All my friends are funeral singers the film, you'd never even know it was related. At its Chicago premiere, which featured the band playing a live score, the majority of the songs were absent from the film, relying instead on their trademark Captain Beefheart-esque clanging and moody orchestrations to carry much of the performance. Several songs did make an appearance: "Funeral Singers" (duh), the bron-y-aur stomp "Ape-like," and to close the film with some poignancy, the slow-burning "Evidence."

And while the film was far more interesting and entertaining than any novice's usually has a right to be, the fact that the album is not a soundtrack gave both projects the breadth to be considered individually, which comes as a welcome relief to those of us dying to hear the encore to 2006's marvelous Roots and Crowns, and not an item of merchandising designed to cross-pollinate listeners into seeing the accompanying film.

The album opens with the typically clunky, electronic Beefheart of "Giving away the bride." Why Califone insists on opening almost every album with the toughest song for a new recruit to get into is beyond me (not saying that say, "Pink and Sour" is bad, but why not let the newbies ease into your sound?), but if you stick with it, it gives way to a relatively calm piano based piece. From there we get "Polish Girls," which is the exact opposite of "Giving away the bride," a quick-strummed piece that expands into one of the most rewarding and inviting songs in the band's catalog.

The thing to keep in mind is that leader Tim Rutili's vision hasn't changed much, he just continues to refine it. As with songs like "The Orchids" and "Spider's House," the continued confidence in slow, sleepy numbers, hinting more towards the ambient side of experimental folk, like the devastating "Krill" or the aforementioned "Evidence" suggests that as Rutili ages, his music will only grow in accessibility, relying less and less on the clatter of his youth. Songs like "Gauze" used to be austere nuggets buried in the noise, but these days, the noisy abstractions are, for the most part, the odd-man out. I kind of like it.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
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