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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
Baby & Hide
Cozy
TEAM AV

Rating: 9/10 ?


May 30, 2008
As any devout follower of their hometown music community will tell you, there are generally two categories for bands in any given local scene. The first is the groups of likeable guys, possibly friends of friends, weekend warriors that plug in at the local watering hole and inconspicuously slurp drinks at the bar, to whom little serious consideration is given. The second is the small cache of bands that people really believe in; every time they release an inconspicuous, DIY album, the obliviousness of the wider world is simultaneously endearing and unbelievable. You just know they could - should - be that band, the one to come from nowhere and flood every playlist in the world.

Baby & Hide is that rare band of the second category. A one-man juggernaut from the mind of Jeremy Keller, formerly of the widely slept-on Everybody Uh-Oh, Baby & Hide have progressed into more interesting territory than anyone who got handed a copy of Everybody Uh-Oh's first (and only) full-length Man am I Brad ever thought they (Keller is joined live by drummer Jeff Gorski) would.

The debut, Normal People, comprised partially of songs composed under the supervision and guidance of prominent Chicago producer Brian Deck and partially of obtuse home recordings, showed Keller as an uncompromising songwriter and sound shaper. While songs like "Saturday Night" could have fit in with the fuzzy, lo-fi pop leanings of Man am I Brad, off-kilter sound sketches like "Young Lovers in Love" proved to be fairly divisive among fans and new listeners alike.

Thankfully Keller's experimental push and self-drive has paid off. With the self-produced (and beautifully packaged) sophomore album Cozy, Keller compounds his whims and superior arrangements into a collection of songs no less uncompromising, but altogether more accessible. Longer, keyboard-driven sound pastiches ("Tender Men Sing for the Bishop's Kids," "Pieace") still fill in the alt/indie cracks, but songs like the euphoric opener "Old Times" and the tender "ManiaMania" show more range than Baby & Hide's past recordings, which include the sought-after gold vinyl single "Hark" b/w "Sigh."

Let's talk about "Old Times"; beginning with a woozy keyboard riff, the reworked holdover shows just how much Keller has matured as an artist. The lyrics sound almost out of place in an arrangement with such depth and clarity that words are rendered almost beside the point. The same can be said for the twisted jangle of "Sensible," which sounds like an early R.E.M. single, if the Georgia college town the icons came from was doused in psychedelic drugs and set on fire (which could also be cited as a nod to the legendary Elephant 6 collective). Cozy switches gears so often that it's cohesiveness is almost incomprehensible: from melodic keyboard experiments to rockers, and from ballads like "ManiaMania" into futuristic Booker T and the MGs shuffles like "You have to Put Something on Your Potato, Leo" (who says the titles have to make sense?), treading water is not the album's focus.

Like any great album, Cozy is not without its acquired tastes: "More War" is a twisted, dance-rap-disco number that is hilarious and poignant and surprisingly tuneful (at least based on the description of "dance-rap-disco"), but is also extreme and potentially polarizing.

Unfortunately this record has gone fairly unnoticed, in part due to TEAM AV, the label that Keller helps run (along with LAS founder and editor Eric J Herboth) scaling back to a program of digital-only releases and hand-packaged physical copies, and also to Keller's reticence to resign elsewhere. But for every Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! that bounce out of the gates on the strength of a self-released record, there seem to be a hundred more interesting and original releases that fall through the cracks; whether it's due to under-exposure, or chance (or both?), Cozy is one of those albums. It's the kind of find that makes you reassess what "classic" means; after all, if so many albums of this caliber go unnoticed, what are we comparing our idea of classic to?

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Cory Tendering

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