» 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
OH (ohio)
City Slang

Rating: 8.3/10 ?

October 7, 2008
I'll never pretend to have been a lifelong devotee of the eccentricities of Kurt Wagner or the loose collective of musicians who fill out the rest of the Lambchop roster, but I can say this much with certainty: as I get older and presumably wiser, I enjoy their records more and more. In my formative years having always been drawn in by the seeming individuality of punk rock and the seeming experimentation for experimentation's sake of noise-/indie-rock, it's not hard to see a sort of romantic mystery enveloping Lambchop; after all, the best music only gets better with the more music you hear.

With that in mind I'm pleased to announce that for those who have found previous releases by Wagner and his accomplices to be steadied or impenetrable, the collective's latest offering, OH (ohio), is the window of opportunity to access the early morning haze of Lambchop's best work that you've been waiting for (or didn't know you were waiting for).

The album, which is being released via Merge in the US, almost functions as a soundtrack to that time mid-morning when all the kids have gone to school and everyone working nine-to-five is at their job. When the yawn at the beginning of the strangely affecting (in the sense that it eschews recycling with the weird line "Being green doesn't matter, when you're blue") title song kicks in, we find ourselves bracing for more of the tongue-in-cheek lethargy featured on recent opuses Aw C'mon, No, You C'mon and of course the academically pleasing (and fan puzzling) Damaged, but by the time the piano ballad "Please Rise" begins plodding climactically it is clear that Wagner has snuck up on us with his smirky optimism.

Musically, there's not a lot here you haven't already heard: it's all about the subtle soul- and country-affected arrangements that shimmer quietly (especially considering how many people are contributing) around Wagner's songs. It's the approach that seems different. "Slipped Dissolved and Loosed" sounds sophisticated enough that you could see yourself, in business clothes, stylishly soothing your way home in a leather-upholstered automobile. The twosome of "I'm Thinking of a Number" and "National Talk Like a Pirate Day" both have the distinct pleasure of conveying Wagner's sense of humor (see the titles) and his innate instincts when it comes to arranging and writing songs (to anyone who couldn't figure out what was so great about Nixon).

With OH (ohio), Wagner has crafted a soundtrack of specific detail for that lazy mid-morning melancholy that comes to anyone who feels like the world is turning without them. Enjoy it. And for those of you adhering to the formula that punk/noise=individuality, give Wagner a chance. Something about a guy that makes whatever record he wants regardless of what anyone thinks is kind of endearing, no?

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
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See other reviews by Cory Tendering



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