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birds L'altra
Different Days
( Hefty ) 2005

"No danger, it gets lighter since you've been stitched up"

There is truly something special happening on Different Days, the follow-up long player to 2004's lifted-single Bring On Happiness EP [HEFTY], from L'altra that I dare you to let pass you by. If static clicks, calculated ambiance and swirling female / male vocals are your iPod selection of choice - it's all here my earphoned friends. Sure, there is much more texture than a couple crooning over some "been there, done that" IDM.. . a wealth more actually. Opener "Sleepless Night" with her addition of sparse piano and oncoming snare & cymbal combination will put the bold exclamation to that - but the foundation upon which Lindsay Anderson & Joseph Costa (and a select list of guests, Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis handled the production) equally build these ten lush compositions is both intelligent and slightly dancy. Make that a candlelit slow dance, mind you. Nothing on Different Days gets to a fever-inducing bpm (though keeper "Bring On Happiness" gets a touch edgy, just for the exercise), and that is just what makes L'altra and 'Different Days' that something special promised.

Think Damon & Naomi collaborating quite successfully in Jimmy Tamborello's basement (specifically hear "Bring On Happiness" & "So Surprise") - and I again dare you to let this heavenly combo pass.

"So gifted, so kind, so helpful, so shy". Some just make it all seem & sound so simple - L'altra cleverly glide to the top of this category, and await your listen.

k 01.14.05 << hefty >> << home >>


last of the greats last of the blacksmiths
last of the blacksmiths
( self-released ) 2005

"I ran mad out of your house thinking why should they die instead of me."

"I'm so glad you were born twenty six years ago, before televisions were in cars. When it was good enough to stare outside your window at the moving stuff."

That fantastic line / poem / statement is just one of the many (many) contained within the dozen dazzling songs last of the blacksmiths have crafted on their self-titled debut. The nostalgic importance of this one lifted quote also tells quite a bit about the 'blacksmiths' relaxed style and influence - said influence a band might get more from atmosphere & location than from any album collection I have ever seen. And lyrics, handwritten (and cursive loops & t's at that) lyrics - these fellas are the genuine article when it comes to the analog-vs-digital age of artists. And hey - this group picture: 4 musical friends - all seated - with a backdrop of silver streamers and skeleton decor that ,from what I've been told, is quite close to the live performances.


On record, musical comparisons could prove fatal in the line of summing up the facts that these blacksmiths have indeed dedicated to tape. All said, most folks reading reviews need some path to follow - so I will say this: think of the finest Hayden Desser moments you've heard (likely tougher to find a 'not-so fine moment'), then add to that a band that has experienced hands on acoustic guitars, mandolins and a trunk of wonder labeled "Americana Sweetness" [in this trunk you may dig up a pump organ, a violin and a few rustic harmonicas]. This trunk may just be the storage bin from Wilco's historic Being There sessions. I mean we have 4 guys from the Bay (SF,CA) reeling out traditional tunes about Georgia while wishing they were in Tennessee (on "Columbus Stockade blues"). .. last of the blacksmiths is significantly greater than any music being made in any corner of the map. The lyrical depth on each of these songs (see: "Grass Blade", "Saloon Song") is so well-thought and properly placed - I haven't been this awed since I came across Portland's Al James putting his poetry to song and trading it as Dolorean.

I declare this day, from here on forward, shall be referred to as 'last of the blacksmiths' day. I would give you the entire year, if only I had the power. Find this album, it will protect you from each of the 7 evils that 'other music' are attempting to bait you with. Plus, you deserve it.

: k 06.20.05 << visit >> << home >>


L B T Life Before This
Life Before This
( Rise Records ) 2005

"Dressed in colorful flames you stand like a statue - and you're as pale as a ghost".

I'm not sure which "various random locations in New York" or that "cabin by the lake" Life Before This recorded and tracked their self-titled album on Rise Records, but I suggest they hang a sign outside each location and start charging kids to get in. These drums sound huge - partially due in fact that LBT has an incredible drummer. From opener "A Point At Which 3 Lies Cross" right through "The Problem" - Mike (no last names to be found anywhere) uses his kit to the fullest capabilities. Lead voice Rob (again, no last names) has a range that should grace millions, and the mixing is to perfection - placing barely audible screams (see: "A Point At Which.. .", "The Photographer") and backing under his already impressive tone. Closing track "Pilot to Copilot" breaks out the acoustic & telegraphed sounds (including some piano touches) and explores a new side of LBT entirely.. . closer to state-mates (NY) Homesick for Space.

This is quality music from 4 top musicians - guitars as weapons of choice, the drums as solid foundation. Fans of the Ghost (Some Records) and Equal Vision's less-aggressive roster take note - I give Life Before This 3 months before 4 out of 5 myspace kids put 'em at the top of the music list (no pressure guys). When's the AP cover?

".. .you misguided the future I planned so carefully".

kaleb 06.25.05 << info >> << home >>


strong love The Lovely Sparrows
take your hats off you godless bastards
( the lovely sparrows ) 2005

The Lovely Sparrows are a brand new Austin indie pop band whose take your hats off you godless bastards 7" is one of the surprise finds of the year. Not only is it pressed on clear vinyl (an audiophilic glory in and of itself), but both songs are fantastic, marrying many of the finer points of Pavement, the New Pornographers (and Zumpano), the Kinks and the more upbeat moments of San Francisco's dearly departed For Stars.

Side A's "Glad Rangers" is a melodic rush in the vein of "Letter from an Occupant", an exhilarating yet tightly-focused celebration of lo fi keyboards and eager snare rolls. The glorious chime of jangly guitars throw reverberating sparks around boy girl vocals and charging bass, giving hope to all those bummed out by the mid-tempo mire of Twin Cinema.

Side B's "I Have a Need You See" is a measured slice of churning neo-British Invasion packed full of both clever lyrics and satisfying nonsense vocals wrapped around airtight melodies. A thinking man's anthem, "I Have A Need You See" artfully disguises detailed guitar craftsmanship as carefree pop fun. Pick one up for yourself or for that most adventurous and discriminating pop fan in your life, this one's highly recommended.

Rooney 11.16.05 << info >> << home >>


gutters & ghosts lovers
the gutter and the garden
orange twin, 2004

"Hope's a dirty secret you keep. And you're always the dreamer, never the dream"

Lovers 'The Gutter and The Garden' is the rare breed of album that makes you want to share a listen with your best friend, ears wide open immersed in it's splendor. Like the loving voice inside your soul, Carolyn Berk soars with ten choice offerings of growth, loss and the reoccurring theme of ghosts. The imagery created is purely that of a songwriter in total control of her heart, and a thoughtful pen that is shared with only a few of today's finest (think Sam Beam, Conor Oberst and Joseph Arthur). Like the craft of a seasoned poet, lines such as "I watched as your scars grew from the ground and bloomed" will strike your senses and stick with you for days - your mind a flood of vision.

Aboard to accompany singer and guitarist Berk is a cast of equally gifted musicians, most notably the haunting violin of Andrej Curti. On 'The Air You Breathe is Full of Ghosts', the strings (both Curti's violin and the cello of Heather Macintosh) enhance Carolyn's vocals to create a chilling atmosphere of dreamlike qualities. Produced in part by Andy LeMaster (Now It's Overhead, Bright Eyes), there is also a certain Athens-via-Omaha sound 'The Garden' evokes - touches of Now It's Overhead and Azure Ray, the later on optimistic closer 'Season's Greetings'.

An album to cherish and admire - Lovers have released one of the year's true growers.

kaleb :: (05.21.04)
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<< a new Low >> Low
Great Destroyer
( SubPop ) 2005

Low were one of the bands - if not THE band - that established what various critics & fans refer as sadcore, slowcore, and/or quietcore have labeled. Perhaps as a reaction to grunge or the louder/faster punk/metal/etc. ethos, the trio Low played songs that were very slow & quiet. I'm not very familiar with most of their back catalog, but word on the street is The Great Destroyer almost sounds like "regular" rock music (whatever). Low have become, in this old cranky bastard's estimation, a folk-rock band, one that frequently sounds as if they emerged from the Bay Area or the Midwest in 1966-68. Not that they're (consciously) "retro," but their pleasantly earnest, emotive & engaging, gauzy, innocence-recently-lost male/female harmonies recall lesser-known 60's ensembles as the Mojo Men, Neighborhood Children, and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy. (Less obscure points of reference would include the Cowsills, Everything But The Girl, X, Jefferson Airplane, Mamas & Papas).

The electric guitar has a frequent "jangle" to it, albeit edged & glazed with some caustic, wrenching Neil Young/My Bloody Valentine-type distortion. Their songs have some of the same steely, slightly ominous restraint/tension that Wire had on their first three albums (and the recent Send), and while none of this exactly "rocks out," the songs have low-key, distinctive & memorable hooks that sneak up on you & ingrain themselves delicately in your psyche. The production, by Low & David Fridmann (Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips) is plush without being gimmicky or excessive (although some of the fuzz-iness and mondo-distortion get to be a bit much if taken in a single sitting). And I hear some of the calm-before-the-storm, slightly lysergic qualities endemic to many 1960s outfits -- if you want to hear what Low might've sounded like in 1967, pick up the Mojo Men's There Goes My Mind (it's a fine set in its own right, too). Take a few days (or nights) this winter and get to know this Great Destroyer.

Mark Keresman 02.03.05 << info >> << home >>


like a sunday afternoon lkn
in the leap year
( greydayproductions; 2004)

Don't let this albums (few) quiet moments fool you - they are set like tiny traps to get your ears full attention.

This is simply one of those choice moments where I wish I had: A) either a connection at a big shot magazine in the realm of Rolling Stone or Spin -or - B) had accessibility to the highest billboards in the most major of cities. So - what would I do, had I the number of shit-fed citizens either of these grand possibilities could reach you ask? I would tell them all of the unparalleled talent Lauren K Newman possesses. What a field day it could be - somewhat on par with painting oneself piss yellow and streaking through the White House of today and telling each of the ill-decisioned morons whom keep shop just what an idiot each of them are. Well, that's obviously just one middle class kids opinion of course - but I'm sticking to it.

Think of what Cursive's Domestica was for Tim Kasher - that is what I am hearing when I listen to in the leap year. The guitars are wailing, the music as a whole attacks you (see the final drum & guitar stabs on 'will meets strength on courage') and Lauren's vocals are, at times, nothing short of frustration and total release (try the experimental chaos of 'varientnoiz' if you think I'm putting you on). Don't let me pretend this is simply an album of rage, for the piano-led allure of 'such is my love for you' brings to mind Chan Marshall at her most composed (circa-Moon Pix).

On paper, lkn look quite identical to that of a Stella Marie release. You have Lauren taking control of well over ten instruments (give or take 1 or 2) with the addition of a drummer (on leap year it's Alex Steward when Lauren isn't playing those as well) and bassist Sarah Hinote. But audibly, lkn go far beyond the occasional angsty moments of, say, 2001's Stella Marie [fair states record co.]. The 2004 deluxe retake of 'sarah, i adore you' (originally' j te-adore' from 2001) adds an organ to the already outstanding mix of instrumentation it had captured. Pushing the track now in the upwards of the ten minute mark puts it at just one of the many in the leap year has to awe the common dejected soul with (out of some "thousands of songs" Lauren has in her collection!). I did the math - we have at least somewhere in the range of 60 more albums this young lady could release, oh how I pray I can hear them all.

People - why are you still here? greyday has what you need. the name: lkn. The album: in the leap year.


kaleb ::(04.28.04).


falsehoods Liars
They Were Wrong So We Drowned
( MUTE )

The buzz at church today was that these guys were into witchcraft. um, duh. kenny also tried to point out that the lead singer was Andrew W.K., and I tild told him he was gay. he then tried to tell me that the Locust was 2 gay couples. I told kenny he could kiss my whole asshole - big up to my boy Jay-Z. holla! The Locust are NOT gay - The Locust are ROCK. liars. Cindy reminded us that KFC is mean to chickens. Cindy's mom is SO hot. I wonder if Cindy is going to be as hot as her mom when she grows up.

kaleb ::(sunday, march seventh - 2004).


bbbbbbbbbbbbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz The Locust
Flight Of The Wounded Locust
GSL/ Free On E-Music, 2001

"You ever seen Pooh bear try to steal the honey and get jacked by all those bees?"

Well, here is The Locust. What we have here are 11 tracks at a total of 10+ minutes. This here EP conatins their longest track ever, "Flight of the Wounded Locust", and it makes up for a fourth of the total cd time. This here track is an instrumental, so the singer guy doesn't sing, it's just a good spaced out, cut & paste underwater laser-tag session. Here it is 2003, they've signed to Anti-records, and nobody woke my lame ass up 8 years ago when this swarm was invading. Fuck all of you who left me in the dark, listening to my second-hand Bill Cosby comedy albums. I need to know about this shit.

The Locust is HOT! The Locust is HERE! The Locust is 21st CENTURY NOW!

I gots people to mame, and these kids have written my ANTHEM(s)! The media says all the cool kids are listening to Andrew W.K.. My ass, the cool fuckers have been meeting at the earth's core for 28 years rocking the pscyhotik vibe The Locust bring. I AM PISSED! Why is it a lonesome kid like me has to read Alternative Press to find out about The Locust? GODDAMN man! Slipknot's got its 'Maggots', well consider me a nightmare-engulfed, peyote-deprived 'Larva'. Not since Anal Cunt have I pissed myself so many times to 30 second spazz-attacks.

God bless The Locust.

kaleb ::(1/25/03).


i dont know Lone Pigeon
Concubine Rice
(Fence / Domino); 2002

" In the morning - find yourself - in a cage alive "

It took me well over a year to get this cd. I mean all the pictures I saw in the fancy magazines of one "mentally ill" Gordon Anderson, recording as the Lone Pigeon, had him geared up in a leather skirt with face paint on some rocks - and people said Concubine Rice was 'genius'. Well the time has come to find the fuck out - I mean he was equal parts Beta Band circa "The Three EPs". The album as a whole is a mixed bag of pills, but for the most part the pills are good. The opener, I'm pretty sure it's called 'Concubine Rice' [ you see, each track has like 3 or 4 inner parts, as one track will fade another will pick up ] plays out very similar, in a strychnine kind of way, to the animal-friendly Wings song "Wildlife" - which is surprising seeing as how Gordon has a remarkably similar voice to that of Paul McCartney. And if you get tired or become overwhelmed with writer's block, just rework one verse from your old crews classic "Dry the Rain" and rename it "king creosote's wineglass symphony" - that should sell. The albums flow follows that of the art surrounding the cd - much like a damaged artists sketchbook. Many of the tracks are not complete, simply begginings or ends to what could be brilliant compositions. The songs that are whole, (less the stab at hip-hop that decides to pop up around track 5) are equal parts beautiful as they are extremely fragile. If Paul was at anytime your favorite Beatle, you keep "The Madcap Laughs" in light rotation or are just a Beta Band completist - Concubine Rice calls you. Good stuff, listen frequently.

(from Concubine Rice liner notes: lone pigeon is a messianic jew).

kaleb. 4.11.03

L i n k s :fence records


for all the lonely hearts The Lonelyhearts
( DIY or Else Records ) 2005

"I miss you, and the kids miss their dad. We're only human beings - just miss the things we never had".

The Lonelyhearts' Dispatch is a phenomenal album. If you read no futher - do grasp that.

Given the name of the band, the album cover - a bare floored but sunlit room complete with a bed all a mess - and track titles that include "sell the house, the car, the kids... I'm not coming back" - you likely shouldn't expect the next wave of electronic new wave to fill the air around you when putting the needle to this record. Then you get to the music and lyrics - the broken heart of the matter and you begin to realize this is an album of despair, setbacks and minor / major downfalls.. . just as the images and titles hinted at.

Two guys - John Lindenbaum and Andre Perry - from the SF,CA area are responsible for the emotion and effort on Dispatch, their second release (note: find debut album immediately). Hints of Black Strawberries-era Unbunny, the Kingsbury Manx (with a shot of sadness) and Neil Young (the acoustic style and the vocals at select times are spot on; see: "Patriot Axe") are all here for human absorption - all here fleshed out and realized in eleven songs that are bound by a common structure of loss. Example? See "Seasons Past": "I waited for you at Macy's / I sat with Santa Claus / I asked him for presents / He said I was old and lost" - Christ, that's some seriously sad shit, right? Imagine those lines being about a grown man and it gets infinitely poetic. Hand-stitched with minimal percussion, a couple of blue guitars, sparse synth and brief moments of studio ambiance/texture - The Lonelyhearts have forged an album that may have emerged from nowhere but will be kept company with repeated listens and an evangelical mission to get it heard. "Sherrif have you seen my boy?", a line from "Halo", the tale of (I gather) a father attempting to find his lost son reminds me of why I first fell for Al James of Dolorean and his lyrical imagery - The Lonelyhearts share this gift of chilling storytelling.

What I mean to say is Dispatch is a phenomenal album (see the start) that should be thoroughly enjoyed with the albums gifted lyrics in one hand and a deep, 90+ proof bottle in the other. The only time this album should be allowed to gather dust is when I die and fail to will it out to my lover.. . sad songs are (still) my new friends.

Seek this and share. Perfect.

kaleb 09.20.05 << info >> << home >>


for all the lonely hearts The Long Winters
The Ultimatum EP
( Barsuk Records ) 2005

The Long Winters' 2003 full-length When I Pretend to Fall was my favorite release of that year. A bright, sprawling blend of high-period Elvis Costello, Spoon and Look Sharp-era Joe Jackson (listen, it's in there) that boasted three perfect pop songs: "Stupid", "Shapes", and "Scared Straight" (particularly the verse at the 3:09 mark). The Ultimatum EP is the recent follow-up from curiously-mustached songwriter John Roderick and his revolving backing band, timed for release around their high-profile opening slot on the Keane tour. Like most EPs, it's short and a tad uneven, but there is definitely some great stuff to be found on Ultimatum.

Opener "The Commander Thinks Aloud" is dramatic and heartsick, a surprisingly emotive and pretty ballad the nails the low-key regret of post-adolescent longing while skillfully steering clear of any needless melodrama. The title track, however, is the true highlight and work-horse of this 6 song EP. "Ultimatum" trades in romance and sentiment rather than some of the biting wit and wordplay found in earlier Long Winters' songs, yet its real achievement is the relentless melody, which sticks to your brain for weeks. The song is so good that it's on the EP twice, again as an equally compelling live solo acoustic version that closes the disc. "Everything Is Talking" sort of plods around basic electric piano and bass parts, throwing in occasional Stereolab-by female "doo doo doo's" and stepping into heady heights only on the stunning major-key bridge. "Delicate Hands" is another tug-on-the-heartstrings half-ballad, building off piano and Roderick's surging vocal. A solo live version of "Bride and Bridle" from When I Pretend to Fall, while at first looking suspiciously like filler, proves to be one of the most satisfying tracks on the release. Roderick's lyrics, melodic sense, and phrasing stand out on top of simple acoustic guitar, giving an excellent song that may have been a bit forgotten another chance to impress.

Is Ultimatum a worthy successor to When I Pretend to Fall? Not really, but it's an excellent reminder of Roderick's considerable talents, a wake-up call for those listeners who have slept on the band thus far and a suitable holdover for the next full-length.

Rooney 10.27.05 << info >> << home >>


Lost On Purpose  |  UV EP Lost on Purpose
The Ultraviolet Effect
( lostonpurpose ) 2005

Lost on Purpose is Will Holland, who has put out two previous albums already. It's five songs but they are kind of long, not long in a bad way like the songs are too drawn out or anything. The songs do not bore you and make you wonder when the song will end, it's not long in that kind of way. It's just not short like how five songs usually are. What's funny is that I put this on while going to sleep last night because it seemed like good music to fall asleep to. Then I remembered after a bit how I did read the day before that it has been described as what you think about before you fall asleep.  
I described how pleasant it was to fall asleep with this music playing to someone earlier today. While going to sleep, it felt like it was a school night in winter and as if it were snowing outside and that school would probably be cancelled tomorrow because of all the snow. Kind of silly but it did feel like that. These songs are so pleasant and can totally set the environment in such a good way. Quiet, acoustic, almost sleepy, pop music. 
Favorite songs are Right On, Seasons, and One, Two, Three, Four. The twinkling bell sounds on One, Two, Three, Four are perfect. I have a thing for twinkling bell sounds and these ones are so yummy and you want those sounds to put you to sleep and to have really nice dreams until you wake up the next day.  The songs are also sad in a way. Lonely, sad, songs but they make you feel so good which is odd.   

Naoko 11.09.05 << info >> << home >>


put a gun in my handput a gun in my hand

The Lot Six
Major Fables
(Tarantula); 2003

Who forgot to put the fucking sticker on the front of this project warning of "ten blistering tracks so near-combustion they can't find room emplode"? Maybe they overlooked it when they were trying to figure out how to shove all 30-some pages of this glorious book into a standard jewel case. Glad they did - it's quite a collection of interesting photo documentation (ranging from a what seems to be open-heart surgery patient - post-operation to a festival of one dead deer and it's hunter). In case you hadn't heard - the Lot Six are the crew that every art-school flunk-out infested band that marches out of upper New York wishes they could be. Too goddamn bad - this Boston, Mass. gang of merrymakers beat you to all of the glory so quit wastin' your dad's time. Oh yeah - they're officially on Tarantula Records now, home of The (we'll fuck it up too) Explosion, kinda like a Massachusetts Massacre. Musically, the Lot Six play a smoky, sold-out basement blend of smart punk inbred with southern-style straight rawk - make sense? It should - it's what you've been missing every time you turn on the radio or TV - so hear it. Major Fables get's off to a no-nonsense start with 'Autobrats' - a collage of glorious guitars & bass that is led by singer Dave Vicini's quick radio car commercial delivery of vocals. "I get sick and I get sicker / I get so sick of this fucking place" - he's ramblin' about those NY punks I addressed earlier - BET. 'No UFO's' has a bit of a "dueling riff" that by tracks end pairs up to quite a listening masterpiece. Sounds good thus far - and doesn't let up for the entire 34 minutes. 'Go To Sleep', the albums slower number, incorporates synth, piano and a less-is-more approach to drumming that proves the Lot Six aren't joking with you art pussies - do not fuck with the Lot Six. The ender, a quick sweaty shot called 'Die Polizei' plays off of the opening tracks lead guitar that makes a full album repeat a must - 5 times. A major step ahead to bookend an already impressive ep (Gwylo) and full-length (Animals) both on Espo. Rememeber the name - THE LOT SIX. Bitch.

kaleb. 12.11.03


h a r m l e s s Love Lost but Not Forgotten
Upon The Right, I Saw A New Misery
( happy couples never last ); 2002

"I Can't Seem To Stop Breaking Out My Teeth But, I Hear It Can Be Therapeutic".

Love Lost But Not Forgotten have given a new definition to the term "Intense". Upon The Right, I Saw A New Misery is an album on the forefront of a new breed of emotional music. These guys are crazy, keeping the songs passionate yet, dark. And with songs like "Perfectly Fucked" and "What’s Left Of Shitlife",you can tell these screamo fanatics aren’t the Chris Carraba kind of emotional. The lyrics almost make you glad your mom didn't hug you enough as a child and the singer's throat must be callused to the point where he has to breathe through a hole in his neck. The only flaw I can find in this record is the length. It WAY too short but, that just leaves me begging for more. I hope you strapped your colostomy bag on tight, you're gonna need it.

nick. 12.16.03


h a r m l e s s Love Me Destroyer
black heart affair
( symbiotic disharmony / suburban homes ); 2003

Recommended for fans of: 'Smash'-era Offspring, Pinhead Circus, concert chant-a-longs

"Today is dead - tommorow's next"

LMD hand you a hefty dose of in yr face punk blended equally with a stack of hardcore influences. Lead vocalist Scooter gets wonderfully rasp-throated at times, but for the most part the band as a whole keeps things in a more formulated punk recipe somewhere along the lines of the late (great) Mousetrap & the current Thrice.

There are more than a fair enough number of tracks here that will get you stomping on something ('L.E.D', 'My Virus') , but for best results, may I recommend the blistering final seconds of 'Scars Make Good Stories' - things get about as close to out of control as they're going to. These guys have a good thing going (for the most part these guys have been cranking out noise for over 10 years) - I'll let their bio speak for itself: "Fans of all genres will soon fall in love with this new project".

+ k. 03.17.04

::: love me destroyer :::


open minded Love of Everything
Handjob Community
( Redder Records ) 2004

"It doesn't feel good to lie, but at least it's less real"

Should I never make it as far as Portland (Oregon), on my trek to escape the Evil East, I'm gonna relocate to the fertile grounds of Chicago - and bands like Love of Everything keep hope alive.

Led by Sir Bobby Burg, traveling companion to such loved acts as the Joan of Arc and Make Believe, Burg with his off-kilter vocals (see: "Beginning with Answers") and say-what-I-want lyrics (see: "Recycling Fuck") - doesn't allow his fruitful offerings to roll far from the Chicago art collective he is part of. Joined here by a wealth of like-minded musicians (Owls, Euphone, The Race.. .), those who haven't - and none of us ever will - gotten their fill from the handsome number of the Joan of Arc collective should get right on this.

A sixteen layer journey through Bobby's Handjob Community, a brilliant title for a horny (well, like the trio of Unicorn's that grace the cover) batallion of songs - Chicago's got all my love. It's albums like Handjob Community that you wish would never end.. . yeah, Handjob's forever! (You at least gotta hear "Talk for Hours" - the Kind of Like Spitting in you will nurse on that 2 minutes for weeks.)

"When I fall, I wanna fall hard"

+ k 11.07.04 << can I help you? >> << home >>


<< Hell then Divine >> Jeffrey Luck Lucas
Hell Then Divine
( antebellum ) 2005

Johnny Dowd and the Handsome Family come to mind when Jeffrey Luck Lucas first speaks his mind on "Cascade", the opener on Hell Then Divine - and one of eleven tales of (to name but three) devils (hear the aptly titled, slow burn of "The Devil On Me"), the West ("Midnight, Texas") and whiskey shots 'til dawn. When a man starts a tune talking about having his "Star-spangled boots on" ("Old Mexico"), it's not difficult to conjure up a few nostalgic images of dusty roads and tumbleweed farms out West. And Hell Then Divine is just that - nostalgia of the Calexico-type, like the perfect David Lynch soundtrack that's still looking for its big screen companion.

The images that surround Hell Then Divine tell a story on their own, playing right into the tales Lucas conveys. The cover depicts a woman casually daydreaming as 2 men, one likely her lover - the other the husband, confront one another. Dice, neon playing cards (Ace's be all of them) and a martini with 2 olives are also to be found here - all in black and white, just as timeless as these eleven anthems Jeffrey Luck Lucas has penned. For a man credited with playing so many instruments, including water glasses and a function generator, Lucas did find room for a wealth of other talent (although the cello is all JLL). Joined here by around a dozen other skilled individuals, engineer Desmond Shea is also credited with hands on multiple instruments.

As classy as the package it is delivered in, Hell Then Divine plays out just like us folk from the East think out West actually is - filled with endless nights of gambling, drinking and novel-like romance of the debauchery classification. Bless the West.

*Extra Credit: Hear JLL's equally stunning take of Oldham's "Agnes, Queen of Sorrow" on Tract Records I Am A Cold Rock, I Am Dull Grass, a Tribute to Will Oldham. I have a feeling this guys gonna be in more places than you know in no time. Mark my words.

k 02.15.05 << info >> << home >>


h a r m l e s s Lying In States
The Bewildered Herd
( harmless); 2002

" I get sick to my stomach - where does the money go?"

This doesn't sound very american at all. Somehow it doesn't even sound very Chicago - in a really great goodness kinda way. Lead man Ben C. sounds "overseas" in the way Colin M. of the Decemberists sounds "overseas" - you get what I mean. No - oh well. This is good. The main man has been compared to David Gilmour, so at least somebody else has heard it. The final track, "People", reminds me 45% out of a full %100 of Aidan Moffett circa the 'Red Thread' album vocally. You wanna fight? Fuck off - I have had this ep for about year now, and I am very excited I did not die without listening to it. This is good. Brings to mind the likes of the Lot Six and Modest Mouse - but I am supposed to say that. These guys don't deserve meaningless comparison, just thank thee lord you beg to that they don't sound anything like what the man on the radio wants you to hear. The way retro "bonus" track, 'close but no cigar', is a fitting nod to those bands the man on the radio wants you to hear. This just in - take your radio and throw it down the deepest well, then shit in it. Their debut full-length, Most Every Night (flameshovel.com), is going to "crush you" in January of next year my friend - CRUSH YOU! Please don't look at me like that. I will put an ice-scraper through your pelvis. One of them copper kinds. This is good.

kaleb. 11.06.03
L i n k s : lying


flameshovel® Lying In States
Most Every Night
( flameshovel ); 2004

" I got some angry words, that I've been saven for you - you know I'm gonna find you ".

When I was 6 years young, I had a really shitty uncle. You may know the type - unemployed since who knows when, alcoholic ( the real kind, not just a "social drinker" ), propable killer. Well this uncle, we're gonna call him Ed (even though his actual name was Don) to protect his pathetic innocence, decided to make me the ass-end of his joke one day during a family outing. "Hey boy, d'you know that if your hands bigger than your face - you gots cancer?" the filthy fucker asked me. Well, seeing as I was just 6 years old, I thought I might want to know if I had cancer or not, so up to my face my prepubescent hand went. It was at this innocent moment in my budding life that I remember Don shoving my own hand into my face so hard that it fractured eight bones in my nose and right cheek. A drunk and asshole yes, but the man still had the force of an Ox. Well, if "Ed" was still around ( he mysteriously dissapeared shortly after that day ), I would sneak into his shack he used to call home while his sorry ass was passed out, break both his bastard legs, tie him to his bed & force him to listen to the driving rhythm they call "Yep" of the upcoming 'Lying In States' cd ( no matter how many repeats it takes) while I beat him to within a breath of his death. This particular song just captures the right attitude and motivation for just the occasion - as do most of the anthems on this impressive debut released through Chicago's Flameshovel. From the immediate beginning of this cd up to the aptly titled closer "In All of Christendom", Lying In States rarely lets up from the swerving physical assault they capture so well. Everything you have heard about Lying In States is true - they rock like the band whose shirt you are wearing wishes they did. Last year's "Bewildered Herd" ep found these 5 guys being placed alongside the likes of Radiohead & Built to Spill, but this full-length introduces us to an entirely new side of the 'States' - the much louder side. If "Leave Me for Dead" was your favorite number off that past release, this entire album was custom built just for you. I recently read somewhere that the population of Chicago, Illinois was somewhere near the 3 million mark - with that many bodies in one conjested area, somebody has to be hearing this wonderful noise. Yep. Have you heard they drive an Army Tank on tour? Yep.

kaleb. 11.25.03
L i n k s : lying