Music

God Fires Man: A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun

Chris Conaton

New Yorkers form hard rock band. All that's missing is songwriting chops and creativity.


God Fires Man

A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun

Label: In De Goot
US Release Date: 2008-03-18
UK Release Date: Available as import
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God Fires Man is a perfectly competent hard rock band. All of the members play their instruments skillfully without being particularly flashy, while singer/guitarist Arthur Shepherd has a big singing voice that ranges from gravelly rasp to soaring howl. The production on A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun is strong as well -- big and balanced, with a slight emphasis on the vocals and drums. And that's about where the positives end. God Fires Man sounds like any number of generic hard rock bands that churn out decent music without an original idea in sight. There are touches of Muse-style epics here, particularly on "Killer", which sounds like an outtake that Muse rejected because the song never goes anywhere. But the overriding impression the band leaves is that of a half-baked Foo Fighters, answering the unasked question, "What would Foo Fighters sound like if Dave Grohl had no charisma and his band had no creativity?"

4

The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips
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