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April 11, 1986 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-11
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Live Black Flag comes up too short.

Black Flag - Who's Got the
10 V? (SST)
Contrary to popular (mis)concep-
tion, Black Flag have always "done
their own thing," usually existing out-
side of the various trends consuming
the American punk/post-punk aggro
rock scene. Since their 1978-79 incep-
tion, guitarist/composter Greg Ginn's
ever mutating ensemble (Ginn him-
self is the only remaining original
member) has held fast to its hard and
heavy R&R credo while remaining
free to indulge (a key word in the
Black Flag vocabulary) in any and all
experimental impulses that seem to
be worthwhile (some of which, of
course, turn out not to be).
Who's Got ... is a slab of live material
recorded in Seattle and features
product taken mostly from the last
four "regular" (non spoken word/in-
strumental) Black Flag albums, par-
ticularly last summer's Loose Nut. On
a few of the cuts, especially ex-bassist
Kira Roessler's "I'm the One," the
band is in top form, moving and bur-
ning with obsessive intensity and cap-
turing the raw physical impact of the
live Flag thang on vinyl. When they're
"on," they recall a wild variety of

past music, including late six-
ties/early seventies acid-metal (Blue
Cheer, early Black Sabbath and a bit
of the Stooges and MC5), contem-
porary hard-ass grunge (Swans.
Chrome) or something completely
unexpected (Miles Davis 'Get Up
With It' LP, the proto-metal side of
early Funkadelic).
Unfortunately, Who's Got the 101/2?
just doesn't feature the "on" Black
Flag enough. In addition to its overly
flat production (vocals and drums too
loud and crisp), the album suffers
from some questionable song selec-
tion. The only material from 1983's
rip-roarin' Slip it In Lp is the title
song itself, which is all but ruined byI
vocalist Henry Rollins' hyper-
indulgent and basically humorless,
semi-facetious genital rap (it contains
the origin of the album title). With the
exception of "Modern Man" and "I'm
the One," the four cuts featured here
from Loose Nut are among that
album's weakest. So while it does
have its moments, Who's Got , . . is
best suited for the already committed
Black Flag fan who can best put its
flaws in perspective.
- Rob Michaels

Black Flag 's latest incarnaton (left to right) Greg Ginn, A nthonv Martinez, Cel Revuelta, and Henry Rollins.

Vanl Hln-5159 (Wamer Bros) charismatic, obnoxious, exceedingly
powerful lead singer who resembles
Is it stil Van Halen? Hell yes. nothing so much as an older David
David Lee Roth has gone Lee Roth. 5150 picks up pretty much
Hollywood. That meant Van Halen where 1984 left off.
was minus a charismatic, obnoxious, Smilin' Ed is still diddling around
and exceedingly powerful lead singer. with synthesizers, but he never
The replacement? Sammy Hagar - a forgets that his guitar pyrotechnics


__ x" ,


are the band's bread and butter. Ed-
die Van Halen is quite simply "it as
far as guitarists go. His solos are ef-
fortless, soaring, throbbing, platonic-
form-type things. The spots where he
cuts loose on 5150, like the solo in
"Good Enough" and especially the
high-speed sonic work on "Get Up,"
are terrific.
Sammy Hagar isn't quite the
vocalist David Lee Roth is, but his
style is not so removed as to make his
presence jarring.
The band's rhythm section, Alex
Van Halen and Michael Anthony, tur-
ns in a typically fine performance.
Originality still isn't a strength.
"Good Enough" features Yes'
"Owner of a Lonely Heart" hook in a
supporting role, and "Best of Both
Worlds" edges into chord changes
which scream AC/DC, even though
the song itself is for the most part
clean and relatively mild-sounding.
Van Halen is at is best when it is at
its loudest and most obnoxious. The
slower "prettier" songs "Love Walks
In," and "Summer Nights" pale in
comparison to "Get Up" which may
well be one of the best things the band
has ever done. Eddie chain-saws
through "Get Up," dueling with an
impossibly fast drumbeat. "Get Up"
is metalcore from the wrong direc-
The single, "Why Can't This Be
Love" with the prominent use of syn-
thesizers is little more than a "Jump"
sequel. It features a pairing of
Hagar's voice.and Van Halen's guitar,
and the two complement each other
5150 is a solid album, by metal stan-
dards. It gets a bit monotonous if
listened to in one sitting, and the band
pushes cleanliness and orchestration
too far at times, but there is more,
than enough meat to make up for
those flaws. While by no means great
art, 5150 belongs in carstereos.
-John Logie
See VINYL, Page 9

(Continued from Page 4)
Aaron Copland - "Billy the
Kid"/"Rodeo" - (Com-
plete ' Suites) Leonard
Slatkin Saint Louis Sym-
phony orchestra
Composer Aaron Copland has not
only been fortunate enough to receive
recognition in his own time, but is
also, for many, kAmerica's answer to
the Viennese tradition and European
domination of classical music. Now,
yet another excellent recording of his
most beloved works - "Billy the Kid"
and "Rodeo" - is available. It serves
well either as an introduction for
those unfortunate souls who are not
well acquainted with Copland's com-
postitions or as a well-chosen addition
for people who may already own the
condensed Suites but are ready for
something more.
The album contains everyting that
even a sporadic listener would
recognize as Copland and more.
There is a rollicking piano interlude
(played on "an old upright of dubious
lieage") not included in the "Selec-
tions of Rodeo". "Billy the Kid,"
presented in its entirety, becomes a
sonorous story. The transition sec-
tions alone (scored for string and
celeste) are enough to make one won-
der why she didn't buy the complete
version earlier, not to mention the bit-
tersweet rendition oif "Billy's
Leonard Slatkin deserves praise
for maintaining excellent tempos and
exercising exquisite musical taste
throughout the album. Dynamics are
controlled yet effective; the music
never drags. The St. Louis Symphony
Orchestra, who recorded an equally
superb collection of Copland's works
under Louis Lane, once again demon-
strate their knack for making this
music come to life. There is an
exhilirating sense of joie de vivre
that permeates the entire album.
This is enhanced considerably by very
clean, directed playing that simply
sparkles at times. Even the slow
movements lose neither intensity nor
movement; instead, they gain pathos
and depth.
The only criticism that can be made
is than, upon occasion, some of the in-
strumentalists are not as well tuned
as one expects from musicians of this
caliber. Gaffes are noticeable in the
lower brass during the 'Corral Noc-
turne" of "Rodeo," and in the clarinet
and bassoon in "Billy the Kid." But
even these errors are relatively
minor, and are more than compen-
sated for by the sheer musicality of
the renditions. This is an album to be
mmedandtmasred.- Rebf r anOwg
The Raunch Hands - El
Rauncho Grande (Relativity)
The Raunch Hands are one of the
latest Tex-Mex revival bands, attem-
pting tocross the river to mass appeal
which has already been forded by
such notables as Los Lobos and the
Long Ryders.
The tempos on El Rauncho Grande
are lively and it is obvious that the
Raunch Hands have fun playing their
stuff. There is frequent hooting,
howling, cow-roping, and beerswiling
going on in the background of the title
cut. The following song "Mess
Around," features a wailing sax solo
and a knee-slapping snare drum
rhythm. The album is permeate

Unearthed (and produced) by Black
Flag's Greg Ginn (who when he's not
busy rummaging through the musty
graveyards of '70s rock for riffs to
plunder actually listens to the
Grateful Dead), Painted Willie is the
latest in the rash of hardcore-cum-
metal bands, or vice versa, except
that this trio is neither very hardcore
nor very metal. From their back
cover art, the band tries to come
across as a poor man's Motorhead
(right down to one member's
Philthy mustache), but the music is The Rain
merely run-of-the-mill riffing and sample:
humdrum histrionics which try in
vain to bring out the Deep Purple in pig fart
all of us. but I c
Songs meander meaninglessly, then You're
seque into each other, not creating a you'ret
cohesive effect, but making all the fat thig
songs sound exactly the same. As if This
the music weren't bad enough, the Mind B
lyrics sound as if they were written by Spinal T
the Hillside Strangler. Misogynist, and son
morbid, and mundane, the songs taken se
regale in tales of lust and violence.A this rap

with energy as well as humor.
Granola-eaters should maintain their
senses of humor as well when they
hear such lyrics as Man needs a
woman to cook his food! when he
comes home drunk at night. The
highlight of the album is "Storm War-
ning," a rocking cover of the Mac
Rebennack (aka Dr. John) classic.
Overall, the Raunch Hands are
competent at their instruments, and
translate their exuberance to vinyl
quite well. But for those unschooled in
the Tex-Mex sound and feel, I'd
recommend checking out other artists
before trying to appreciate the more
frivolous El Rauncho Grande.
Joel Tractenberg
Painted Willie - Mind
Bowling (SST)

How can Iget laid on this
,? I just want some snatch
an't get it/It's not cause
not there, it's because
too fat/Fat legs, fat arms,
offering, typical of much of
owling's tone, is Grade B
ap ripoff if humor is its intent,
mething more disturbing if
riously. Other song topics by
gist rock outfit include a

homage to chia pets, and the in-
credible isle of Monkey Mia, where, of
course, they eat cockroaches on tor-
tillas (Don't be alarmed. Don't go
insane. For dinner there's chilled
monkey brain!) There's also a cover
of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's
"Little Red Book," already done

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Kerrytown has always been synony-
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quality, you'll enjoy special atten-
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from the .marketplace of another time.
And while you're shopping, enjoy a delicious
lunch or snack from one of the fine restaurants
and bakeries in Kerrytown! Next to the Ann
Arbor Farmers' Market, with plenty of nearby
Store Hours:
Monday thru Friday 9:30-6:00
Saturday 9:00 - 5:00
Some individual store hours may vary

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4 Weekend-April 11, 1986

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