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September 21, 1990 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-21

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The Michigan Daily - Friday September 21, 1990 - Page 7

Skinflip above the
underground

Sing along to Berlin

by Henry Weintraub

" e're a lot more about melody
than a lot of wall-of-sound bands,"
says Skinflip bassist Geoff Sanoff.
"We're trying to turn back the Sub
Pop tide."
At a time when pop inventive-
ness and high energy seem to be mu-
tually exclusive, Skinflip attempts
to fuse the two, creating music
which is intelligent, lyrical and ac-
cessible without being weak. Their
music sounds somewhat like a com-
bination of the Pixies and the Min-
utemen, yet it avoids being pinned
down so easily. Skinflip's strength
lies in their refusal to define or cate-
gorize themselves, or to assume an
established identity. Rather than
draw upon the all-too-conventional
use of The Drone in underground
W music, Skinflip relies instead on
complex rhythms, stops and starts,
stark contrasts of low and high vol-
ume, and, of course, melody.
"The more [noise] we trim the
more impact we have... there's as
much power in what you don't do as
Dark Cave
* depresses
Detroit
by Peter Shapiro

in what you do," says Sanoff. The
interweaving vocal lines of lead
singer Jenna Didier and rhythm gui-
tarist Jeff Timberlake play off the
dynamic rhythms provided by
Sanoff's bass, the Lou Reed-esque
guitar playing of Chris Kubick and
Eric Locke's full, infectious drum-
ming. Although the band is led by a
female singer, they insist that Di-
dier, who sounds like a raw version
of Sinead O'Connor, "breaks down a
lot of stereotypes of the girl in front
of the band."
Skinflip places a great deal of
emphasis on the "manic energy"
which they infuse into their music
- spontaneous moments of soaring
intensity. At their most frenzied,
Skinflip reaches the mesmerizing
power level of Sonic Youth, yet
without any of SY's incessant and
overworked droning dissonance.
They avoid the conventions of an in-
creasingly stagnant underground mu-
sic scene. As Kubick notes, "You

by Beth Coloquitt
F or all of you in Professor Peter
Bauland's film musicals class who
didn't get enough Irving Berlin-in
Top Hat , the Comic Opera Guild is
ready to supply you with more. For
those who haven't seen Top flat
lately, you're probably low on your
good music quota.
Comic Opera Guild is prepared to
remedy the situation with a two-part
musical evening at Mendelssohn
Theatre consisting of Bat-A-Clan, a
one-act operetta farce by Jacques Of-
fenbach, and the Irving Berlin Song-
book, featuring Berlin's early
hits.Bat-A-Clan is an early work by
Offenbach, written in 1856, about a

revolution on an imaginary Chinese
island. It pokes fun at Europe's mid-
19th-century fascination with Asia,
as well as social customs and oper-
atic conventions of the time.
The second half of the evening
will be a Berlin revue, with singing,
dancing and a special guest appear-
ance by Ann Arbor's Judy Dow
Alexander.
For you film class people, we
know that the Comic Opera Guild
isn't the same as Fred and Ginger,
but then, Fred never was that im-
pressive a singer anyway.

Shows are at 8 p.m. through
with a Sat. matinee at 2 p.m.
are $10, rush tix are $5.

Sat.
Tix

Skinflip hangs out in East Quad's Half Ass where some members work
their proverbial day job. Another Skinflip fun fact: lead vocalist Jenna
Didier is a much better dancer than that singer to whom she had been
compared, Sinead O'Connor.

can't have any fun underground and
it's boring to be above ground." In-
deed, Skinflip is inventing a manic
new ground all their own.

SKINFLIP open for ANNE B.
DAVIS at Club Heidelberg, 215 N.
Main, on Saturday. You must be 18
to enter. Doors open 9 p.m. and
cover is $4.

Avoid the Rush!
You are already accepted at
CAMPUS CHAPEL
1236 Washtenaw Ct. - 668-7421
Sunday Worship
10:00 a.m. - "Living an Alive Life"
6:00 p.m. - A meditative service of readings, prayer,
silence and singing
Wednesday
9:00 - 10:00 p.m. - Undergrad Group
join us for conversation, fun, refreshments

I

-c-

.,_ ,_ fig.:.

the gaunt, haggard, pale as death,
black lipstick scene of degenerate and
disaffected youth. Along with
William S. Burroughs and Lou
Reed, Cave has to be considered one
of the great heroin addicts of the
20th century, creating tortuously
dismal and painfully melancholic
music of alienation and despair.
After discovering Elvis, which
led him into the African-American
blues continuum, Cave has aban-
doned the electronic post-punk death-
as-romanticism histrionics of the
Birthday Party to forge an original
reading of early Black music. His vi-
sion of the Delta blues is not unlike
Captain Beefheart's in that both take
blue notes and slide guitar licks
down into the depths of their less
than human displacement. The guitar

is twisted, jagged and unsettling, the
drum beats irregular, and the bass is
as suffocating as a pillow or Cave's
voice.
Instead of singing, Cave opts in-
stead for a collage of "I'm tired
lemme stay in bed" grunts, Hank
Williams' yodels of sorrow, and
Jacques Brel's style of "there's a thin
line between moaning and croon-
ing." He consciously avoids carrying
a tune when he vocalizes sex-equals-
death lines like, "Kathy's body is a
coffin/ She carries my tombstone on
her head," to ensure that you don't
miss the message.
Cave doesn't need six strings to
drip blood, only his "I'm in hell and
you're comin' with me" voice of
angst and nausea. The squall of
burnt-out buildings and urban decay
is the perfect setting for Cave's
guided tour of society's underbelly.
A great way to initiate four months
of sunlessness.

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