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February 02, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-02

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Th ichgaDilyTusdyFra ry 2,1 93 Pge.

A Lux-urious forest of emotions

by Anabel Sherwood
Thomas Lux's poetry finds humanity within a
manufactured world. Wandering through a fascinat-
ing, sometimes frightening forest of emotions, his
poems explore history and the artifacts of memory,
revealing insights about modern society.
Lux grew up on a dairy farm in Massachusetts,
and his experiences there are the base of much of his
poetry. Many of his poems depict rural New England
- factories and farmhouses, nature tinged with
civilization. The scenery of his poems show the
beauty and pain of the fight against social injustices
like poverty, as well as political and historical
struggles for freedom and integrity.
A striking feature of his poetry is its ability to
span a wide range of emotions. In "Moon-Annoyed,
Cognac's Ashen Thrill," from his book "Half-Prom-
ised Land," Lux describes anxiety in the lines, "...
nothing helps the heebie-jeebies when they start,
like hunger / revving up, when they begin their
tossing cruise / beneath the skin, hauling the spine /
erect with fear."
Lux displays sardonic humor in poems like "Mo-
tel Seedy," from "The Drowned River," which con-
tains witty observations of a cheap motel room. He
Mark Curry Paul McC
It's Only Time rio" and
Virgin Threepenn
Me Phi Me tried valiantly to fuse Costello's
folk and rap, but his record failed. The Rose," wa
musical arrangements were well done, ever, unli
' but his rhymes had little soul or street Costello d
smarts. Though Mark Curry does not melodic, l
rap, his debut record has a tasteful mix ters," a ger
of folk music and urban soul that works. laboration
His first single, "Sorry About the As Cos
Weather" got decent radio and MTV point out, t
support last fall, and it is a bit preachy. but it isn't
The lyrics and the melody of the tune, Costelloar
however, are very catchy, and his pow- equal resp
erful voice shows that his message has and the lyr
more personal passion behind it than ber music
just dogma. scription n
Fortunately, that feel is evident in Juliet Lett
each of the songs on this album. Too accessible
many records sound like the performers mental int
try to sound like other artists or how the melodic si
producers want them to be. By listening Each s
to this record, you know that everything a different
about it is Mark Curry. A few of the notes to jt
tunes on the record are not too spectacu- glimpse in
lar on their own, but they are carried by concept th
Curry's emotion. and the alt
Hopefully, he will be able to trans- able if Co
late that to the Blind Pig stage tonight. worthy of

writes, "The artisans of this room, who designed the
lamp base /(a huge red slug with a hole / where its
heart should be) or chose this print /of abutterscotch
sunset, / must have been abused in art class as
children ..."
His poems depict the attempt to find solace in an
often cruel, self-centered world. In "At Least Let Me
Explain," Lux writes, "I can explain it all/ by tilting
back my head / and opening my mouth to the rain /
the starlight, tomorrow's brilliant snow /each brave
flake / not cold / but alone."
In "Grim Town In a Steep Valley," Lux captures
the transient, yet enduring aspects of nature as it is
encroached upon by industry. He writes, "A shop-
ping cart / lies on its side in center stream / gathering
branches, detritus, silt / forcing the already weak
current to part for it / dividing it, but even so
diminished / it's glad to be going / glad to be gone."
Offering tributes to such poets as Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, Charles Baudelaire and Wallace Stevens,
Lux imbues his poetry with a rich literary past. He
sees writing poetry as a process involving a lot of
hard work. Quoting RobertFrost, Lux said, "A poem
begins with a lump in the throat." He added, "You
need something in the beginning that makes you

want to write."
While Lux has written prose in the form of
essays, he feelsmost comfortable within the genre of
poetry. "(I like) the precision and distillation of
poetry. It pays attention to the music, the sound and
the noises of words," he said.
The recipient of numerous awards for poetry,
including grants from the National Endowment for
the Arts, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim
Foundation, Lux has written many books, including,
"Memory's Hand grenade," "The Glassblower's
Breath" and "Sunday." He gives readings of his
poetry frequently, because he writes it "to be heard
as human speech."
Lux creates poetry that captures both past and
present. His poems create a landscape of memory,
without entirely lingering in the past. Through his
work, Thomas Lux uncovers humanity from the
debris of the manufactured world, resulting in a
powerful force of emotion.
THOMAS LUX, visiting professor at the
University, will be reading selections of his poetry
Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Rackham Amphitheatre.
Admission is free.


Five more people way cuter than Nanci Griffith. And nicer, too!
No Sleep for Ned's

by Michael Tomlinson

I -

'artney's "Liverpool Orato-
Sting's take on "The
ny Opera" are still fresh and
last album, "Mighty Like A
s a stuffy, tepid affair. How-
ke McCartney and Sting,
oes not abandon his gift for
lyrical pop on "The Juliet Let-
nuinely moving 20-song col-
with the Brodsky Quartet.
tello goes to great lengths to
his is nota "classical" album,
a rock and roll album either.
nd the Brodsky Quartetshared
onsibility for both the music
ics, a stylistic fusion of cham-
and pop. Although the de-
may sound insufferable, "The
hers" is extremely open and
,floating from brief instru-
erludes to lovely, memorable
ong on "The Juliet Letters" is
it letter, ranging from suicide
unk mail, that gives a small
nto the human psyche. It is a
hat is bursting with pretension
bum would have been intoler-
stello had not written songs
f his goal. Costello's writing
y been better; he can wrench
lured emotions of an estranged
achingly beautiful "Taking
n Your Hands") or the gleeful
of an old, deranged aunt ("I
ad A Weakness") without be-
oitive or condescending.
s clever, dense wordplay has
en a bit too literate for the rock
id the chamber music setting
rics perfectly.
nlikely that "The Juliet Let-
I receive any airplay or sell
ies. Although itisn'tan album
ates it's audience, it does de-
ive listening. Those who take
ong with Costello and the
Quartet will find themselves
y rewarded with this unique,
-Tom Erlewine

Jesus Jones
SBK Records
"This time the revolution will be
- "Zeros And Ones"
I've seen the future, and it looks alot
like Jesus Jones. If that sounds exces-
sive, or grandiose, it should. "Perverse,"
the third disc from Brit technoids Jesus
Jones, is all of those things and more.
This Bacchanalian celebration of tech-
nology and all of its trappings may very
wellbe the first download towards where
pop music is on its way to becoming.
While other Brit thrash / techheads
like EMF and Pop Will Eat Itself (who,
along with B.A.D., were cut and pasting
gritty guitars and dance beats before
anybody) are determined to get serious
on their latest releases, ditching loops
and samples for bigger guitars and real
drums, Jesus Jonesdo the exact oppo-
Recorded entirely on head Jesus
Mike Edwards' home computer (gui-
tars and other trad instruments were
recorded directly into the hard drive),
"Perverse" attempts to do for techno
what Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
did for industrial - Harness the aesthet-
ics of the genre and manipulate them
into user-friendly songs for mass con-
But unlike the MTV-ready
Technicolor of their breakthrough
"Doubt," this one isn't chock full o'
"hits," which is a good thing. The
Jonesters stretch into new territory to
create acool collection of computerized
sound bytes. Tracks like the virtually
optimistic "Get A Good Thing" and
"Magazine" (a exaltation of those 36-
page glossy tomes that does for litera-
ture what "Perverse" does to music -
skips the boring details and gets right to
the good stuff) utilize an apocalyptic
barrage of sound to create a
mindwarping cacophony.
"Yellow Brown" is a gloomy tone
poem that sounds like Side 2 of Depeche

Mode's "Black Celebration" at Giorgio
Moroder's house, while "Tongue Tied"
is a big beat stomp of an evil empire.
Narrated by Edwards' trademark
introspective rasp and socially keeneye,
"Perverse" is the pop soundtrack for the
Mondo 2000 generation. Plug in and
- Scott Sterling

Ned's are back, and last Tuesday's sold-out concert proved that they haven't
lost their appeal. Touring in support of their second release, Are You Normal
these five young Brits have lived up to the hype they created when Godfodder
first hit the U.S. back in 1991. Known to many in Ann Arbor as the band that
(nearly) upstaged headliners Jesus Jones last year, Ned's is currently topping a
triple-bill which also contains Flowerhead and The Supreme Love Gods.
Show openers Flowerhead ground
out powerful rhythms covered with
.At D tspacious wah guitar but were often too
Ned's Atomic Dustbin slow for the anxious crowd. Still, they
St. Andrew's Hall must be given credit for best tour mer-
January 26, 1993 chandise for their creative "Gimme
Head" T-shirt. Much more stimulating
to the hyper all-ages audience were Supreme Love Gods, most memorable for
their high energy and danceable beat. Their music contained elements of hard
rock and rap but was lightened by keyboards and occasional drum samples. Just
when you figured Supreme Love Gods was another trendy young British band
they gave the surprising announcement that they were from "California anl
nowhere else." While crowd reaction was favorable, most people on the main
floor were too busy passing bodies overhead to give them a close listen.
Though not moving anyone to epiphany, Ned's proved their worth as a
headlining act by playing a very solid and enjoyable setcontaining almost all the
songs from their two major releases. They performed many of their more popular
songs early in the show, including "Happy," "Grey Cell Green" and "Not
Sleeping Around." Their mix of two bass players and thin wah guitar adds a
unique twist to the guitar-driven rock band setup, helping to give Ned's adistinct
sound. This sound also reproduces very well live, and is far more exciting and
real onstage than the backing tapes and pre-programmed synthesizers often used
by other popular young British bands.
Ned's exhibitmore maturity on theirnew album with an increased variety in
songwriting, mainly evident in a greater variety of tempos. Not every song is as
fast as the tracks on Godfodder, showing that energy comes from holding back
as well as letting go. While the differences between both albums are not drastic,
they do prove that Ned's are willing and able to grow musically.
Despite this growth, however, Ned's remain rather predictable, lacking
variety. Their performance was entertaining and energetic, yet I left feeling
somewhat uninspired. With the exception of a few bruises and a lost pocket-
knife, the only thing that made this different from blaring the CD in a room full
of people was the fact that the actual band members were standing or jumping
about on the stage. Ned's must continue to make conscious efforts at growth if
they are to surpass or even continue to enjoy the level of success they have
currently achieved, lest they fall victim to fickle public opinion.

Mark Curry will play at Blind Pig
tonight. Halfway Home opens. Tickets
are $5.50 in advance from
TicketMaster plus service charge and
$8 at the door. He'll also be doing a
free acoustic set at Tower Records
today at 4:00.
-Andrew J Cahn
Elvis Costello & The
Brodsky Quartet
The Juliet Letters
Warner Brothers
Admittedly, the very thought of Elvis
Costellocollaborating with astring quar-
tet on an hour-long song cycle inspired
by a Veronese professor's written re-
sponses to letters addressed to Juliet
Capulet inspires more dread than ex-
citement. After all, the memories of

has rarely
out thetorn
lover (the
My Life In
insanity o
Almost H
ing expl
always be
world and
fits his ly
It is u
ters" will
many cop
that alien
mand acti
a risk al
thrilling a


I. I

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