8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 29, 1993
Continued from page 5
"Surfer Rosa." With "Sport
Fishin'...," Shadowy Men on a Shad-
owy Planet will jangle, twang and
wah-wah pedal their way into the
hearts of a larger audience.
- Heather Phares
Bring it Down
Pleasant. That's the best word to
describe New York band Madder Rose.
A pleasant mix of Breeders / Belly /
Juliana Hatfield girl-pop, catchy
songwriting and walls of guitar. While
not particularly original or vast in
scope, "Bring it Down" focuses on
what Madder Rose do best. From the
sweet,jangly opener "Beautiful John,"
the infinitely sad "While Away," the
intoxicating "Swim" to the dreamy
"Lights Go Down" and "Pocket Fulla
Medicine," this album sweetly jangle
lulling the listener into a pleasantly
Their alleged "punk rock," how-
ever, leaves a lot to be desired. Tracks
like "20 Foot Red" and "Lay Down
Low" fall flat, mainly because singer
Mary Lorson's voice is too, well, pleas-
ant, Io give these tracks the venom
they need. All in all, "Bring it Down"
is a fine debut album when Madder
Rose sticks to what they know how to
do best - being pleasant.
- Heather Phares
With their live, five-song debut,
Shootyz Groove follow in the foot-
steps of groups such as House of Pain
and Rage Against the Machine in an
attempt to create the perfect blend of
rock and rap music. While Shootyz
Groove are clearly capable of being
decent rappers and above-average
rockers, their best moments, by far,
are those songs that create a tight
unity between the two, such as the
incredible second track, "Craze." The
song is built around an amazing guitar
riff that complements the heavy rap
beat so perfectly, it seems as if the two
were made for each other. Throw in
some hardcore speed rapping, and
you've got a track that simply defines
what rock/rap fusion should be about.
A big part of the success of
"Crazed" as well as the addictive
opener, "B uddah Blessed," is that
Shootyz Groove use none of the
samples and drum machines that so
many rappers rely heavily upon. Un-
fortunately, the album suffers through
the next two tracks, as the guitar
assault takes a back seat to some rather
predictable rap clichds, such as open-
ing the third track, "Buddahful Day,"
by singing "It's a Buddahful Day in
the neighborhood," to the tune of ...
well, you get the idea. They redeem
themselves, however, with "Rockin'
In The Wilderness," a somewhat funky
but still hard-rocking groove that
closes out the album with a bang.
"Respect" certainly has its ups and
downs, but on the whole, it shows that
Shootyz Groove truly have the poten-
tial to take the rock/rap hybrid sound
to the heights it deserves.
- Andy Dolan
You Gotta Sin to Get Saved
Ever since her first days with Lone
Justice, vocalist Maria McKee has
been one of the leading figures in the
revival of roots-rock and early '70s
country-rock. Since the breakup of
Lone Justice, McKee has been refin-
ing and improving her style and with
her second solo release, "You Gotta
Sin to Get Saved," she has delivered
her best album yet, a solid fusion of
the smooth Memphis R&B and Gram
Even more so than on his work
with the Jayhawks' "Hollywood Town
Hall" and both Black Crowes album,
George Drakoulias' production
sounds as if the album was actually
recorded in the early '70s. McKee
often recalls a thinner, grittier Dusty
Springfield, particularly on the opener
"I'm Gonna Soothe You" and
Springfield's own "I Can't Make it
Alone." Despite occasional preten-
tious stumbles like the horribly titled
"My Girlhood Among the Outlaws,"
most of the album is filled with small
treasures like the powerful title track
and her inspired, fiery take on Van
Morrisson's "The Way Young Lovers
Do," where it sounds as if the song
was written specifically for her. Al-
though it offers nothing new, every-
thing on "You Gotta Sin to Get Saved"
is done well; the album is a small, but
greatly rewarding pleasure.
Quoth the youngest bear,
"Someone's been listening to Mat-
thew Sweet, and his name is Adam
Schmitt." On his debut, "Illiterature,"
Schmitt shows a penchantfor the same
guitar-based power-pop that Sweet
rode to fame on 1992's "Girlfriend."
"Just Listen," the lead-off track,
works its way around an ascending
chord structure using multi-tracked
vocal harmonies to sweeten the cho-
rus. It works, but too much of the
album follows the same pattern. "Wait-
ing to Shine" tries to marshal up a bit
of an Elvis Costello sneer but falls
short, and "Three Faces West," while
a good song, dissolves into three min-
utes of unnecessary riffing. When he
mixes up the formula a bit, as on the
acoustic-based "Me and You" and
"Shreds," which employs a piano in
place of the ever-present guitar, the
results are positive, but too little of the
album shares this experimentation.
"Illiterature" is a worthy-enough
debut, but Schmitt needs to find a bit
of confidence in areas other than
straight Sweetesque riffs and use it to
take his next effort into more interest-
ing territory. The treasure lurking in
those unmapped regions will make
the exploration more than worthwhile.
- Dirk Schulze
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