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April 08, 1994 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-08

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 8, 1994 - 9

'Keely' sure to spark debate

By ROBERT YOON
Abortion is murder.
Keep your laws off of my body.
What Jane Martin's provocative
play "Keely and Du" promises to de-
liver tonight when it opens at the
Purple Rose Theatre is the passion
and dramatic tension inherent in the
divisive abortion debate, but without
the shouting and placard waving that
often drowns out any thoughtful dis-
cussion.
"Theplay itselfdoesn't take stands
on one side or another," said director
Newell Kring. "It's a great platform
for both sides to very eloquently speak
their minds, but it doesn't proselytize
one side or another."
While it explores the most hotly
politicized ethical debate of the past
20 years, "Keely and Du" is less a
play about abortion and politics, and
more an examination of forgiveness.
. It explores how far one can go before
forgiveness becomes impossible.
Keely (played by Suzi Regan), a
pregnant rape victim, is kidnapped by
a pro-life group and forced to carry
Sher child to term. During her captiv-
~-ity, Keely is cared for by Du (Bee
Vary), a kind, elderly nurse who firmly
believes in her group's cause. The
two women form an unlikely bond
Slowdive
10Souvlaki
SBK / Creation
Slowdive's second LP proves that
the destruction of the "shoegazer"
hype left them with something of an
identity crisis. Of course, it's not as if
Slowdive wasn't due for a major re-
vamping, especially after the 45-
minute yawn that was their debut LP,
"Just For A Day." But it's just too bad
that in their efforts to sound desper-
ately unlike Slowdive, they often end
up not sounding like much of any-
thing.
Fortunately, tracks like the soar-
ing, swirling "Machine Gun" and the
purely bizarre ambience of the Brian
Eno-produced "Sing" show that
Slowdive still have a few tricks up
their sleeves. Even better is "Souvlaki
Space Station," where delays replace
sustains and reverbs as the guitar ef-
fects of choice. Add a groovy dub
bass line and the amazing vocal melo-
dies of Rachel Goswell, and the result
is a track still worthy of the term
"blissful."
The next four tracks, which round
out the album proper, are four of the
most boring, spiritless tracks the Drop
Nineteens never recorded. Songwriter
Neil Halstead's ego seems to have
gotten in the way on these tracks, as
he takes over the vocals with unin-
spired, almost monotone dronings,
reminiscent of the Nineteens or Paul
Court of the Primitives.
Of these, "Altogether" and "Melon
Yellow" do contain some nice guitar
textures, but they are buried far be-
neath the atrocious vocals. "Dagger,"
on the other hand, is the kind of two-
chord acoustic guitar strum that ev-
eryone who's ever owned a guitar has
written at some time in their lives.
To be fair, this album was re-
leased in England almost a year ago,
and the four domestic bonus tracks
seem to indicate that Slowdive may

and develop a mutual respect for each
other.
"These characters are confronted
with very forbidding issues and
they're struggling to know what's
right," said Vary. "These are very real
people who have strong convictions."
To prepare for the great range of
emotions involved in these roles, both
Regan and Vary consulted rape coun-
selors and survivors. "(The roles) are
emotionally draining. (Keely) is hand-
cuffed to a bed. That just physically is
pretty demanding," said Regan.
"There are emotions flying all over
the room."
"I'm destroyed nightly," said
Kring. "It's exhausting to watch this
because you're pulled in every direc-
tion."
Unlike most pro-life / pro-choice
confrontations, this play portrays both
sides of the debate in compassionate,
human terms. "This isn't theater to
incite. It is stimulation to examine the
issue," said Kring. "These characters
are not taking a political stance. It is a
play about a politicized issue, but it's
not a political play. They're not being
required to preach a viewpoint."
Although it focuses on the thorny
abortion question, the driving force
behind "Keely and Du" is clearly the

characters. "Both of these roles are
huge," said Regan. "These are meaty
women roles, and you don't find them
that often. We literally have to bite
into these roles."
The identity of the reclusive play-
wright who penned "Keely and Du"
is unknown. She or he uses the pseud-
onym "Jane Martin" and has written
seven plays under that name in the
last decade.
With Supreme Court Justice Harry
Blackmun, the architect of the Roe
vs. Wade decision, announcing his
retirement only two days ago, "Keely
and Du" could not be more relevant.
Said Kring, "This seems to me
what theater should do. It raises ques-
tions, but doesn't provide answers.
Our audience ... will be forced to
examine their own feelings about this
issue. Hopefully, it will result in a
great deal of conversation and debate
at the local bar immediately after the
production."
KEELY AND DU plays tonight
through May 22nd at the Purple
Rose Theatre (137 Park Street,
Chelsea). Performances aren p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday, 2 and
7p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range
from $10 to $20. Call 475-7902 for
more information.

Ten High, featuring lead singer Wendy Case, is one the cool local bands on the Happy Hour record label.
Happy Hopour at the Blind Pig
Local record company espouses ideal ofminde rock.

have found themselves in that time.
"Good Day Sunshine" and "Missing
You" are naive but fascinating excur-
sions in, of all things, ambient dance
music. These tracks would not be out
of place on the Orb's "U. F. Orb,"
and, if nothing else, win Slowdive the
award for biggest crossover of the
year.
"Souvlaki" shows that there is life
after the shoegazers for Slowdive,
and, in many instances, it also shows
that they've still got some of their old
magic left in them, as well as some
new ideas for the future. Despite a
gaping lack of inspiration on some
tracks, "Souvlaki" still remains a
worthy sophomore effort.
- Andy Dolan
Entombed
Wolverine Blues
Earache / Columbia
Although a lot of bands have
shown the ability to write creative,
super heavy riffs, it is effective com-
positions that have eluded death-
metal. A "riff over song structure"
focus has been an inherent part of the
style that has been emulated over and
over again by newer bands. Entombed
opts for more thoughtful and logical
song structure - an approach that is
long overdue.
It would be incorrect to classify
"Wolverine Blues" as strictly death-
metal, a genre which the band name
strongly connotes; rather, it is a com-
bination of Helmet, Biohazard, Cor-
rosion of Conformity and Black Sab-
bath. These bands all spring from the
same source and Entombed feeds on
the similarity of these supposedly
contrasting influences. What really
sets this release apart from the pack,
however, are the surprisingly com-
prehensible vocals. Although Petrov's
voice is far from melodic, it has a
gritty appeal and is unlike the stan-
dard death-metal vocals that make

most cringe from their sheer stupid-
ity. His vocals combine the rasp of
Lemmy, the power of Al Jourgensen
and the energy of Page Hamilton - a
mighty fine fusion indeed.
The best thing that can be said
about "Wolverine Blues" is that it is
real. It is straight ahead, heavy as hell,
and no questions asked. This is the
record that the genre has been waiting
for since its inception.
- Gianluca Montalti
Southern Culture On
The Skids
Peckin' Party
Feedbag
Goout to your record store of
choice immediately and throw down
your dough for this steaming hot slab
of six scorching blues / rockabilly /
garage-rock sizzlers. Do not pass go.
Do not collect $200. Do not pass up
your chance to own this collection of
"6 Poultry Poundin' Slow Twistin'
Finger Lickin' Tunes." If the record
store does not have a copy (Feedbag
records probably aren't in wide dis-
tribution), special order it. Buy it on
10-inch vinyl if you're still one of the
few to own a record player. Just do it.
Definitely the surprise of the last
few months, Southern Culture On The
Skids' "Peckin' Party" serves up a
platter of delicious, down-home rock
'n' roll cookin' in a wacky package.
"Run Chicken Run" is a Link Wray
instrumgental that squawks feverishly
for a minute and a half. "Eight Piece
Box" does the blues admirably with
an excellent slice of saxophone
heaven. And after dinner, you can
limbo along in half-step with "Kudzu
Limbo."
Andjust to make sure your belly is
stuffed full of nourishing sweets,
Southern Culture has made the sec-
See RECORDS, Page 11

By TED WATTS
In these tumultuous times, you've surely asked your-
self, "What is indie rock now, anyway?" Don't waste your
time wondering if the new major labeled super group of
the week is indie. News flash: once a band has a major
label's powerful promotion department selling them hard
to anyone who cares to listen, they are not indie anymore.
"So," you may well ask, "what is indie in rock?" Well,
look at local label Happy Hour Records. Founded last
November by Wendy Case of Ten High and Freddy
"Fortune" Munchinger of Fortune and Maltese, Happy
Hour has four vinyl platters out, one from each of their
local bands, with a new Fortune and Maltese release
coming soon and, hopefully, a new Ten High single.
They work on a small budget, produce music they love
and do it at local facilities. To celebrate, they are about to
have a roundup of their bands at the Blind Pig. This is local
rock that lives on the support of locals, something that
might otherwise be known as indie.
The really kooky thing is that HHR breaks the con-
straints of what many consider to be the sound of indepen-
'The label is really an open forum
and we're not limiting ourselves
strictly to the retro sound.'
- Wendy Case
Co-founder Happy Hour Records
dent rock. The bands on the label are diverse, but they all
have at least some retro feel to them which is mostly
ignored by the rest of today's music world. Fortune and
Maltese come across as mid '60s pop sensations who
dress real snappy; the Hentchmen are a '60s garage band-
type act who wallow in organ sounds (as do Fortune and
Maltese and Ten High); Ten High is more of a '70s chord
mashing monster; Kiss Me Screaming sounds like an
older "sonic power pop."
But it would be wrong to pigeonhole Happy Hour as a
retro label. "At this point we are (a retro label), but only by
reason of the fact that we've gotten together with friends
and bands that have styles we like," said Happy Hour co-
founder and Ten High vocalist Wendy Case. "But the
label is really an open forum and we're not limiting
ourselves strictly to the retro sound. We're definitely open
to all kinds of different things."
The label is currently trying to get local group Whiptail
to record something for them. So don't try to type HHR
because of the current profusion of Farfisa organs: "It's

not what the label stands for, but since we're all into that
sound, we all have organs in our band."
One can only hope that all future releases, no matter
what the sound, will be as beautiful as the existing catalog
of Happy Hour discs. While the clear and blue 7-inchers
of Kiss Me Screaming and Fortune and Maltese are nice,
the grape purple Ten High single looks positively tantaliz-
ing. "It looks like you can eat it. It looks like fruit roll-ups.
It's fun," said Case.
Not to mention that it can be done fairly easily and
locally. HHR presses their vinyl at Archer in Detroit, an
old label that still has pressing facilities. This accessibility
speaks to a lot of what Happy Hour is about. "The purpose
of the label is not that it is a money-making venture. It's
a very cooperative effort between us and the bands. Our
only real purpose is to spread the word, to tell everybody
that Ann Arbor has some happening sounds," expounded
Case.
The label seems to have gained some success at "spread-
ing the word," considering that they have gained interest
from as far away as France. Notice has been taken domes-
tically as well. "The Ramones label -Radioactive -has
called us and wanted the catalog and has expressed big
interest," she said. "For being around such a short period
of time, we've really done tremendously well."
But Radioactive may be too late. The Hentchmen have
signed with Norton Records NYC (the label on which the
evil-but-in-a-good-way rockabilly giant Hasil Adkins re-
sides) and Ten High with Marilyn Records in L.A. Things
seem to be happening around this label, as expressed in the
release this month by Marilyn of a Ten High 10-inch.
Labels expressing interest better get it in gear.
This is all part of a growing Metro Detroit music scene
as well. Perhaps it has something to do with a reclaiming
of its ancestors. Discussing Ten High's influences, Case
explained that they enjoy, "lots of Detroit music. Stooges,
MC5. The guys in my band love Kiss, they worship Kiss.
I love the Seeds. I'm a big fan of Kim Fowley, the guy who
wrote the liner notes (to our single)." Perhaps that's a
reason why the label's bands are good - they take the best
of the past while doing it in their own way.
Case ends asking for no more than she is willing to do.
"I encourage everyone to come down and support the
local scene because that's the whole drive behind this
label, to bring Ann Arbor to the rest of the world, because
there's so much cool stuff happening here."
The HAPPY HOUR RECORDS ROUNDUPfeaturing
Ten High, Kiss Me Screaming, the Hentchmen and
Fortune & Maltese occurs this Saturday at 9 p.m. at the
Blind Pig. Call 996-8555.

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