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September 16, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-16

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RTS

Shudder at the thought

By BRIAN A. GNATT
One of the more anticipated and
also unexpected indie-gone-major
releases this year is Washington,
D.C.'s Shudder To Think and their
"Pony Express Record." Shudder is
melodic, dissonant, in your face, sen-
sitive, innovative and could easily be
labeled the R.E.M. of hardcore punk.
Between the swirling guitars, me-
lodic yet haunting lyrics and the driv-
ing intense rhythm, "Pony Express
Record" is like a bloody highway
accident you can't stop staring at.
"It's genuinely alternative rock
music. I don't mean the radio term
'alternative.' It's just Shudder To
Think music," described singer/gui-
tarist Craig Wedren. "I think that the
album is wonderful. I'm completely
thrilled about the way it sounds. I love
the songs on it."
With the new album, Shudder al-
tered the lineup slightly with Nathan
Larson on guitar, Stuart Hill on bass
and drummer Adam Wade. "We're
finding our stride with each other.
We've been in it for a while, and in all
these changes it hopefully evolves
and grows. The chemistry is com-
pletely there," Wedren said.
Parting ways with D.C.'s Dischord

Records (owned by Ian MacKaye of
Fugazi) and signing with Epic has
given Shudder "the time and the bud-
get to do what we wanted to do with
each other," Wedren said. "We went
into the studio with (producer) Ted
Nicely again. It was great. When we
were done, we were so deep in the
process at that point, that we wanted
to bring in a fresh set of ears and see
if it would add any new kind of di-
mension to it. We went to Andy
Wallace (who mixed Nirvana's
'Nevermind' and Sonic Youth's
'Dirty') and he mixed the record. We
just didn't want to risk it in the hands
of anybody."
One of the more unique aspects of
Shudder To Think is Wedren's slick
and sharp vocals. "At NYU I was
studying experimental theater, and
part of the curriculum was voice. I
started doing very progressive free
jazz and improvisational singing,"
Wedren recalled.
"My teacher was in the mind that
you gotta get out of what you think is
good singing, and what you think a
good singer is. You know, fuck Barbra
Streisand, fuck Ella Fitzgerald.
What's your voice? Take the time and
have the courage to be with yourself

and be with your voice, and see what
comes up."
Through his unusual vocals,
Wedren explores even more unusual
lyrics. On their first single, "Hit Li-
quor," Wedren sings "The case of her
bones are softer than loose meat" and
on "No Rm. 9, Kentucky": "That's
approval, a stamp of a knife with
initials on the rubber / a doodle of
some ancient mother fucking her son."
"I like the images to be evocative,
but not necessarily recognizable or
specific," Wedren said. "Like when
you wake up from a dream, and you've
just got this residue, like something
just happened; it leaves you with some
seeds in your belly, and you're like
'What was that?' There's not neces-
sarily anything underneath the sur-
face, but you can read anything you
want into them. I hope the lyrics in
our songs spark the listener's imagi-
nation rather than giving it all to them
on a silver platter."
Although many bands are forced
into toning down their acts when sign-
ing to a major record label, Shudder
had quite the opposite experience.
"Contrary to interfering, Epic has re-
ally encouraged us to go further out
on limbs than maybe we would have

Shudder To Think may look comfortable and easygoing, but expect them to get into their live performances.

otherwise. We felt a lot less obligated
to make anything resembling punk
music. We felt more comfortable just
going in 20 different directions,"
Wedren said.
However, comfortable and easy-
going really isn't a good way to de-
scribe Shudder's live shows. "We try

not to be a lazy slacker band, and try to
get into the performance; to be engag-
ing and also be true," admitted
Wedren. "We allow mistakes to hap-
pen and just go with them almost like
in a free jazz way, and play tightly and
with vigilance. We aren't afraid to
give, which I think a lot of bands are,

because it's not cool or something to
be an alternative band and to give a
fuck - but we do."
SHUDDER TO THINK wigb
appearing live at St. Andrew's Hall
in Detroit on Sunday. Tickets are
only $5.50 in advance. Call 961-
MELT.

Strip' away the Grisham and attack male sexuality

SUPERMODEL TURNED VOCALIST

By KIRK MILLER
"Routine female nakedness reduced
some men to stammering, clammy-
fingered fools," is one of many clever
and deadly accurate attacks on male

serves as a guide for the wittier dia-
logue. Congressman David Dilbeck
has a weakness for flesh, or as he puts
it, "It's a sickness, that's all. I should
never be around naked women." Dur-
ing a reelection year he is spotted at the
Eager Beaver strip club after he drunk-
enly attacks a patron for lavishing too
much attention on his favorite stripper,
Erin Grant. The only witness, fondly
referred to as "Mr. Peepers" (who actu-
ally comes off better than most men in
the book), is a regular at the club and
hopelessly in love withErin.Erinthinks
differently. "You don't know me," she
says. "If you're in love with anything,
it's my dancing. And possibly the fact
I was naked at the time."
Mr. Peepers thinks he can black-
mail Dilbeck into using his political
power to sway a judge into returning
custody of Erin's child. In one of sev-
eral small but hilarious plot twists, the

sexuality in Carl Hiaasen's new book;
not content to be just another political
thriller (a la John Grisham) with cor-
rupt politicians and lawyers, "Strip
Tease" adds creamed corn nude wres-
tling, evil sugarplantations, ahot wheel-
chair scam, and a very accurate de-
scription of male hormonal frustrations
to the usual plot devices.
The plot is fairly simple and best

fundamentalist judge who denied Erin
custody because of her job is also a
regular at the strip club.
Unfortunately Dilbeck is not too
bright and eager to be rid of the situa-
tion. The payoffs he receives from sugar
plantations to influence his vote are too
enticing to give up with aKenndeyesque
political blunder, so he turns to his
assistant, Malcolm "Moldy"
Moldowsky for help; Mr. Peepers sud-
denly "disappears" and the usual cover-
ups and trackdowns begin.
Although it's a decent plot, it's a
good idea not to get too caught up in the
thriller aspects; the ending will let any-
one down. However, Hiassen excels at
creating offbeat three-dimensional
characters. With the exception of a
sympathetic detective who helps Erin,
all of the men are hiding dysfunctions
or grotesque sexual nightmares.
Mr. Orly, the strip club owner, thinks
changing his club's name from "Eager
Beaver" ("It's catchy and it's clever
and it damn near rhymes") to "Tickled
Pink" and including creamed corn wres-
tling adds a touch of class. Shad is a
monstrous bouncer who reads Camus'
"The Plague" during strip performances
and hopes to get out of the strip busi-
ness ("When pussy gets boring, it's
time for a career move") and get rich by

tampering with food and suing yogurt
companies. And he's one of the good
guys.
Even more entertaining are the
women. Erin's main concern is to raise
enough money to pay court costs and
win her daughter back from her dis-
gusting ex-husband (who steals and
resells wheelchairs for a living). She
attacks male sexuality ("An attractive
woman could get whatever she wanted,
because men were so laughably weak.
They would do anything for the distant
promise of sex") and the general stu-
pidity of people ("It sounded like Mrs.
Bickel fit perfectly in the demographic
strata of the trailer park") without be-
ing preachy or overly vindictive. The
best scenes come from her observa-
tions of life in the strip club and the
surreal behavior of both the patrons
and the dancers.
Although I have problems paying
$6.50 for anything, let alone a paper-
back book, "Strip Tease" is extremely
funny and wicked attack on stupid men
and a fun read. The only real problems
comes from the title. If you can ignore
such witty comments (insert Dumb
Guy voice here) like, "Uh, why you
reading porn?" then it's one of those
"feel-good-books of the summer." Es-
pecially if you're a woman.

R I

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OUR ACTUARIES ARE USED TO BEING CALLED NAMES.
LIKE C.E.O.,
FOR EXAMPLE
CIGNA
A Business of Caring.
Our C.E.O., started in the Actuarial Executive Development Program, as did many if our Financial
Managers and Divisional Financial Officers. If you like those kind of names, talk to our Director.
On campus, September 19, 6-8 p.m., Student Union Welker Room.

Milla Jovovich, perceived as one of the most annoying supermodels around,
has recorded a solo album, thus setting herself up for endless ridicule as a
musical laughingstock. Well, you know something? It's surprisingly good.
"The Divine Comedy," out on SBK Records, is not the expected dance-music
crap that most celebrities put out. Instead, it consists of medievally-inspired
folk-pop that impresses most when the production doesn't obscure the
actual songs, on "The Alien Song (for those who listen)" or "Ruby Lane" for
example. At times the overly smooth production makes the tunes soundlike
they're right off "The Princess Bride" soundtrack, but for the most part it is
Milla who has the last laugh on "The Divine Comedy." See her perform
tonight at Hill in support of Crash Test Dummies, everyone's favorite
purveyors of collegiate wackiness. Tickets are $18.50 or $20 at the door.

low
o ° 00

5q4&svt 412-19
See
The expanded store at
216 North Fourth!

1

More fine organic and commercial produce *
fabulous salad bar * lots of healthy and organic food !*
More econornically priced bulk products.
Live Music right Outside!
Blues * Jazz * Folk * gurprises
Tas*e
lots of food samnpe42!

"'Z
UM students,faculty, and staff
O
must show valid University of
MichiganI.D.
may bring two escorted guests
your guests will each be required'
to show a valid picture I.D. and
sign the guest register
5 Michigan Union
Identification: .3 I

Wednesdays 9p.n
University Studer
Gathering
provocative discussions
innovative worship
great music
spiritual counsel
stimulating community
Sunday worship
10 a.m. &6 .m.

n.
it
Campus Chapel
Christian Reformed campus ministry
1236 Washtenaw Ct.
668-7421/913-0397

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