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November 04, 1994 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-04

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0 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 4, 1994

BOMBING L.A., JUSTICEVILLE AND URBAN LOVE POEMS
a/
Y

Velocity Girl's contagious pop*

By DIRK SCHULZE
It's true, everything you've heard:
Velocity Girl is a pop band. Whereas
on the group's debut, "Copacetic," you
had to search for the hooks underneath
layer upon layer of guitar noise,
";Simpatico!" finds Velocity Girl al-
lowing the songs to emerge relatively
free from disguise. Polished, but not
sterile, the record is an ultra-catchy
reminder of the sheer joy of the three-
minute pop song.
"When we made our debut, we had
a huge chip on our shoulder because of
all the comparisons we were getting to
slick British bands,"explained guitar-
ist/singer Archie Moore. "So we de-
cided to make a really rough record.
We mixed everything as high as we
could to make it as loud as possible. It
was reactionary and very raucous."
In contrast, the band's latest does
not shy away from the perfect melodies
that characterize their songs. Produced
by John Porter, who also produced the
firstSmiths' album, "iSimpatico!"does
away with most of the noise of
"Copacetic," along with raising Sarah
Shannon's vocals in the mix to a more
frontal position. Moore joins her in
beautiful harmony on many of the
songs, lending an added dimension to
the record and helping to make the first
single, "Sorry Again," the catchiest
thing to not be a hit in a long time.
Surrounded by a vast amount of
"next big thing" buzz after the release
of "Copacetic," the band did the unex-
pected and signed a five-album deal
with SubPop.

"Bombing L.A., Justiceville and Urban Love Poems," the award-winning triptych from Highland Park native Gary
Glaser is an intricate, personal inquiry into the lives of marginal members of the Los Angeles community.
"Justiceville," the best known of the three, profiles a homeless community attempting to achieve independence in
the inner city. Starkly intimate, the film chronicles the development, trials and eventual dissolution of this group by
the city, offering an alternative to the standard features on the homeless.
"Bombing L.A" follows young graffiti artists on various "bombing excursions" throughout the city, examining the
place and limits of personal expression. It is sharp, smart and offers a direct contrast to "Justiceville" in both its
content and immediacy.
While all three are interesting and socially relevant, it is probably "Urban Love Poems" the two performance piece
vignettes that, in their "Nuyorican poets Cafe"-like delivery, best illustrate the strikingly despondent urgency
resonating below both the hum of the city and of Glaser's work. Don't let it pass you by.
BOMBING L.A., JUSTICEVILLE AND URBAN LOVE POEMS will be playing at Nat Sci. Auditorium this Saturday at 7 & 9,
p.m. Tickets are $3.00 A discussion with Glaser will follow the first screening. - Alexandra Twin

VelocityGirl's latest doesn't shy away from characteristic perfect melodies.

ICARUS
Continued from page 1
plane, to, as Abruzzo put it, "the
summoning of the male ego."
"I would imagine that what Shepard
is hinting at, is that the male ego ... is
childish. That growing up is something
that men or the American male ego
needs to do. (The play) is supposed to
leave the audience with the question:
'Is the male ego right?"' he proposed.
Abruzzo believes that his produc-
tion has solved many of the problems
that the original production was not
able to solve: "I think his (Michael
Smith's) direction was the problem. I
thinkthat he most likely did not explain
to the actors to go beyond the critical
part of the play. Ifollowed as closely as
I could to the text because he doesn't

give you a whole lot of clues. On the
very first day (of rehearsal), when the
actors were more objective about the
text, I got it over with. I said 'this is
what you're doing, this is whatitmeans
critically and we're going to discover
in the rehearsal process what more it
can mean.'"
As that rehearsal process comes to
an end, we will soon be able to discover
if Basement Arts can do what Off-
Broadway couldn't: Do justice to one
of Sam Shepard's most underrated
plays.
"The play itself has the potential to
be his best play ever, but it's all in how
you portray it. ...how you fill the gaps,"
said Abruzzo.
ICARUS' MOTHER pls tonight
and Saturday at 5p.m. at the Arena
Theatre (basement of the Frieze
Building). Admission is free.

The band has its roots in a noise
band called Big Jesus Trashcan that
enjoyed an extremely short stint on the
frat party circuit at the University of
Maryland. Bridget Cross of the late
Unrest passed through briefly as the
group evolved before its final lineup
could be crystallized. A single or two
later, including the majestic and driv-
ing "My Forgotten Favorite," and Ve-
locity Girl was signed to SubPop. Un-
like most other groups that record a
debut for an indie label and, amidst
"next big thing" buzz, run off to sign to
SonyWarnerBrosGeffen, Velocity Girl
recently signed a five-label deal with
SubPop.
"SubPop offered everything we
could have wanted. There is a lot of
freedom in the contract to do what we
want," said Moore. "We want to see
how far we can take an indie label."
Even amidst the noise of
"Copacetic," Velocity Girl was set apart
from other droning bands (and to count
the number of times they were com-
pared to My Bloody Valentine would
be impossible) by their obvious knack
for melodies and by Shannon's vocals.
Instead of droning along tunelessly and
aimlessly, she sang and sang well. Her
voice, a classically-trained high alto,
managed to be at once wistful, sooth-
ing and powerful enough to carry the
songs.
Yes, there was pop present on Ve-

locity Girl's debut - rock 'n' roll,
even. It was hidden in the low-fi pro-
duction but the thumping beat of
"Catching Squirrels" and the "la-la-
la's"decorating "Pop Loser"("I'llplay
my la-la shit for you any time") gave
clues as to its place in the mix. While
the shoegazers busied themselves cre-
ating lengthy, complex soundscapes, 1
Velocity Girl wrote songs.
With this inthe band's background,
"iSimpatico!" is far from the sell-out
some noise freaks have accused it of
being. True, it flies its pop flag proudly,
especially in the face of an expanded
sound made possible by a larger re-
cording budget, but this does not make
the record a sellout. The hooks are
more immediate, the phrasing a little
more clear, the songs more instantly
hummable, all of which add up to amix
that celebrates the glory of power-pop
while remaining grounded in the
humble roots of garage rock. Yum. If
the vocal harmonies of Moore and Sh-
annon fail to lodge themselves perma-
nently in your head, then you may just
wish to think about tidying up a bit up
there, about making a little more room
for such things.
VELOCITY GIRL shares what
promises to be a glorious evening of
music and noise with Sugar and
Magnapop Saturday night at St.
Andrew's Hall. Doors open at 9:00
and y'all can call 961-MELT.

Sunday, Nov. 6
1p.m. Lions vs. Packers
49ers vs. Redskins
Colts vs. Dolphins

Cardinals vs. Eagles
Bills vs. Jets
Broncos vs. Rams

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Write for Arts.
We promise you fame, fortune, love, acceptance, and plenty of
free "P.C.U." and "Maverick" posters.
Call 763-Q379.

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