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November 11, 1994 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-11

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 11, 1994

FREDERICA VON STADE HITS ANN ARBOR FOR THE FIRST TIME

The mezzo soprano has to take the
good with the bad in the opera
world: Far fewer roles are available
in comparison with sopranos, yet
fewer mezzos exist to compete for
those roles. Frederica von Stade has
contended with this for over two
decades now, and quite
J extraordinarily to say the least. As
one of the world's preeminent bel
canto singers, she is a peerless
interpreter of a wide range of vocal
music, from Rossini and Bellini to
} Rogers and Hammerstein.
Since her Metropolitan Opera debut
in 1970, von Stade has sung nearly
all of the great roles with that
company, as well as with the Lyric
Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco
Opera and many other leading
American theaters. She is regularly
invited by the world's top conductors
to appear with the world's top
orchestras, including the Boston
Symphony, the Chicago Symphony,
the London Symphony, the Berlin
Philharmonic and the Philadelphia
Orchestra.
As one of the most successful
classical recording artists, she has
made over three dozen recordings,
encompassing every major label.
Again indicative of her versatility,
these have included complete
operas, solo recital and aria
programs, symphonic works and pop
crossover albums.
Von Stade will appear with pianist
and University faculty member
Martin Katz for her Ann Arbor debut
Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at Hill
Auditorium. Songs by Poulenc,
Schoenberg, Strauss, Ginastera and
Canteloube will be featured. Tickets
are $42, $32, $26 and $16, as well
as student rush seats for $9. For
more info call UMS at 764-2538.
-Brian Wise

RECORDS
Continued from page 10
piece. These three styles are inter-
changed throughout the album, some-
times within the same track. The end
product can be highly disconcerting,
but ultimately serves as one of the
album's more interesting features.
However, Gastr Del Sol are also
masters of dueling atonal guitar riffs...
Tracks like "Every Five Miles," "Is
That A Rifle When It Rains" and espe-
cially "The Wrong Soundings," fea-
ture the controlled chaos of two oddly-
tuned guitars ricocheting off of one
another to create a bizarre but wonder-
fully rhythmic cacophony. "The Wrong
Soundings" even features electric gui-
tars and a simple drum track playing
yet another rhythm just to add to the
confusion. It's easy to lose your way
the first few times, but after that, you'll
never get this song out of your head.
Most importantly, though, every
sound and subtlety on the album suc-
ceeds as a means of create a real emo-
tional atmosphere, instead of pming
offas self-indulgent technical nonsense.
Gastr Del Sol could probably cre-
ate simple, catchy, indie-rock if they
wanted to, but they've just chosen to do
something different. "Crookt, Crackt,
or Fly" proves that they made the right
choice.
-Andy Dolan
The Family Cat
Magic Happens
Arista-Dedicated
Oh, the joy of British pop! The
combination of nasally accented vo-
cals, melodies which get your head
bopping back and forth and lyrics pro-
foundly affected by entire months with-
out sunshine are just about irresistible.
"Magic Happens" is no exception.
The Family Cat certainly aren't

afraid of big whopping guitar hooks, as
they reveal on the catchy opening song
"Wonderful Excuse." It's immediately
engaging and a hell of a lot of fun.
This is not to say that they're not
properly depressed - other tracks in-
clude the aptly titled "Hamlet for Now"
and the somber breakup tune "Gone,
So Long." Indeed, the Family Cat sound
downright morose a la London Suede
on songs like "Nowhere to Go But
Down." Before turning all inquisitive
and intellectual on "Springing the
Atom," the boys declare, "I badly need
a substance to rely on" ("Rock Break-
ing").
Clever, literate lyrics don't hurt,
either. "I was accused and over-tried /
A light fracas slightly fried" ("Air-
plane Gardens") matches wits with
loopier lines like "I saw a devil in the
flesh ... I said 'God you're so '70s so
camp and yet so fine"' on the track
"Your Secrets Will Stay Mine."
"Magic Happens" is retro in more
ways than one, yet it somehow avoids
that annoying recycled sound. It should
win you over easily. I mean, you're
college students. How could you resist
an album containing a song called
"Amazing Hangover?"
- Jennifer Buckley
Various artists
Propaganda!
Phisst records
Oh please, ye Gods of MTV and
Generation X, spare us this obnoxious
drivel. How many times can an album
be lauded as the "new voice in alterna
tive music" before the record execu
tives figure out that "alternative" is
now synonymous with "mainstream"
and they're just using the same formu-
las over and over?
Most of the songs on "Propa
ganda!," a project put together to ben-
efit Rock the Vote, are carefully calcu-
lated to jerk a reaction out of the lis-
tener. Unfortunately, they end up
sounding exactly like what they are:
pre-packaged, cliched songs that don't
get much airplay for a good reason.
Two Pound Planet's rendition of
"Sharon Tate" is perhaps the poorest
excuse for music on the album. Over
shiny synthesizers and carefree back-
ground vocals, lead singer Jason Buss
sings,"Sharon Tate wouldn't believe
She'd be on the six o'clock news / It's
much too late to help Sharon Tate /But
it's not too late to get you." (Ooooh,
mass murder is sooo alternative!)
The Nirv also "hits a nerve" with a.
song about naked mud wrestling with a
woman named Judy Brown. The heavy
guitars and wailing vocals of Paul's
God and Love Canal just sound too
much like Soundgarden to be taken
seriously.
The album does have a very few
good moments. Big White Undies pro-
vide a welcome break from the "alter-
native" guitarrock thatpermeates most
of the album with their beautiful, soar-
ing song "Wings." Sheri Hurst's pow-
erful vocals on The Smarties' "Wish I
Could Say" and Daniel Cartier's angst-
ridden "She" are also worth checking
out.
Unfortunately, a handful of good
songs on an 18 song CD just don't
justify its existence. Please, Genera-
tion X Gods, do not let this happen
again.
- Kari Jones
Hoodoo Gurus
Crank

Zoo Entertainment
As Dave Faulkner and Brad Shep-
herd announce with thefirsttrack, "baby
here we come."
Look out. Hoodoo Gurus have re-
turned with their first full-length in
quite a while, "Crank." The album
moves with a driving intensity that
keeps your foot tapping in time with
the music from start to finish. The
sound is loud, punctuated by the pound-
ing drums of Mark Kingsmill and the
power guitars of vocalists Faulkner
and Shepherd.
"The Right Time" serves as a killer
opener for "Crank"; you're immedi-
ately introduced to the upbeat rock that
characterizes the band. The beat goes
on with "Crossed Wires," as Kingsmill
goes deep into his repertoire of breaks.
Even the slower songs roll along
much like the fast ones. "Nobody" and
"You Open My Eyes" still have both
the blistering guitar solo and crashing
drums of the first few tracks while
departing from the overdrive created
by them. "Fading Slow," the one song
that relies on soft vocals and an equally 9
mellow guitar, seems to be lacking in
substance. You miss the loudness after
it's gone. The Gurus get back on track
rightafter that with "Gospel Train" and
"Less Than A Feeling." Both have
wonderful openings, thanks to those

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