8 The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 14, 1995
Trenchmouth look as good as they rock
By Kirk Miller
Daily Arts Writer
"Chop chop chop I cut myself a
place to set up shop and it's right at
the top," proclaims Trenchmouth lead
singer Damon Locks on "Doing the
Flammability," one of the many won-
derful and twisted ska / punk / mambo
/ jazz / whatever musical workouts
the band has developed over the years,
and perhaps a good mantra for their
The best way to describe
Trenchmouth is not to even bother with
labeling their style. Their new release
"Trenchmouth vs. theLight of the Sun"
is a pastiche of many styles expertly
blended together to come across as
something entirely new and unusual,
which is hard to find in the alternative
nation of today's music.
"We all have abase in punk music,"
Locks explained over the phone while
he was trapped at the Canadian border.
"Me and Chris (de Zutter, guitarist)
listened to the Clash and British stuff."
One advantage the band has is
growing up in different areas of the
country, which allowed each band
member to bring influences from their
respective music scenes. Along with
their D.C. and Chicago hardcore
scenes, the members of Trenchmouth
count the famous New York post-
punk movement of the early '80s
(Devo, Blondie) as important musi-
cal heritage. But before you can say
"Rancid" this is no mere punk re-
tread; the band takes just as much
from jazz and even mambo as the
aggressive side of punk.
This becomes more obvious in their
show, where unlike their idols in Minor
Threat or Bad Brains, there is no pit.
"It's a pretty good crowd," Locks
said. "We get an audience that likes
music. We get a lot ofpeople dancing."
The four-piece (Locks, de Zutter,
bassist Wayne Montana and drum-
mer Fred Armisen, who in my opin-
ion makes steals the show) started in
Chicago in 1988, releasing various
singles almost entirely through the
indie label Skene! (exclamation is
theirs, not mine.) Instead of having to
Continued from page 5
ticed about five times in the interval
between 'Toreador' and the album,"
Having "learned our lessons the
hard way," as Krebs put it, Hazel
entered the studio to record their fol-
low-up release with a new attitude.
"We recorded it under really relaxed
conditions," revealed Krebs. "We
weren't sure what people would think
of it. The first record was something
you could warm up to immediately,
while this one needs to be listened to
a couple of times. But I do think the
songs are better on this record -
stronger lyrically and melody-wise.
It's more aggressive, but not as
scrappy. I like it a lot."
And well he should. From the
jerky, supercharged punk-pop of
"Lazy H" and "Green Eyes" to the
unforgettablehook and vocal harmony
of "Chasing After James" and the
quiet acoustic "Crowned,"Hazel flies
through this tasty batch of whiplash
love songs as if Fred's tutu was on
fire. "Jodi's drumming and singing
really shine," Krebs bragged.
Hazel releases "Are You Going to
Eat That" into a very different scene
than the one "Toreador" ruled two
years ago. With the record-label take-
over of Portland and Sub Pop leading
the charge, Krebs noticed a "definite
shift in the music scene here - there
used to be a strong sense of commu-
nity. Everybody knew everybody else.
You could trust people. (Portland)
was just a really cool scene."
He continued, "Once a lot of at-
tention was focused on Portland, all
of a sudden it became really profes-
sional and polished. It's not so easy to
start a band here now. There's a lot of
competition and a lot of people start-
ing to get cutthroat and that's really a
dangerous thing," Krebs feels. and
while he still "totally" identifies him-
self and his band with his city, "it's
not the same place it used to be."
Well, Hazel don't play the same
places they used to, either. While
Krebs insisted, "Our fort6 is small
clubs and basements," he and his band
nevertheless welcomed the opportu-
nity to play larger venues with Veruca
Salt. "We'd met them a long time ago
in Chicago at a Hazel show. I guess
they were fans of ours," Krebs ex-
plained. "It's a good deal for us in that
it allows us to play for a lot of people.
It's going to be kind of weird, but I
think the end result will be positive."
Krebs hopes that Hazel's music
- and Fred's dancing - challenge
crowds they encounter. "Alternative
rock is really homogeneous in a lot of
ways. It's a marketing category, this
license to be different, but it doesn't
extend to different forms of expres-
sion within the genre. This could be a
pipe dream, but I hope that people
will see our show and Fred, and they'll
Go, Fred, go.
Those Seattle guys are just so
wacky; always playing around and
experimenting with each other. The
latest side project / experimentation
effort from the Pacific Northwest is
Mad Season's "Above," an album of
dark and brooding songs from some
of the best names hailing from the
infamous and burned-out City of
Consisting of Alice In Chains vo-
calist Layne Staley, Pearl Jam guitar-
ist Mike McCready, Screaming Trees
drummer Barrett Martin and bassist
John Baker Saunders, Mad Season is
definitely an interesting combination
of musical tastes, making "Above" a
bittersweet trip into the lives and
minds of some of rock's greatest ad-
With Staley's heroin and
McCready's alcohol problems,
"Above" frequently sounds like the
angry smack addict complaining and
whining while the drunk drags the
song on and on, forgetting where to
end. Not that that's so bad, because
most of the songs work. They just
delve into the mellower side of Alice
In Chains' music, butdefinitely darker
and more unrefined than their last
release, "Jar of Flies."
"Above" digs into the jazzier and
more laid back moods of its members.
Songs like "River of Deceit" and
"Long Gone Day," which even fea-
tures a saxophone, achieve this laid
back and lazy feel, while others like
"I Don't Know Anything" would
sound right at home on Alice In
Chains' 1992 album "Dirt."
McCready's guitar styles are also
prevalent all over the album. On the
lead track, "Wake-Up," his trade-
marked long and drawn out solos
dominate, dragging out the song, and
injure the otherwise good track. The
rest of the album also has this same
problem, with tracks that push the
limits of the listener's attention span.
One of the better tracks, "I'm
Above," is a duet with Screaming
Trees' frontman Mark Lanegan, and
sounds just like early Screaming Trees
material. Although the track sounds
poorly mixed, with Lanegan's rich
vocals drowned out by Staley's more
abrasive cackles, it is still one of the
best on the album.
While Staley's vocals aren't as
powerful as in thepast, his songwriting
seems even darker and more potent
than ever. On "Wake-Up" he sings,
"Slow suicide's no way to go / blue,
clouded grey / you're not a crack up /
dizzy and weakened by the haze /
moving onward / so an infection not a
phase / the cracks and lines from
where you gave up / they make an
easy man to read."
Mad Season has produced an in-
teresting and laid-back album, with a
number of good tracks. While it isn't
of the same caliber as Alice In Chains,
Pearl Jam or the Screaming Trees, it
does experiment and offer a look into
a possible new direction of that good
old Seattle sound.
- Brian A. Gnatt
Classic California Cuts: Vol. 1
Perhaps it is all the beautiful, lipo-
suctioned people and tofu bars that
makes so much of the West Coast
dance and techno music sound so,
well, happy. California is arguably
the world capital of fruity house mu-
sic and it is no surprise that this inher-
ent happiness is almost always present
in music from the lefthand ofAmerica.
Nearly every track on "Classic
California Cuts" lacks any of the edge
that is found in much of underground
dance music. The song titles (e.g.
"The Crystal Method," "Cloud 9
Mix") lend some insight into perhaps
why this music sounds so much tamer
than the Acid-House sound that is
preferred by most in the Detroit area.
One song that shows a little grit is
Frankie "O"'s track "Acid Man."
"Acid Man" is an interesting look
into what could be the answer from
the sugar coated West-Coast sound.
"Classic California Cuts" has
many good, happy, songs, however,
they sound too tamed and cultured. If
you want to listen to some happy
techno, buy the album, but if you do
not want to go into glucose shock,
stick to the Detroit sound.
- Ben Ewy
Prodigy's music is for the jilted generation - Jilted John, that is.
Enjoy the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere ofthe Boulder campus . Choose from over 500
couises - Select from five-, eight-, and ten-week terms or intensive courses
. Have time to work, travel,or just have fun
Plan now to make the Summer of 1995 a Boulder one!
Term A: June 5-July 7 Term B: July11-August 11
Term C: June 5-July 28 Term D: June 5-August 11
Shorter, intensive courses also available.
Call or write for your free CU-Boulder Summer Session Catalog.
OffceofAdmissions"R egent Administrative Center 125 Campus Box 30
University of Colorado at Boulder " Boulder, CO 80309-0030
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER
Yes, send me the free 1995 CU-Boulder Summer Session Catalog.
Music for the Jilted
The Prodigy's "Music for the Jilted
Generation" begins with the proclama-
tion of "I've decided to take my work
back underground ... to stop it falling
into the wrong hands" and bursts into a
full-on musical assault. This album is a
calculated plunge into the sounds of
pure England techno. However, the
Prodigy do not live up to their goal of
bringing their music back to the under-
All of the tracks on "Music for the
Jilted Generation" are cold and clean
... and this is one of the problems.
The Prodigy sound too produced to
effect any true hardcore vibes. The
music is almost too good. The Prodigy
produces very mass-appeal techno
music as evidenced by their number
one position on both the England
Dance and National charts. The al-
bum is also certified platinum show-
ing that however underground the
Prodigy wants to be, they are just not
experimental or hard enough to be
Too many of the tracks sound like
slightly watered down versions of
British Jungle and other underground
sounds. There is no mistaking the fact
that Liam Howlett and the boys do
make great techno music, they just
sound somewhat behind of the cut-
ting edge acts of today. Furthermore,
some of their songs, like "No Good
[Start the Dance]" sound a little for-
mulaic, with too much of the "Rave
'Til Down" sounds and styles. This is
-a very good, technically produced
and danceable album. However, it
sounds a lot more at home in the clubs
than in the underground.
- Ben Ewy
Local singer-songwriter Dickj
Siegel has mined his extensive
imagination for another diverse col-
lection of tales of love, good times,
cats (as metaphors for humans),
dancing and growing older. He
couches his songs in a variety of
settings, from the upbeat pop of
"Happy" to the earnest folk of the
title track and from the bounce of
The Silvertones" to the cautionary
rap of "Mother's Plaint." He can
spin a story just as easily with a bare
minimum of words ("The Secret")
as he can with many ("Red"). Siegel
is one of the best songwriters in the
area and "Angels Aweigh" should
only further cement that reputation.
- Dirk Schulze
Warsaw Sinfoma enchants Hill Auditorium
By Nik Chawla
For the Daily
As part of the University ofMichi-
gan Copernicus Endowment theme
semester, "From Polonaise to
Penderecki: Polish Music at the Uni-
versity of Michigan," composer
Krzysztof Penderecki conducted the
Warsaw Sinfonia with cellist Allison
Eldredge in a program with works by
Penderecki, Beethoven and
viola, but transcribed for the cello),
which is a workout for any seasoned
soloist, since the orchestral accompa-
niment is virtually pitted against the
soloist. Eldredge was very much up to
the task, although she exhibited some
nied by piano in her rendition of.
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, played as
Another Penderecki piece, the
Sinfonietta per Archie, provided an
upbeat change in mood from the oth-
erwise gloomy cello concerto. It also
showcased the very talented players
of the Sinfonia in a variety of solos
from various principal string players.
A series of undulating echoes were