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December 02, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-02

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Guild House Writers Series
Join Detroiter Aria as she reads in her sobering style. Also join Monica
ope as she reads from her work at 8:30 p.m. at Guild House, 802
Monroe. Come in from the cold and enjoy the evening of readings.
Best of all, it's all free. For more information, call Guild House at 913-
4574.

Monday
December 2,1996

&'

Pumpkins strike again with box set

By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Arts Editor
Just when mastering The Smashing Pumpkins' two-
hour 28-track 1995 epic "Mellon Collie and the
Infinite Sadness" seemed almost possible, the band
decides to throw another mammoth batch of new
material into record stores.
Just in time for the Christmas shopping frenzy
comes "The Aeroplane Flies High," (***. Virgin) a
five-CD box set of The Smashing Pumpkins' five
"Mellon-Collic" singles, with a bunch of extra b-sides
and new material for a total of 33 songs, cutely corre-
sponding with the release of the band's latest single,
"Thirty-Three."
With CDs for each single, "Bullet With Butterfly
Wings,' "1979," "Zero," "Tonight, Tonight" and
"Thirty-Three," the collection offers a bit more than
the average b-sides collection. First, some of the b-
sides in the box weren't available on the original
lrelease of the singles, domestic or import. The box,
which is a funky black-and-white carrying case, also
includes a 44-page booklet with the writings and ram-
blings from band members and also contains "never
before seen" photos of the band. The strange thing is
that fired drummer Jimmy Chamberlain appears
numerous times throughout the book, raising the ques-
tion of whether it's because he recorded the material or
because the band is considering hiring him back.
Regardless, "The Aeroplane Flies High" is a collec-
tion of both good tracks and trash. The entire collec-
tion could have been condensed into a potent single
CD, featuring only the better tracks, like the band's
previous b-sides collection, "Pisces Iscariot." But here
fans get just what they want: lots and lots of Pumpkins

material.
The majority of the box set is a collection of themes
and extremes. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" has
seven tracks, only two of which appeared on the orig-
inal release of the single: the title track and guitarist
James Iha's "... Said Sadly." While head Pumpkin
Billy Corgan doesn't let Iha sing on the regular releas-
es, he lets him sing some of the outtakes and b-sides
- an example of how the band looks at this release as
a collection of songs that weren't good enough to go
on "Mellon Collie."
The five new songs on "Bullet" are all in the new
wave vein with synthesizers and an early '80s sound.
Covers of the Cars' "You're All I've Got Tonight,"
Alice Cooper's "Clones (We're All)" and Missing
Persons' "Destination Unknown" are fun little ditties.
Bassist D'arcy sings a dreamy rendition of Blondie's
"Dreaming," and Iha takes on an empty version of the
Cure's "A Night Like This."
"1979" includes a total of six tracks with Iha
singing lead on a couple, helping to make it the weak-
est of the five discs. "Ugly" is a bland track, with
Corgan singing over a light guitar line with a little
drum machine action. "The Boy" is a faster and better
lha, while "Cherry" is another slow and uneventful
Corgan until the juicer chorus kicks in. "Believe" is an
acoustic Iha with strings, with an interesting yet typi-
cal Pumpkins sound with weak vocals. "Set the Ray to
Jerry" is a little more interesting, with more synthe-
sizer and a good drum beat.
The "Zero" single appears here the same way it was
released domestically with a total of seven tracks. The
entire disc seems like a dumping ground for some of
the band's noisier material. "God" and "Marquis in

Spades" are rough, grisly tracks, while the instrumen-
tal "Tribute to Johnny" sounds like a good jam session
and is a nice addition to the disc. The single finishes
out with the 23-minute "Pastichio Medley," a long,
pieced-together instrumental noise fest.
"Tonight, Tonight" is the sweetest of the collection,
making up for "Zero"'s harshness with its mostly
acoustic feel. The sugary "Meladori Magpie" captures
the sensitive Pumpkins at their best. The others are
light and nice-sounding, mainly because they seem
like Corgan singing and playing acoustic guitar on
early demos. "Medellia of the Grey Skies" "Jupiter's
Lament" and "Blank" all capture the raw demo feel,
but the tracks are still enjoyable, as is the "Tonight
Reprise" a "Tonight, Tonight" demo-quality track.
The most recent single, "Thirty-Three" rounds out
the collection, as one of the strongest and most well-
rounded of the set. "The Last Song" is a typical slow
and sweet Pumpkins tune, while the 8 1/2 minute "The
Aeroplane Flies High" is a loud, rough ride with
strange dialog samples mixed throughout.
"Transformer" is a strong rocker, while "The Bells" is
another Iha, but a sweet one at that. The traditional
"My Blue Heaven" closes the single with Corgan
singing over piano and cello.
While there is some good material in "The
Aeroplane Flies High,' the truth remains that this is a
collection of leftover tracks that didn't stand up to the
28 songs on the sometimes overwhelming but superb
"Mellon Collie." For big fans of the band, however,
"Aeroplane" is another huge dose of material to help
quench those Pumpkins cravings until Billy & Co.
come up with another new Smashing Pumpkins
record sometime far down the line.

The Smashing Pumpkins around the release of "Mellon Collie" last year.

'Omnipop'is a
gem for Phillips
Sam Phillips
Omnipop
Virgin Records
Transcending pop music and carrying
its kitsch qualities beyond the formulaic
is a task worth applauding. Sam Phillips
does this with a graceful mix of cyni-
cism, bouncy rhythms and subtlety on
"Omnipop," her fourth Virgin release.
With tracks like "Entertainmen,"
"Plastic is Forever" and "Slapstick
Heart," tongue-in-cheek style is
taken to a new level.
This is a change from
Phillips' stint in con-
temporary Christian
music, which ended
in 1987. "Omnipop"
teams her with her
producer / husband T-
Bone Burnett who
manages to craft a multi-
layered production of
humor, stereotypes and relation-
.shji Phillips' smoky voice combines
wftWtrombones, bongos and guitars to
create a playful old school pop vocal
sound. Swingin' might be the perfect
-word for tracks like "Power World,"
"Zero, Zero, Zero" and "Slapstick
'Heart" All 12 tracks are mini-stories in
themselves, with lines like "She married
a gold mine with a time bomb" and
"Look at how they've washed your
brain down the info TV drain." Pop cul-

Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' hits big screen.

Sam Phillips looks sassy.
ture is a central figure in Phillips' lyrics.
"Help Yourself" is one of the most
introspective songs on the album.
Phillips combines clarinet, bass, French
horns and trombones to create a smoky
musical back drop for the bittersweet
lyrics "You watch my lips like a pair of
wrists that have never been slit:'
Morrissey anyone? The last
track on "Omnipop,"
"Slapstick Heart," is a
collaboration between
Phillips and R.E.M.
Phillips added her
own melody to the
instrumental B-side
the band sent to her.
The maracas, percussion
and harmonium is a weird
enough mix to make the song
come alive.
"Omnipop" is a unique experiment
in blending all different forms of pop
music together. From catchy hooks to
quirky lyrics, from bitter to sweet, it's
just plain fun. Phillips mixes a tasty
cocktail of emotion and wackiness with
a twist of cynicism that gives the album
just the kick we all need.
- Shannon O'Neill
See RECORDS Page 10

By Ryan Posly
For the Daily
There's something magical 'about
Shakespeare's comedies. Sure his
tragedies are sometimes a little too trag-
ic, and his histories are often a bit too
boring, but the best of his comedies can
truly make you
laugh and cry and
leave the theater
with a smile on O
your face. "Twelfth
Night" is one of
Shakespeare's less-
er known comedies,
but that in no way implies that it is any
less enchanting, as the new film adapta-
tion proves.
While at first slow and confusing, the
film ultimately pays off in its joyous

tE
Tv

(and, some might argue, trite) conclu-
sion. It focuses on twins who become
separated in a shipwreck and how their
lives eventually reconverge. Lost in the
foreign land of Illyria, Viola (Imogen
Stubbs) disguises herself as a man in
order to become a loyal courtier of
Duke Orsino
E V I E w (Toby Stephens),
whom she loves.
welfth Night But Orsino is in
love with the fair
*k**' Olivia (Helena
At State Bonham Carter),
who in turn falls
deeply in love with Viola's male facade.
Viola's long-lost twin brother (Stephen
Mackintosh), who looks startlingly like
Viola herself, shows up, and things get
out of control. It's a wacky comedy of

errors where one mistaken identity is
frustratingly piled on top of another
until the whole circus comes crashing
down in a sugary sweet happy ending.
This is not to say that the entire film
is focused on this single, albeit com-
plex, farce. The scenes are populated by
an incredible cast in smaller roles that
provide subplot, subtext and humor.
Low-brow comedy flows out of Mel
Smith as Sir Toby Belch, while his part-
ner-in-crime Sir Andrew Aguecheek
(Richard E. Grant) offsets the humor
with pangs of sorrow and lost love.
Nigel Hawthorne is perfect as Olivia's
pompous servant Malvolio, and Ben
Kingsley is absolutely angelic as the
minstrel-like Feste.
"Twelfth Night" is directed, not sur-
prisingly, with broad strokes by stage-

spectacle veteran Trevor Nunn ("Les
Miserables"). As would be expected,
the film does not thrive on subtletie
Fortunately Nunn assembled such a taP'
ented cast that it seems as though litIji
direction was actually necessary.
What is surprising coming fronta
stage director is that, because of a lim-
ited budget, the film is lacking in epic
Shakespearean splendor. Instead,
"Twelfth Night" is full of rich, intim~e
photography, almost out of place in a
farcical comedy. Indeed, although it
experiences mood swings throughout
the film is foremost an often hilarioA2
romp through conventional, uncontro-
versial territory. And although the first
hour or so may seem moderately con-
fusing, the payoff is nothing short, of
immense joy.

mAuWikm

Beavis and Butt-Head are set to party in Ann Arbor tomorrow

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The two most notorious cartoon characters of al.

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k4~>
cyx
... t.

time are bringing their antics to Ann Arbor tomorrow
to promote their new feature film, "Beavis and Butt-
Head Do America." The Beavis and Butt-Head tour
bus will be outside Hill Auditorium from 9.11a.m.
tomorrow giving out loads of free, that's right, FREE
stuff. Come find out what adventures Gen X's heroes
will embark on in their film due out later this month.
And if that's not enough, The Michigan Daily will be.Z
giving away free passes for Beavis and Butt-Head's
wild film to 10 lucky entrants. To enter, all you need
to have is a sense of humor and the ambition B & B
lack to come down to the Arts office at the Daily at F
.420 Maynard St. (second floor, first door on the
right) after 12 noon and leave your name and phone
number. We'll let you know if you're one of the lucky
few who gets to experience the cultural wonder of
"Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" for free.
Employees of Paramount Pictures, The Michigan
Daily and those lacking a sense of humor are not ell
gible for the free passes.

J
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7MICHIGAN7(

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