The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 6, 1996 - 15
onued from Page 14
ix It Up / Scotti Bros.
8 from da' boot
Street Life / Scotti Bros.
Black 9 is supposed to be a rapper;
the four members of Nais are supposed
to be singers. They're both on Scotti
Bros. Records, and all of their debut
albums should be trashed before they
cause any more
TI~e scout who
should be fired
(out of a cannon
into a deep pit,
he / she brings
any more ">>
ty. And all Scotti
should be doused
in holy water so
as to cast off the
evil spirits that Billy Bragg has cal
made the first release of his last a
scout (now com- _
s ewhere in Cheyenne) go crazy.
fause "Black 9" and "str-8 from da'
boot" are wack and wack, respectively.
You know how you can sometimes
just pick up a cheap, 10-cent-looking
rap album and immediately tell how
horrible it'll be? Say hello to "Black 9."
The fakeness of Black 9's songs can be
seen immediately through titles like
"Pimping Ain't Easy;" "I'm an O.G."
and "Life of the D.O.G." splattered all
c his CD. Worse is a back cover
made complete with some cheap photo
of him profiling with shades, a ban-
dana, a white T-shirt, dingy boots he's
trying to pass as Timberland's and his
hands in their eternally stereotyped
place on the black man's body - his
crotch. His rapping is sucky even from
a late '70s perspective, and the beats ...
oh iy God! Why hast Thou forsaken
u d Black 9 is joined on this album
is father, O.G. Spare me.
Things don't get much better with
Nais' debut release. Imagine a duck, a
chicken, a boar and a jackal all giving
birth while being strangled. Nais makes
them sound like Boyz II Men. In every
one ofthe 15 horrible songs shoved into
"str4 from da' boot" we are exposed to
four brothas missing notes, screeching
out whatever notes they don't miss and
sing as if having harmony isn't very
i ortant. Never has an album been as
aptly titled as "str-8 from da' boot;'
'cause these brothas sound like their
voices were scraped from the bottom of
It's been nearly five years since the
release of Billy Bragg's last record. In
the interim, he's become a father. The
experience has clearly affected him,
mellowing his outspoken politics, qui-
eting his music and influencing his
lyrics on his recent Elektra release,
Politically, where Bragg was once
militant, today he is calmed. He
addresses this maturation specifically
in "Brickbat": "I used to want to plant
bombs/ at the last night of the Proms /
but now you'll find me / with the
baby." Bragg, known in the '80s for his
radicalism and anti-Thatcher / Reagan
screeds, now sings that he has "a
socialism of the heart" and that "com-
passion is the greatest family value"
But he still blasts politicians, as in
"Goalhanger": "His apologies are tired
cos he uses them
a lot / his excuses
are so lame if
they were horses
they'd be shot."
And he fires up
with venom and
"Pict Song," a
poem Bragg set
to music: "We are
the little folk -
we / too little to
love or to hate /
leave us alone
and you'll see /
how we can bring
down the state."
ed down since the the politics,
bum. there are plenty
of tender love
songs, some of
them fatherly. But in those that
address parenthood, Bragg seems to
have little of consequence to say. In
"From Red to Blue" he sings: "You're
a father now, you see things in differ-
ent ways / for every parent will gain
perspective on their wilder days."
Sure, that's true, but it's not exactly a
The romantic love songs are beauti-
ful. The two most notable are "The
Fourteenth of February" and
Musically, harmony and melody
prevail. Bragg's guitar is the most
prominent instrument; organ and
piano are also common. Strings sup-
plement some of the quieter tunes;
horns propel up-tempo tracks like
"Goalhanger" and "Upfield." Bragg's
voice is front and center throughout;
never mumbling, never distorted and
never hidden back in the mix. In fact,
three tracks feature Bragg alone,
accompanied only by his guitar or a
In the end, this record is certainly a
good one. Bragg's lyrical turns of
phrase will catch your ear; his
melodies will stick with you. Perhaps
he could've dug deeper into his experi-
ences as a father, or maybe he could've
rocked harder from time to time.
Despite these minor caveats, the album
is quite solid - not more than two or
three of I1 tracks are unremarkable,
and there are plenty of memorable
moments that more than outweigh
Crack open the 40-oz., boys and
girls. Sublime is back, and its latest
album of samples and reggae crooning
is definitely the soundtrack for drinking
fine malt liquor to. In fact, the Long
Beach, Calif. based band hasn't record-
ed this many radio-friendly tunes since
its largely overlooked debut album "40
oz. to Freedom."
Chances are you've already heard
the band's hip-hop love anthem
"What I Got." A perfect mishmash of
turntables and acoustic guitars,
"What I Got" could hardly help
shooting up the charts as the album's
first hit single.
The rest of the material on Sublime's
self-titled third album is a combination
of smooth and frantic, therapeutic and
thrash. "Santeria" and "Doin' Time"
highlight lead singer Bradley Nowell's
soulful wail. "Seed" alternates
between warp speed, head-banging
guitars and groovy reggae intervals.
The band also gets kudos for the best
song title of the year ("The Ballad of
Johnny Butt") which happens to also
include the best repeated phrase of the
year ("we've go a brand new dance, it's
called we've got to overcome"). It's a
The sad part is that Nowell died of a
drug overdose before he could even see
"Sublime" hit music store shelves.
Even more disheartening are the accu-
sations that the album is doing well due
to the sensationalism surrounding his
death. While this may be partly true,
"Sublime" is genuinely a butt-grooving,
party-inducing, entirely joyous record-
ing by the boys from Long Beach. If the
band wanted a high note to go out on,
they got one.
So grab some malt liquor and enjoy.
And cheers to you, Mr. Nowell ...
wherever you are.
Ypsilanti resident David Quinn will be at Dave's Comics, 623 William St., today. Free Quinn comics will be given to the first 30
people who attend his appearance.
Comc bok reaor Davi
Q1nn o VsitnnAr
Dy Ted Watts of extremely good writing and very lush art.
For the Daily Another less obvious element of controversy surrounding
When you think comic books, do you think of Superman "Faust" has been its schedule. Even though it has been some
and Spiderman being put into pulp form in some far away eight or nine years since the first issue was published, Quinn
corporate studio? If so, you're missing the point, and you'll and Vigil are just now completing the 12 and final installment
need to shatter your perceptions at Dave's Comics tonight in the series. Such an erratic schedule begs the question of
when comic book writer and Ypsilanti-resident David why Quinn's work takes so long.
Quinn appears, signs and gives away some of the books he's "Partially because it's the one we don't make compro-
penned. mises on as far as scheduling" Quinn said. "Tim does most
"Sometimes the place you get the least attention is home, of the artwork all himself. Puts a painstaking amount of
cuz hey, you're just an average guy there, no one special vis- detail into it. I put a lot of research into those scripts and I
iting. But at the same time it's like the don't rush them out. And we're creat-
home store so I'm happy to do it, it'll ing them on our own. No one's paying
be a great time," an enthused Quinn , ,. PREVIEW us to do it, no one's our boss. ... But
said in an interview with The Michigan it's also a victim of its own success.,it
Daily on Sunday. David Quinn has such a cult following that people
Quinn's background as an author Appearing tonight at Dave's wanted me to do other stuff. And Tim
may surprise you. "Some people know comics, 623 William St. at 6 o'clock. could draw one Faust a year, so I
me as a playwright," Quinn said. For more information call 665-6969. would go off and do other things inbe-
"Although, to be honest, my audience tween. Then I would get so busy
for my plays is a lot smaller than the readership of comics, doing other things that I would get back to Tim with a
and that's even with having things done at the Actors' Studio 'Faust' as ]ate as he wanted to get it, so it was kind of a
in New York. It's a pretty small audience that goes to see vicious circle."
small off-Broadway drama.... So I came from that." At least Quinn has a lot to show for the time between each
low then did comic books enter Quinn's picture? issue of"Faust."Among other comic book work, he spent two
"I was teaching English at Brooklyn College, and had years reworking the character of Doctor Strange for Marvel
been a comics reader and was kind of sparked by 'Swamp Comics. In addition, he has written a film script or two and
Thing' by Alan Moore in the '80s and started looking at he is currently writing for "Disney Adventures," "Razor and
comics again after not having a lot of enthusiasm for them Strike" and has a "kind of secret project" in the works with
throughout the '70s and '80s. Some people in Brooklyn Chaos Comics. Not a bad resume at all.
connected me with (artist) Tim Vigil, and I worked on a In the mean time, Quinn will be taking a little time off to
character that he had come up with, on a writer-for-hire visit Dave's Comics tonight.
basis ... and creative synergi was happening. So, very soon "The main thing that says it all (about me) is (my) stories.
after that we co-created 'Faust,' which is probably what I am So I do hope that people come out. Fortunately, I do have a
best known for in my creator-owned material. It was cheap surplus of a few comics that I've written that I can actually
and dirty and immediate and right into people's hands. It give away some comics at the signing," Quinn said. "So it's
just felt like such more direct communication than trying to not even like you have to come down and buy something.
put these plays on ... so I really got bit by it in a big way," "It's kinda like to meet the neighbors, get some new read-
Quinn said. ers and sign for the fans that have been following me for a
His co-creation "Faust" has been a controversial publica- while, maybe not knowing that I'm here in their midst -
tion for various reasons. The graphic violence and sexuality hanging out in the coffee shops - writing my stuff."
are the most easily attacked part of the work. But people That's just like so many others here. Quinn, however, is
remain supportive of Quinn because "Faust" is a combination lucky enough to get paid for his fun.
Nas has released a horrible debut album. Better luck next time, guys.
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