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September 11, 1996 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-11

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 11, 1996 - 7

YECORDS
Continued from Page 6
Machinery Hall
Inness
Wicked Disc
The latest entry in the post-grunge
itar-rock sweepstakes, Machinery
all is a passably functional, if thor-
oughly mediocre, band who can't seem
to crystallize their ambitions into any-
thing especially memorable.
"Inness" chugs along for more than
an hour, all the while seemingly grasp-
ing for emotions they never quite reach.
These guys are obviously competent
musicians, but the dark, fuzz-box jangle
that dominates "Inness" drones on and
with little attention to memorable
oks or effective dynamics; most of
the tracks are barely discernible from
each other. The grim musical vision
Machinery Hall is going for is obvious,
but the poor execution renders it almost
wholly ineffective.
This basis doesn't cut a lot of slack to
lead vocalist and lyricist Mark Nelson
to salvage "Inness," a burden he's clear-
ly unable to bear. His vocals are a hope-
ly generic grumble, lost somewhere
tween the faux-soul of Darius Rucker
and the tossed-off snarl of Mark
Lanegan; yet, the vague, throw-away
depression of the lyrics make Nelson's
lazy mumble an unlikely blessing.
The lyric sheet reveals rough
attempts at some sort of world-encom-
passing angst, too impersonal to feel
sincere and too sloppy to connect with
even the rawest of nerves. On the unin-
nired textbook rocker "Myth," Nelson
*rs, "Waiting for your will to fall /
dragging you under / welcome to our
world today!"; this sort of retread mus-
ing is par for "Inness."

The disc's attempt at a epic closer,
"Suffer and Live", is graced with the
chorus "I just want to be known / I just
want to be known for once / we're the
joke of the century." This pretty well
sums up "Inness.' You can telegraph
Machinery Hall's blind stabs at
grandeur and meaning, and just as easi-
ly notice how very short they fall.
- Dave Snyder
The Joykiller
Static
Epitaph
Songs about isolation and love gone
wrong is what this is. But not like coun-
try albums are, no sirree, jack. These
individuals have that loud Epitaph
sound of straight ahead rocki-
tude and a whole lot of bad
attitude. Fourteen songs
of the stuff in about 30
minutes, in fact.
The album opens
with "Hate" a ditty
about hating every-
one around you and
wishing it would all go
away. The second track
is about wanting to live
alone, and the irony of still want-
ing the married life. The next is about
obsessive love, and so on.
"Static" is a bunch of sturdily con-
structed songs that are comfortably
familiar musically, and amusingly
down in thematics. There's even a
beautifully illustrated love meter in the
jacket, with categories such as wicked,
hateful and vengeful, and those are the
three nicest ones on it. It's really
almost a concept band. You wouldn't
want to be living their songs, but it's
fun to listen to.
- Ted Watts

Various Artists
"Brain Candy" Soundtrack

Matador

V

'Blue Leaves' kicks off
Basement Arts'-season

It's no surprise that most movie
soundtracks are mediocre collections of
"rare" or "previously unreleased" tracks
mushed together to squeeze the last bit
of cash from hapless music fans.
However, considering the people
involved with the music for the Kids in
the Hall's movie"Brain Candy,' it's also
no surprise that the soundtrack is one of
the best in recent memory.
Artists like Pavement, Stereolab and
Pell Mell, Matador Records and the
Kids themselves combine to make
"Brain Candy" a more than palatable
combination of music and movies.
Death Lurks, (Bruce McCulloch and
his band) performs the songs by
the movie's gloomy rockers
The Suicide Club, turn
in the hilarious "Some
Days It's Dark" and
"Happiness Pie."
"Some Days It's
Dark" reflects the
bone-crushing, angry
music The Suicide
Club makes before they
take the antidepressant
Gleemonex, while "Happiness
Pie" is the kind of music they make
after: A musical smiley-face sticker -
mindlessly, stupidly happy. Along with
Scott Thompson's parody of ridiculous-
ly theatrical musical numbers, "I'm
Gay," these songs show that the Kids
are just as capable of making you laugh
while listening to your CD player as
they are while you're watching them on
TV.
The rest of the songs on "Brain
Candy" are for the most part just as
good as those by the Kids, if not as
funny. Pavement's excellent "Painted
Soldiers" and Matthew Sweet's
"Happiness" provide a back-to-back
blast of jangly, catchy pop, while Pell
Mell's "Swoon," the Tragically Hip's
"Butts Wigglin" and Yo La Tengo's
"Pablo and Andrea" lend a moody air to
the soundtrack. Guided By Voices, Cibo
Matto and Pizzicato Five all turn in
winners, and They Might Be Giants'
"Spiralling Shape" is the best song
they've written in years. Stereolab's
"How to Play Your Internal Organs
Overnight," "Brain Candy"'s love
theme, is perhaps the best song on the
album, managing to be beautiful, senti-
mental and goofy all at once.
While "Brain Candy" has almost no
mediocre songs on -it, the ones that do
exist stand out even more from being
surrounded by quality. Liz Phair's limp
"Six Dick Pimp" continues the slump
she's been in since 1994's "Whip-
Smart," and the Odds' "Eat My Brain"

Stereolab is heads.
and Paul Bellini's "Long Dark
Twenties" are nothing more than by-
the-book college rock, despite the inter-
esting titles. Even so, "Brain Candy" is
considerably tastier than most other
soundtracks. And, it won't rot your teeth
or your mind.
- Heather Phares
Various Artists
"Supercop" Soundtrack
Interscope
What we have here is an interesting
mix of knock-you-on-your-butt covers
performed the way the new songs on
this comp are.
Would you believe Devo covering
Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole"
as if they were partaking of a "Weird"
Al medley? That's right, Virginia, it is
one of the signs of the apocalypse,
especially when combined with
Warren G covering Tina Turner's
"What's Love Got to do With It?". Tom
Jones and Ruby teaming up to make a
smoothed out version of "Kung Fu
Fighting," and some sorta fem techno
version of the Bee Gee's "Stayin'
Alive." Are you bleeding from your
eyes and nose with glee yet? This has
to be the single most bizarre sound-
track ever assembled.
Adding to this is the new (or newish)
music. Black Grape performs a hiccup-
py beaten track of their post-'80s dance
pop two tracks before 2Pac offers a
mellow paced bitter rap, which itself is
one track before a track by the
Sepultura-ish Dimebag Darrell. The
rest of the songs are more of the same
sort of thing.
All this and a new song by Devo, too.
Even after the novelty of the bizarre
covers has worn off some, it's still a
very listenable five-inch disc of plastic.
But it would still probably be best if you
liked someone on it before just buying
it. *
- Ted Watts

By Tyler Patterson
Daily Theater Editor
As the audience trickled into the the-
ater and before most people could take
their seats, the student-run Basement
Arts program began their season.
Sitting front stage and playing guitar,
Arthur Shaughnessy (Ian Lawler) drew
from his vast repertoire of 30-second
songs in an attempt to dazzle the crowd.
As was consistent with the play, Mr.
Shaughnessy turned no heads and was
met basically with indifference by an
audience that had
no idea the play
had begun.
The Basement T
Arts production of I
"The House of
Blue Leaves,"
written by John
Guare, however,
was certainly a noteworthy perfor-
mance. Playing in a packed house with
the temperature slightly above the com-
fort level, the company was ripe for a
let-down. This was avoided, however, as
evidenced in the frequent laughter from
the audience.
The story begins on the day of the
Pope's visit to New York. Shaughnessy
is a zoo keeper who dreams of making
it as a songwriter. He is married to a
crazy, yet insightful, woman named,
appropiately enough, Bananas (Laura
Heisler). Living in the apartment
below the two of them is Bunny,
played by Stacy Mayer, and she serves
as Shaughnessy's mistress who keeps
him dreaming of things bigger and
better.
Ian Lawler as Arthur Shaughnessy
had just the right persona for the part.
Playing in his first lead-role, Lawler
gave Arthur a nervousness and frustrat-
ed tenderness that worked smoothly
with the other more melodramatic char-
acters.
Bunny, Arthur's mistress played by
Stacy Mayer, was one such character.
From the moment she stepped on the
stage declaring that Arthur had no sense
of history till she darted off it on her
way to Australia, Mayer had a com-
manding presence. Obnoxious, loud,
brash, arrogant and cruel - Mayer was
in touch with all of these with great
comic effect.
Laura Heisler gave a gutty and heart-
warming performance as Bananas, the
crazy and victimized wife of Arthur.
Heisler immediately demanded sympa-
thy then laughter as she delicately
brought her character back and forth

from insanity to insightfulness.
What really set Heisler's perfor-
mance apart was something completely
unscripted. Toward the end of the sec-
ond act in somewhat of a freak mis-
judgement of timing, Heisler's hand got
crushed by the piano. Her ability to just
go on with the show prevented anyone
from the audience to notice her injury
until after the final bows when she
emerged from the dressing room with a

bag of ice.
The direction
EVIE W
he House of
Blue Leaves
Arena Theater
Sept. 7.1996
with odds and

and stage design by
Jonathan Berry
was, with few
exceptions, excel-
lent. For all intents
and purposes the
set looked con-
vincingly enough
like a Queens,
N.Y., apartment
ends hapharzardly

placed around the set.
The only problems came in the sec-
ond act when Corrina (Dana Dancho)
was revealed to be wearing transistors
to aid her hearing. In a scene where she
is meant to be looking for them, she
scrambles on the floor. As she tries to
hide them from the rest of the charac-
ters, she eventually puts them in a bot-
tle of pills, which in turn gets swal-
lowed. However, in the performance
there were a few times when there was
no clear reason why she could not have
just put them back in. Indeed, at times
Dancho seemed to be waiting for her
next cue and just holding them in her
hands.
All in all, the supporting perfor-
mances were solid. Lauren Miller
brought the right amount of twisted
dorkish appeal to Arthur's son,
Ronnie. Especially good was Mark
Gmazel as Billy Einhorn, internation-
ally acclaimed director and childhood
friend of Arthur. Gmazel balanced the
seemingly contradictory directions of
incessant crying and emotional disas-
sociation.
With a well-rounded cast and excel-
lent lighting (David Plevan), this diffi-
cult play was given a thoroughly enjoy-
able performance. Much credit is due to
Berry for fleshing out the meaty the-
matic issues of the text - the price of
the American Dream and success, in
general. Hardly an easy topic to tackle
in this day and age of sound bite and
rhetoric, and despite the laughter and
the cheers, the audience could not help
but leave the theater on Saturday night
with nervous sense of sobriety.

The Joykilier is one bunch of sadistic punks.

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