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October 06, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-06

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9-- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 6, 1998

Jake unleashes stellar
fury on 'Rockview'


Two long years have passed since
Less Than Jake released its last mag-
num opus, "Losing Streak." Ever
since then, scads of fans have been
screaming for more. With the release
of the band's latest effort, "Hello
Rockview," the screaming hordes
will be silenced, if only for a few
short moments.
After that,
they'll crank the
* stereo up to 10
and play this new
Less Than Jake record to death.
Hello Rockylew It's the band's
certain flair for
captol Records silliness coupled
Reviewed by with hard rock-
Daily Arts Writer ing ska/punk that
Gabe Fajuri has made LTJ's
name. "Hello
Rockview" carries on that tradition.
This record doesn't mark a stylistic
change for LTJ at all. The band sticks
to what it knows best: mixing punk
rock guitars, a powerful horn section
and the occasional ska beat into an
unending sonic frenzy. The results
are simply wonderful.
Coupled with incredibly catchy
choruses and the obvious influence
of '80s rock (tracks like "Help Save
t Youth of America From
Exploding" include fingertapping
that would make Eddie Van Halen
proud), "Hello Rockview" grabs
ahold of your head from first listen
and doesn't let go.
From the momentlead singer/guitarist
Chris bellows "I know/I know/I know/I
know just who I am" on the opening
track "Last one out of Liberty City"
t1's no escaping the record. It sucks
yMin, and begs for a further listen.
Lyrically, "Hello Rockview" seems
a tad more mature than past LTJ
releases. While song titles like
"Scott Farcas Takes it on the Chin,"
"All my Best Friends are
Metalheads" and "Theme Song from
H Street" might not seem like pon-
derous offerings, there is a marked
difference in the actually lyrical con-
tent of the music. In the past, the
b has focused their attention on
C6 s ("Jen Doesn't Like Me
Anymore") and convenience stores
("Liquor Store"), but the subject mat-
ter on this album seems more con-
centrated on life decisions and wast-

What a way to make an entrance.
Marking a return to the shake, rattle
and soul days of '60s-era girls-in-the-
garage combos, Portland's Cadallaca is
kicking up dirt with tales of crushes,
break-ups and bruised egos on its
debut album.
"Introducing Cadallaca" announces
the feisty trio, which joins forces of
two great
**** bands. The
Lookers' Sarah
Cadallaca Dougher works
Ini'educing the Farfisa organ
cadallaea and STS stakes
K Records out drums, while
Reviewed Sleater-Kinney's
for the Daily by Corin Tucker
Jimmy Draper takes on guitar
duties. Their col-
lective sound may be 30 years past its
heyday, but it is a refreshing knock in
the chops to the hordes of musicians
peddling electronica as the wave of the
Like Sleater-Kinney's interwoven
lines, Dougher and Tucker effectively
trade off and overlap vocals - the
equivalent of picking a fight while
knowing your best friend has got your
back. This brass-knuckled camaraderie
adds a sassy, confident attitude on
songs like "Your One Wish" where

Dougher taunts, "I'm your one wish
that you'll never get!" You believe her.
Or, at least, you dare not question her.
With vocals front and center, most
of Cadallaca's fun comes in Dougher's
and Tucker's dramatic style and deliv-
ery. Their voices perfectly compliment
each other as they plan to exact
revenge on an adversary in "Fire Trap."
Dougher dares the listener to "Stealmy
fire? Ha! No way!" Each song is a les-
son in '60s girl-group street smarts,
sass and passion. On "Night Vandals,"
Tucker wails, "I could cost you every-
thing!" A threat or a promise? You
decide. If a trademarked brand of
make-out music is not on the market
already, then Cadallaca can bottle its
sound and sell it to the disbelievers.
The songs rely mainly on the
Farfisa to give the album its buoyant
edge. Even at its most serious, the
music is light enough for tapping toes
and swiveling hips, without falling
into the trap of campiness. Hilarious
spoken interludes recall oldies like
"Leader of the pack, but the music
ranges from the disco-a-go-go instru-
mental "Cadallaca Theme" to the
catty snarls on "O Chenilla" ("I see
you around the mall/I know you out-
slut them all").
The best songs, however, come
when the band lets down its defense on

ing precious time ("History of A
Boring Town" and "Big Crash").
That's not to say that the album
isn't without it's silly moments.
Sound bytes abound on this record.
The band sings a hilarious tribute to
its self-invented holiday, "Cinco De
Mustache," as a prelude to "Scott
Farcas Takes it on the Chin." "Cinco
De Mustache" is a holiday on which
kids across the land should thrown
down their razors, and let their mus-
taches grow.
All kidding aside, as the album
progresses, the hooks dig deeper,
refusing to let go their stranglehold
on your ears. Songs like "Nervous in
the Alley," "Five State Drive" and
"Danny Says" draw in listeners with
horn licks that have become staples
of LTJ's music. Since its last record,
the band has added a trombone play-
er, giving the three-man horn section
additional power.
In addition to a knock-you-on-
your-ass horn section, "Hello
Rockview," as LTJ's other albums
have, showcases some excellent gui-
tar work. There's no brilliant techni-
cal work for the Stevie Ray Vaughn
nuts out there, just a perfect example
of how three basic chords can make
an amazing record.
The final ingredient in this melodi-
ous masterpiece is something that most
bands can't translate to record: energy.
It comes across in every lyric and
There's a little bit of fury bottled up
with each copy of this record, waiting to
be unleashed by your CD player. Be
forewarned - once you unleash the
beast that is "Hello Rockview" you
won't be able to stop it.

"Pocket Games" and "Winter Storm foals in love.
'98.' Here the trio drops its guard and A rowdy romp and stomp of an
wonders where its lives are heading. album, "Introducing Cadallaca" will
They have got the fighter exterior undoubtedly charm the bobby socks
down pat, but thankfully they are still off listeners.

Gomez bnns on the pretentious ME-

England's Gomez works in the crowded excavation
quarry among many other english groups who have
mined the sounds of the '60s and '70s. While groups
like Supergrass and Oasishave
worked under similar circum-
stances, they still managed to
* stamp a firm slab of identity to
Gomez its musical outcome. Gomez on
the other hand has chosen to
Bring It On plod through its music without a
Virgin Records face but with plenty of dull
America tunes across its 12-track debut
Reviewed by release, "Bring it On."
Daily Arts Writer Throughout the album, the
Adlin Rosh group gives the appearance that
it wishes to be perceived as
clever and hip. It wants to be an important band with
profound songs about life alluded to ina deep fashion.
Even the art work for "Bring it On" was done using
the sort of paintings you would find in only the most
hip of coffee houses. Consisting of a group of early
20-somethings who cite Beck to Slayer as influences,

Gomez would seem to be able to back itself up as a
hip and smart group with profound songs.
Instead, it tends to portray itself as contrived and
pretentious. On the album opener, "Get Miles" and on
"Make No Sound," for instance, the group tries very
hard to get the sound of old folk and blues songs
through its songs, trying so hard in fact that it does not
get anything else across except sounding like a folk
and blues cover band. The group's own identity was
thus lost. Track after track on "Bring it On'" the band
offers more dull interpretations of the sound of folk
and blues with precious little variety or identity to go
with it.
What almost saves the record was the uneasy
balance achieved between a catchy folk song and
some strange quirky background noises on
"Whippin' Picadilly." Sadly, moments like it never
resurface on the rest of the record. When the
group does not attempt to be a band with deep
important songs, like on "Whippin' Picadilly," the
group actually manages to have something that
justifies its pretentious appearance.

With Gomez's debut release "Bring it On," the
revival of sounds from the '60s and '70s in England
has been brought to a new point in its existence. The
scene that has been supporting the likes of Supergrass,
Oasis and Embrace now has Gomez to thank for
allowing it to reach its saturation point.

'Smitten' canies
With a perfect release date that scathed the end of anoth-
er summer, Buffalo Tom's new album.
"Smitten," is out just in time to warm some ears in this
nippy weather.
Buffalo Tom kicks off its sixth effort with the lead vocal
debut of bassist Chris Colboumn on "Rachael?' Offering a}
soft youthful twist, Colboum's vocals keeps this expen-
enced band fresh and compelling.
*t Buffalo Tom enforces Bill Janovitz's coarse voice on
the rest of the album. The first single features Janovitz and
Colbourn's near perfect balance
singing "Wiser" together.
Although Buffalo Tom is no
stranger to the use of keyboards, on
Buffalo Tom "Smitten" the band consistently and
widely utilizes keyboards. With the Recording this album a while after 1995's "Sleepy-
smitten help of this technology, Buffalo Tom Eyed," the members of Buffalo Tom had considerable time
Polydor Records explores a different direction on "Knot for side projects. During the hiatus, they worked on solo
Reviewed by In It." The song rides a solid guitar efforts and theatrical scores. With everything that has
Daily Ars Writ loop, which is the foundation for a happened in the past few years, the guys came back to
Jewel Gopwani subtle electronic sound. Adding the Buffalo Tom a little too mature. "Smitten" lacks the juve-
layers of Janovitz's gritty, emotional nile feedback and playful guitar work that has filled previ-
voice, Tom Maginnis' soft, but power- ous Buffalo Tom albums.
ful drumming and a chilling high-pitched guitar solo, "Knot "Smitten" only calls for a few more jumpy rock tunes
In It," is another way Buffalo Tom spices up "Smitten." like the last track, "Walking Wounded." Sounding
Buffalo Tom's ballads have always been especially potent. almost live, "Walking Wounded" features guitars to
Unfortunately "Knot In It" and "Postcard," are the only deep match Janovitz's raspy voice. If Buffalo Tom ditched a
tearjerkers that grace "Smitten" Although other songs like little thoughtfulness (without losing any sincerity) and
"The Bible" and "Rachael," are mellow, none are as moving rocked a little more, "Smitten" would be an even better
as the album's deeper ballads. set of songs.
Sproduction sucks
life out of 'Weel'

Twista whirls into near disaster

What do Thug Life, FaceMob,
Junior Mafia and The Clique all
have in common? These all are rap
groups full of lesser-known rappers
who lean on the presence of their
established frontmen (Tupac,
Scarface, Biggie and E-40 respec-
The latest to tey this is Chicago
speedster Twists, who brings his
crew the Speedknot Mobstaz to join
him on the album "Mobstability."
The main problem is that Twista's
two compatriots have no real identi-
ty of their own.
They both sound
** alike on songs
TlW&te such as the
Speodknot "Mob Up" and
MobtaZ the sappy
" D r e a m s . "
Rigewedba Twists's speed-
eiyArtsewed of-light flow is
the only saving
grace of songs
like the annoy-
ing "Front Porch," and listeners

groove such as "Legit Ballers" and
"Smoke with you" for every wack
beat like the silly "Party Hoes" and
the pointless "Loyalty."
"Mobstability" is good for those
who feel nostalgic over the classic
NWA song it remakes, and the fes-
tive "Rock Y'all Spot" is fun to listen
to in spite of the corny beat, bad
singing, and subpar flow by Twists.
The highlight of the album is the
Bone-crushing "Crook County." It
features underground heroes Psycho-
Drama, and features Twista single-
handedly tearing Bone Thugs-n-
Harmony to shreds. Unfortunately,
his verse is last on the song.
The useless interludes are the
final nail in this album's coffin.
There are no-doubt worse albums
out in record stores now, but I'm
sure there are a number of better
things to invest your money in than
the latest album by Twista & two
losers who weren't good enough to
get their own album. In other words:
never buy ... only dub ... and only
dub a few songs.

often find themselves simply wait-
ing for Twists's verse, and going to
the next song after they've heard
him. Twista should have known he
was the driving force behind the
album, but sometimes even he fails
to deliver on songs like on the bor-
ing "Motive 4 Murder."
It would be unfair to say the
album was all the way bad. The pro-
duction by Traxter is decent, with
him making a smooth cruising

It's usually not a good thing if you
notice a record's production processes.
V n done right, it can turn a modest
band into something special, while at
the same time remaining unintrusive.
But when done poorly, production can
suck the energy
out of an other-
wise , talented
band, such as the
Strng Ce over-glossy job
Iiiewent done on the new
SO Fidelity album from
Records Colorado quintet
Reviewed by String Cheese
ally Arts Writer Incident.
Rob Mitchum While the
band's unique
combination of
bluegrass and jazz influences is not the
most in-your-face sound in music, the
group has built up a loyal following
around the country based on its intense
live performances (the band plays the
M higan Theater Oct. 10) and consid-

erable skill. But, as so often happens
with great live bands, at the worst
points on "Round the Wheel," producer
Jon 0' Leary succeeds in neutering
SCI's live energy under a healthy dollop
of studio polish.
This effect is not immediately appar-
ent, as the album starts strongly with
the samba-inflected "Come As You
Are." An exhilarating mid-song duel
between keyboardist Kyle
Hollingsworth and electric mandolin
picker Michael Kang hints at the elec-
tricity that the band taps into in its live
performances. The second song,
"Restless Wind," shows off String
Cheese's bluegrass side, with a catchy
tune and strong violin from Kang.
But, beginning with the cheesy (no
pun intended) rock licks of "On the
Road," the album suffers under the
weight of its sterile production. The
Muzak saxophone lines of the instru-
mental "Road Home" and the painfully
bad faux-gospel vocals on "Got What

Soul releases
bear of an album
How does one describe the strangeness that is Soul
Coughing? More importantly, how does one describe
one of its records?
It's a tough job, and the band's latest effort, "El Oso"
is nearly impossible to put a handle on.
Breaking down the sonic walls that typically confine
young white males, Soul Coughing has once again deliv-
ered a record full of delicious samples, acoustic bass
lines, rap, keyboard snippets and the often-overused
electric guitar.
Since its formation in New York
five years ago, Soul Coughing has
been anything but your typical band.
"El Oso" (The Bear) is the band's
Soul Coughing third record for Warner Bros., and
follows its tradition of creativity to
the letter. The band's last record,
1996s "Irresistible Bliss," was an
Reviewed by album that brought Soul Coughing a
Daly Arts Writer small amount of well-deserved star-
Gabe Fajuri dom.
The first single on "El Oso,"
"Circles," if picked up by commer-
cial radio stations, will, without a doubt, catapult the
band into superstardom.
Lead singer Michael Doughty's continued chant of
"I/don't/need/to/walk around in circles" may not read
like a song infused with an infectious groove, but truly,
it is.

He Wanted" induce far more wincing
than toe-tapping.
Periodically breaking through the
elevator music sound, however, is the
strong playing of Hollingsworth. His
Chick Corea-esque instrumental
"MLT" is the lone high point of the
album's second half, and his piano solo
on the title track is one of the few
moments that stand out from the mix.
The songwriting and musical perfor-
mances on "Round the Wheel" are very
strong, beneath the smooth-jazz pro-
duction unfairly unleashed upon them.
But sadly, String Cheese Incident
becomes just the latest talented live
band to release a disappointing and
compromised studio album.

"Circles" is the album's catchiest track, if not its best.
Other highlights include "Blame," "Monster Man" and
"Miss the Girl."
Nonsensical lyrics, toy instruments, techno jungle
drumbeats and an acoustic guitar round out the sounds
on this record.
Soul Coughing once again has refused to be classi-
fied, and at the same time has achieved interesting, if
not marvelous, results.
Some people label Soul Coughing as an art-rock band.
Others see it as beatnik poetry set to music. On "El
Oso," Doughty's singing (yes, singing as opposed to the
spoken word/rap style he's known for) may be reminis-
cent of the Dave Matthews Band, but the music is still
uniquely Soul Coughing.

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