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March 30, 1999 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-30

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 30, 1999

LOUIS SCHEFANO NAVIGATES REGIA TO SUCCESS

Q: What was the last thing the drummer said before getting kicked out
of the band?
A: Let's try one of my songs.
While rock 'n' roll drummers have not historically been revered or even
respected for their songwriting talents, Regia's Louis Schefano defies this
long-standing cliche. After serving as drummer for the bands Remy Zero
and Little Red Rocket, Schefano gave up his seat on the stool to concen-
trate on songwriting.
Schefano originally recorded the songs that comprise "The Art of
'Navigation" as a series of demos of his early songwriting efforts, but it
became a proper album when he recognized the quality of the material.
Schefano and Shelby Tate of Remy Zero co-produced and played all of the
instruments on the album, with. re-mixing by The
Apples In Stereo's Robert Schneider.
This demo approach to recording "The Art of
Navigation" results in refreshingly simple arrange-
Regia ments of Schefano's songs. There are no errant guitar
The Art of solos or distracting rhythmic fills to clutter the
Navigation record's taut sound.
Spin Art Records The songs are mostly acoustic based, such as "I
Reviewed by Believe," in which the soft, strummed guitar allows
Daily Arts Writer the soaring chorus refrain to deservingly take center
Brian Egan stage. In this respect, the album shares its virtue of
sparseness with another demo-turned-album, Prince's
"Dirty Mind."
The album largely eludes easy comparison, though, as the songs alter-
nate between plaintive, sweeping ballads like "Song for Wilhelm Reich"
and more propulsive, frantic indie rock, creating a diversity that enables
Schefano to flex both his rhythmic and melodic muscles. His highly per-
cussive guitar strums and energetic drumming are at times accentuated
and belied by his gift for melody.
Schefano's knack for crafting melodies is perhaps the most strikingly
consistent element of the music on "Navigation." Whether on the defiant
Opener, "Something for Nothing,"or the sorrowful, resigned "Strange
Battle," the melodies define the mood of the songs, even without the
assistance of the album's solid lyrics.

Mustard Plug creates
more ska in 'Mojo
Before fellow boy bands The New
Radicals and Eminem hit it big,
another Michigan group was busy 9
making its way onto radios across the
country.
Grand Rapids' Mustard Plug sold
well over 60,000 copies of "Evildoers
Beware" in '97, when ska became the
hottest trend since Beanie Babies.;.
While the genre's heyday may be
behind us, Mustard Plug has been

Mustard Plug
Pray For Mojo
BMI Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writerj
Amy Barber

able to stay
afloat thanks to
its loyal fan base
of teenage boys
with too much
testosterone.
Mustard
Plug's latest
release, the
action-packed
"Pray For Mojo,"
is pure ska fun,

But, beyond what is actually even on the album, "The Art of
Navigation" also allows Schefano room for growth. Such an accom-
plished debut will undoubtedly arouse curiosity as to what he will come
up with for a follow up and beyond. The promise of even greater things to
come should not distract listeners from appreciating "The Art of
Navigation" for what it is: a showcase document of a talented songwriter
finding his voice. Maybe we should have been listening to those guys
behind the kit all along.

complete with a peppy trombone and
trumpet backed by a guitar, bass and
drums. The album is filled with toe-
tapping rhythms and catchy
melodies.
As a complement to the mood of
the album and the instrumental style,
lead singer David Kirchgessner is a
never-ending bundle of energy. His
throaty, almost-screaming singing
style is perfect for lyrics like "Gonna
blow up the town / Yeah I wanna

throw a bomb.
As the above example illustrates,
however, "Pray For Mojo's" lyrics are
nothing to brag about. They are some-
times witty and fit the music well
enough, but the band's lack of humor
and quotability will probably ke
them from ever reaching the supers
status of groups like Reel Big Fish.
Mustard Plug does have the ability
to write almost annoyingly catchy
music that will continue to ring in the
listener's head long after exposure.
The fourth track, "Everything Girl,"
could well be successful in regular
radio rotation.
"Pray For Mojo" is not a.ground-
breaking album, but if you're in the
mood to party, it's time to pull out t
40s, put on your wife-beater and pl
in Mustard Plug.

Hypocrisy
records
live show
.Metal group Hypocrisy has been
churNing out quality heavy music since
its first release, "Penetralia," appeared in
1992. Since then, the group's music and
lyrics continued to evolved.
Although Hypocrisy dealt with super-
natural subject matter from the begin-
ning, the group has adopted a sci-fi
"alien conspiracy" approach to its lyrics,
while the music has become more fine
tuned and technical.
Support for the group continued to
grow and now, Hypocrisy has become a

.
wide range of its material. As an added
plus to the package, the CD includes
four previously unreleased studio num-
bers: "Time Warp," "Til The End,"
"Fuck U" and "Beginning of The End."
The group's set at the Wacken concert
started with their alien paranoia anthem,
"Roswell,' which with its eerie guitar
melody ushers in the group's assault on
the venue and the listener. The playing
on the live portion of the CD is incredi-
bly tight. Not a single beat is ever out of
place and the group is relentless in
bringing its songs to life.
Although Hypocrisy is only a three-
piece band, the group roped in an addi-
tional guitar player to remain true to the
studio versions of the songs. Singer
Peter Tagtgren's banter with the audience
is kept to a bare minimum on the album,
which leaves more space for the songs to
do their destruction.
Live albums by bands such as
Hypocrisy usually tend to be a big ball of
noise, due to poor recording of the loud
and furiously played instruments.
Thankfully, no such fate fell on this live
spectacle. The group comes across clear
in its crushing live performance and
does, in a sense, "destroy" Wacken.

Cherokee produces solid debut

Ever since the Brand New Heavies
made their debut, there has been a
renaissance of original, soulful
music and artists in contemporary
,R&B. Artists like D'Angelo, Groove

Cherokee
I Love You ... Me
RCA Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Quan Williams
artist Cherokee.

T h e o r y,
Maxwell and
Erykah Badu
have shown us
all what R&B at
the next level is
supposed to
sound like.
It's a lead that
has been fol-
lowed by many,
including RCA
Her debut, "I Love

It's evident that the woman has
talent in all areas. Songs like the
vicious "Stepping Stone," which
takes Erykah Badu's "Tvrone" con-
cept into a different setting, demon-
strate Cherokee's ability to write
thoughtful lyrics.
Her singing talent comes through
on the high-strung "My Own
Queen," where her style changes as
frequently as the be-bop/scat singers
of the past that she hearkens back to.
Finally, her skills as producer and
arranger shine through on the hilari-
ous and raunchy "Blue Bottle
Aftershave," which will probably
send every man who hears it
cologne-shopping. All of her talents
come together on the whimsical
"Oopsie Daisy," a groovy song about
courting, and clearly the best song

on the album.
A few times she misses the mark.
While "Misty" is a well-written song
that deals with a much-overlooked
aspect of dating (the awkward situa-
tion when a heterosexual woman is
approached by a lesbian who is
attracted to her), the music is rather
uninspired.
Also, the title track is a head-nod-
der, but the songwriting is confused.
"Ooh Wee Wee," the first single, is
tailor-made for today's cookie-cutter
mainstream R&B, and seems out of
place among the other, more soulful
songs on the album.
While most of the songs display
successful blends of songwriting,
production, and singing in some
respect, usually they only have two
of the three. But this doesn't detract

from the overall quality of. the
album.
With "I Love You ... MVle,"
Cherokee brings a solid debut that is
a worthy addition to any album cq1
lection. W
It's well-written, well-sung, and
well-produced, bringing an organic
sound that will help keep the renais-
sance alive. Given time, she may
even be comparable to Badu.

You ... Me," showcases her as
singer, songwriter, producer and
musician.

*ypocrisy
Hypocrisy
Destroys Wacken
Nuclear Blast
America
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Adlin Rosli

name to reckon
with in the heavy
music under-
ground.
Then, unex-
pectedly last year,
the group decided
to call it quits.
The resulting
worldwide protest
from fans in the
underground

Underworld's new 'Beaucoup Fisk' appeals to open minds

scene was apparently so great that the
group finally got back together, recorded
a live release at Germany's open-air
Wacken concert venue boastfully titled,
"Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken."
But "Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken" is
actually no boast at all, as the group
delivers a crushing live set filled with a

Imagine if you had laid down the base of a new
music scene that eventually exploded into main-
stream success. The rewards to this success, howev-
er, then went to other younger groups. This is the sce-
nario surrounding dance/electronica music group
Underworld.
Long before Liam Howlett of Prodigy had the
courage to get his nose pierced or the Chemical
Brothers learned to "Dig their own hole," Darren
Emerson, Karl Hyde and Rick
Smith were well into develop-
**** ing music that incorporated
electronic sounds, samples and
Underworld dance beats. Underworld, how-
ever, does not seem fazed by
Beaucoup Fish the upstarts who have taken
BMG/V2 their musical blueprints to
Reviewed by make their own music.
Daily Arts Writer Instead of attempting to
Adlin Roshi reclaim its throne, the group
seems more content pleasing
itself than the masses. Staying away from all of the
strategic commercially-targeted releases joining the
wave of popular dance/electronic and other trends, the
group has released a challenging and multifaceted
new album, "Beaucoup Fish."

rus-verse" arrangement.
"Beaucoup Fish" begins its assault with the hypn -
ic dance number "Cups." The bassline on this song
clings so oddly to the 4/4 beat that for the first couple
of minutes, the listener is captivated, figuring out how
it works. Other upbeat gems include "Jumbo, which
evokes a groovy party-like atmosphere that is sure to
please house parties and clubs alike. "Shudder/King
of Snake," "Push Upstairs" and "Something Like
Mama" also reaffirm this group's genius at making
body moving songs.
Complementing these upbeat numbers are the dark-
er-sounding songs that do not groove as well as tl\
songs mentioned but serve to evoke different moo .
"Bruce Lee," for instance, possesses an industrial
Tricky-like quality with its clanking beat and effects
filtered vocals. "Skym" and "Winjer" both are slower
numbers that carry an odd momentum but, as men-
tioned, provide effective contrast to the other numbers
and prevent "Beaucoup Fish" from becoming one-
dimensional.
"Beaucoup Fish" is a release full of surprises and
enjoyment for the listener who is willing to look
beyond its avoidance of "verse-chorus-verse" ploys
other pop song staples. With an open mind, "Beaucoup
Fish" becomes quite the delicacy indeed.

Breaking Records Star System
- Classic - If you missed a week
- Excellent of Breaking Records,
- Good check out the Daily's
** -Fair archives online at
* - Poor www.michigandaily.com
No stars - Don't Bother

The group's last big single was "Born Slippy," a
track off the "Trainspotting" soundtrack. On
"Beaucoup Fish,"the group makes no attempt at mak-
ing another obviously radio-friendly number.
"Beaucoup Fish" is, instead, a collection of progres-
sive songs that stray far from the standard "verse-cho-

Michigan Paseball
Home Opener 3:00 p.m.
vs. Central Michigan
Michigan vs. Illinois

Michigan League Programming in conjunction with
"Diversity: Theories & Practices" Theme Semester present
erreaemmenmmenr
THE ROLE OF EDUCATION II ICREATING MORE SUSTAINAELE
FORMSOF COMMUNITY
Diana Kardia
Speaker, Center on Research for Learning and Teaching
A presentation that focuses

Friday, April 2nd
Saturday, April 3rd (DH)

3:00 p.m.
1:00 p~m.

. w. ' ,
J f i
b .
l
f
1 _

on the role of the educational
process and environment in
dealing with intolerance and
tension on campus.

U - -

#

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