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March 14, 2000 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-14

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9 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 14, 2000

SCREAM WAGES WAR ON MEDIOCRITY

The transition into the new year has
occurred without so much as murmur,
and all of the pre-millennial paranoia
that prompted many to seek refuge in
their basements, packing away canned
goods and firearms in preparation for
the apocalypse, seems a little silly in
retrospect.
Imagine, just for a second, what the
world would be like if all of our
machines really had failed, if our com-
puters went haywire, our electric power
shut down and our cellular phones

i.

exploded. Roving1
Grade: A-
Primal
Scream
Exterminator
Creation
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Steve Gertz

bands of vagabonds
are strewn across
Mad Max-esque
landscapes of
urban rubble and
whatever dilapi-
dated nightclubs
still exist among
the mess are
u n doubted l y
playing Primal
Scream's latest
a l b u m

disobedience," Gillespie rants poetical-
ly about such lovely ideas as "septi-
caemic interzone psychic distortion"
and "claustrophobic concrete English
high-rises."
Next up is the album's first single
"Swastika Eyes? '. striht-ahead tech-
no number in which Gillespie tackles
the issue of uS. 9' '1n 1,in ri:1,n .
Illustrating the "illusion uf democracy"
that he feels is promoted by U.S. over-
seas military affairs, Gillespie suggests
that we exist under the "Swastika
Eves" of a hidden totalitarian regime.
All that and its great for dancing too.
Shields pops up again behind the
mixing board for the album's finale,
"Shoot Speed Kill Light,' a song that
also features New Order's Bernard
Sumner. With his guitar pyrotechnics
and the Peter Hook-esque perpetual
motion bass line, the track is a superbly
crafted homage to Joy Division and
Can-era krautrock that buzzes with so
much energy that it nearly explodes
beyond its own brilliance.
While "Exterminator" is marred
by a small amount of filler, it con-
tains enough great moments to con-
stitute it as the best album of 2000
thus far and one of the most chal-
lengingly innovative records in
recent memory. In these media satu-
rated times, in which The Backstreet
Boys win Grammy awards and our
lives are indundated by mindless
television sitcoms, it is nice to see
that anarchists like Primal Screani
are still around to keep us updated.
Like Bob Dylan, The Clash and Public
Enemy before them, Primal Scream
has produced a vital portrait of mod-
ern society that is as riveting soni-
cally as it is politically. Somewhere,
Noam Chomsky is smiling.

Dick picks again; 16
volumes and counting
The recent death of the Grateful
Dead's official "tape archivist" Dick
Latvala, responsible for the highly_'
coveted series of live rle.se knox k''w'
as "Dick s Picks," left man a ns.
myself ilncliu'l, concemncr :bout I
the series' future. But Dick lcft J"''g
behind a lengthy list of intended
future picks, and the release of ./x
"Dick's Picks Volume Fifteen" and,
most recently, "Volume Sixteen," a
spectacular, mind-altering show

from the Fillmore
.
Grade: A-
Grateful Dead
Dick's Picks
Volume Sixteen
Grateful Dead Prod.
Reviewed by
John Leffe
For the Daily

Auditorium that is
now available
for order
through the
Dead's Website,
proves that Dick
saved some of
his best picks
for last.
While there
are numerous
live recordings
already available
from the same

"Exterminator" (spelled a vowel-less
"XTRMNTR" on the album's cover).
"Exterminator" is the sound of
social claustrophobia and technologi-
cal dependency escalating to such a
perilous degree that everyday
machines turn against themselves and
self-destruct. In traditional Primal
Scream fashion, it is both a rock 'n' roll
and a dance record, but its songs res-
onate with such dissonant tension that
it will prove to be extraordinarily chal-
lenging for fans of either genre.
With' "Exterminator," Primal
Scream don't attempt to escape from
modernity or to expose its underbelly,
but opt rather to wage war upon it. It is
angry and subversive, a riotous con-
demnation of global imperialism,

pseudo-democracy and consumer cul-
ture that is bitingly relentless in its
attack.
Aiding Primal Scream in battle is a
think-tank of some of the brightest
musicians and knob-twisters around,
the list of which includes The
Chemical Brothers, New Order's
Bernard Sumner, The Automator (pre-
viously known as Dr. Octagon), My
Bloody Valentine head honcho Kevin
Shields, Death in Vegas' Tim Holmes,
and dub legend Adrian Sherwood.
While the opening track "Kill All
Hippies" is as menacing as its name
implies (check out the killer bassline
courtesy of ex-Stone Roses bassist
Gary "Mani" Mourfield). it in no way
prepares the listener for the total may-
hem of the following track
"Accelerator." The band was wise to
entrust mixing duties of the song to

Kevin Shields, whose treatment ofgui-
tar feedback with his missing-in-action
My Bloody Valentine is the stuff of leg-
end. "Accelerator" is a Stooges-
inspired rave-up that is sure to piss off
your neighbors. Imagine a spaceship
careening through an asteroid field at
warp speed, crashing continually along
the way until the whole thing explodes
in a white-hot ball of flame--and then
keeps going. Just as the chorus sets in
with Gillespie screaming "hit the
accelerator" and you think your speak-
ers are starting to max out, Shields
turns up the volume again and blows
the roof off the place. You have been
warned.
The hypnotic dub of the title track
"Exterminator" swings into play like
an uneasy and post-apocalyptic take on
The Clash's "Know Your Rights."
Amid the chanted chorus of "no civil

Gray delivers liquid techno sound

year, most notably "Filmore East:
2/11/69" and "Live Dead," "Dick's
Picks Sixteen" far outdoes the other
shows both in terms of the intensity
of the band's playing (or jamming, I
should say), which is stunning, and
their willingness to explore the far-
thest reaches of psychedelic mayhem
while never losing track of their
focus or cohesiveness as a collective
group.
The first set gets things going with
stellar versions of "Good Morning
Little School Girl," which features
Pigpen in top form both on harmon-
ica and lead vocals, a blues-soaked,
groovy "Easy Wind," and a rollick-
ing "Good Lovin," all of which are a
mere tease for what's to come.
The real reason why this release is
an essential component of any Dead
collection is illustrated in the second
and third disks, which essentially
comprise one extended jam (approx-
imately 94 minutes), that features
Dead standards of the time ("Dark
Star," "The Other One," "St.
Stephen") as well as embryonic ver-
sions of future Dead standards
the Banld" when thev Vwere stili i1ms
"Uncle John's" jam is so beautiful,
one almost wishes the Dead withheld
from ever adding lyrics, good as they
are.
The "Dark Star" that starts it all
off is surely one of the most crisp,

flowing versions the band has
played. Garcia simply wails on gui-
tar and Phil Lesh thunders on the
bass with subtle intensity. The band
returns to the "Dark Star" two, more
times before the night is over,: using
the song's volcanic energy and-solid
groove as a spring board to launch
into other songs and jams. Lesh's
"Other One" teases are too solid to
be ignored, and the band quickly fol-
lows his lead, after a "Feeling
Groovy"-esque jam, into a blistering
version of the song that drips with
psychedelic energy. Tom
Constanten's eerily Gothic work *on
the organ leaves one wondering why
he remained with the Dead for less
than a year - he far surpasses
Pigpen on the organ, and his pres-
ence leaves Pigpen free to focus on
what he does best--vocals and har-
monica. The "Caution (Do Not Stop
on the Tracks)" that sandwiches the
"Playing" jam (then called the"'The
Main Ten" jam), again features
Pigpen in a gritty, freestyle rap that
cexemplifies his ability to rouse and
rabble the crowd.
The emotional "We Bid You
Goodnight" that concludes the show
is a fitting, albeit off-tune, example
of the close bond the band and audi-
ence developed during the course of
the show, influenced perhaps by the
psychedelics that flowed freely at
Dead concerts throughout the sixties
and seventies (remember that the
Dead's earliest source of funds was
none other than "acid king" Owsley
Stanley. who also recorded the
lv, by thc sheer ener:y :ml power of
improvisational jamming, excellent
(for Dead standards) vocal harmo-
nization, and the willingness to
explore the unknown and familiar in
order to draw the audience into their
radically altered reality.

Chris Gray's Deep4Life imprint is
moving from strength to strength, fol-

Grade: B+
Chris Gray
Moonchildren
Oeepaiiieu;
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Joshua Taafe

lowing up the
"Deeper Side of
the Internet"
compilation with
an EP from Chris
Moonchildren
moniker. Chris
explains the sig-
nificance of this
pseudonym:
"Moonchildren

'in', it was for the believers, those who
feel it - commanded by the moon's
pull. How the ocean has to submit, we
have to submit to the deepness.
Moonchildren also means the different
people in my head that make me. They
get to be showcased more as
.. lounchilcircn.:'' Alittleiac tefrlcccu7p
Kinda like when the parents are away
and the kids have free reign o%:r the
house? The emotional vulnerability that
these comments suggest is definitely
present in the EP
"Ran Away" showcases sorrow and
the beauty of love with its liquid groove
of beats and bassline, swirling lush

synth chords and faint piano keys.
Plaintive cries of "you ran away"
lament in breathy layers. Gray shows a
keen awareness of structure, shifting
momentum with understated changes in
percussion. "Ran Away" demonstrates
house music's potential for intimate
The most distinctive element of
"'>dcnt Crvinge is :m c\xpres:;\ C
stretched flute sound which wavers
like conversation over the top of the
synths and percussion. While "No
Other" is a funkier affair lent a tribal
edge by tom tom percussion and a
strong almost percussive bassline.

deepness.
Chris5 G1m s mu : em cen.e c.
like emotion: In waves ,that ebb and
flow in intensity, gathering force and
then dissipating, only to return when
you least expect. This EP like his other
prodliction is house music that is dis-
tinctly electronic and distinctly deep.

has several meanings, back when my
first"EP came out in '95, deep wasn't

Jacket' fills ears nicely

Belle and Sebastian
release another on M

Although the name' Full Devil
Jacket is a sideways reference to the
late Stanley Kubrick, the band itself
is an original creation, combining
spiritual and psychotic lyrics with

heavy guitars andI
Grade: B+
Full Devil
Jacket
Full Devil Jacket
Mercury Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
David Reamer

thundering percus-
sion. The result
is a unique
sound that tran-
scends standard
genre classifica-
tions.
The band's
self-titled debut
is a result of
years of nonstop
touring. From
local shows in

sages while displaying the talented
group's musical abilities. Love bal-
lads follow heavy tracks full of angst
and religious doubt. Monstrous gui-
tars underscore the heavier songs,
while simple acoustics back lighter
offerings.
The band's first single, "Stain," is a
perfect example of their overall style,
adding cryptic vocals to driving gui-
tars and crashing drums in irresistible
but puzzling proportions. Many of
the songs on "Full Devil Jacket" are
similarly intriguing. "Love Song" is
easily the heaviest on the album, with
a harshly screamed chorus and
pounding staccato instruments, but it
immediately follows "Monster," the
album's softest, most introspective
piece. This contrast is common
throughout the album, and makes for
an odd compilation of tracks.
Full Devil Jacket's inconsistency in
sound is both its biggest drawback
and one of its strengths. The band has
a wide range, which it shows off
through the course of its debut
album, but the experience of listen-
ing to the album is a strange one.

"Lazy Line Painter Jane" is not a new
Belle and Sebastian album. Rather, it is
a collection of three previously released
E.Ps not available in the United States:
"Dog on Wheels," "3..6..9 Seconds of
Light," and "Lazy Line Painter Jane."
So the question seems to be, why are the
songs not compiled onto one album?

* ckson, Tennessee to an appearance
at Woodstock '99, and most recently
during two major tours with heavy
metal legends Type 0 Negative, Full
Devil Jacket managed to win over
skeptic audiences and build a name
for themselves as an energetic tour-
ing band.
The album "Full Devil Jacket" is a
showcase for the band's stage show,
offering a range of sounds and mes-

Wide variations in style and content
make it hard for the listener to find
solid footing, and first impressions
are not entirely accurate. The music,
though, draws the listener in and
makes a convincing argument on its
own behalf.
With a full album and a fairly suc-
cessful single under their belts, Full
Devil Jacket have moved into the
spotlight and are attempting to give a
sometimes tired art some much-
needed energy. Their self-titled
release goes a long way toward
accomplishing that goal. On the
whAie, their debut album shows a
great deal of promise, and if the band
can focus on particular aspects of
their music in future efforts, there is
no telling how far they can go.

Grade: B
Belle and
Sebastian
Lazy Line Painter Jane
Matador Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Andy Klein
rowful music. Yet,a
know, each B&Si
seems to capture a

The answer is
that the songs
recorded for each
EP follow a cer-
tain theme, musi-
cally or lyrically.
None of the songs.
vary much from
the band's typical
literary telling of
adolescent intro-
spection and sor-
as fans of the band
full length release
mood that in some

that stand better on their own.
The eight piece Glasgow band led by
Stuart Murdoch has been recording
what can best be described as tired and
sad songs for private school kids on (lark
summer days since 1995. A musical
combination of simple sixties melodies
and a full bodied sound complete with
violin and trumpet and a lyric style that
sounds exhaustingly sad and resigned.
Lyrically, Belle and Sebastian have
produced the most poetic songs in years
thanks to the talents of Murdoch and
bassist Stuart David, who is also a pub-
lished novelist. The songs tell the tales,
often absurd, of tortured souls in realis-
tic situations. For example, the protago-
nist in "Dog on Wheels" is deserted by
a lover and is left with a toy mentioned
as his only friend. The song, and this
E.P in particular, happily sounds like it
was recorded on thirty-year-old equip-
ment.
"Lazy Line Painter Jane" is a more
upbeat group of songs. The title
track, featuring guest vocalist

Monica Queen, is perhaps the band's
most cheerful song to date. Queen's
vocals sound like they come from
decades earlier, but then again so
does the whole band. "You Made me
Forget my Dreams" is an inversion of
the classic love tale of love being a
solution for a troubled mind. Here, it
only furthers the problem.
The final disc, "3..6..9," contains
"A Century of Fakers," which is told
from the perspective of a young adult
feeling tired and helpless as he, sees
everyone turned into "another centu-
ry of fakers." It is perhaps the best
picture of the band, which has avoid-
ed the media by sending non-band
members to photo shoots and per-
forming at nontraditional venues like
churches and houses,

way seems inextricably linked to the ink
Polaroid cover art. To combine the E.Ps
on one album would be to mix moods

U U U

Free &

Easy.

~ (cwords
you won't hear
coming out
of her mouth.)

m

I

U I - ~~~~~NW NW lo w NWqw- qw ------------------------ - -- -

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