8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 9, 1999
CHARLATANS PREVAIL WITH 'US AND Us ONLY'
Broadzilla has trashy
fun on new release *
England's the Charlatans are true survivors. No,
scratch that. These guys, to paraphrase the Beastie
Boys, "die harder than ... Bruce Willis:'
As political and turbulently paced as the British
pop world is, trends fluctuate with a hastened regu-
larity that is somewhat akin to our beloved
Michigan weather. Few acts can muster the lasting
power to prolong their success beyond one or two
albums, much less an entire decade. This is what
makes The Charlatans such an anomaly, a wrench in
the works of the British pop rulebook.
Way back in 1989, a little band called The Stone
Roses revolutionized British guitar pop, ushering in
what became known as the "baggy" movement. All
shuffle-shuffle dance beats, mumbly lyrics and pas-
toral psychedelia, an entire army of "baggy" bands
rode The Stone Roses' coattails into the limelight,
The Charlatans among them.
In true British fashion, listeners and critics alike
turned their backs on the "baggy" scene after a year
or two, when it had run its course. They immediate-
ly looked toward the next trend and left once-her-
alded acts, such as The Happy Mondays, The
Inspiral Carpets and, yes, The Charlatans, left for
dead in a hopeless mire of cul-
If the Charlatans had played
by the rules, then, they would
Charlatans have just thrown in the towel,
Us and Us Only realizing the inconsequentiali-
ty of their continued efforts.
UNi/MCA Indeed, aside from the single
Reviewed by "Wierdo," their sophomore
Daily Arts Writer 1992 album "Between Tenth
Steve Gertz and Eleventh" fell on deaf
ears. Meanwhile, the careers
of their peers were equally hopeless. Yes, the future
looked bleak indeed.
Then, in 1994, when nobody was paying atten-
tion, The Charlatans released a great rock record
"Up to Our Hips." More than a mere return to form,
"Hips" contained a pleasant blend of singalong
Beatles-isms, snarling blues riffs a-la Keith
Richards and white-boy funk.
Ironically, fate once again dealt The Charlatans an
ill hand. The critical success of "Up to Our Hips"
was almost immediately obscured by the emergence
of the Oasis-led "Britpop" camp. This left them,
once again, struggling for a sense of identity and
resulted in another mediocre album, 1995's Britpop
wannabe "The Charlatans."
In the following years, The Charlatans went
through a torrent of personal tragedy which culmi-
nated in the death of founding member and top-
notch keyboardist Rob Collins.
Battling onward, the band, along with hired-hand
Primal Scream keyboardist Martin Duffy, released
"Tellin' Stories" in 1997. The album was lauded by
critics and the public alike and became the their most
successful thus far. Was this a fluke or was the band
finally getting the respect and success that they had
worked so painstakingly for all those years.?
The Charlatans new album "Us and Us Only"
answers with a resounding nod to the latter. Their
most fully-realized blend of rootsy groove-rock to
date, " s" shows fhe Charlatans produmin an
instantly addictive array of hooks that, while
retroactive, are still unmistakably their own.
The album opeiter and first single "Forever" gets
the party started right. All searing organs antid huge
Chemical Brothers-style. beats and sub-bss
"Forever" is a sprawling seven-plus minute epic it.
with its heroic piano lines, is also an excelent intro-
duction to the stellar talents of new ke'5boardisi
Following the electronic oddity -Good Witch
Bad Witch," "Us" segues into a colorlul ebrCrio
of classic rock traditions. Never ierriblv mnovtive,
The Charlatans have always been content to mimic
their heroes. However, this is not to say that they
donst mimic well
Quite to the contrary. "Impossible" adds a five-
ton beat to what could otherwise pass for a Bob
Dylan cover Similarly, the criminally addictive "A
House is Not a Home" serves up a heaping slice of
steamy southern rock in a Stones-bv-way-of-Black
Crowes sort of way. "Angel on My Shoulder" para-
phrases The Stones' "Sweet Black Angel" to a
tremendous effect over a background of soothing
strings and wailing harmonica.
Whereas The Charlatans' influences might be
instantly visible, they do not hinder the quality of
the music. While likeminded bands, such as Oasis,
use their reference points as a crutch and a gim-
mick, the Charlatans merely use them to illustrate
theirthesis: that great rock and roll is great rock and
roll. And "Us and Us Only" is just that: great rock
and roll. It may not move mountains or significant-
ly alter modern culture, but, what the hell, it's gonna
sound magnificent blasting out of the speakers of
If nothing else, "Us and Us Only" is proof that
The Charlatans have finally prevailed. And on their
own terms no less. They have beaten the trends and
have risen their flag at the top of the Britpop heap.
And cheers to them, not only for all the hard work,
but for the excellent music as well.
Detroit has produced scuz rock
since before Kiss left their makeup
stains on the floor of Cobo Arena's
backstage bathroom. Broadzilla is
the newest in an unbroken musical
line of garage rockers. Being an all
girl group they are both a bit off
from history and in line with the
recent motor city feminizing move-
ment ala Queen Bee and the
Demolition Doll Rods.
The guitars are all crunchy and the
bass zooms along, just like you'd
expect from arena rock. It must be
something about the water supply,
because bands from the area have
been enamored with the sound for an
*** having a singer
Broadzilla who sounds like
Broadzilla vs. the from Babes in
Tramp-0Lean Toyland must
Phat Sack Records m e a n
Reviewed by B r o a d z i I la's
Daily Arts Writer been drinking
Ted watts some agua bot-
The band is at their best when
they're not taking themselves too
seriously. For example, "White Trash
Mom" includes the following com-
ment about the titular relative: "She
gets her perm at Fantastic Sam's."
How could you more concisely cap-
ture the Wal-Mart aesthetic? Maybe
with the line "She works at Citgo for
some extra cash"
Then of course there's the song
"Cum Guzzlin Whore," sounding for
all the world like a Gwar/Huggy
Bear project. Lines like "Pull out
your dick/And she'll suck it/ Fuck in
her/ It's like fuckin' a bucket" a
silly and entertaining. The band doV
occasionally go too far into the
cheese territory with lines seemingly
designed to play into their audience's
bad habits, like "You spend your
time suckin' cock, I'll spend my time
Whenever the band tries to write
just some straight ahead song, it
comes off as mundane. "Soul
Searching" is both lyrically dead and
musically stultifying with a style
chorus so cliched it could've been
written by a music journalist.
When Broadzilla is fun, it's a
blast; when Broadzilla isn't being
fun, it's just some band in a bar
you're trying to ignore but can't
because they're playing so loudly.
Fortunately, CD players let you skip
Apple creates lyrical 'Pawn'
Gallant recalls Dead*'
with 'Terrapin Station'
Breathe deeply. Relax. Now read the title to Fiona
Apple's new album aloud. "When The Pawn Hits The
Conflicts He Thinks Like A King What He Knows
Throws The Blows When He Goes To The Fight And
He'l Win The Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters The
Ring There's No Body To Batter When Your Mind Is
Your Might So When You Go
Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand
And Remember That Depth Is
The Greatest Of Heights And If
Fiona Apple You Know Where You Stand,
When the Then You Know Where To Land
Pawn .. And IfYou Fall It Won't Matter,
Sony/Epic Cuz You'll Know That You're
Reviewed by Right." Say that three times
Evan Hansen fast.
Far the Daily Some people might think that
such an unconventional album
title can only mean that Fiona Apple is hiding a poor
record behind a lot of words. Those people would be
wrong. "When The Pawn," the follow up to her 1996.
fans grew to love in songs like "Shadow Boxer." But
the new release features scathing, distorted guitars,
keyboards, and even a few intriguing beats that seem
to belong on a hip-hop album, some of which can be
seen on the first single, "Fast As You Can." Somehow,
she manages to mold all of this into one of the sweet-
est sounding albums of the year.
Lyrically, this record is everything one would
expect from Fiona Apple. With barely a happy song in
sight, she reveals her pessimistic view of a relation-
ship on tracks like "On the Bound," where she sings
"Baby say that it's all gonna be alright / I believe that
it isn't." While the lyrics aren't terribly surprising,
they have a very powerful meaning to anyone who
has ever thought about love or relationships. On
"Love Ridden," she relates, "Nobody sees when you
are lying in your bed /And I wanna crawl in with you
/ But I cry instead."
Her message isn't simply obvious in her words, but
in her music as well. On what could have easily been
the first single, "Paper Bag," a slow beat opens into a
"When The Pawn" manages to deliver Fiona
Apple's constant feelings in a remarkably pleasing
way. With guitars that seem to be pulled from the stu-
dio of a funk band, beautiful strings and Fiona's per-
fectly complimentary piano skills, this record is a
debut album "Tidal," is every bit as good, if not bet- remarkably catchy song where she sings, "Hunger wonderful display ot musical talent
ter than, her previous effort. hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills / cuz I know Apple's voice, clearly one of the most distinctive in
The album is full of new musical twists for Apple. I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up."You can almost all of music, only accentuates everything that is per-
The album maintains much of her characteristic feel the yearning in her words from her piano and the feet in the album and makes it more than worth pur-
piano-driven music and husky, seductive vocals that strings accompanying it on their own. chasing.
Axi Rose disappoints with 'End of Days'highlight work
The moment millions of music fans hip-hop style scratching, techno effects, Sonic Youth, as well as two promising
have been waiting for has arrived: Guns and feedback-heavy guitar riffs, which young bands, Stroke and Professional
MurderMusic Ais preen -.......ar otter-..1
In 1977 the Grateful Dead
released "Terrapin Station" which
would come to be known by many as
their defining studio album. The
"Terrapin Station" suite that fills the
second half of the album is the com-
positional masterpiece of Jerry
Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter
that strikes deeply into everything
that the Grateful Dead had become
musically (inspirational, telling, har-
monious, and complex) while lyri-
cally drawing from the themes of
More than 20 years later, Joe
Gallant, acting as composer, director
and arranger of Illuminati, has torn
down the original Terrapin Station
and in its place
**** modern master-
Joe Gaant piece.
and Illuminati Unlike the
Terrapin tributes, Gallant
Which? Records has created
Reviewed by something
Daily Arts Writer unique from the
Andy Klein original album.
The idea of
the reworking was to transport the
original "Terrapin Station" to mid-
town Manhattan on new years eve
"Terrapin" includes 71 contribut-
ing artists and hints at just about
every genre imaginable with the
major focus on big band jazz.
Gallant masterfully directs the avant-
garde group from symphonic graces
to cacophonous meltdowns.
After a screaming invocation, the
album opens with an electronically
driven "Passenger," setting the dark
mood of modernity on the verge of
the millennium. "Dancin' in the
Streets" begins with a low-fi instru-
mental reminiscent of the original
Motown recording but soon breaks
into a high paced funk/fusion power-
As a bonus, the album closes with
a filler of two songs, the Dead's
"China Doll" and Gallant's "Jerome
N' Roses has finally released new music.
That is, if Axl Rose without Slash, Duff,
and the rest can be considered GNR, and
if "Oh My God"
can be considered
** music. Both
Various claims are a bit of
Arists a stretch for the
montage of sounds
End of Days put forth by the
Geffen band's remaining
Reviewed by original member.
David Reamer The centerpiece
For the Daily of the "End of
"Oh My God" is a departure from the
straightforward kick-ass rock that made
up'the first decade of GNR's existence.
"Oh my God" combines elements of
many different musical genres, including
create an unstable song that changes pace
seemingly at random. Instead of the gui-
tar-driven tunes of yore, electronic noise
and scratchy, distorted vocals dominate
this new offering, which is by no means
pleasing to the ear. Guns N' Roses' first
new release in 6 years has a lot in com-
mon with Frankenstein's monster; it can
perhaps be best described as musical
experimentation gone horribly wrong.
Fortunately, there is more to the "End
of Days" soundtrack than just Guns N'
Roses. There are also a surprising num-
ber of previously unreleased tracks like
KoRm's "Camel Song", "Crushed" by
Limp Bizkit, and "So Long" by Everlast.
These new songs are mostly mediocre,
with the surprising exception of
Eminem's "Bad Influence" Although
the track does not break any new ground,
Murder Music. Also present are offer-
ings from both Rob Zombie and his
younger brother's band, Powerman 5000.
Most of these songs work well together;
making for a fairly fluid album from start
to finish. The one major disruption to the
musical flow is, of course, "Oh My God,"
the wild irregularity of which has a dis-
jointing effect on the album as a whole.
The "End of Days" soundtrack has
the distinction of featuring original tracks
from five of the biggest names in the cur-
rent music scene. Although those rare
tracks are largely average, the artists
themselves have major drawing power,
and could have made for an intriguing
collection.The core of the album, howev-
er, is Axl Rose's latest work, and the
song's musical failure pulls the compila-
tion down in its flaming wake.
However, the album's heart lies
the title piece, "Terrapin Stati
Suite." "Lady with a Fan" maintains
the big band style that the album has
focused on throughout the first half,
which produces a fantastic image in
the listener's mind of a bourgeois
While the big band style main-
tains the theme of the album, it loses
some of the mystery and magic of
Garcia's original music. This track
explodes into a bluegrass version
"Terrapin Station" which is agar
missing some of the original
But as the suite continues into
Gallant's four self-penned regions; a
new mystery is created. In this por-
tion of the suite Gallant creates a
chaotic combination of the threaten-
ing modern industry and the prehis-
toric through his use of hand drums
being played against dissona
squeals and moans.
Joe Gallant and Illuminati have
done the unexpected by making a
new legend out of an already leg-
"Terrapin" turns the original
album upside down by rearranging
each piece, and in doing so gives
Terrapin Station meaning as an
unknown answer that everyone must
find for themselves.
With "Terrapin" Joe Gallant h$
meticulously studied the Grateful
Dead and abstracted beauty from
beauty thus firmly establishing him-
self as a compositional force.
it is a solid donation from a largely unap-
preciated artist. Less impressive is Limp
Bizkit's contribution, an uninspiring
chant that borrows its refrain from Steve
Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle."
Rounding out the compilation are
prior tracks from Creed, Prodigy and
curried \VJl. aY
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