The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 26, 1999 - 9
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S NE
PRIMUS FINDS SOUND AGAIN WITH 'ANTIPOP '
We all knew they'd be back someday.
When longtime drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander left the band in 1996,
Primus embarked on a journey of musical rediscovery. The results of this,,
1997's mostly tedious "The Brown Album" and 1998's only slightly more
impressive cover and live EP "Rhinoplasty," left many wondering if the
glory days of the progressive-funk rockers were over..
"Antipop," however, is a strong declaration of their evolution as a band,
and the new album contains their best work since "Pork Soda."
"Antipop" features the trio of bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist
Larry LaLonde and drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia employing various
big-name musicians such as Tom Morello, Fred Durst, Stewart Copeland
9Jd Tom Waits to produce several tracks. Oddly enough, Matt Stone of
South Park" fame co-produced the song "Natural Joe," although his
influence is not immediately evident.
Possibly as a result of all the input from these producers, "Antipop" -
sounds rich and full, containing samples, effects and instrumentation that
are like nothing the band has attempted before.
The songs sound like they were painstakingly recorded in an expensive
studio. They do not sound like they were drunkenly recorded in someone's
Bland Incubus release
puts listeners to sleep
An Incubus is an evil spirit that
sucks the life force out of anyone with
whom it has sexual intercourse. On its
second album, "Make Yourself," the
band Incubus has apparently used the
diabolical power of its namesake on _
itself. Its new album is dull, soporific
and devoid of life.
The energy and vitality so preva-
lent on Incubus' previous releases,
the EP "Enjoy Incubus" and the debut
Daily Arts Writer
r e l e a s e
replaced with a
bers and VH-1
in general are
eager to push
LaLonde gets more of a starring role on the record, thanks to its guitar-
"Brain," who will always be "the new guy" to some, is beginning to
come out of his shell. One would only need to listen to the title track to
see that Brian Mantia can indeed fill Tim Alexander's shoes.
Primus has not forgotten its musical roots. "Antipop" proves that the
boys can rock as hard as they did 10 years ago, and hopefully, they will
rock this hard 10 years from now.
ward and test their musical bound-
aries. Incubus could have made this
move into musically slower, laid back
territory and still recorded a decent
set of songs. Instead, "Make
Yourself" if full of forgettable and
half-baked compositions hell-bent on
putting listeners to sleep.
Guitarist Michael Einziger's once
rich experimental passages are now
flat, while the formerly hyperactive
rhythm section, consisting of bassist
Dirk Lance and Drummer Jose
Pasillas, give an overly restrained and
Singer Brandon Boyd's soulful
singing has been affected by the same
bug that seems to be hampering the
performance of his bandmates. His
crooning this time sounds like he'd
been set on automatic.
The group's once potent mix of
funk, metal, hip-hop, soul and R&B
was initially compared to "a Primus
with a soul singer" and a '90s Red Hot
Chili Peppers. With the bland, radio-
friendly offering "Make Yourself,tit
looks like Incubus is more likely to
get compared to the likes of The Goo
Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray.
Live Clash recalls classic punk
The Clash both invented and reinvented punk (see the "Rock the Casbah" video for a visual
0 Raucous guitars and ragged vocals met reg- reminder) shows up here on "Guns of Brixton"
ie grooves and ingenious pop hooks on records and "Know Your Rights." Joe Strummer's gritty,
at were equal parts fist-pumping and lyrical. stammering vocals and Mick Jones's fiery guitar
"Live: From Here to Eternity," which samples leads command a straight-ahead attack from the
live Clash between 1978 and rhythm section on nearly all of the album's 17
1982, reminds us that, labels songs, while Jones's "Train in Vain," an unlisted
aside, most of the Clash's out- track on 1979's "London Calling," remains a pure
put just plain rocked; even the pop gem.
The Clash classic studio stuff practically But most of "Live" has a rather un-Clash sheen
Live: From Here begs to be heard live in a to it, one which makes material recorded at the
to Eternity sweltering club where every- tiny Lyceum in London indistinguishable from
Epic one shouts along with the songs recorded while opening for the Who at Shea
Reviewed by anthemic choruses. Stadium.
Christian Hoard "Live" kicks off with an The record cleans up some of the rough edges of
For the Daily especially energetic a live Clash gig without realizing, perhaps, that
"Complete Control," a fervid the rough edges were the point.
nt against corporate infiltration of the punk The song selection is also puzzling: All of the
ene, and the rest of the seven songs culled from hard-rocking hooks are here, but then again, they
e Clash's 1977 self-titled debut hold up on their were already there in compelling form on the old
vn as simply good punk songwriting let loose records. Only the uncharacteristically plaintive
re "Straight to Hell" and "Armagideon Time," with
The goofy militarism rife in most Clash lyrics guest vocalist Mikey Dread, work significantly better
suffers from bad timing
live than they did on their original recordings.
Still, as the CD's liner notes - all written by
fans - suggest, it's hard to go entirely wrong with
any Clash compilation, and "Live" is a nice, if
imperfect, document of the music of the band that
ruled the time before punk was swept away by new
iaroahe reigns over hip-hop with solo debut 'Affairs'
song features a repetitive horn sam-
ple that could put someone under
hypnosis. As he rhymes, Pharoahe
calls out to his audience and
receives the response he beckons
Though the beat takes precedent
over the lyrics, one line serves to
foreshadow other tracks on the
album: "Ignorant minds, I free 'em/
If you tired of the same ol' everyday
you will agree, um."
On "The Truth," Pharoahe shows
his more complex side with the help
of Common(Sense) and Talib Kweli.
His lyrics suggest that he finds
truth to be brutal at times, but it is
still needed in order to become a
This concept is in direct contrast
with "Simon Says"' fury-charged
and profanity-laced lyrics.
Throughout 15 tracks, Pharoahe
balances his street persona, on
tracks like "No Mercy" and "Hell,"
with his socially conscious persona,
as is demonstrated on "The Light"
and "God Send."
The balance between "street" and
"social conscious" is also main-
tained by guest rappers like Method
Man and MOP ("street") along with
Apani B. Fly Emcee and Common
Very rarely in the world do we
have people who can do two things
simultaneously while not sacrificing
the quality of one or the other. Hip-
hop music is no different. However,
Pharoahe Monch manages to do the
impossible, creating one of the
standout albums of the year.
This is a story you might have heard
before. It's called "A Tale of Two Bands."
This is the the first Eurythmics album
in "almost a decade," as the publicity
flacks never tire of screeching, and
there's genuine anticipation in the air.
And the album will be well received by
the band's many devoted fans, but
"Peace" is ill-served by arriving so hard
on the heels of Everything But the Girl's
"Temperamental." Fresh off tendering
one of the best albums of the year,
Everything But the Girl bears an
unmissable number of parallels to
Eurythmics, whose pleasant enough
offering just doesn't measure up.
Both duos arrived at about the same
time on the English post-punk scene, but
Eurythmics were the act that immediate-
ly detonated in the wee reaches of fame,
and despite a
ensuing catalog of
*** quality singles,
Eurythmics their equilibrium
Euytmis never quite
Peace seemed to recover.
Arista Records Everything But
the Girl took a few
Reviewed by years off while
Weekend, Etc. Editor songwriter/pro-
Jeff Druchniak ducer Ben Watt
grappled for his
life against an obscure autoimmune dis-
ease, then emerged battle-scarred and
more artistically mature. Eurythmics
broke up when singer Annie Lennox
became too big a media star not to go
solo, and despite her considerable suc-
cess, the twosome seems to have picked
up no further than where they left off.
Lennox is a bracingly charismatic per-
former whose celebrity was justified,
and she and producer Dave Stewart are
every bit as talented as Tracey Thorn and
Ben Watt. But their mass-consumption
image seems feels like the elephant in
the room on "Peace, too big to let them
integrate their gifts into a coherent
Even the first song on the album, "17
Again," though it's one of "Peace"'s
standouts and destined to succeed as a
single and get drivers pulled over, has a
surreal moment where Lennox croons,
"Sweet dreams are made of anything
that gets you in the scene." Apparently
this is supposed to ironically distance the
Eurythmics from their breakout gigas-
mash hit, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of
This)," but it only serves to illustrate the
band's anxiety over the glare of its rep.
Meanwhile, it distracts the listener,
whose thoughts go from what had been
a crackerjack song to the very past from
which Lennox and Stewart ostensibly
want to detach themselves.
Lennox and Stewart have observed in
interviews how "Peace" makes no
attempt to "modernize" the Eurythmic
sound with concessions to hip-hop or
electronica. Perhaps a little defensive
over Everything But the Girl's stunning
transformation from earnest popsmiths
to drum-&-bass gurus, they seem to
wear it as a badge of honor. That's dandy,
but no unifying sound emerges to take
its place on "Peace," whose eleven songs
couldn't be more all over the map if they
were coffee shops on an Ann Arbor
Versatility is a cardinal virtue, but not
in the case of the guy who keeps chang-
ing lanes because he doesn't quite like
the flow of traffic in any of them.
Lennox and Stewart sound no more
comfortable with driving rock and
vaguely lo-fi guitars ("Power to the
Meek") than with sumptuous orchestral
ballads ("Forever"), though they can still
sing and write the knickers off both.
What a blissful paradox that
"Temperamental" showcased a self-
effacing band completely at ease with
their artistic message, while on "Peace,"
Eurythmics exude anything but.
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Here's what Bush School
Students did with their summer
U.S. State Department