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September 28, 1999 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-28

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10 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 28, 1999




H.V.Y.1' showcases
B Stuck Mojo's raw fury

Ann Arbor native son, punk godfather, the wiriest man in show business
- there's a litany of titles that can be bestowed on the former James
Osterberg. But, these days, for Iggy Pop, a man who, a few decades ago,
would have been a good candidate for "person least likely to survive the
'70s," perhaps the most applicable tag is that of "survivor." On "Facade,"
from his stark new album, "Avenue B," Pop boasts "I got no reason to
believe/I got no reason but I'm New York scumbag tough/And I'll keep on
truckin'." Indeed he has kept on truckin', and in the process, created an
album that is at once despondent and defiant, pensive and pissed-off, and
offers ample evidence that it is everyone's good fortune that he's stuck
"Avenue B" finds Pop largely preoccupied with feel-bad themes like
loneliness in old age, squandered opportunities and broken relationships.
He sings much of the album in his deepest voice, which lends an aching
soulfulness to songs like the title track, a sleepy, rainy-day anthem, on
which Pop's nuanced melody throbs with remorse for a lifetime of mis-
takes that now seem irrevocable.

Recorded this past spring at the
Masquerade in Atlanta, "H.III" is
Stuck Mojo's contribution to the
"lixve album" bin [lie album consists
of §5 hard-liitting live tracks and two
new~ studio itracko; and was recorded
withkthe inicintion of holdinu over the
gr oup s tans until its new record
comes iiut rly next vyear
IIVY ' suckceds at being ali
abiun bc ause it showc ases the
'aruup in all its rawv furv. You gt to
h.a'r the group's >trengtis and wveak-
nesses pr etty clearly fronm this
The I (J percent lean gzuitar riff's of
Rich lioward and the rock-solid

y .

i ' 'a" P
' L i,

Iggy Pop
Avenue B
Virgin Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Brian Egan

Pop's languid acoustic guitar work proves to be an
unlikely strength of the album, leaving it awash in
shades of gray that are thrillingly evocative. He and
his collaborators succeed in crafting arrangements
that provide a pitch-perfect textural and emotional
accompaniment to his more somber side. Listen to the
odd array of acoustic guitar, synthesized bass and
slide guitar on "Long Distance," and you can almost
palpably sense Pop's anxiety as he watches time slip
All of the quiet soul searching on "Avenue B," how-
ever, does not mean that this former Stooge has for-

.t, _ o
i t~~ib
4...,,,._... . r.-_ r W rr . u .
't, d1I rn F:i" Aos

of bassist Corev
I owerv and
druner Bud
Foittser. is
impeccable here
at dishing out
the group's pum-
meline sound,
Songs like
M e n t a I
Meltdown" and
C r o o k e d
F i g u r e h e a d
ir speakers with a

aggressive music. His voice sounds
too laid back to be paired with heavy,
guitar driven music.
The mixing on this album was
(lone by heavy music studio whiz,
Andy Sneap, who has done a mar-
velous ,ob at bringinn out a manly
guitar sound and keeping the crowd
noises to a bearable volume in the
mix. This is a live album. though, so
there are still plenty of places on this
release where the crowd's roars per-
fectly convey the excitement at the
show. Most notable of these crowd
cheers was when Bonz declared how
after the show he would, "twist a fat
joint to smoke
If you can overlook Bonz/s rather
timid sounding voice. "H.V Y1'*
actually has a bit to offer to those
who enjoy their music live and
testosterone drenched.

gotten how to rock. Pop's music has always been fueled by a fierce intel-
ligence and several scorchers on this album find him continuing to reject
the cliche that loud equals dumb. His take on 1960's "Shakin' All Over" is
an ideal choice to clear the air of any lingering self-pity, and carries on
Pop's nearly thirty year legacy of creating therapeutic rock 'n' roll. "I Felt
The Luxury" features recurring guests Medeski, Martin and Wood, who
cook up a Shaft-worthy groove over which Pop spouts the menacing tale
of an abusive, unrepentant lover: "If cold's what I am/I'm cold 'till the

The lyrical content of "Avenue B" makes for pretty hairowing iscning
especially considering its author. Certainly anyone who has seen the
"Behind the Music" episode dedicated to his life knows that Iggy Pop has
been there.
The knowledge that he has lived the kind of life thai seems tailor-mnade
for such a rise/fall'rise again format makcs this new album all the mre
commanding and convincing. His is a talent that proves to he nea le iore-
pressible, and for now, experience has only sweiceed the fruit it Pears
May he keep on truckin'.

v enecance.
hIlen therei's Stuck Mojo's siner,
Bonz The man has plenty of charis-
ma in person and a venomous lyrical
pen but lacks the voice to really fill
out the overa I picture of his group's

Ol' Dirty's
new rap,
There is only one Ol' Dirty Bastard.
It's easier to relate the most psychotic
member of Wu-Tang Clan's personality
to that of a crackhead than that of a rap-
per. Back in 1993, when "Enter the Wu-
Tang" first began to revolutionize and
ultimately change the course of rap, 01'
Dirty seemed a pleasant mystery. But
six years later on his second solo
album, "N***a Please," the mysterious
nature of the Dirt Dog seems more like
a challenging rid-
die: should we
** laugh at him,
laugh with him,
O' Dirty sympathize for
Bastard him or be disgust-
N***a Please ed by him'?
Elektra On "N***a
Reviewed by Please" it's over-
Daily Arts Writer w h e l m i n g l y
Jason Birchmeier apparent that
ODB has pro-
gressed as an artist, becoming further
uncivilized. His sexist vulgarity rises to
the surface more extreme than ever in
several songs on the album such as "1
Want P***y." His lifestyle now seems
even more reckless while the way he
could never assemble a structured
rhyme has only gotten more free-form
and sloppy.
It almost seems as though ODB
spontaneously composed the rhymes
for the 12 songs on "N***a Please"
since there seems to be no fogic or
premeditation in the way his verse
jumps from one random utterance to

the next.
In an ambitious attempt to compen-
sate for ODB's unintelligent rambling
belligerence, Elektra spent plenty of
money recruiting an impressive cast of
producers to craft the album's music.
The ensemble of hip-hop producers---
including RZA--stav true to the tradi-
tion of Wu-Tang in their effort to sub-
mit fresh experimental beats nearly as
idiosyncratic as ODB himself.
Without such a creative backing
soundtrack, this album would be a
painful listen.
Yet no matter how much money
Elektra spent recording the album, the
wonderful musical contributions are
ruined by the atonal singing and sput-
tering of 01' Dirty Bastard. He isn't a
mystery any' longer. "N***a Please"
validates all previous assumptions that
the only talent displayed by ODB is
purely accidental. Only the most
depraved and adolescent minds will be
able to find any humor in lyrics such as
"I have no problem with you fucking
me/ but I have a problem with you not
fucking me."
The artistic output of 01' Dirty
Bastard is an embarrassment to the Wu-
Tang Clan legacy, the impressive efforts
of the producers on "N***a Please"
and to Elektra.
When there are so many talented rap
artists struggling in the rap under-
ground, it's saddening to see major
labels invest their time and money in
garbage like this,

Girl goes electronic with 'Temperamental'

This is an album for which many people have
been waiting - many different people. The difker-
ence will become evident when, having heard it,
some will cherish and fondle it, and some will
want to break it with a brick.
Some, for example, were only dimly aware of
the London duo Everything But the Girl before
their 1994 hit single, "Missing,- and were
intrigued by the synthesis of pop balladry and
electronica on EBTG's last studio outing. 199%'s

But the Girl
Virgin Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Jeff Druchniak<
Tracey Thorn and

"Walking Wounded." The
people who probably have
now and then wondered idly
why three years have passed
before the arrival of a follow-
up album -- these folks will
be the fondlers.
Longtime devotees may be
the ones needing directions to
Irv's Building Supply. These
hardy souls are familiar with
the indie-label, folk/blues
guitar-based roots of singer
producer Ben Watt. They also

quaits abo u dmng hat I m In love with near-
l a of 'emrmema Yes. 'BTG has com-
peCe embraced drum-&ass beats, but these
beas ae mre ensousand alivthaflin those of
any artist with a purer electronic pedigree you care
it) name.
Even mcm ptantly, Watt's profoundly,
dccepti lvI nproduction never contemplates
sel too much t p ges itself to serving the
song above nd wht a collection of songs
hey at-c. brooding and sincerely conflicted
about the cbene (and the siren song of its
The band's comnnitmen to drum-&-bass is
uncompromnising on this album, but that doesn't
mean t hasn't lefti room for versatility. The instru-
mental track Compression" thrashes as nastily as
any grinder should require. while at the other end
of t he spectrum, 1azy ballads like "Hatfield
1980' and "Low Tide of the Night" have a keening
and keen) remose t hat almost makes loneliness
seem sexv
in Tet, a curious trend develops whereby every-
thing seems sexier if it can be done, felt, or con-
templned while listening to this album. And the
biggest reason for that is Tracey Thorn's voice,
consistenty thue centerpiece of EBTG's sonic land-
Thorn is apparently on of those people who
emerged from the womb with a criminally unfair

t ,
. .
i :. x 'a -3 t d
I -, .' 1a



knew damn well what Ben and Tracey were up to
the last three years: immersing themselves more
and more in dance music.
And here it is, inevitably, the full-fledged
Everything But the Girl house album. l'm a very
late jumper to this band's wagon, so I have no

amount of soul. The elegance and assurance of her
melody lines dares you to catch her breaking a
sweat, and ought to be brandished like a club to
shame all those cheesy self-parodying house div4W
into sticking it where the sun doesn't shine.
Someone with a vague interest but no real sea
legs in listening to electronic music might find the
strident embrace of the genre, on "Temperamental"
difficult to penetrate the first couple of listens, In
this case, patience is a virtue. Count on it.

'Between the Bdges differs from previous Sloan releases

If you own a t-shirt that says "I
Love Chris Murphy," you're proba-
bly going to enjoy Sloan's new album
no matter what I have to say about it.
Still, when you pick up your copy of
"Between the Bridges" today, you

Arch Enemy raises
standard on 'Bridges'

Between the Bridges
Murder Records
Reviewed by
Ken Barr
For the Daily

may be mildly
surprised (and
not necessarily in
a pleasant way).
Get over the ini-
tial shock,
though, and you
too will be giddi-
ly singing along
when Sloan visits
the area in late

r; ;>
_ x
. , . _
4 $
e ''; :'

1998's "Navy Blues" and 1999's live
double album, "4 Nights at the Palais
Rovalc "- Sloan didn't wait long to
record and release "Between the
Bridges. "To avoid stagnation,"
we're told, the band sent the album to
be polished by professional mixer
Chris Shaw.
Diehard fans, however, may feel
that this treatment introduces an
unnatural thinness to the album. In
fact, my first reaction upon hearing
the single "Losing California" was to
ask, "When did Sloan start taking
singing lessons?"
Longtime listeners will immedi-
ately note that "Between the
Bridges" is the first Sloan album that
begins with a slow song instead of a
high-energy, pop single-style track.
This slow song, "The N.S.," forces
the listener to reconsider his expecta-
tions of the album. The band sug-
gests that "Between the Bridges" is

Sloan's first concept album, telling
the story of the band's journey out of
Halifax in a quest for rock stardom.
Applying this context to the lyrics of
each song exposes powerful mes-
sages that are seldom found in popu-
lar music today. The story is further
enhanced by the flow of each track
into the next, which gives a lot of
unity to the album.
Is it hypocritical to use an artifi-
cial sound to tell a serious story
Perhaps, but it may also be time to
realize that Sloan's original
"Peppermint" EP was released near-
ly ten years ago. If the sound has
evolved, it is because the band has
With killer harmonies and a nod to
their rock-star roots (woooo!),
Sloan's "Between the Bridges"
shows that if we all must eventually
grow up, this is how we'd want to d

Although it wasn't apparent ini-
tially, after a few tracks it's clear that
"Between the Bridges" differs from
previous albums due to the new role
of Sloan's guitars. While previously
used as the driving force behind

nearly every song, many of the tracks
on "Between the Bridges" relegate
guitar to a more supporting role.
Instead, the songs rely on piano or
vocals for energy This removes
some of the edge that has been such
a defining quality of Sloan.
In an effort to capitalize on the
success of their past two albums -

The boys in Arch Enemy have
really managed to raise the musical
ante for themselves with their sopho-
more release, "Burning Bridges."
Although the group was accused of
being a shameless Carcass rip-off
after its previous release (incidental-
ly, Arch Enemy's guitarist Michael
Ammot was a previous member of
said group), "Stigmata," such accu-
sations should no longer persist after
a listen to "Burning Bridges."
In the album's first track, "The
Immortal," the group goes straight
for your jugular areas with precise
heavy riffing
n t e r m i n g I e d
*'fi 7with intricate
Arch Enemy melody lines.
Ti ri

Gomez's new 'Snk' :sfers from mediocrity

"Liquid Skin" is an ordinary rock album. The is
not a whole lot to get excited about, and there is also
not a whole lot to be disappointed about. Forced to
place it on a scale, it would fall somewhere between
Sponge's "Rotting Pinata" and Smashing Pumpkins'
"Siamese Dream." Actually, it is probably unfair to
mention Sponge in this review, because it doesn't

r ?7

a touch of Bono-esque emotion, since most of the
lyrics seem to be spoken as if the lead singer is car-
rying on a conversation with his mom. I guess that
that is not entirely true; there is one song in which he
growls as if he was having a bad reaction to a Burrit
Vocals aside, the album is a little bit sterile. It
reminds me of "The Old Man and the Sea." That is
100-plus pages about fishing that could have been
told in about 10 pages. "Liquid Skin" is 50-plus
minutes that could have been accomplished in about
10 or 20. Most of the songs sound similar, and it is

Their respective playing styles
have become more pronounced and
they both manage to avoid the over-
the-nn ,nninp oecesthen demon-


deserve that, but that is one
album that "Liquid Skin" cer-
tainly better than.
This album is like most
albums in that it has several


I ,

PIEVIMM717.1-W, ,...... °s

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