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October 17, 2000 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-17

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9 --The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 17, 2000

The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Badly-
Drawn Boy;
XL Recordings/Beggars Banquet -

By Andrew Seifter
Daily Arts Writer

The first American release by Badly
Drawn Boy, a.k.a. Britain's Damon
Gough, begins with a song titled "The
Shining." However, unlike the horror
flick of the same name, this opening
track tells its listener "to put a little sun-
shine in your life,'rather than run from
the terrors of the world. This sums up
The Hour of Bewilderbeast extraordi-
narily well: Gough's work is one of
reflection and one of an introverted
non-rock star pointing out the beautiful
things in the world that so often hide
behind a rougher and darker exterior.
One moment this album seems to be
indie rock, but it is jazz the next and
electronic elements persist throughout.
With influences ranging from the
Beach Boys to Radiohead to
Jamiroquai, Badly Drawn Boy truly
produces a sound of his own. And
Gough is the songwriter in the most
classic sense: Messing around with
guitars, keyboards and sound effects,
his music contains the urgency and
emotion of a four-track home record-
ing but with all the eloquence of a care-
fully considered piece of art.
Writing every song and playing at
least three instruments on each as well,
Gough is not just the leader of the band
but the entire extent of Badly Drawn
Boy. The fact that the names Badly

Drawn Boy and Damon can be used
interchangeably enhances the personal,
feel of the album: There can be little
doubt that these songs mean a lot to the
performer, and this is a trait too often
disregarded in modern music.
As with most independent label
releases, The Hour of Bewilderbeast is
free from the fingerprints of the corpo-
rate powers that be. Gough is on record
as stating "1 don't mind if it takes 20
years for people to realize how good an
album this is ... I totally didn't write it
to fit in with what's going on, or is
accepted, right now."
This is not to say that Badly Drawn
Boy has not had success-songs such
as "Everybody's Stalking" and
"Another Pearl" have already garnered
a good deal of attention by the UK lis-
tening public. Perhaps with an album
of such intricacy and style, the hour of
success may not be as far away as the
Badly Drawn Boy would have you
believe.

Soul Caddy, Cherry Poppin'
Daddies; Mojo
Luke Smith
Daily Arts Writer
Soul Caddv, the Cherry Poppin'
Daddies millennium follow-up to
the fad-driven Zoot Suit Riot, pro-
vides a musical sprawl from their
swing-heavy 1997 debut.
Grounded heavily in trite song
titles and equally trite lyrics, Soul
Caddy finds itself wandering
between musical genres. A big band
swing song will follow a ska song
and be followed up with a Seattle
grunge tune.
Organ based ska diddy, "End of
the Night," finds itself oozing with
thick cheddar cheese-y rhymes, the
kind that are known before the sec-
ond half of the couplet is sang.
Mirroring "Zoot Suit Riot" (the
band's radio smash) is the second
track, "Swinging with Tiger Woods."
Chalked full of the horns and nasal
vocals that made this band huge the

Buzzle Bee, The High Llamas;
Drag City Records

first time, the track runs (2:46)
about as long as the Daddies fame
lasted.
Soul Caddy is an extremely
ambiguous record. It dawdles on the
musical fence, careful not to fall
onto the side of 'swing music' or
post-grunge ska-alt-rock. This ambi-
guity is the band's biggest weakness.

By Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writer

It's probably critical overkill to
point out that the High Llamas are
the prime inheritors of the lush
soundscapes that Brian Wilson and
Burt Bacharach perfected (each in
his own way) during the '60s and
early '70s. On the other hand, it's
also abundantly obvious that the
English quartet never seems to tire
of mining Bachrach's hits and
Wilson's masterworks - namely
Pet Sounds and the aborted Smile
album - for raw material.
Buzzle Bee might just be the
group's most out-there production
yet, as the Llamas churn out eight-
tracks full of eccentric symphonic-
pop arrangements and aloof, lazy
melodies that dart in and out of all
kinds of studio-tinkering. If this is,
in fact, something Wilson and
Bacharach would have made, they
would have had to have made it

MWOCH UAMABS.UU36 SB
-,
while on some very potent aci:
Still, too much of the record
sounds like background music - the
sort of stuff that Brian W. rightly
left on the cutting room f1o&idur-
ing the "Pet Sounds" sessions.
What would be really interesting is
if these guys struck some sort of
sitcom-worthy bargain with their
heroes: The Llamas would teach
Wilson and Bacharach how to be
hip, if those two would tea itthe
Llamas how to write a decet pop
song.

Grade: C-

Grade: B-

";, kd

Giznrodgery, Self; Spongebath
Records

By Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writer

Since the disc is equal parts white-
boy rap and off-kilter pop-rock, it's a
bit difficult to slap a definitive label
on this stuff. Should your ears be
privy to track 10, an hilarious cover
of the Doobie Brothers' "Whit A
Fool Believes," you'd be inclined to
call the men of Self just plain weird
- which is probably just what
they're looking for.

Grade: A-

Unreasonable Behavior, Laurent
Gamier; Mute

By Ben Whetsell
For the Daily

guttural, monotone vocals on Greed fol-
low the style of Massive Attack.
The album's brooding atmosphere
compliments any cerebral activity. It's a
great listening experience, but unless I
can get five of my baddies to dress
entirely in black leather and then slow
down time like a scene out of "The
Matrix," I'm not going to be able to
dance to it.

On Gizmodgery, the
Murfreesboro, Tennessee band Self
has taken the indie ethic of Do It
Yourself to an entirely new level. The
album was recorded using only toy
instruments, an approach that would
seem to invite every 10-year-old
with a closet full of gear made by
Mattel and Casio to seek out a record
contract.
But if you'd expect Gizmodgery's
13 tracks to sound gleefully shitty,
you'd only be half right: Though the
songs are indeed lighthearted in spir-
it (at one point, lead-Selfer Matt
Mahaffey ironically boasts that he's
"got a trunk full of amps, mother-
fucker"), the music actually sounds
decent enough to bring to mind sev-
eral respectable D.I.Y. hip hop
(Beck's Mellow Gold, to name one).

Grade: C+

Laurent Garnier, French techno guru
and co-founder of the independent F
Communications label, has mastered the
subtleties of dark electronica. Where
Garnier's 1997 release 30 featured
popish, quasi-happy beats such as the
single "Crispy Bacon," his new music
exudes heaviness.
Musically, the album contains an
eclectic variety of sound: Random com-
puter bleeps populate "Forgotten
thoughts," a jazzy saxophone solo wails
hrough "The man with the red face,"
and heavy, industrial noize thrashes
"Downfall." Furthermore, Gamier
seems to pull from varied artists: He
employs bizarre distortion and surpris-
ing silences a la Aphex Twin, and the

Grade: B

:

The Last of a Dying Breed,
Scarface; Virgin

More Songs About Hockey, The
Zambonis; Tarquin-Sumthing

By Joshua Gross
Daily Arts Writer

You are despondent. You have no idea
how to celebrate the dawn of a new
Michigan hockey season. Drinking
yourself into a coma was so last year;
why don't you buy a CD from
America's only 100 percent hockey
band, The Zambonis? That's right, they
only write songs about hockey. Nothing
else. Not even love, unless it is love in a
hockey rink. Although it sounds like a
fleeting parody, the group is serious
about what they do, and in More Songs
About Hockey they have constructed a
clever, original CD of catchy pop songs.
"Most bands that write what I refer to as
'non-hockey songs' really have no con-
tent whatsoever anyway," rants gui-
tarist/singer Peter Katis, "So why not
pick something and go with it? There's
no reason songs about hockey can't be
just as significant or relevant as non-
hockey songs.' We feelethat all life expe-
rience and the essence of the human
condition can be communicated
through the hockey metaphor."
The Zambonis hail from Connecticut
and have recently begun touring again
after a period of mourning the loss of
their state's own hockey team, the

Hartford Whalers. Since then they have
toured extensively wit4f University
favorite Guster. Both bands are pop, but
the Zambonis' sound is a bit more
eclectic, alternating between punk,
grunge, indie-rock and ska between
such songs as "Hockey Monkey," "Lost
My Teeth" and "Bob Marley and the
Hartford Whalers." They can't help but
be compared to They Might Be Giants,
if only for the rapid quirkiness of their
songs, nasal vocals, and obvious lack of
ego. Its music that makes you want to
do the twist, the mashed potato and the
jitterbug all at once. And it's about
hockey. So if your thinking, "Hey, my
girlfriend/mother/friend/self probably
feels neglected, so why don't I get
her/him some sort of hockey-themed
present in time for hockey season,"
check out their website at www.thezam-
bonis.com and pick up a CD or two.

Perfecto Presents Another World,
Paul Oakenfold; London-Sire
By Joshua Gross
Daily Arts Writer
Paul Oakenfold's techno composi-
tions are nothing less than prayers. All
manner of people give praise in their
own personal way. Oakenfold creates
soundscapes, microcosmic universes
populated by extraterrestrial beats of all
species, snare drums, lots of bass,
flutes, fifes, violins, crescendos, surges,
swells, climaxes, breakdowns, comput-
er blips, zaps, bleeps, echoes and sigh-
ing vixens crying out, "Take me away,"
"1 wish that I could forget you" or sim-
ply "Oooooooooooh." However, some
prayers are malformed or misguided.
While some songs, such as a remix
of Led Zepplin's "Baby I'm Gonna
Leave You" and Oakenfold's treatment
of two songs from the science fiction
classic "Blade Runner," are somewhat
audacious, the most striking aspect of
Perfecto Presents Another World is its
tedium. Most of the songs clock in at
about seven minutes while barely
offering anything worth listening to

By Justin Mann
For the Daily
Rap artist Scarface has released
his first album in three years, The
Last of a Dying Breed. A Scarface
album that incorporates other rap-
pers like Daz, Jayo Felony, Kurupt,
Redman, Too Short, UGK and the
exceptionally talented Jay Z, is
expected to be a huge success. With
such an impressive cast of rappers
on Scarface's side it would be
almost impossible for this album to
be flawed.
The Last of a Dying Breed does
the impossible, though. On track
after track of the cd Scarface rants
and raves about killing, beating,
doing drugs and having sex in the
most gruesome of ways. It is
unlikely that there is a single line on
the entire cd that does not have

Grade: C

curses and other offensive lyrics.
Each track features tie artist
releasing anger in the f6rm of
speeches set to the beat of a less
then mediocre backgrouncLtune. It
is music like this that ends up giv-
ing rap and its many talented artists
a bad name. Hopefully, this type of
"rap" is the last of a dying breed of
music.

Grade: B+

for more than four or five. Although
some tracks might make you want to
get up and dance, they won't keep you
dancing. The diversity necessary to
keep techno consistently interesting is
lost. The inspiration ' behind
Oakenfold's Global Underground sets
is missing. And, although one unin-
spired disc is more than sufficient,
there are two. For those who appreci-
ate the room for symphonic experi-
mentation and creative expression
within trance, Perfecto Presents noth-
ing new.

A -Excellent
B -Good
C Fair
©-Poor
F -Don't Bother

- If you missed a week
of Breaking Records,
check out the DRIly's
archives onlirn at
www.michigandaily4om

Breaking Records Grade System

CHECK DALY ARTS NEXT TUESDAY FQR
REVIEWS OF R.L. BURNSIDE, GoMEZ !NND
Tvp-nO-NEGATIVE.

Grade: C+

i i

F

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