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January 30, 2001 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-30

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 30, 2001

From the Desk of Mr. Lady, Le
Tigre; Mr. Lady Records
By Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
For former riot grrrl Kathleen
Hanna, medium is the message
but only sort of. Bikini Kill's
incendiary punk rock was the nat-
twal vehicle for Hanna's angst,
while Le Tigre's lo-fi pomo disco
- lots of synth-driven pop and
DIY sonic collages - is the per-
fect compliment to her newfound
penchant for intellectualized and
irony-laden insurrection.
But just because she's big into
Carolee Schneeman doesn't mean
she's gone all arty and shit.
What makes Le Tigre remark-
able is their talent for distilling
political rhetoric and feminist the-
ory into shout-along sloganeering
and epigrammatic lyrics, which are
set to ditties that are at once catchy,
complex and good fun. It's not
Cliff's Notes feminism; it's a bril-
liant combination of catchwords
and hooks, compelling message
plus compelling medium.
This M.O., plotted out on their
stunning self-titled debut, is even
further cultivated on their seven-
song EP From the Desk of Mr.
Lady. Though not as undeniably
fun as its predecessor, Mr. Lady

finds Le Tigre at their most direct,
whether issuing directives ("Get
off the Internet / Destroy the right
wing!"), decrying the deaths of
minorities at the hands of the
N.Y.P.D. (on "Bang, Bang") or
sassing bonehead dudes (on
"Mediocrity Rules").
Le Tigre proved that a group of
ex-punk rockers and auteurs with
lots of toys could make a big, big
noise. Whether you call Mr Lady a
refinement of their sound or a just
a placeholder (it's a little of both,
actually), it's apparent that Tigre
have much more to say. We should
look forward to it.
Grade: B+

d

Arrived Phoenix, Mount Florida;
Matador Records
By Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
The old joke about the Grateful
Dead was that you had to be on
drugs to dig their music. Though
they're certainly on the other side of
the stylistic fence, you could say the
same about Mount Florida, the
Scottish electronica duo - Matador
Records' latest overseas find. That's
because appreciating Arrived
Phoenix requires both the free time
and the ability to dupe oneself into
mindlessly contemplating the pseu-
do-profound that only acid-eaters
truly possess.
There are ideas here, to be sure.
Whether you want to call them
"soundscapes," "aural collages," or
just "moods," there is a semblance
of a coherence lurking somewhere
amidst the jumble of electro-noise
and lethargic beats. But picking up
on that coherence is more or less act
of free association, and since
melody and song structure are
things these guys have little use for,
it's up to the listener to play aural
connect-the-dots. Worst of all, it's
really, really, boring - even worse
than listening to some drunken raver
prattle on about the revolutionary
progressive-trance sounds of DJ
Forgettable.

Near the halfway point, this
Phoenix does begin to rise from its
ho-hum electronic ashes: "Yo La
Kinski" is a dourly melodic inquiry
into (of all things) Grandfather's
war-time activities and
"Celebration" achieves a certain
zen-like grace by tossing some rap-
turous guitar fuzz atop a trance-like
groove.
But as quickly as things get inter-
esting they turn drudging again. If
you make it past "Don't Do Dada"
(which, to their credit, MF don't
do), you have the distinctly non-
rocking pleasure of listening to a
frigging Noam Chomsky lecture
(excerpted from the "Manufacturing
Consent" documentary). So let the
cognoscenti fool themselves. For
whiskey-drinking sons of bitches
like the rest of us, this is just an arty
snooze-fest.
Grade: B-

O-Town, O-Town; J-Records

By Luke Smith
and Andy TaylorFabe
Daily Arts Writers

TheAtavan Tap
Hoen; Z
By Scott Waldman
For the Daily .

pes, Sean Madigan
-Records

Sean Madigan Hoen currently
studies psychology in East
Lansing, but don't worry, I didn't
hold it against him.
The liner notes for Sean
Madigan Hoen's debut CD The
Atavan Tapes (yes he spells it
wrong, blame the East Lansing air)
say that the I1 songs on the album
were "recorded in various bed-
rooms, basements, and apart-
ments" across the state of
Michigan during the course of

eight months last year.
Unfortunately, it often sounds this
way.
But despite some technical stu-
dio shortcomings, Hoen's jazzy
chords, raspy raw voice, and crafty
vocal, melodies on The Atavan
Tapes combine together for an
interesting, relaxing listen,
although not straight through.
Born right here in Ann Arbor,
Sean Madigan Hoen has been mak-
ing music for the past few years,
fronting the critically acclaimed
rock group Thoughts of Lonesco
until early 2000. The Atavan Tapes
is quite a departure from his previ-
ous rock and roll works, showcas-
ing Hoen's depth as a singer/song-
writer. But change isn't always a
good thing.
While a few of the songs on this
album provide unique listens, too
often The Atavan Tapes sounds like
an all-too-large medley, with track
after track supplying bundles of
repetition. What Hoen should have
supplied with his CD was a few
tabs of Ativan for my pounding
head. I know that the prescription
drug would have eased my anxiety
after listening to this album.
Grade: C+

Boy band svengali Louis J.
Pearlman's latest entry in the world
of teen pop domination launched
with a wildly successful ABC pro-
gram "Making the Band." From
there, the five boys in this projected
supergroup laughed together, cried
together and dealt with the loss of
Ikaika when he had
to return to Hawaii to
be with his girlfriend.
He traded fame for
love. How noble.
Nailing down a
contract with J-
Records in the pow-
erful finale of their'
first season, all that
had to be done was
churn out a series of
hits and dominate the
record charts.
Mission accom-
plished, or some-
Ain't Life Grand, Slash's Snakepit;
Koch Records
By Rob Bode
Daily Arts Writer
Apparently it takes more than a
top-hat, a cool name and the moniker
of guitar legend to make a good
album. Slash's Snakepits' latest
release Ain 't Life Grand is supreme-
ly average. It is hard not to have high
expectations for the man who wrote
such guitar anthems as "Paradise
City" and Welcome to the Jungle"
but after listening to 70 minutes of
vanilla blues rock it is hard not to
wonder what happened to the epic
sound that characterized Slash's
playing with Guns N Roses.
The album gets off to a quick start
with "Been There Lately," but behind
the pounding drumbeat, galloping
guitar chops and gritty vocals there
isn't much substance. Lack of sub-
stance not only describes the first
track but epitomizes most of the
album.
Relatively few examples of com-
plete songs exist on the album. Most
songs are ruined by a lack in lyrical
creativity. Each song was either a
song about drugs with sexual innu-
endos or a song about sex with drug
innuendos. How many times can
rock clich6s be recycled? Within the
song "Mean Bone," vocalist Rod

thing.
The powerful first single of 0-
Town's eponymous debut has gone
gold and taken its rightful place in
the watered down market of bubble
gum Swedish hit-making.
"Liquid Dreams" rages with ado-
lescent male pride, crafting the
image of the perfect girl, an amal-
gam of Jennifer, Janet and the
three/five members of Destiny's
Child. The song laments about mem-
bers experiencing their "O-faces" in
the middle of the night and subse-

Jackson spews forth "I got one mean
bone in my body/I got one mean
bone in my hand." Whatever could
he be speaking of? Yawn. Not only is
the album lyrically abysmal but Mr.
Jackson's smoked out growls are as
unique as the newest boy band.
A few standout tracks are scattered
throughout the album. "Shine" has
excellent dynamics. The song ebbs
and flows adding to the delightfully
disturbing feeling that comes from
listening to a choir of children's
voices sing backup vocals to a song
about a serial killer. Regardless of
lyrical content, songs like "Shine"
and "The Truth" have very catchy,
singable, hard rock hooks. "Back to
the Moment," no matter how cliched,
is a grade-A blues love ballad.
Slash's guitar playing is quite solid
but not exceptional. If it wasn't for
his hard-hitting, chunky rhythm
parts the album would fall on its
face. Apart from his admirable
rhythm work most of the tracks lack
the rich melodic solos that made

quently waking up freshly departed
from their liquid dreams.
"Sexiest Woman Alive" begins as
an acoustic departure from the mod-
ern pop formula and winds around
into an explosive chorus rivaling
Chumbawamba's smash
"Tubthumpin," and by rivaling we
mean stealing.
Smoke Signal Communications
spokesman and former CHiP Erik
Estrada lends half of his genetic
makeup to O-Town in the form of a
junior version. Erik-Michael
Estrada's vocals drive the creatively
titled "Girl." The third track on the
album is a relief as the steamer is
gotten out of the way early. Musical
laxatives.
"Every Six Seconds" takes us back
to 1986, deep inside the "Danger
Zone" where Commander Mike
"Viper" Metcalf barks at Maverick
and Iceman for their in-flight antics.
The chunky guitar lead during the
chorus completes this not-so-quiet
nod to Kenny Loggins.
This album sucks.
Grade: D-

Got It Made, Brassy; Wija Records
By Heidi Wickstrom
For the Daily
There is nothing worse than an
artist's shameless self-promotion and
celebration of a fundamentally terri-
ble product. Some infamous ye
memorable abusers of the systen
include Vanilla Ice in hardcore mode,
Puff Daddy and every boy band in
history. Unfortunately, Brassy's Got
It Made revels in this immodest tactic
by indulging listeners in the kind of
unabashed self-adulation that only'
makes an already bad record even;
worse.
Got It Made opens with a strange,
techno-infused interlude of warped,'"
synthesized trash, partnered with
excessive record scratching, reminis*
cent of DJ Skribble and the whole
MTV dance party groove crew. The
interlude gives way to the first song
of the record, entitled "No
Competition." Throughout the entire
song the lead singer, whose voice is
comparable to Chrissie Hynde orr
crack, repeats "B-R-A-to the double
S-Y" over and over. It is almost
enough to incite violence and/o*
epileptic seizures in the unfortunate
victims of its droning. And just when
it seems that it couldn't get worse#
"No Competition" drones on for
about three more minutes, setting the
stage for the next 16 atrocities on the
CD.
The crowning moment of Got It
Made comes rather early on, in the
form of a spoken answering machine
piece of junk called "L vs. S." For
those of you who couldn't deciphec
that one, "L" and "S" stand for
"Laverne" and "Shirley," of the popu-
lar '70s television show, "Laverne ,
and Shirley." Why Brassy feels the
need to pay tribute to them is
unknown; what is known, however, is
that their answering maching homage
to this choice television misterpiece z
would certainly embarrass Penny
Marshall and Cindy Williams, and it
turn, probably everyone else who
hears it.
Brassy further expands upon their
"why everyone should think they're
cool" rhetoric with the blatantly nr-
cissistic songs "I Gotta Beef," "Who-
Stole the Show" and "B'Cos We-,
Rock." They also continually refer t
the "Brassy way" of doing things
and the familiar "B-R-A-to the dou
ble S-Y" manifests itself many more
times throughout the record. The-
final jam of the disc, is entitle,
"B.R.A.S.S.Y." and it consists solely
of that dreaded chant looped continu-
ously over a background of Europop
techno-trash.
At that point, the seizures begin
again.
"B'Cos We Rock" proves to be sim-
ply humiliating. Brassy repeatedly'
attempts to convince listeners of their
all-encompassing coolness factor
which is a shame because, yeah..
about you guys rocking? There seems
to be a serious misunderstanding,..
If Brassy seriously thinks that they
"got it made" by releasing insolent
tripe like this record, it is unthinkable
what might result if they knew they
sucked; it's probably better this way.
Brassy can continuously reassure
themselves of their artistic merit, yet
meanwhile, another conclusion has
already been made: B-R-A-double S
Y is C-R-A-double P-Y.
Grade: D-

Slash a guitar hero.
The album as a whole isn't bad. If
a group of twenty-something rockers
released Ain't Life Grand as their
debut album it would be easy to say,
"Solid album, you have a lot of
potential." But since Slash's Sankepit
is a group of rock veterans led by a
rock immortal it is harder to let such
a generic album slide by without
criticism.

$EAN MAMA", 4
T HE A AM : .
:: xaioowo7N'otalCSx- a«?w yt ,

Grade: B-

STOMP's life rhythimhit Fisher

:._

By Shannon O'Sullivan
Daily Arts Writer
STOMP - What does this make you think of? Do
music, dance, theatre and choreography come to mind?
Or, maybe trash cans, tea chests, plastic bags, plungers,
boots and hubcaps? Whether it is one thing or another,
STOMP is an incredible, award-
winning international percussion

all ends of the stage, with Zippo lighters creating fig-
ures to garbage pail cans cracking, sounding explo-
sions.
Beginning on the streets of Brighton, England,
STOMP has grown into an international sensation with
five touring companies, covering over 200 cities. From
engagements at the Acropolis in Athens to performing
on TV's "Mad About You," "The Late-Show with David
1 tt-rgn ad"C.~~Annr c rnirn Amrica" STUMP

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