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March 20, 2001 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-20

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9 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 20, 2001

By the time this record is released
in theU.S., it will have already gone
P inum five times ... in Australia.
'S'what do these wonders from
,Do wn Under possess that American
diences haven't caught onto yet?
Powdjrfinger's distinctive guitar-
afd snare-driven sound picks up
° ere-alt-artists like The Smiths and
Radiohead leave off, adding their
:on blend of Aussie rock to emotive
vaeals and experimentation.
American audiences still may have
trouble digesting Odyssey's lack of
c- by hooks and pop-based chorus-
ebut the patient listener will be
reworded with one of the best releas-
es f the year.
Hailing from sub-tropical
Brisbane, a growing surfer spot on
*the east coast of Australia,
Powderfinger's music often imitates
its origin. Juxtaposed between the
humidity of the north and the sub-
lime Australian coastline, their rich
lOnonies meet receding and
advancing guitars through a cerebral
arrangement of lyrics, never limiting
themselves to traditional musical
measures. Many tracks begin with a
slow; strumming six-string, but cli-
max in layered and distorted chorus-
es that would even make Billy
Corgan proud.
Powderfinger plays into conflict-
ing themes as the largely instrumen-
ttwo-minute title track that warily
gtsthe listener: "Welcome to the
new suburban fables/Dressed up like
a tomb inside a cradle," while songs
like "The Metre" promise a brighter
path with "There's a sunset on the
road/Reappearing as we go." First
time listeners may recognize the
troubled "My Kinda Scene" from the
Mission Impossible I soundtrack,
,but it's definitely worth another lis-
t
A1though each song is separate
and unique, Odyssey has a certain
concept album sound to it, ala Roger
Waters. But the CD is definitely lyri-
cally driven: singer/songwriter
Bernard Fanning successfully com-
-ipes°simple poetry with passionate.
-tales gf his life. If Odyssey is suc-
etssfuj in America, expect re-issues
-of erly Powderfinger albums to fol-

Take It Or Squeeze It, The Beat-
nuts; Loud Records
By W. Jacarl Melton
Daily Arts Writer
The Beatnuts first made their
mark as producers for the likes of
Common and Chi-Ali in the early
1990s. Almost 10 years later, Take
It Or Squeeze It becomes the sixth
EP or LP released by the NYC duo
of Psycho Les and JuJu. Like their
name suggests, beats are the forte
and the new album doesn't disap-
point in that area.
The lead single "No Escapint'
This" has a bounce to it like The
Beatnuts' classic tracks "Off The
Books" and "Watch Out Now." The
female vocal loop gets stuck in your
brain and next thing you know your
head is nodding to the beat. I guest
this is the indication of a well-pro-
duced track.
"It's Da Nuts" features ex-Beat-
nut Al Tariq and follows the same
pattern as "No Escapin' This." It
also produces the same result. On
"Prendelo (Light It Up)," Tha Nuts
team up with fellow Latino hip-hop
standout Tony Touch. More or less
the track is a shout out to their asso-
ciates back on the streets and
who've past away (RIP to Pun and
Big L):
The final track features Method
Man on a remix of "Se Acabo."
Needless to say, Method shines as
he throws in a little Spanish to keep
his flow interesting.
Overall there isn't much I can say
about this album other than the
beats take precedence over every-
thing else. Luckily, they're tight so
they don't detract from the larger
project. However, the lyrics are sim-
ple and somewhat clich. The Beat-
nuts are a production crew so most
of their work goes into that. This
album could have been better if they
stayed behind the boards and let
someone else do most of the talk-
ing. So I'd say this was a decent
album but please, Les and JuJu,
next time hire a few more MCs to
help out.

No Name Face, Lifehouse; Dreamworks
Records

In the winter of 1991-1992, the Seattle rock-music
scene suddenly became the darling of the global music
industry. It was an overnight success, 15 years in the
making, with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice
in Chains leading the way for a new form of alterna-
tive rock. But this new grunge sound all but faded
away with the onslaught of bubblegum pop and rap
metal that emerged in the late 90s.
With their debut album No Name Face, California-
based rockers Lifehouse bring a refreshing sound to
the gooey cohesiveness of Britney Spears and the hip
rock of Limp Bizkit that dominates the airwaves
today. The album essentially is a refined form of
grunge-era rock. Mixed by Brendan O'Brien (U2,
Pearl Jam, Our Lady Peace), the Rodney Jerkins of
rock music, No Name Face is much smoother and
melodic, but maintains the alternative feel of the
aforementioned rock pioneers. Traces of Eddie Vedder
are evident throughout the record on singer/song-
writer/guitarist Jason Wade's haunting and resonant,

yet comprehensible voice.:
Lifehouse was formed nearly five years ago after
frontman Wade decided to give up martial arts to ;t
focus on 'music. He studied the martial art Du Ye Chi:
Tao for five years before moving on to concentrate on=
the band, winning numerous competitions and tro-
phies. The now 20-year-old Wade was still in highx
school when the band first recorded a demo of
"Trying' one of the cuts on No Name Face. °s
Ever since its released in October of 2000, No " "
Nance Face has been steadily conquering radio and
garnering the band national spotlight. After the ultra-
catchy power pop of the first single "Hanging By A
Moment" took the song to #1 on Billboard's Modern
Rock Tracks, the song has crossed over and is begin-
ning to make a dent in the pop charts as well. -{"
While "Hanging By A Moment" is the clear stand-
out on the record, there are many other notable selec- 3a f:
tions, including the harder-edged "Sick Cycle ,.
Carousel, about Wade's relationship with his girl-
friend. Lifehouse's emotive style of blending simple, cross country stadium tour with Matchbox Twenty and
acoustic melodies with powerful electric guitars, is Everclear. If they play their cards right, this exposure,
quite effective. This formula, which may be unoriginal on top of an ultimately satisfying debut in No Name
at times, lends an overall sentimental mood, particu- Face, could propel the band into the heavens of the
larly in the sweeping finale "Everything." alternative rock theater.
Driven by the success of "Hanging By A Moment,"
Lifehouse is currently out promoting their album on a Grade: B

Anthology, Alien Ant Farm;
Uni/Dreamworks
By Andrew Klein
Daily Arts Writer
Anthology is the debut record from
southern California's latest metal band.
But before you get too excited, I must
warn you that it does not follow in the
formula of the fresh wave of So-Cal
rap/metal bands. That doesn't necessari-
ly mean that Alien Ant Farm is good. It
does, however, mean that the band is
not just riding the current trends.
In fact, Anthology is more a kickback
to the popular mid-'90s metal which,
means that it is not really metal at all.
Alien Ant Farm straddle a thin line
between metal, skate punk, and pop.

Again, diversity is not necessarily a
good thing. The band easily could have
pushed all the way in either direction
and come out equally successful.
Instead, though, what will happen with
the album is that it will be too soft and
poppy for metalheads, too-slow for,
skate punks, and too heavy for pop
audiences.
Alien Ant Farm consists of dark and
steady, predominantly rhythm, guitars
reminiscent of Helmet, skilled but typi-
cal drumming, and Dryden Mitchell's
vocals that sound at times like James
Maynard Keenan, Jerry Cantrell and
David Pirner.
Despite all the artistic discrepancies,
the songs end upsounding quite power-
ful. "Attitude," with a Latin feeling, dis-
cusses the acceptability of an

ex-girlfriend's rage at the singer's past-
actions as he sings, "This attitude is
welcome." Quite a change from the
testosterone-filled, nookie-hunting,
rap/metal bands.
"Movies," the band's first single,
contains insightful lines such as, "At
slow speed we all seem focused." The
song has a happy feel with a slow
bridge that builds up into the chorus. It
seems tailor made for the radio but
lacks a hook.
The only times on the album where
the band actually sounds like a true
metal band is in "Calico" and "Smooth
Criminal" which have extra crunchy
guitars, fast drums and cryptic lyrics.
The only thing that lacks is that you
can actually understand the lyrics. The
tightness of these songs highlights the

band's musical prowess.
"Universe" closes the album with a
string section and perhaps the album's
most anthemic track. Coming at the
end, the song's numerous parts reveal
the band's move toward greater compo-
sitional complexity. This additionally
evidenced on the hidden track which is
rooted in Mexican nylon-guitar with an
angry voice coming over it which is the
type of innovation that should be noted.
Alien Ant Farm is another band from
Southern California. They are above
par at what they do but in all likelihood,
came around at the wrong time and
unless their hidden track is any indica-
tion, will end up being just another
band from Southern California.
Grade: C

5

J IIQTIP IN THE EYES
UQIIU EOF THE VICTIMS:
Palestinian Refugees Fifty Years Later
I. by
May Seikaly
Professor of Modern
Middle Eastern History
at Wayne State University
Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30 PM
Wesley Lounge, First Methodist Church
State Street at Huron, Ann Arbor
Refreshments Served, All Welcome
Sponsored by
Friends of Sabeel--Michigan and
Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
For more information call 663-1870 or 665-5773

0 A d so I X i
M, IL M
Ur
FUJI=

1103 S. University,734.668.8550
Michigan Union,734.76.2555
- - TRAVEL d

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