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October 16, 2001 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-16

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7 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Seven Channels, Seven Channels;
Palm Pictures
By Taryn O'Leary
Daily Arts Writer
Unprotected sex is bad ... although
not according to the music industry.
Yet again the sexually unsatisfied
boys of Creed and Live have managed
to produce another carbon-copy
spawn, after undoubtedly interbreed-
ing with Vertical Horizon and Life-
house. The turbo pre-pubescent
minded, yet thoroughly of age four-
some, Seven Channels has yet to
debut their ever-so not different
sounding single "Breathe" over
national airwaves.
Crying of a long, lost love that has
passed away, as Kevin Kirkwood
sings, "gone away and I pray for the
strength to carry on," it's difficult to
decipher whether it's the companion-
ship of the girlfriend he yearns for, or
the resurgence of power in his right
hand. Reeking of adolescent purity,
these black-ribbed sweatered, hair-
putty marinated, white boys need to
be spending a little more time with
their driving lessons before crooning
about lost loves and broken hearts,
thus leaving the ballads to the Back-
street Boys, another member of an
extremely incestuous genre.
Lacking poetry and substance, their
lyrical talent is a far cry from both
credibility and creativity. Ragingly
similar to almost every other current
chart-topper, like 3 Doors Down, the
radio stations will have to search the
Pretty Together, Sloan;
Murderecords
By Keith N. Dusenberry
Daily Arts Writer
Sloan is your ex-girlfriend. They
are the girl you dated for a while and
really liked, but then she started to
annoy you, things fell apart, and you
had to dump her.
There were the early days of your
relationship, when you were just
starting to get to know one another
(the Peppermint EP, Smeared) and
things were a bit awkward, but still
very promising.("Underwhelmed,"
"500 Up"). As you got into things a
little more, there was your first kiss
("I Am the Cancer"). Then things
got serious, and you proudly
announced your relationship to the
wc rld (Twice Removed). Life got
exciting ("Coax Me") and emotional
("I Can Feel It"); the future was
looking good and you hoped things
would only get better.
And they did (One Chord to
Another). Problems occasionally
cropped up between the two of you
("Junior Panthers"), but the good
times ("Everything You've Done
Wrong," "The Lines You Amend")
were so good that the little differ-
ences were easily overlooked.
Things got slightly rockier as .your

depths of the album for a second sin-
gle. Society can rest assured that
Huggies will remain in business,
because while the music industry is
too busy teaching their boys how to
play their instruments, potty-training
has most definitely taken a back seat.
Playing to a demographic focused on
reaching second base, this album's
release would have been better
received perhaps three years ago,
while I was still in high school
dreaming of a prince charming.
Unfortunately, the major record
labels can't seem to get over their
lack of prom-court nominations,
because the need for angst and matu-
rity has been poorly fulfilled by a
bunch of boys still being dressed by
their mothers. The moral of the story
is: Safe sex is good sex - wear a
condom, save a CD.
Grade: C+
relationship aged and got more cotn-
plex (Navy Blues) but you held on.
The relationship was still strong
("Sinking Ships," "Money City
Maniacs") and you hoped your love
would grow in new and interesting
ways.
Sadly, instead of interesting they
gave you boring (4 Nights at the
Palais Royale), and then all of
Sloan's actions were simply sad
reminders of how long ago the good
times were beginning to seem. Thus,
began the end (Between the Bridges).
Sloan still had its charm ("The N.S.,"
"Delivering Maybes"), but those
good times weren't as good as they
used to be and the bad times
("Friendship," and nearly all of
Between the Bridges' lyrics) were
more than you could take - the
breakup was a long time coming.
So, things between you and Sloan
ended, and you moved on to new
relationships (Neutral Milk Hotel,
the White Stripes). Occasionally you
would reminisce over the little things
you missed about the fun you'd had
with Sloan (Those melodies! Those
hooks! Interesting backing vocals!),
but those days were over now and
you didn't heard from Sloan for a
long time. Eventually, despite the
ensuing relationships and your lack
of communication, you got curious
about Sloan and how it was doing

these days. By chance, Sloan called
you (Pretty Together) and the two of
you arranged to meet for dinner.
When you arrived at the restau-
rant, you found that Sloan had got-
ten more ugly ("Pick It Up and Dial
It") and annoying ("In the Movies")
than ever. Sure, some of itt old
charm survived ("The Life of a
Working Girl"), but still you were
reassured that dumping them was
the right thing to do.
Maybe someday Sloan will come
to their senses. You could reconcile
your differences and get back
together - but as of now, things
aren't looking too good
Grade: C+

TheArgument, Fugazi; Dischord

By Chris Lane
Daily Arts Writer
"Here comes the argument ..." howls Fugazi guitarist and
singer Ian Mackaye. The understatement is sharp and accu-
rate. Fugazi's latest full-length bristles like a wire brush to
scrub your assumptions, scratch up your apathy and reveal a
better, brighter surface underneath the music industry.
For those of you who you who still say, "Fugazi's that politi-
cal band, right?" let me clarify. Fucked Up Got Ambushed
Zipped In is Vietnhm slang, that is a less "Tango and Cash"
way of saying "FUBAR." For those of who are unaware that
Fugazi is on an independent record label, has never made a
video, has never made a T-shirt, has never charged more than
$6 for a show, and has been doing this for 13 years ... well,
that is the case. And for those of you who are saying, "Wait.
I've seen Fugazi T-shirts before." Consider the band's lyric,
"It's time to harvest the crust from your eyes."
Fugazi confounds the corporate rock industry. But forget
about their "politics," all of that exists to protect the music.
Thus, The Argument is 10 tracks of charged, daring and even
groovy rock. Renowned for their energy and anthems, The
Argument proves that Fugazi can also be found to exist in a
beautiful groove. The vibrating karma of "Nightshop" or the
stormy dynamics of "Oh," head straight for your pulse and
massage you with rhythm.
Although the band has always intentionally pushed their
sound, The Argument continues down the more experimental
path begun on 1995's Red Medicine. Fugazi has always been
known as having intense guitar work, exploding and crashing
on a jazzy bass and drum section. On this album, that configu-
ration seems to be reversing itself. The Argument marks the
first studio appearance of longtime roadie and live co-drum-
mer, Jerry Bushell. That's right, Fugazi sometimes uses two

drummers live, simultaneously. In other words, Fugazi is play-
ing "rock" music where the guitars are "equally" sharing the
stage with the bass and drums. Think about that for a second.
Like Dylan, the beauty of Fugazi is that they sing about
ideas, without being "preachy." It enlightens you with songs
about injustice, inequality and basic humanity without the
posturing or the didactic hypocrisy of Rage Against the
Machine. In "Cashout," Mackaye laments that real estate bro-
kers (like in Ann Arbor) are always increasing the rent, so to
get more wealthier people into their properties, which then
increases the property value, screws poor people and legit-
imizes the ever-increasing rent cycle ... without it sounding
like a "personal" tirade.
It is, in fact, the layers, the grooves, and the "truth" of The
Argument that will convince you.
Grade: A

10 New Songs, Leonard Cohen; Sony Music
By Keith N. Dusenberry
Daily Arts Writer
Proposal for the Naming and Classifying of
Two New Ailments:
NAME: Leonard Cohen's Disease (LCD)
TYPE: Musical; Usually Terminal
Symptoms: After making a string of mostly
quality albums, a musician begins experimenting
with his usual sound and attempts something
new and "innovative." Though sometimes suc-
cessful (Ween) and occasionally recoverable
(Dylan), this apparent step forward usually finds
a given.artist placing his foot squarely on a land
mine, leaving him to watch his career explode
before his eyes. This malady's namesake,
Leonard Cohen, is not the first musician to suf-
fer from it nor, sadly, the last. Other contempo-
rary cases include Sloan and Radiohead; and
Belle and Sebastian are beginning to develop
serious symptoms. Just as someone should (at
least temporarily) take away Thom Yorke's sam-
pler, they should also smash Cohen's drum
machine and synthesizers.
TREATMENT: All Cohen (and Yorke, Sloan and

Belle and Sebastian) needs for a while are his
voice and his old acoustic guitar. If he beings to
show progress, the attending musical doctor may
slowly add bass guitar, and ,eventually even
drums, back into the musician's diet. Effects
pedals, samplers and collaborators (see below)
should be reinstated only with the most promis-
ing of patients.
NAME: Brian Wilson Syndrome (BWS)
TYPE: Musical; Usually Serial and/or Terminal
Symptoms: Like the junkie who eventually
turns to mainlining cough syrup, an older musi-
cian inevitably looks toward collaborating as a
way of rejuvenating his career. BWS is far more
serious than a mere one-time duet. Contraction
of BWS requires prolonged, painful addiction to
one musical "partner." On his new album, 10
New Songs, Leonard Cohen shares writing and
singing credit with Sharon Robinson. Robinson
(like Wilson's former "psychiatrist" Eugene
Landy) coaxed Cohen out of his mountaintop
retreat and into the studio. But Cohen's new
record suffers tremendously under Robinson's
guidance. The synthesizers and drum machines
are back, and now Robinson adds her superflu-
ous vocals and half-realized, midi-derived musi-
cal backings all over the album, only

occasionally feeling it necessary to prop Cohen
before a mic and make him sing.
His voice sounds as good as ever, but Robin-
son's production does its best to try and show
that she's the real star here, just waiting for
recognition. Right. Other contemporary cases of
BWS include Elvis Costello and Burt
Bacharach's mutually destructive partnership,
and Cat Stevens' on-going collaboration with
Allah. Any one of these artists might have a mas-
terpiece left in them, though Bacharach's case is
especially doubtful, so treatment may be worth-
while.
TREATMENT: Separating the patient from the
collaborator is essential to curing BWS. Once
the patient can again work by himself, release
him from your custody, but continue monitoring
him. Should he attempt to return to his old col-
laborator or find a new one, immediately place
the patient under your care again and treat the
addiction. If, however, the patient begins work-
ing again on his own or simply sits in a corner
babbling about various vegetables and how he
used to hang with Charlie Manson, let him be. A
masterpiece may be on its way.

a

Grade: C

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