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March 26, 2002 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-26

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 26, 2002

0

BREAKING

RECORDS

REVIEWS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S NEW RELEASES

TAKING BACK SUNDAY
TELL YOUR FRIENDS
VICTORY RECORDS
By Tony Ding
For the Daily
Before their debut album Tell All
Your Friends hit shelves today, Long
Island natives Taking Back Sunday
were already stirring up ripples
within punk's pop-polluted pond.
The five-piece ensemble and this
highly anticipated debut had been
headlining circuit shows and spread-
ing demos since its inception less
than two years ago. Then, with their
inclusion on New York's under-
ground Dying Wish Record's Sept.
II tribute compilation, From Brook-
lyn With Love, the Taking Back Sun-
day name took off. In truth, this
album is part of a new diversion for
TBS' enthusiastic maiden label as
well as Victory's traditional, well
respected lineup of teeth-crunching,
hardcore makes TBS' vocalist Adam
Lazzara's occasional despotic
screams seem like lullabies.
The album conveys a desire for
control - it's frustrating to listen to
while sitting down. TBS' record
demands acceleration, for listeners

to floor the pedal, peel out and
smack violently to a halt. In
essence, Tell All Your Friends spills
out awash in a volatile, polymeric
apercu. Taking Back Sunday's
rhythmic lament and cardiac beats
pound like a hyperbolic nexus to
emo-failsafes Saves the Day and
Dashboard Confessional. If you
sense hints of emo with TBS, it's
not a coincidence, as guitarist Eddie
Reyes had an early stint with fellow
Long Island emo-rockers, The
Movielife.
The 10-track album is littered
with cute, generic, melodramatic
repertoires that, coupled with the
multi-harmonic tempos, stick in
your head until you find yourself
unconscientiously humming to it on
your morning commute. It's college
rock, and it's the guy crying shame-
lessly over that bitch who'll
"destroy us all before she's through
and find a way to blame somebody
else." Whether it's "You Know How
I do," in a spastic theme-strung
opener, or the emocore hybrid
"Timberwolves At New Jersey," Tell
All Your Friends is as disjointed as
it is versatile. The band's bifocal
harmonies are almost unheard of
and are certainly huge factors that

6

set these budding young musicians
apart from the pack.
The fact that TBS is juvenile in
form also helps them to stand out
and perspire freshness. Only now,
the rising'upstarts may likewise do
well to be wary of diving headfirst
into the mainstreaming current of a
successor's commercialization. If
they show up on next year's MTV2
Handpicked, it could be a sign of
their maturity. But, if their yet-to-be
made video ends up being plugged
by a creepy stoned VJ on TRL, then
Taking Back Sunday will probably
have forgotten what their punk mar-
riage vows stood for.

THE WALKMAN
EVERYONE WHO PRETENDED TO LIKE ME IS
GONE
STARTIME RECORDS
By Gena Pensiero
Daily Arts Writer
Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone by the
NYC group The Walkmen begins with a montage of
sound and a guy crooning somewhat incoherently.
The Walkmen, remnants of Jonathan Fire Eater, write
songs that resemble up-tempo post-punk a bit and clear-
ly have Brian Eno elements. What stands out most about
the album is the way that the songs are arranged and
juxtaposed so that the mood remains consistent and
seamless. The album is deep and somewhat dramatic,
but in a genuine way.
While the sound is definitely interesting, it does tend
to get old after a few songs. What keeps the album uni-
fied is also what eventually makes it a little boring.
However, some tracks like "Wake Up" and "French
Vacation" keep you listening.
Also, if you're an audiophile, this albums is a lot of
fun. The band is hyper tone-conscious, as is apparent on
"Stop Talking," where a very good, vintage, hollow-
body tone rings through the arrangement.

0
0
S

RUSTED ROOT
WELCOME TO MY PARTY
ISLAND RECORDS

By Scott Serilla
Daily Arts Writer

Still, this is clearly a disc to be depressed to - or one
that will eventually cause you to do so.
That said, bring on the gloom, doom, falsetto and joy
division influence.

SANDER KLEINENBERG
ESSENTIAL MIX
FFRR/ESSENTIAL
By Will Yates
Daily Arts Writer
Sander Kleinenberg's Essential
Mix is the latest in a series of DJ
mix albums being released by
the Essential label; other contrib-
utors to the series include such
big names as Carl Cox, DJ
Skribble and Grandmaster Flash.
For those not in the know, the
concept behind a mix CD is to
reproduce the experience of a
DJ's live set for the listener's
home enjoyment. The DJ selects
several tracks produced by large-
ly obscure artists and blends
them together using turntables or
studio equipment, thus forging a
new, cohesive piece that fits
neatly into a CD's 80-minute run
time. As might be expected from,
the emphasis on simulating the
live experience, a mix CD gener-
ally follows certain formulas. A
DJ plans his live set with the
audience in mind, focusing on
building hard, driving rhythms to
a peak of intensity and then
dropping out the beat, only to
start the cycle over again. The
synth flourishes, the vocal sam-
ples, the more delicate
polyrhythms etc. are there to
maintain interest and foster

development, but the real focus
is the basic drumbeat. When
translating
a live set
to album
DJ must
this focus
on the beat
boring the
how suc -
cessful he
is at
a c c o m -
plishing
this task is
the meas-
ure of the
mix CD's worth.
Kleinenberg's style of choice
is progressive house, which I
like to think of as trance's alder,
more sophisticated brother: The
requisite four-to-the-floor kick
drum, the synth bass squelches
and the arena-sized energy level
that gives rave kids wet dreams.
The key difference, at least in
Kleinenberg's case, is that pro-
gressive house largely forgoes
trance's overwrought synth
melodies, instead deriving its
emotional weight from layered
polyrhythms and rawer drum
sounds. On his Essential Mix,
Kleinenberg never does much to

stray from this sound. If this
album has any significant weak-
ness, it is
that he
adheres a
little too
closely to
the stereo-
..,..-.~..typical
progres-
sive sound.
The CD's
only real
surprises
are the
gorgeous
synth
chords of
Redanka's
"Out of
the Dark"
and the female vocals and break-
beat of Blackwatch and Greed's
"Gentle Rain (Jacked High
Remix)." But where one might
call Kleinenberg unadventurous,
another might prefer consistent.
His selections are always taste-
ful, and, even when the energy
lags at some points, the beat and
the production remain solid and
satisfying throughout. Kleinen-
berg's Essential Mix is hardly an
innovative album, but it will cer-
tainly not disappoint fans of the
style, and it might just be the
revelation necessary to win pro-
gressive house a few new con-
verts. J, A ,a

Almost time for Hash Bash already? Oh man, just when
you got the smell of weed out of your favorite tie-dye and
Dad's old jean jacket. Comes earlier and earlier every year
doesn't it dude?
To coincide with Ann Arbor's annual dance with Lady
Ganja, Pittsburgh's favorite Jam-meisters, Rusted Root, will
be releasing their fourth album, Welcome To My Party, April
9th. Even though Root has continued its omnipresent touring
cycle, Welcome is the band's first studio record in four years
and their first since switching labels from Polygram to
Island.
Despite its cult following and reputation for selling out
theaters, the multi-instrumentalist group has found the suc-
cess of their major label debut, 1994s When I Woke, elusive.
That record went platinum, largely due to the hit "Send Me
On My Way," and opened doors, allowing the band to warm
up for Page and Plant on their comeback tour, as well as
gaining them a spot on the Horde Tours.
Welcome seems formulated to recuperate that initial flirt
with mainstream commercial success. Original member,
vocalist Jenn Wertz has rejoined the group and Bill Bottrell,
best known for producing Sheryl Crow, When I Woke and
co-writing "Black or White" for Michael Jackson, is back
behind the boards.
However, Bottrell's commercially-geared production hurts
the record, stifling the sextet when he should be rejuvenating
them and failing to capture their live energy. Welcome comes
across as too tidy and slick - too "Hey VH1, look at me!"
The result is an album of listenable, if over-polished and
unspectacular material. The shame here is that lead
singer/songwriter Michael Glabicki has crafted his most
consistent collection of songs to date, but the over-refine-
ment of Bottrell's production obscures this.
While Root's more traditional sound came from a mixture
of various rock genres and multicultural rhythms, Welcome
makes an ill-advised decision to separate styles, with uneven
BREAKING RECORDS STAR
* i i * * CLASSIC
*GREAT V If you missel
BREAKINGI
* * * FAIR check the ar
* * SUB-PAR www.michi
WORTHLESS

results. Funk seems a pretty safe pick on "Union 7" and
"Weave," as does the straight ahead folk-rock of "Sweet
Mary." Reggae and pop balladry are both toss-ups though,
with "Women Got My Money," and the title track coming
across better than "Too Much" and "Blue Diamonds."
The trademark percussion instrumentals are foregone in
favor of an experiment with electronic drum loops. Again it's
not terrible by any means, just unremarkable. Root usually
leans heavily on their rhythm section in live performances,
but their unique abilities are largely glossed over here.
It makes sense that Rusted Root wants to expand their
range and move past the jam-band scene. Making doped-up
hippie kids noodle dance isn't particularly challenging. A
flute solo here, a conga fill there, and they'll shake their
unwashed, suburban asses. But Welcome To My Party isn't
really a departure and in their hearts Root knows they need
their hardcore fans in the long run. So, when the band rolls
into the Michigan on May 1, expect the jamming to be there
the same as always, but check out if the songs from Welcome
benefit or suffer as a result. The difference will prove crucial
for the band's future.
SYSTEM THINK WE'RE A
BUNCH OF SNOB.7
a k ofN YOU DO
RECORDS BETTER
chives at COME T 420
andaily. com MYNARD AN
JOIN ARTs.

From Noh drama to screaming chimps, come

From Noh drama to screaming chimps, come
investigate the expressions of..
E/Motion: The Feeling Body
The Media Union Gallery
North Campus
March 22-31, 2002

if you're looking for an extraordinary

framn C minccllnr ;isa,,02r-rnIundl

it

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