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April 04, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-04

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 4, 2003 - 8


The Libertines and justice for all

By Katie Marie Gates
Daily TV/New Media Editor

By Andrew Jovanovski
Daily Arts Writer
The Libertines debut LP Up the
Bracket is a veritable history of British
rock that is fused with garage-rock
revivalism. With Mick Jones's (The

In January of 1998, "Dawson's Creek" presented a
contemporary coming-of-age drama for the hopeless
romantic. Putting an overly analytical, Spielberg-
obsessed 15-year-old at the forefront, the show revealed
the pains and excitement of growing up in a small seaside
town. As a mid-season replacement,
"Dawson's Creek" shocked audiences' Dawson's
with its advanced vocabulary and C
controversial storylines, but soon Creek
became a favorite to many. Columbia
Now, as the series comes to a -
much-needed end next month, fans have the opportunity
to relive the beginning of this popular WB drama with the
first season on DVD. Showcasing 13 episodes on three
discs, Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen start 10th grade at
Capeside High with sweaty palms and enough sexual ten-
sion to entice us, even as adults.
Season one producers Kevin Williamson and Paul
Stupin provide commentary tracks for the first aind last
episodes in the set, nostalgically offering lively conversa-
tion about the creation of the series. Though Williamson
is now unaffiliated with the program, his additions are
heartfelt, describing the series as a reflection of his youth.
Discussion is interesting and ranges from the controversy
surrounding the teacher-student affair story line to the
difficulties of filming both in L.A. and on location in
Wilmington, N.C.
Also included are two featurettes entitled "Dawson's
Day One" and "Time Capsule." In the former, Stupin and
Williamson elaborate on the casting and producing of the
show, often reiterating remarks from their commentary
pieces. The latter showcases the four young actors and
their feelings about the show prior to its debut. Present
day commentary from the stars would have been a great
comparative addition, but is not included.
The DVD lacks in packaging that is visually appealing
yet disappoints in its superficial episode summaries and

Clash) bare-bones
production, the
London four-piece
succeeds in creat-
ing an intelligent,
energetic sound
that is damn fun
and thoroughly

Up the
Rough Trade

Thishas led many critics to proclaim
the Libertines as Britain's answer to the
Strokes. But the band offers more than
just lame Strokes retreads.
"Time for Heroes" is a punk-poetic
rumination on love and civil unrest with
scathing lyrics ("There are fewer more
distressing sight than that of an English-
man in a baseball cap") that would do
Morrissey proud.
Carl Bardt, the band's other vocalist,
nails Paul Weller's signature euphonic
interplay between punk snarls and
British invasion harmonies. The nervy
title-track especially sounds like it was
left off of All Mod Cons.
All the while rocking out like their
garage-rock contemporaries, the Lib-
ertines still manage to approach the
greatness of the Kinks and the Smiths
- and other bands known for combin-
ing satire of society with beguiling gui-
tar-pop - on "Up the Bracket" and
even more so on "Tell the King."

"Vertigo" and "Death on the Stairs"
start the album off with Strokes-esque
catchiness, rich yet efficient drums and
forceful guitars - even co-vocalist Pete
Doherty sounds like a cockney Julian

While Up the Bracket may sound like
it's a haphazard regurgitation of proven
classics, the Libertines aren't simply
capitalizing on the success of the
Strokes or being copycats. It's the ener-
gy, the blending of influences and the
uniquely British three-minute-catchy-
approach that make the album.

Chicago's brainy Califone returns

By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer

unmarked discs. Dolby Surround Sound is also provided,
but with full screen presentation the show is no better cal-
iber than off the TV five years ago. Impressively, English,
Spanish, Portuguese and Korean subtitles are available.
With the series finale fast approaching, this DVD set is
an excellent opportunity to look back on better times for
the now overdone drama and remember how a story
about growing up seemed to mean so much more.

Califone front man Tim Rutili and percussionist Ben Mas-
sarella cut their teeth in mid-90s alt- ._......._..__
blues outcasts Red Red Meat. That Califone
band's progression into industrial per-
cussion and noise yielded Califone, with Quicksand/
Rutili and Massarella still comprising Cradlesnakes
the creative core. Califone's Roomsound, Thrill Jockey
its exposure catapulted by an unlikely
sales push on Amazon.com, was full of throbbing, dirty
Americana. A subsequent collection of EP's further show-
cased the band's skillful synthesis of noise and song craft.
Despite earlier successes, Quicksand/Cradlesnakes is the

first time the band sounds fully in control of their art. Mas-
sarella's percussive aggression has taken a backseat to Rutili's
increasing songwriting skill: Rusty guitar strumming lays the
foundation for Rutili's expressive voice, as he draws potent
surrealist imagery out of his earthy intonations. The combina-
tion evokes an old-world aesthetic, albeit one filled with
buzzing frets, crossed eyes and "egg white fire."
Some songs, like the brief "Million Dollar Funeral," draw
clearly from America's past, building off of nothing more than
a fiddle and a guitar. Others, like "Vampiring Again" is a
smooth fusion of pop hooks and traditional instruments. The
nostalgic breeze of "Michigan Girls" and the slow, beautiful
climb of "Horoscopic.Amputation.Honey" are the most com-
pelling, realized pieces the band has ever produced, effective-
ly mixing their roots-pop with a beautiful wash of static and
feedback. It's a testament to the band's talent that they are as
passionate and studious about music's history as its future.

Show: ***
Picture/Sound: ***
Features: ***

DVD showcases the best of 'Blue'

Kinski explores the joys
of pure noise on 'Station'
By Andrew M. GaerIg
Daily Arts Writer


By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
When it debuted back in 1993,
"NYPD Blue" became a groundbreak-
ing series, setting standards for the
police drama and leaving a permanent
mark on the televi- _
sion landscape.
Presenting an NYPD Blue:
unflinching look at Season One
the life of New 20th Century Fox
York City detec-
tives with its provocative storytelling
and envelope-pushing realism,tthe
show skillfully navigated between the
characters' troubled personal lives and
thesordid cases they worked
This no-holds-barred style often
included language and sexuality that
was previously unheard of on network
television, causing quite a stir but also
helping to garner it the attention that

earned a record-breaking 27 Emmy
nominations in the first season.
Today, the show's formulaic pattern
can't hold its own with other genre-
busting fare like "The Shield," but the
release of"NYPD Blue: Season 01" on
DVD lets us revisit a time when it was
a rare treat to hear the words "dick-
head" and "asshole" on primetime tele-
vision. All of the first season's 22
episodes are compiled on six discs, pre-
sented in 1.33:1 full screen video and
Dolby Digital Surround 4.0.
The best reason to own this box-set is
for the one-and-only chance to catch the
remarkable chemistry between David
Caruso's John Kelley and Dennis Franz'
Andy Sipowicz. As detectives in Man-
hattan's 15th police precinct, Caruso, as
the fiery and tormented Kelly and Franz
as his alcoholic, racist partner, turn in
extraordinarily gritty, gutsy performanc-
es. Their compelling personal stories,
wrapped in a complex, powerful rela-
tionship, drove "NYPD Blue" for much

of the first season, from Sipowicz' near
fatal shooting in the pilot episode to
Kelly's ongoing divorce to D.D.A.
Laura Kelly (Sherry Stringfield, "ER").
Though it's impossible to accurately
capture all the initial hype of "NYPD
Blue" a decade later, the extras,
although not lacking in quantity, don't
sufficiently articulate the audience's
reaction to this revolutionary show, par-
ticularly in the case of David Caruso's
newfound scorching status.
Creators Steven Bochco and David
Milch brazenly recount their battles
over the raw dialogue and question-
ably gratuitous nudity throughout the
set, most notably on their running
audio commentary on some of the
episodes and various bonus fea-
turettes. But the informative hour-long
"Making of Season One" documen-
tary often takes the politically correct
route, devoting only a paltry few min-
utes to Caruso's on-set diatribes and
his subsequent exit.

Prior to signing with indie giant Sub
Pop, Kinski had been putzing around
the Northwest making pleasant, if
unspectacular instrumental rock. On

their third full-
length, Airs Above
Your Station, Kins-
ki finally starts to
sound like the fire
breathing guitar
monster they've
been hailed as.

Airs Above
Your Station
Sub Pop Records

Extras aside, "NYPD Blue" remains
a beautifully crafted, stunningly acted
portrait of urban realism that will
surely go down as one of television's
great shows.
Show: ****
Picture/Sound: ***
Features: ***1

Indeed, "Schedule for Using Pillows
& Beanbags" and "Semaphore" con-
tain enough paint-peeling feedback
and rhythmic thrust to rattle speakers,
and enough stomp box abuse to keep
the headphones buzzing: Problems,

however, persist: the band still wears
its influences on a giant, flashing neon
and the slower passages will wear on
even the staunchest post-rock veterans.
Kinski, however, draw just enough
energy from their sick guitar indul-
gence to make their mark on a stagnant
instrumental rock scene.

'CSI' cracks the case on
incomplete first season set

Philly's Kindred kicks the smooth soul

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Writer
Whenever Jerry Bruckheimer's
name is mentioned, thoughts immedi-
ately turn to crappy over-budgeted
action films. However, his recent

foray into TV has
been nothing but
outstanding with
the introduction
of "CSI" back in
Now it is TV's

CSI: Season

problems and personalities; however,
the show keeps their personal lives to
a minimum. "CSI" is all about the
crime and shows it through gruesome
images and flashbacks.
The DVD set features a quality pic-
ture transfer, but the episodes are all in
full screen. CBS airs the show in the
HD format with widescreen, but
instead decided to include only the
standard full screen version. Similarly
the audio is acceptable, but nothing
noteworthy. The set is lacking signifi-
cantly in the extras department. Aside
from the nice packaging, all that is
available are character profiles, a brief
featurette and a music video with the
theme song. Noticeably absent is a
commentary track, which would have
been incredibly interesting considering
the complex nature of the cases and
technology used in the series.
While "CSI" is a great show, the
lack of extras and the high cost keeps
this set from getting a strong recom-

By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
!MUsic R IEW
The Iladelph has always been a breeding ground for great
music, from the O'Jays to the Roots. Thus it is appropriate
that the town which produced the family-loving Intruders -
who memorably crystallized the Philly soul sound with their
classic "I'll Always Love My Mama"
- has now given music the husband-
and-wife team Kindred the Family Kindred the
Soul, contemporary soul's latest cham- Family Soul
pions and innovators. Comprised of Surrender to
Fatin Dantzler, Aja Graydon and their Love
10-piece band, Kindred's Surrender to
Love is an auspicious 14-track musical Hidden Beach Records
adventure that draws upon various gen-
res and eras, blending together diverse elements into a
coherent and melodic gem.
The record's lead single, "Far Away," hints at the duo's
sincere appreciation for music and deft songwriting ability.
Boasting Fatin's soothing voice, Aja's soulful vocals, a
wonderful strings arrangement and one robust guitar solo,
"Far Away" is a subtly energetic paean that examines the
complicated lives that two people in love must navigate
given the complications that result from external demands.
The rest of the tracks on Surrender are equally involved

and intricate, and the battery of musical influences that
Kindred readily cites in interviews and bios are clear when
one contrasts "Party's Over" - a track that infuses hip-hop
with an Earth, Wind and Fire vibe - with "Don't Wanna
Suffer (Carbon Copy)" - a song teeming with funk energy
and James Brown-type horns. Music lovers will find Kin-
dred's beautiful blend of styles endlessly entertaining, as
they will likely marvel at the obvious connections that can
be made to distinct artists like Steely Dan and Roy Ayers.
Surrender is an easy listen, as well, and those less
inclined toward attentive listening will find that Kindred
has made a wonderfully ambient record that can establish
a relaxed tone - in the car, at work, at home - without
the overt sexuality of Jodeci or the monotonous sterility
of Surface.
The record's primary deficiency is that some songs seem
too tired. There is a fine line between mellow and bland,
and Kindred unfortunately passes from the former to the
latter at times, like on "What Happens Now." Thankfully,
these musical transgressions are limited in number and fre-
quency: There are no dead spots on this record where, for
instance, three songs in sequence are all unappealing.
That phenomenon is all too common in R&B, a genre
that suffers from too many hackneyed songs and dispos-
able records. However, Kindred successfully avoids the pit-
fall and delivers a soul-music lover's playground in which
he or she can get lost in the instrumental intricacy and
vocal dexterity.

top-rated drama and with good rea-
son. "CSI" thrives because of empha-
sis on the case and not the characters.
William Peterson's Gil Grissom is the
focal point of the show as the idiosyn-
cratic scientist in charge of the Las
Vegas night shift of crime scene
investigators. His crew includes four
members, all of whom have individual

mendation. The show is one of televi-
sion's best and it strived even in its
inaugural season. "CSI: The Com-
plete First Season" captures some
great episodes but could have been a
much more complete set for fans of
the series.

Show: ****
Picture/Sound: ***
Features: *


617 Packard
Upstairs from
Paying $4 to $6
for top CD's in
top condition.
Also buying
premium LP's
and cassettes.


.... "C



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