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April 09, 2003 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-09

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8 - The Michigan Daily - April, April 9, 2003



Nutty dance seniors say farewell

By Rachel Berry
For the Daily

By Alex WoIsky
Daily Arts Writer

In addition to their cutting edge diversity, defiant inde-
pendence and restless creative ambition - three attributes
which virtually guarantee praise - it is no wonder why Yo
La Tengo have been described as the quintessential critic's
band. So often compared to the Velvet Underground that
they even portrayed the legendary group in the 1996 film
"I Shot Andy Warhol," the Hoboken, N.J.-based unit has
explored the extremes of the sonic realm. Abundant and
buoyant, Yo La Tengo have ultimately passed beyond the
limit of their innumerable influences to settle themselves
as a stronghold of the indie community.
When their 2000 release And Then Nothing Turned Itself
Inside-Out graced headphones, it had become glaringly
apparent that YLT had reached a new __....___.__
echelon of society - adulthood. The Yo La Tengo
trio that brought us the head twisting,
Garden-state, art school rock of I Can Summer Sun
Hear the Heart Beating as One had Matador
become what rebel youth fear: their
parents. In fact, they were thirtysomethings lost in the
musical world they helped foster, built on youth and hostil-
ity. But what came out of it was a sample of the sonic
genius of the suburbs, and when night fell on Hoboken,
one was left to dream of what would happen the next day
when YLT would rise again.
Well, that new day is now and the album is one of the
year's best. Not shying away from unabashed creativity
which brought them here in the first place, the trio has
seemingly rebuilt the sounds of the season by dropping the
distortion and delving deeper into the sublime with their
latest release, Summer Sun.
Fueled by the same motivation behind their suburban
soundtrack, the trio returns with a seemingly confident
stature rooted in the same experimental visions that saw
them through the past decade. This is progression that
becomes more impressive when one considers the almost
proven fact that most bands fade away into mediocrity
after as long as YLT has been around.
The ethereal and tenuous "Beach Party Tonight" is a
sensory-driven invitation to the beaches of North Jersey

When I first saw the poster with
the label that read "This Product May
Contain Peanuts," I immediately
thought of trail mix with an assort-
ment of nuts, pretzels, seeds, raisins
and, of course, chocolate chips.
While each of
these ingredients
is tasty, they are This Product
never as satisfy- May Contain
ing individually Peanuts
as they are when Thursday -Saturday
combined into the at 8 p.m.
entity known as Tickets $5
trail mix. The At the Betty Pease
grab bag of Studio
pieces in the pro-
duction of "This Product May Con-
tain Peanuts," choreographed by six
of the Department of Dance's gradu-
ating seniors, is guaranteed to pro-
vide an equally fulfilling experience.
Each year the graduating dance
majors put together a show to display
how they have synthesized their
training at the university. In addition
to choreography they are in charge of

casting, costuming and promotion.
Though producing a show for these
first time choreographers is daunting,
they have been preparing for this
moment since entering the university
by taking a series of choreography
and production classes.
Their approaches to developing
ideas into a finished product are as
diverse as the group's experiences,
but each has a story that pertains to
her development as a person and as
an artist. When choreographer Abi-
gail Sebaly's mother suffered from a
fractured skull last spring, Sebaly
came up with the idea for "Bread and
Circus" as an attempt to deal con-
structively with her frustrations of
not being with her mother. Drawing
from her second major in English,
she synthesized her literary back-
ground with her dance experience. In
a series of vignettes staged around
tables, which signify a place of dis-
cussing issues, "Bread and Circus"
tells the story of a dinner party gone
awry. Though the piece is deeply per-
sonal at times, Sebaly succeeds in
her attempt to create a work of uni-
versal appeal by balancing the inten-
sity, a guest smashing a strand of
pearls with the comedic break of a

grown man playing a toy piano.
Sebaly incorporates the symbol-
ism of the piano into the solo that
she must also perform to graduate.
Her mother, who is in the process of
recovering, will accompany Sebaly
in her solo with Braham's "Some-
how We Grow to be Grateful," a
piece she used to play for her when
she was a child. Recalling that her
mother used to say, "It should be
played as if it were being danced,"
Sebaly said, "It's a nice period at the
end of the sentence."
In contrast with the intensity of
Sebaly's contributions, Patricia Mar-
tin explores the connection between
animals and man in "Babe." Anna
Beard uses classical ballet and mod-
ern technique to offer a glimpse into
life backstage in "Out of Sight."
Kathleen Boyer's dancers explore the
emotions of everyday life as stu-
dents, women and artists in "Intro-
duction to the Angel." Four soloists
explore two aspects of metaphor
through movement in "Tenor and
Vehicle," and, with a heavily Paul
Taylor-influenced work, Leslie Lam-
berson's "Apogee" closes the show
with an exploration of the boundaries
of grace and Classicism.

for the weekend. The listener is taken from a day in the
water into the raucous, nocturnal beach-party. However,
the band stays true to their "Cherry Chapstick" roots of
addictive guitar licks and jazz-affiliated rhythms
throughout the album. The morning sunrise of "Little
Eyes" coupled with the ironically depressing "Season of
the Shark" and "Tiny Birds" create the best A-side of
any Yo La Tengo album to date.
Underneath the buzzing amplifiers waits the growing
climax of the back-yard jam session. From Georgia
Hubley's instrumental talent show, "Georgia v. Yo La
Tengo" to the "Moonrock Mambo," we find the band
relaxing and falling into the effervescent sunset.
However, the most stunning example of YLT's new-
found creativity shines on the album's near-closer
"Let's Be Still." The 10-minute adventure into the mind
of three of music's most inventive characters accompa-
nied by a flurry of horns is where Summer Sun peaks
and there's a looming feeling that all things come to an
end. The band winds its way down with their tribute to
Dick Dale and Big Star, "Take Care," a beautiful send-
off that proves that the last days of summer never
sounded so good.

No growng pains on Thicke's World'

By Joseph Litman
Daily Arts Writer

There must be some way to stop Vaux

By Nlamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer
The half-assed punk rock/metal mix,
or as Vaux dubs themselves, hardcore

rock is often loud
and garish, but it
has its little
charms. Some
bands have right-
eous guitar riffs;
some have intrigu-
ing lyrics. Unfor-

There Must Be
Some Way to
Stop Them
Volcom Entertainment

monotonous sound, both in the lead
singer's voice and the overused instru-
mental, the record is easily one of the
most confused attempts at originality
this year.
The lead singer is perhaps the prime
example of Vaux's indistinct sound.
His voice fluctuates from a whining,
bland muttering to a droning, unbear-
able screech and continues in the same
manner for every track. There is
absolutely no variation or intonation
for emotion throughout, not that the
lyrics require much emotional attach-
ment anyway. The majority stem from
banal cliches and lame conspiracy the-
ory ideology. It's nothing more than the
worn-out rhetoric of "They're out to

get us" and "We're all mindless
machines" routine.
While the musicians in the band
show slightly more promise, the
melody is still nothing to write home
about. Each track is strangely reminis-
cent of the last and ends up being over-
shadowed as a result of the painful
vocal stylings. What remains is barely
audible, but perhaps that alone is
something to praise.
Some bands can pull off an unde-
fined genre classification with some
individuality. Vaux achieves the exact
opposite, creating an ambiguous sound
that is neither characteristic nor inno-
vative in any field, and instead adopts a
label as a waste of time.

,MUsic REVI EW ***I
For a while, it seemed like Robin
Thicke might go the way of Michael
Fredo and become a one commercial
wonder, never following through on
the promotion he received seemingly
prematurely. After all, he's been on
television for a while. However,
unlike Fredo, Tommy Hilfiger's
would-have-been pop sensation,
Sprite pitchman Thicke shows that
like his fellow
endorser Kobe ' " "
Bryant, he's got Thicke
game. A Beautiful
A Beautiful World
World is anR
engaging, soul- Interscope Records
ful, genre-tran-
scending album that will
intermittently remind fans of the
Beatles, Stevie Wonder and the Jack-
son 5 as it completes its ever-chang-
ing 14-track musical adventure.
Those and myriad other noteworthy
influences become readily apparent
when one hears the harmonious cho-
rus of "Oh Shooter," Thicke's strong
lead vocals on "Suga Mama" or the
invigorating guitar rhythm in "I'm A

Be Alright," a track that at times
sounds like a 21st century reimagin-
ing of the Isley's hit "Fight the Pow-
ers That Be." In short, Thicke brings
with him a broad and genuine musi-
cal interest that will definitely
intrigue if not capture a wide array
of listeners.
Thicke's comfort in performing
the various styles in which he drapes
himself makes it difficult to isolate a
few especially notable tracks on
Beautiful because he performs funk,
rock, soul and salsa with equal ease.
Audiences will likely most readily
recognize "When I Get You Alone,"
Thicke's interpolation of Walter
Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven,"
because it was featured in his Sprite
plug. Instead, though, his real talent
seems to be his chameleon-like
musical identity. Thicke's range and
presence is reminiscent of fellow
label-challenging neophyte Cody
ChesnuTT, however Thicke receives
more help than ChesnuTT did on his
The Headphone Masterpiece.
On this record, Thicke primarily
plays piano and sings while an
excellent back up band makes his
writing come alive through deft per-
cussion, active bass, strong guitar
and some additional keys. The proj-
ect is also enlivened by Thicke's

charisma, which both seeps through
the speakers as he performs and
likely influences the range of topics
in his songs. He goes from the pur-
posely absurd "Make a Baby" to the
heartfelt "The Stupid Things" all the
while including references to shoot-
ing free throws, watching flowers
blossom and "batting lefty when he
knows he's alright."
The primary problem on Beautiful
is that some songs can be flat at
times when Thicke diverges toward
barer sounding material. However,
there are growing pains inherent in
the musical exploration in which
Thicke engages and the minor short-
comings should not be used as rea-
sons to stifle his creativity.

tunately, Vaux's newest album, There
Must Be Some Way to Stop Them, has
no claim to any such flair. With its


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