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September 24, 2002 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-24

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ART S

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 7

BREAKING

RECORDS

REVIEWS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S NEW RELEASES

DOUG MARTSCH
Now You KNow
WARNER RECORDS
By Scott Serilla
Daily Music Editor
On his solo debut, Built to Spill frontman Doug
Martsch drops the kaleidoscopic indie guitar textures
that have been his band's hallmark in favor of bringing
the blues back to its original home of ... Boise?
Yes the pride of the remote Idaho rock scene is
going back to the Delta with Now You Know, a collec-

tion acoustic blues songs built around Martsch's new
found love of slide guitar. Taking a cue from the likes
of Blind Willie Johnson and Mississippi Fred McDow-
ell, Martsch manages to put together a record of decep-
tively simple blues tunes that if nothing else steers
clear of being overly imitative or condescending.
We always knew Martsch was a rarely talented
musician, but the relentlessly inventive tones and
angular melodies that defined Built to Spill's best
work on '94s There's Nothing Wrong With Love and
'97s Perfect From Now On sometimes obscured just
how good he can be. On "Window" and the appropri-
ately titled "Instrumental" Martsch delivers easily
some of the most beautiful and unadorned licks of his
career, especially when matched with the subtle string
work that underpins parts of the record.
As always, Martsch's Neil Young-like whine is bit
jarring at first, but begins to slowly grow on the lis-
tener. His lyrics also follow his playing, moving
towards more straightforward material as opposed to
more complex and intricate stories made classics like
"Twin Falls" and "Fling."
The only real problem with disc? So much slide gets
old kinda quick. Since Jack White has made blues
influenced rock once again fashionable, there is bound
to be a wave of crappy white boys trying to play the
blues, instead of causing them. Martsch is absolved of
those charges, but this record comes across more as a
little to similar sounding filler, a way to buy time in
between Built to Spill releases.
Anyways he'll never be a real bluesman until he
gets a cool blues name. My votes are going to either
Blind Potato Martsch or Little Douglas-Marsh.
RATING: ***

DIsco BISCUITS
SENOR BOOMBOX
MEGAFORCE
By Laurence J. Freedman
For the Daily

BREAKING RECORDS STAR SYSTEM

Known for putting on a memo-
rable live show, The Disco Biscuits
have been leaving concert-goers
exhausted since 1996. Their full-on
assault of jam-rock tinged with driv-
ing often quirky electronica, an
incredibly satisfying fix for those
who enjoy both genres of music.
Rarely though has the band recorded
anything in the studio that is up to
par with their live work.
2001 brought the computer-pro-
duced They Missed The Perfume was a
trippy electronic record that earned
accolades from many facets of the
musical community, but was less

accessible to the rock fans and too con-
ceptual to encourage laid-back listen-
ing. As the Biscuits' repertoire has
expanded .to include more beautiful
music along with sinister and fist-
pumping tunes, a studio album reflect-
ing this evolution has finally been
released.
On their fourth LP Senor Boombox,
the Disco Biscuits have succeed in
reworking their live tunes to fit the
restraints of a studio record while
recreating the sounds that epitomize
what a Biscuits show is all about. One
of the standout tracks "Jigsaw Earth"
starts with Jon Gutwillig's sweet guitar
dancing on top of lazy funk but soon
breaks down into a synthesizer and
bass drum-driven jam. "The Tunnel"
takes listeners past Trey-like licks,
easy-going acoustic guitar, and
anthemic choruses to an ambient jam
that brings trance and groove fans to

* * ** CLASSIC
* * * iGREAT
*** AFAIR
* * SUB-PAR
* WORTHLESS
DISTURBED
BELIEVE
WARNER RECORDS
By Joel M. Hoard
Daily Arts Writer

- If you missed a week of
BREAKING RECORDS, check
the archives at
www.michigandaily.com

ARE YOU A HUGE
Goo GooDoLLs
FAN? WE ALL
LOVETH E Goos.
JOIN DAILY ARTS,
WE WON'T TELL.
ished and overproduced. Disturbed
have lost touch with their roots,
choosing clean production over the
reckless abandon of their
punk/metal predecessors.
Believe's first 11 cuts feature bland
metal tunes complete with huge bull-
shit Def Leppard choruses and
Draiman's standard-metal-singer
yowl. After that 44-minute assault,
the tranquil and introspective "Dark-
ness" is tacked on to the end. Featur-
ing some hilariously out-of-place
acoustic guitar and cello, "Darkness"
provides much needed, if uninten-
tional, comic relief.
David Draiman thanks God for the
gift of music in Believe's liner notes,
which is ironic because God sure as
hell wouldn't associate Himself with
such an awful album. If Heaven really
isn't hot enough for Disturbed, I can't
see the Almighty turning up the ther-
mostat for these guys anytime soon.
RATING: * -

the triumphant heights they aim to
reach.
The Biscuits' vocals are still very far
from melodious, however, and a couple
of tracks like "Sound One" should
have stayed strictly in the live reper-
toire. Nonetheless, the Disco Biscuits
have made one of the best jam-band
studio albums of
recent RAT I N G:* *i * *

OF MONTREAL
ALDHILS ARBORETUM
KiN DE RCORE
By Gina Pensiero
Daily Arts Writer

J

L

Disturbed's David Draiman is one
angry young man. Sure every Ameri-
can youth experiences some angst
now and then, but most of us tend to
outgrow it. Unfortunately Draiman is
wallowing in it long after his teen
years are over. He's the kind of per-
son who thinks the, shit poetry he
wrote in high school is still good ten howls, "I
years later and feels an unquenchable Burn me
need to bitch about how religion could ha
fucked him up for life. isn't hot
Despite their aspiration to "bring tripe per
back the majesty of metal" (did it of the du
ever have any?) on Believe, Dis- Produ
turbed deliver nothing more than for- mixer A
gettable, angst-filled pap. Draiman's of met
angry-white-boy lyrics sure don't Believe.
help any. On opener "Prayer" he loudness
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"Nothing! We're doing nothing!," are the first lyrics
and the extremely repetitive chorus on the first song of
Aldhils Arboretum, the sixth album by ultra-happy
indeed-poppers Of Montreal. The mantra, it seems, is
pretty appropriate.
Of Montreal, part of the second wave of the Elephant
6 collective, have a bright and shiny sound. The songs
are laden with lots of treble and singer Kevin Barnbs
provides equally happy-go-lucky tenor vocals.
The songs on the album veer towards the light-heart-
ed and silly. "Isn't it Nice?" is basically a song about
having weird hick neighbors. "The Blank Husband," is
about "Auntie Eleanor's ... very unhappy husband."
"Pancakes for One," tackles the dillema of a sad lonely
morning, "because eating breakfast with you was such
fun!"
Despite the deliberate corniness, Aldhills Arboretum
is a solid album. There really isn't a poorly done track
on the disk. All the songs are produced well, arranged
in a very beatlesque manor and strongly reminiscent of
better-known indie-pop, like Apples in Stereo, as well
as the classic Byrds.

Living just isn't hard enough /
e alive inside." First listen I
ye sworn I heard "Heaven just
enough." Regardless, such
-meates Believe, making it one
llest records of the year.
cer Johnny K. and veteran
ndy Wallace continue one
al's stranger trends on
While the album has the
s requisite of metal, it's pol-

Probably what makes the Of Montreal sound work is
the unpretentiousness of the band: The songs are
ridiculous and downright whimsical, they know that
and they are proud of that.
Sure, they're not a deep or extremely meaningful
band, but it's refreshing to listen to a group that doesn't
fancy themselves the newest prolific artists on the
recently crashing wave of indie-pop.

RATING: * * *

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