The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 7
REVIEWS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S NEW RELEASES
By Laurence J. Freedman
Daily Arts Writer
When Phish went on hiatus in the
fall of 2000 there were many reasons
circulating about why the band decided
to take a break. One of the most satis-
fying of these reasons was the idea that
the Phish guys wanted to grow as
musicians and improve their playing
with Phish by spending some time
working with other artists.
Some of these collaborations were
quite ambitious, such as Page
McConnell's electro-funk trio Vida
Blue and Trey Anastasio's self-titled
afro-beat extravaganza. Failing to be
nearly as interesting or enjoyable as
these other projects is Pork Tornado,
Jon Fishman's opportunity to play fun
bar tunes with his favorite Burlington,
VT musicians. Founded five years
ago, Pork Tornado has only now
released a mediocre album of vocal-
based tunes that take the listener from
raucous funk to sunny country to
The album's most interesting charac-
teristic is also its downfall. The deci-
sion to switch between songs written
and sung by the different members of
the band helps keep the record from
sounding uniformly unexciting. It also
means there isn't any fluidity to the
album, however, a glaring weakness
considering the tunes themselves don't
stand out at all. The most promising
cuts are supplied by bassist Aaron
Hersey whose voice sounds like its
been frying for years in the deep South
rather than the heady Burlington scene.
"Aaron's Blues" is the last track on the
record and it almost makes you wish
that the whole album sounded as
relaxed and chill. Otherwise Pork Tor-
nado offers standard back-porch coun-
try ("Home Is Where You Are") with
lyrics like "Baby I'm at home as long
as you're with me" and old school
New Orleans-esque R&B ("When I
Got Drunk") that finds sax-man Joe
Moore singing "I'm sober now, I won't
be sober for long."
It's not so much that the songs are
bad (although I personally found "Kiss
My Black Ass" really bad) as much as
they are unsatisfying. Pork Tornado
has broken no new ground here at all,
and phans looking for Fishman's usual-
ly exciting style are left with standard
two-and-four beats that any solid
drummer could have pulled off. It
sounds as though Fishman has lots of
fun playing in Pork Tornado. Unfortu-
nately it's hard for the listener to be
nearly as amused.
RATING:* * '
By Joel M. Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
Ryan Adams has to decide whether
he's an emotional singer-songwriter or a
pretty-boy rocker, because he can't have
it both ways. ,One minute he's sitting
head in hands, cigarette held loosely
between his lips, doing his best to look
depressed. And the next he's playing
"Move It On Over" in a Gap commer-
cial. Such is the problem with Demoli-
tion, Adams's third solo album: He tries
to come off as both a pensive country
singer and a hip young rock star. That's
not to suggest Demolition is a bad
album - it's excellent at times - it
could just use some more focus.
Never lacking in ambition or ego,
Adams originally planned Demolition
as a monstrous 60-song box set, but for-
tunately for us he trimmed it to a lean
13 cuts. With songs ranging from the
melancholy country of "Cry on
Demand" to rowdy cowpunk numbers
like "Gimme a Sign," Demolition serves
as another remin'er that Adams is alt-
country's most prolific writer. And he'll
be damned if anyone ever forgets.
Ryan needs to realize that he can't
rock nearly as hard as he'd like. He tries
to pull off Replacements-style rock,
complete with his best Paul Westerberg
impersonation, on "Nuclear" and
"Starting to Hurt" but ends up sound-
ing like a country-fried Johnny
Demolition's finer moments occur
when Adams sets aside the electric gui-
tar and snarl. He shows a deft hand at
penning soulful country tunes, most
notably "Cry on Demand," where he
adopts a croon like his country-rock
idol Gram Parsons. Adams gets a little
out of line with the jokey "Tennessee
Sucks," but if he can keep his wild side
By Laura Haber
For the Daily
There must be something in the
water in Sweden. Though it has always
played a role in the international music
scene, rock music is quickly becoming
Sweden's major export. It seems that
every bored teenager who does not
cross county ski has formed a band,
and due to the rejuvenation of guitar
rock all have quickly been singed to
major labels. Now, bands that never
thought they would make it out of
Stockholm are gaining international
When The Hives exploded on the
garage rock scene they blazed a path
for many of their Swede rock counter-
parts. to follow ... and follow they did.
The latest Swedish offering du jour
comes to us in the form of Sahara Hot-
nights, an all-girl-punk outfit. In theo-
ry, a female punk band has potential to
be a refreshing Nordic breeze in the
midst of all the hysteria that is sur-
rounding the male dominated (thank-
fully, save for Meg White) rock scene.
Unfortunately, Sahara Hotnights fail to
live up to the task at hand. Aside from
a few inspired moments their latest
offering Jennie Bomb leaves you, like
Sweden, rather cold.
Sahara Hotnights are a formulaic
punk band, and Jennie Bomb is laden
with run of the mill punk conventions.
They have clearly studied the look and
sound of their predecessors The
Ramones, Blondie, The Clash and The
Donnas, but fail to make any of it their
own. What may be the Hotnight's
greatest problem is their rather seri-
ous disposition. Most of their songs
are weighed down by it, which makes
for lyrics with an inflated sense of
self-purpose. The opening line of
"Alright, Alright" does much to set
the tone, "Now I feel like breaking
laws / Go on start a civil war / Here's
my fist, Where's the fight?"
Sahara Hotnights are at their best
when they stop posing as punks and
incorporate other influences and
sounds.' Being from the land of dis-
ma z Fi
in check, there's no reason why he can't
continue to write good country songs.
At just 27-years-old, Ryan Adams
has a lot of career ahead of him. If he
chooses the singer-songwriter road, he
certainly has the talent to become as
accomplished as Gram Parsons. But if
he would rather be a hip young rocker,
well, that's OK too.
RATING: * * '
posable pop music, the Hotnights
have clearly taken to heart the impor-
tance of a strong hook and melody.
Tracks like "Alright, Alright", "Keep
up the Speed," "On Top of Your
World" and "Only the Fakes Sur-
vive" explore new wave and pop
sounds and are by all means catchy.
Though they wanna be Joey Ramone,
The Sahara Hotnights are most
appealing and have more potential in
this form as themselves.
the michigan daily
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By Todd Weiser
Daily Film Editor
The most entertaining picture to
appear in theaters this year has
finally arrived and it's a documen-
tary, of all things. Well, it's a
semi-documentary; a better
description of "The Kid Stays in
the Picture" would be
an autobiography of
producer Robert *
Evans as done by a
couple other people, THE Ki
they being documen-
tarians Nanette IN THE .
Burstein and Brett At the N
Burstein and Morgen USA
get director's credits,
this film is none other than Robert
Evans' personal show. Based on
Evans' 1994 autobiography of the
same name, which became wildly
popular once it was released as a
book-on-tape with Evans himself
providing the reading in his
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famous "I'm the coolest man
alive" snarl, "Kid" unabashedly
tells the life story of the once stu-
dio exec and big-time producer as
Evans saw it and remembers it.
While most documentaries try
to hide their innate biases,
Burstein and Morgen revel in
Evans' boasting, including a pre-
cautionary quote from
the man himself
before the picture
begins, "There are
TS three sides to every
STAYS story. My side, your
ICTURE side and the truth.
.c a And no one is lying.
ichigan Memories shared
serve each one differ-
ilms ently." That one man's
life could so imitate
the ups and downs of the Holly-
wood movies he produced becomes
the material for a most unique and
Evans' roller coaster ride through
the entertainment industry begins
with his being discovered in a Bev-
erly Hills pool for a role opposite
Jimmy Cagney. It is the perfect
opening for any Hollywood dream,
but Evans' career as an actor does-
n't last long as he freely admits his
own lack of talent.
However, an on-set acting expe-
rience becomes the inspiration for
his career goal and the film's title
DUE TO U OF M FALL BREAK. THERE
WILL BE NO CLASSIFIEDS ON OCTO-
BER 14" 6151", 2002. OUR EARLY
DEADLINES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
and hard work, Paramount pictures
named Evans head of production,
the youngest man to ever achieve
such a position. Amidst widespread
criticism of his hiring, Evans
turned Paramount from 9th at the
box office to number one in the late-
'60s and early '70s. He did this by
taking chances on films no one else
would touch and turning them into
blockbusters and award winners,
they include "Rosemary's Baby,"
"Chinatown," "Love Story" and
most prominently, "The Godfather."
Evans calls the New York pre-
miere of "The Godfather" his
crowning moment, arriving with
bombshell actress/girlfriend Ali
McGraw on one arm and Henry
Kissinger on the other. It wasn't
all downhill from there, but it
never got that good again.
After a very public breakup in
which McGraw left Evans for co-
star Steve McQueen, a cocaine
courtesy of USA Films
Evans sits with another one of his famous female pals.
to create a moment of intense fear
and peril) starts his journey back
to a place that's not quite the top,
but at least far from bottom.
Evans' voice, borrowed from
the book-on-tape, guides the
viewer along the amusing, touch-
ing and always exhilarating ride.
The filmmakers, using Evans'
extensive collection of photos,
never allow for the interviews of
others, it is Evans' story and we
want no distractions from that.
Digital effects transform the static
pictures, bringing out colors and
pulling Evans' body out of the
photographs and to the forefront
of the screen, with a background
usually containing sparkling stars
during the most luxurious and
magnificent of Evans' triumphs.
"The Kid Stays in the Picture"
is unlike any documentary you
have ever seen, and it is truly
unlike any other film you have
ever sen- Brstein and1 Morcpn
FRFF CAT! CUTE nlavful_ black and white.
5 v _ < I.