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October 29, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-29

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 29, 2004 - 9

'Rain' gets expanded, reissued

By Alexandra Jones
Daily Weekend Editor

The members of Pavement are
the most unassuming bunch of guys
you'll ever see. They wear hood-
ies, jeans, old sneakers and pleated
khakis. They don't looks like pro-
genitors of indie-rock, like musi-

By making some small changes
to the gameplay and overhauling the
career mode, EA Sports has turned a
good "FIFA 2004" into an even better
"FIFA 2005."

cal alchemists
who sidestepped
punk and grunge
to become one of
the greatest rock
bands of the past
20 years. The
re-issue of their

Pavement
Crooked Rain,
Crooked Rain: LA's
Desert Origins
Matador

C.ouresy of EAport

Damn, they reissued "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain?"

The most nota-
ble change to this
year's installment
in EA's soccer
franchise is the
increased realism
of the gameplay.
Whereas in past

FIFA 2005
PS2, Gamecube
and Xbox
EA Sports

games, balls stayed glued to players'
feet at some times and it was easy -
almost expected - to inadvertently
boot balls out of bounds, this year's
"FIFA" corrects those types of prob-
lems. The ball physics are true to life
and give players more realistic - and
maybe a little less - precise control
than in past "FIFA" editions.
EA has also added a "first-touch"
control to the game, meaning the user
can touch the right analog stick in any
direction when a pass is on its way to a
player, and the player will tap the ball
in that direction. This feature is use-
ful when a defender is overplaying the
offense to a certain side.

In addition to the tweaks to the
gameplay, EA has made some solid
improvements to its previously lack-
luster career mode. Players can man-
age the "career" of a head coach, and
then pick a team to guide. Players
choose a region of the world and then
are given a number of second-tier pro-
grams to choose from.
Options are plentiful as the user can
assign attribute points to its coaches
and staffs, consisting of the striker,
midfielder, defense and goalkeeper
coaches. Points can also be assigned
to the fitness, medical, finance and
scouting staffs. Wins in the season
accumulate points that can be added
to these eight areas to improve differ-
ent aspects of the user's team.
Players can measure how well their
team is doing based on their "job
security" meter, which dips up and
down with wins and losses. By run-
ning a team well and winning on the
field, the user can improve his coach's

"career" and move up to the better
teams in the game, like Manchester
United or Liverpool.
One new feature of season mode
is "FIFA's" "simulate" game option,
which adds a unique element to the
typical videogame simulation. The
gamer can watch the game clock
as text comments flash on screen
describing the action, in a style
almost like an Internet gamecast. At
any time, the user can "intervene"
and pick up the game where the on-
screen simulation left off.
While this feature is great for play-
ers who simulate infrequently -
imagine how fun this feature would
be in "NCAA" or "Madden" - it gets
irritating for users who want to simu-
late chunks of games at one time.
Overall, the improvements to
this year's "FIFA" further polish an
already outstanding game, and both
die-hard soccer fans and casual sports
fans alike should enjoy this one.

Frog Eyes morph their freak-folk again

enigmatic sopho-
more album, Crooked Rain Crooked
Rain, however, proves them to be
just that.
Pavement's history begins with
the convoluted-yet-catchy Slanted
& Enchanted, hit in 1992. The
band hit West Palm Beach with its
original drummer, the substance-
abusing Gary Young, to record a
second album. During these ses-
sions, however, Young had been
playing for another group. Guitarist
Spiral Stairs called a band meet-
ing, and Young walked in to see the
goofy Steve West playing his mono-
grammed drum set.
With the addition of West, Pave-
ment's permanent lineup was com-
plete. The group made three more
albums before tensions between SM
and Spiral caused the members of
Pavement to part ways. Since then,
fans have been left with albums by
Stephen Malkmus's dark, quirky
new band the Jicks and Spiral's
decidedly misguided venture Pres-
ton School of Industry.
In 2002, on the 10th anniversary
of Pavement's major debut, Matador
released Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe
and Reduxe, an expanded version
featuring the original album tracks,
outtakes, alternate versions and B-
sides and the follow-up EP, Watery,
Domestic. Also released was The
Slow Century, a DVD featuring an
hourlong documentary on the band,
promotional and music videos, foot-
age of live performances and com-
mentary from the band. These were
pleasant reminders to fans, who
had seen indie rock's flagship band
dissolve. It seemed like more than
enough to remember them by, the
best eulogy that Pavement's mate-
rial was likely to get.
But last October, Matador revealed
they'd be releasing an expanded reis-
sue of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain,
Pavement's sprawling, pop-cum-
experimental sophomore release.

By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Music Editor
Frog Eyes has always been an anomaly on the Canadian
music scene: They carry none of the straightforward indie
rock bombast of Broken Social Scene, none of the apoca-
lyptic gloom of Godspeed! You Black
Emperor nor the goofy punk of The
Unicorns. In fact, their art-house spaz Frog Eyes
- rag-tag piano, buzzsaw guitars and The Folded Palm
frontman Carey Mercer's impassioned
ranting - is more akin to the weird Absolutely Kosher
folk of the Elephant Six collective. The
band's latest effort, Folded Palm takes on a far darker, more
psychedelic tone than their past work.
"The Heart that Felt its Light" is exemplary of the band's
new approach. Moaning carnival organs provide the back-
drop for a wheezing Mercer and a toy piano outro. Elsewhere,
the band shoulders the same instrumental load at a far more
frantic pace: "I Like Dot Dot Dot" comes across as a break-
neck, violent sea-shanty, moving in and out of melodies and

ghastly guitar splashes.
By the time "Ice on the Trail" hits the five-minute mark,
however, it becomes all too clear that Frog Eyes' greatest
strength is their short attention span: When the band lays out
their bleeding-keyboard cacophony over long compositions,
they sound disinterested, tired and predictable.
Longer tracks like "Ice" don't do much to help listeners
forget Folded Palm's biggest weakness, that it sounds like
one long Frog Eyes track. For all of the band's strengths -
interesting arrangements, talented musicians and relentless
energy - they're no master of the hum-able melody. This
isn't always a problem, but on Folded Palm, the band tries
too hard to draw out a formula that really fits better in a two-
minute sugar rush.
It's difficult to lay any sort of serious criticism on a band
as talented, inventive and hard-working as Frog Eyes. Their
constant attempts to re-organize their sound - see this
year's mostly acoustic Ego Scriptor - will, unfortunately,
hang them out to dry sometimes. Folded Palm isn't a drastic
change, just an attempt to lengthen and expand their unique
sound. That it's not as instantly captivating as their excellent
first album, The Golden River, is only marginally disappoint-
ing: It won't be long before they evolve again.

Mark Ibold: So happy to be in Pavement.

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain:
L.A.'s Desert Origins features out-
takes, cuts from rare singles and
alternate versions just like Luxe
and Reduxe does, but listeners will
find this bonus material quite dif-
ferent. The expansion of Pavement's
sophomore release includes longer,
looser jams that make up what some
fans consider almost a lost album
- material that fell through the
cracks during the change in person-
nel, songs from 1994 sessions that
didn't fit in with the relaxed pop-
rock of Crooked Rain or the dense,
dark Wowee Zowee. It's these never-
released tracks that make L.A.'s
Desert Origins a must-listen.
The band chose the poppier tracks
from the Crooked Rain sessions to
put on the album; many of those
included on the expanded reissue,
like the melancholy "Camera" and
intimate "Stare" from the "Cut Your
Hair" single don't quite work with the
original's easy formula. Songs like
"Flux=Rad" that would make it onto
the more difficult-listening third
album Wowee Zowee don't sound
anything like the broad, anthemic
singalongs that made up the original
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Some
tracks for Crooked Rain, Crooked
Rain had already been recorded
with Young, and they're presented
here as the first eight tracks of the
second disc; they're considerably
more Slanted & Enchanted-like
than the material that made it onto
the album. With lyrics like "I don't
wanna leave ya, but I won't wanna
grieve ya," Gary-era ballad "Same
Way of Saying" shows Malkmus's

talent for spastic songwriting.
Disc one includes the original
album, B-sides from singles, ,and
tracks from Arista and Drag City
compilations that don't stray quite
so far from the sonic and idealis-
tic realm established by Pavement's
second release. Disc 2, however,
is where listeners really feel like
they're mining some kind of secret
vault, a locked desk drawer at Mata-
dor crowbarred open.
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain:
L.A.'s Desert Origins is a histori-
cal document, like -the Dead Sea
Scrolls , of '90s indie-rock. Much
of the material on disc two fills in
the concept set forth by Crooked
Rain, Crooked Rain, but tracks that
show the early machinations behind
Wowee Zowee are the most fascinat-
ing. There's nothing shameful or
wrong in this -just-unearthed mate-
rial, no revelations or ill-advised
directions - just more beautiful,
funny, smart music that makes one
feel bigger and better than they were
before.

- ---
IMF -0-

Are you feeling a draft?

Army recruiters can't fill their
quotas. Re-enlistments are
plummeting. Soldiers are being
forced to stay past their

Meanwhile, Iraq is a
quagmire that's only
going to get worse.
With America's
armed forces
already stretched
to the breaking
point in Iraq and
Afghanistan,
where are
tomorrow's
troops going to
come from?
As college students
today, we ought to

remember: this is the same
president who swore that Iraq had
weapons of mass destruction.
That Saddam was linked to 9/11.
And that Iraqis would welcome us
with open arms. He was dead
wrong every time.
With George Bush stubbornly
determined to go it alone, our
allies won't join us. American
troops will still be 90 percent of
the "coalition." And 90 percent
of its dead and wounded.
And the volunteer military will
be a casualty of war.
So unless you like the idea of

graduate school in Fallujah, we
need to pay careful attention to
what our president is saying,
versus what it really means.

Ur

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