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January 25, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-25

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 11

Misguided Dead fail
to continue success
on 'Worlds Apart'

By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Music Editor

Courtesy o K Records

Despite all of the lavish praise
indie/punk godfathers Sonic Youth
have received in the last two decades,
guitarist/singer Lee Ranaldo has rare-
ly gotten his fair share of the credit.

"One, two, buckle my shoe."

The Blow's early
songs resurface on LP

Though he pos-
sesses neither the
ultra-cool art hip-
ness of frontman
Thurston Moore
nor the impas-
sioned riot girl
persona of Kim
Gordon, his contri-
butions have often
been the defining

... And You
Will Know Us
by the Trail
of the Dead
Worlds Apart
Interscope

dom of indie-rock. Purporting to be a
band of equals, Busch, Conrad Keely
and Jason Reece split singing duties,
dispensing with the notion of a tradi-
tional frontman. Everything seemed
to be working perfectly: Source Tag's
strength lay in its remarkably clar-
ity and sequencing. The band's spine-
splitting guitar rave-ups were eerily
good, and its live presence was hailed
as a stunning recreation of mid-'80s
punk vigor.
Worlds Apart, however, seems out
to trash the band's history. It props
Keely up as the sole vocalist and shifts
Busch's low-end duties to remain-
ing members. Keely is an undoubt-
edly talented songwriter, but his nasal
sneer doesn't hold up for the album's
duration; his writing lacks the abra-
sive shifts that made the band's previ-
ous albums great. Guitarist/drummer
Reece, whose meaty, aggressive com-
positions provided contrast for Keely
and Busch's melodic excess, is sus-
piciously absent. In his stead, Keely
submits track after track of mid-
tempo rock slush, simultaneously too
good to ignore and too weightless to
remember.
The loss of Busch's energetic bass
lines is felt immediately on the plod-
ding opener, "Ode to Isis." The band's
trademark guitar attack fades quickly
in favor of a meandering, melody-less
monstrosity that wheezes for over six

courtesy of Interscope
And you will know us by the trail of bad country-Western fashion.

By Alexandra Jones
Daily Weekend Editor
MUSIC REVIEW
You'd expect an album titled
Everyday Examples of Humans Fac-
ing Straight into
the Blow to fea-
ture intense beats, The Blow
athletic melodies, Everyday Example
bombastic, full of Humans
arrangements or Facing Straight
a tense urgency in into the Blow
tone. Not so: On K
Khaela Maricich's
latest release, lis-
teners aren't assaulted with material.
Maricich disguises Everyday Exam-
ples with shy, almost fragile, vocals
and earthy acoustic accompaniment,
but the album is really a challenge.
She confronts her audience with her
earliest, most fundamental songs,
then waits on her side of the dare to
see how they'll react.
Everyday Examples collects
music written several years ago,
right after Maricich learned to play
suitably delicate guitar; she record-
ed the album in her bedroom with
just a four-track and no guest artists.
While it's sonically dissimilar to the
lo-fi electronic propulsion found on
2003's The Concussive Caress, her
Everyday Examples possesses the
same versatility of tone. Her lyrics
revolve around introspection, whim-
sy, intimacy and sadness. Her mat-
ter-of-fact yet gossamer-thin vocals
underscore understatement, but she's
not afraid to get upbeat on the cheer-
ful "Surf Song." Maricich deepens
her voice to the point of darkness on
"Walk In" and adopts a lighthearted,

free persona on "Milkmaid."
While this release is a few evo-
lutionary stages behind the more
heavily produced work she did with
the Microphones or on The Con-
cussive Caress, Maricich's poetry
stands out as an individual strength
as well as a perfect complement to
her endearing DIY musical style.
On "Did You Drive," she asks with
pixieish pathos, "Did your blood run
through you like orange juice? Did
your clothes swirl around you like a
cloud?"
Maricich's appeal lies in her
songwriting ability, both lyrical
and musical, as well as her ability
to combine those elements to make
her songs sound organically in tan-
dem, as if her words and their musi-
cal accompaniment were fraternal
twins. Because her music and lyrics
seem to be linked so intrinsically,
they radiate an otherworldliness
that draws listeners into her dreamy,
emotional ruminations. When Mar-
icich takes over, listeners hear her
music on her terms alone. She con-
fronts them with her easy, pure-of-
heart aesthetic, but once they listen,
she takes over with a blend of medi-
tative ostinati, intriguing rhymes
and her honest, angelic vocals. What
could come off as monotonous or
amateurish sounds charming and
real - elegant, not undeveloped.
Everyday Examples of Humans
Facing Straight into the Blow isn't
just a lo-fi lover's dream - it pro-
vides an enchanting introduction
to Maricich's work. Revealing her
origins as a bedroom chanteuse,
Maricich is a quiet conqueror who
set her sights on listeners' psyches
even then.

moments<
"Teenage
by which

of SY albums. His epochal
Riot" is still the standard
all of the band's tracks are

minutes. The album's other bookend,
"The Lost City of Refuge," fares simi-
larly, fading into non-descript key-
boards.
Keely's best moments, not surpris-
ingly, come when he pushes the tempo
and ups the grandeur. "Let It Dive," for
instance, rides a deep, silky bass line,
while "Caterwaul," the album's best
track, announces itself with a chorus
huge enough to rattle hockey stadi-
ums. "Worlds Apart" at least captures
the charm of the band's heavy/melodic
dynamic, but its lyrics drone on about
banality of MTV and swears child-
ishly ("We're so fucked these days").
This from the band that used to ramble
in interviews about obscure 19th cen-
tury philosophers? Disappointing.
Any melodic joy these tracks pro-
vide is immediately dulled upon
realization that songs like "A Classic
Arts Showcase" and "The Summer of
91" are nearly identical in composi-
tion, tempo and mood. Even "Let It
Dive's" monolithic churn wears thin:

It's nothing Husker Du frontman Bob
Mould didn't traverse with early '90s
alt-rock also-rans Sugar. Come to
think of it, Mould is starting to look
like an apt comparison - a former
punk who retired to middle-of-the-
road melodic rock.
Of course, if occasionally great
rock melodies were all Trail of Dead
had to worry about; things wouldn't
be so bad. Unfortunately, they're also
churning out sub-B-side throwaways
like "The Best" and "The Rest Will
Follow." On "All White," the band
actually finds some new sonic ground,
alternating between popping piano
chords and huge choir swells. It's a
refreshing break, but the track's two-
minute runtime all but relegates it to
interlude status. So it goes on Worlds
Apart, an album filled with good inten-
tions and some kick-ass hooks, but one
that moves the band decidedly farther
from its role as relevant punk revival-
ists, which is a beat-around-the-amp-
stack way of staying inconsequential.

measured.
On the disappointing Worlds Apart,
it becomes all too apparent that depart-
ed bassist/singer Neil Busch played
the same role in ... And You Will
Know Us by the Trail of Dead, a band
long considered the logical heir to
SY's pawn-shop guitar excess. When
2002's career-defining Source Tags
and Codes dropped, the then-quartet
rallied against the perceived bore-

Finnish ensemble prepares for first U.S. tour

By Victoria Edwards
Daily Arts Writer

FIEAR-PRVE

No one would imagine that
symphony orchestra in Finland
would have the resources or fan
base to hold an American tour
- but the Lahti Symphony
Orchestra is doing just that.
The Lahti Symphony
Orchestra, under the leader-
ship of Chief Conductor Osma
Vanska, has sold over half
a million dollars in records
and released an impressive
50 CDs, making it one of

a small regional
Lahti
Symphony
Orchestra
Wednesday Jan.
26 at 8 p.m.
$ 10-56 Adults
$10 Students
At Hill Auditorium

.EA brings garners
back to Middle-Earth'

Finland's premier orchestras. Besides its lucra-
tive success, the relatively small-sized 60-player
orchestra has won an array of accolades includ-
ing the Gramophone Award in 1996 and the Gold
Record in 1998.
Spokeswoman for the Lahti Orchestra Kather-
ine Johnson said that the Orchestra has found its
primary niche in playing pieces by the Finnish
composer Jean Sibelius.
"They've recorded a whole series of John Sibel-
ius - a Finnish composer (who's one of) the most
famous. They've recorded a whole lot of his work
- they're considered to perform that repertoire
better than any other orchestra," Johnson said.
Johnson said that the biggest advantage that
the Lahti Orchestra has over other internation-
al orchestras is that they are a Finnish orches-
tra interpreting a Finnish composer's work, as
opposed to an American orchestra who would
interpret the composer's work differently.
Still, the Helsinki City Philharmonic has been
called the premier orchestra of Finland. With its
size and reputation, some say that there has been

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra practices for its first tour of the U.S.

By Jason Roberts
Daily Arts Editor

"The Lord of the Rings: The Bat-
tle for Middle-Earth" is one of those
movie tie-in games that does what
most others can't; it floats seamlessly
between the awe-inspiring direction
and production of what may be the
defining films of our generation and

them more fluid and life like.
The beautiful art direction and
integrated storyline are enough to
keep fans of the series satisfied,
and the sheer scope of the project
combined with the engaging game-
play should be enough to keep hard
core real-time strategists busy. It's
a unique take on the strategy genre,
but "Middle-Earth" pulls it off well.

a competition between the smaller, lesser known
Lahti Orchestra with its impressive reputation and
the Helsinki Philharmonic with its large size.
Kalvi Aho, a Finnish composer, said in an
interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that
the rising popularity of the Lahti Orchestra has
altered the previous balance of power that exist-
ed in Finland, in terms of groups with musical
prestige.
According to Aho in the interview, this com-
petitive nature was augmented when a new hall
built for the Lahti Orchestra was considered by

some to be better than the performance hall for
the Helsinki Philharmonic.
During the Lahti Symphony Orchestra's 10-
week tour of the United States, the world-renowned
Canadian pianist Louis Lortie will accompany
them. Lortie has gained worldwide acclaim for his
interpretation of Beethoven's works.
A hidden jewel, a small regional band that
could have easily been overshadowed, the Lahti
Symphony Orchestra has earned a unique place of
prestige among nationally acclaimed orchestras.
It has formed a niche that few acts can fill.

U U

the tactful preci-
sion of a solid
real-time strat-
egy game. The
game results in
a unique chance
for fans of Tolk-
ien's trilogy to
take the helm as
either friend or

The Lord of
the Rings:
The Battle foi
Middle-Earth
PC
EA Games

tairs at
the Bivouac on State Street

foe and choose their own destiny in
the realm of Middle-Earth.
The game's beautiful presentation
is easily its best selling point; "Mid-
dle-Earth" faithfully recreates the
environments and follows the story-
line of the "Lord of the Rings." Both
art and voice direction are dead-on
since the majority of the main cast
returns to provide their voices for
the game, most notably Ian McKel-
len and Christopher Lee as Gandalf
and Saruman, respectively.
5 Though it is dubbed a "strategy"
game, "Middle-Earth" has stripped
down its strategic elements to a bare
minimum. There are still resources
to build, but the heart of the game
is in its action components. Charac-
ters level up as they gain experience
much like they do in role-playing
games. This, combined with the
very distinct locales where the char-
acters battle, move the game along
at the same kind of pace as the
films, keeping the gamer's attention
focused on the action at hand, rather
than on the mundane micromanage-

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