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February 23, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-23

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 23, 2005

ARTS

Italian psych-rockers debut with 'Valende'
By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer

Courtesy of Touch & Go
Nice nose hairs, guys. Sick.
Noise-pop band Enon
releasaes rarities COMP

The term "psych-rock" gets thrown around
far too often, but the duo of
Marco Fasolo and Alessio
Gastaldello are worthy suc- Jennifer
cessors of the tie-dye mantle. Gentle
Recently signed out of Italy by Valende
mega-indie label Sub Pop, Jen-
nifer Gentle sounds more like Sub Pop
they were lifted straight out of
1967. Taking more than just their name from Pink
Floyd's Syd Barrett, Jennifer Gentle turns out a
debut that is able to overcome nostalgia despite
their dated influences.
Valende begins with "Universal Daughter,"
a lovely introduction to Fasolo's multi-tracked,
mushroom molded voice. While his nasal tone
can be a little distracting, it perfectly suits the
bizarre music it leads. An odd voice just doesn't
sound quite as weird over kazoos and squealing
balloons.
Following "Universal Daughter" is the album's
best track, "I Do Dream You." Upbeat and laden
with hand-claps, the song has a manic quality that
makes the song's two and a half minutes fly by.
Buoyed by a sped-up guitar riff and pushed over
the top by a frantic organ, "I Do Dream You"
could have easily come from the pen of Barrett
himself.
Among Valende's slower, woozy songs "Cir-
cles of Sorrow" stands out. A delicate violin line
shadows echoing vocals while an acoustic guitar
picks fractured arpeggios. "Circles of Sorrow"
leads perfectly into "The Garden Pt. 1," a more
straightforward acoustic ballad. Two finger-
picked acoustic guitars weave melodies around
each other while the complete absence of extra-

By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Editor
While some groups might release a
singles compilation or a collection of
rare tracks to stall
for time between
studio albums Enon
or to whet fans' Lost Marbles and
appetites during Exploded Evidence
tour season, a disc Touch & Go
comprised of odds
and ends from a
band like Enon feels almost necessary.
The electro-rock outfit's deeply weird pop
sensibilities fluctuate in tone from whimsy
to sophistication; their use of aggressive,
high-energy rock as a base for much of
their work seems to contradict the band's
occasional cool, electronic tracks. Con-
sider also a frequently changing roster of
musicians, and it feels like high time that
Enon threw a little something out there
just for the fans.
But you won't find any explanation or
clarification on Lost Marbles and Explod-
ed Evidence, Enon's new collection of
B-sides, rare tracks and Internet-only
songs from 1998 to 2004. There's still
significant content, however: Along with a
disc of experimental tidbits that showcase
some of the band's more extreme stylistic
leanings, there's a DVD that includes con-
cert footage, the band's odd music videos
and "Jan. 1, 1999," a piece composed of
various video detritus that appears to be
the result of the band playing around their
neighborhood with a camcorder.
Songs on Lost Marbles and Exploded
Evidence seem to jump every which way,
with the band working in almost as many

genres as there are tracks. After all, most
of Enon's members started out in other
bands: Demure vocalist and bassist Toko
Yasuda played with The Lapse before
joining forces with leader John Schmersal
(who was originally a replacement guitar-
ist for Brainiac.) "Knock That Door" and
"The Nightmare of Atomic Men" draw
heavily on bouncy disco beats; Yasuda
plays synth siren on the brooding, mias-
mal "Drowning Appointments" and "Rai-
sin Heart." Songs like the woozy, dreamy
"Fly South" and the 38 seconds of "Nor-
mal Is Happening" defy classification.
Although the collection pales in com-
parison to the dark, funny Believo! and
its upbeat successor, High Society, Lost
Marbles and Exploded Evidence makes
almost all of Enon's catalog easily acces-
sible, letting fans in on a few great songs
they haven't heard. The compilation also
gives fans a glimpse of a talented, highly
experimental and often overlooked outfit
whose lack of heavy exposure has kept
them from reaching a greater audience.
The music videos for "In This City" and
"Pleasure and Privilege" are fascinating
eye candy, whether they're highly com-
puterized adventures or seizure-inducing
animated/live conceptual explorations
that evoke early MTV.
Whatever they're doing - rocking
onstage, fucking around on the train tracks
on New Year's Day or showing off the
crunchiest new electronic effects - Enon
command attention. What do you expect
from a band whose frontman has been
known to sing directly into the ears of
stoic hipsters in the front row at shows?
Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence
is mostly made for fans, but Enon's style
and sound are bound to attract a larger
following.

Courtesy of Sub Pop

"Dude. The Arb is, like, the best place to get blazed."

neous effects seems loud on an album that is at
times dense.
The album's only real flaw is the poor sequenc-
ing, highlighted by the placement "Hessesopoa,"
the freak-out separating "The Garden Pt. 1," from
"The Garden Pt. 2." Seven and a half minutes of
noise isn't really necessary and kills the mood gen-
tly established by the two previous songs. The track
would be better placed toward the end of the album,

bringing listeners back down after the delirious,
helium-inflated "Nothing Makes Sense."
Jennifer Gentle doesn't achieve the status of the
psych-rock pantheon established in the '60s, but not
by much. Valende is the perfect album for hang-
ing out with your friends on a lazy afternoon. Any
deeper listening than that is bound to turn up the
irritating flaws in sequencing that detract from the
stoned-out bliss.

Final season of 'Angel' sinks its teeth on DVD

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor

TV can entertain an audience like
no other medium. With so much pro-
gramming time available, networks
can take far more chances than film
producers are able to. Creators are

capable of cre-
ating suspense
and cliffhang-
ers from week to
week, build char-
acters over time
and keep fans

Angel:
Season 5
20th Century Fox

coming back. Joss Whedon took
full advantage of this creative free-
dom in developing his original and
revered "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
and its excellent spin-off "Angel."

And while Whedon's shows received
critical praise and a cult following,
the WB redirected the course of
"Angel's" final season before pre-
maturely canceling it.
"Angel," which effortlessly
blended science fiction with fan-
tasy, horror and comedy, came to
an unwelcome early demise. In its
fifth season, the series defied con-
ventions - and the spin-off curse
- during its five-year run, right-
fully establishing itself alongside
its sister series, "Buffy the Vam-
pire Slayer." The rich, well rounded
world of Angel (David Boreanaz)
and his demon-fighting team take
hold in a completely new setting in
the fifth season, as the group finds
itself in charge of Wolfram and Hart
- the evil law firm they spent the
first four years fighting.
While the fourth season of
Whedon's vampire-with-a-soul
series placed" its -characters in the-
middle of a season-long story arc to
save the world from another apoca-
lypse, the fifth year took a more
stand-alone approach - a direc-
tive from the WB Network when the
series was renewed. Though the new
single-episode stories could have
crippled the series, it instead found
a creative renaissance with this dif-
ferent direction.
The infusion of popular "Buffy"
veteran Spike (James Marsters)
carries the show to new heights of
greatness with his contentious and
tangled history with Angel. Further
adding to the intrigue is. the shock-
ing reappearance of an old foe and
three longtime members of Angel's
team biting the dust. The final half
of the season places the heroes into
a seemingly insurmountable battle
from within - although the hilari-
ous puppet stand-alone "Smile
Time" keeps things a little lighter.
The fifth season benefits from the
"Buffy" series' end as viewers are
treated to occasional updates and
crossovers from the Scooby gang.
Even though Buffy herself doesn't
appear, she is referenced extensively

Tired of being a

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

"Damn! We missed that sale at Hot Topic!"

in the uneven "The Girl in Question"
toward the end of the series, some-
what resolving the Buffy/Angel/
Spike love triangle.
Fans familiar with the "Angel"
DVD box sets won't be disappointed
or surprised by what's present on
the fifth edition. There are about a
half dozen audio commentaries that
discuss the intricacies of both the
plotlines and camera work. Whedon
provides the best commentary, espe-
cially on the "Conviction" track,
where he discusses the reasons for
all of the season's drastic changes.
The featurettes, while plentiful and
full of cast and creator interviews,
barely offer any new insight into
the show. The most compelling fea-
turette, though, is an inside look at
the production of "Smile Time" and
is far more informative than any-
thing else on the set. Additionally,

an interview with Whedon where
he discusses his favorite episodes is
barely informative at all and totally
ignores the fifth season.
"Angel's" final season stood up to
the high standards of its previous
years, going out with a bang. What's
so sad is that the show finally started
to find its own voice, independent of
"Buffy"; it started to build toward
something big in its finale. "Not Fade
Away," the final episode of the series,
remains awfully open-ended, leav-
ing viewers wanting more. The WB
deserves both praise for sticking with
such a unique series and scorn for
prematurely canceling it. But "Angel"
lives on with a strong DVD release.

Want to be a

Show: ****
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ***

'Twinkling Lights' plays at Blackbird

By Stephanie Rosen
Daily Arts Writer
When you walk into a theater expecting seats and instead
stumble onto the stage itself, you know you aren't in the
kind of venue you expected.
The "stage" on which audienc-
es see "One Hundred Twinkling One Hundred
Lights" at the Blackbird Theater is Twinkling
a life-sized floor plan conceived by Lights
set designer Joshua Parker. Lines for
walls and words like "Foyer" mark Thursdays through
the theater floor, which the audience Saturdays at 8p.m.
sits around. While seats are pushed $17 Adults
back to a single row lining the the- $12 Students
ater walls, audience members are $5 All Ages
just pushed closer to the action and on Thursdays
emotion of this production. At The Blackbird Theater
The show begins and a homeowner
is complaining about student ghettoes.
A bum is begging for a smoke and the floor plan is begin-
ning to look like your own dilapidated rental unit. You know

actors have been
star Barton Bundl

crucial to the collaborative process;
has adapted the play from costar Jim

Posante's short story.
The story is as firmly fixed in this town as the homeless
character Posante plays - a permanent fixture of the city
even as the students come and go - and deals with the
question of why the less permanent residents disregard
him as the vagrant.
This injustice is shown in gritty, realistic dialogue.
Carlos, old and forgotten, is altogether dismissed by the
star, Vic.
"Hey, can I bum a smoke, man?" Carlos begs.
"It's a menthol," Vic refuses with venom.
To altogether dismiss another human being is too easy.
But when Carlos returns, in the form of a letter left on a
porch, Vic can't dismiss him from his mind.
The letter is a two-page, handwritten, Baudelaire-quot-
ing, prose/poem masterpiece, written on occasion of Car-
los's viewing the glowing strings of lights still ornamenting
Vic's house in February.
Inside, Vic hurts. He drinks; he pops pills. His brother
shoots up, his wife has left, his father dies. Bund plays
Vic with an Ypsilanti edge - a grime that is eventually
wiped away to reveal his loving core.
'P,. ~nnanr o fa A b ta a ~('r - h

t
'i

Summer Internship Opportunity
Pisilri xn/ir rpciim while wnrkinn riurinn nrinn ummer nr falls emesters.

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