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March 23, 2005 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-23

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Wednesday
March, 23, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

Rt idriganUatI

9

. . ...........
. ......... . . ...

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THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER
Reading Hermann Hesse while Watching "Aqua Teen" -
Attempting to understand the complex intersection of musicology and
mathematics in "The Glass Bead Game" I overhear Meatwad's angry
plea: "I do too know how to use the "F" word! Fart y'all; ya'll farters can
just go ahead and fart yourselves! Fart this, I'm gone."
Thomas Haden Church in "Spider-Man 3" - In Spidey's third
celluloid installment, Church will play a misogynistic, hard-
drinking aero-mechanic who marries Debra Messing in order to
win an executive position at a prominent New York advertising
agency. Either that or Sandman. He'd be a good Sandman.
"My Own Private Idaho" Criterion Collection DVD - Thanks to
the wonderful folks at Criterion, a truly ground breaking film finally gets
the DVD treatment it deserves. Narcoleptic, wayward, homosexual mis-
fits wander the side streets of Portland musing on the transitory, elusive-
ness of "home." And you thought "Elephant" was too artsy.
Ben Affleck behind the camera - I originally considered using this space
to mock and ridicule Affleck's recent roster of bombs - "Gigli," "The
Sum of All Fears" and "Jersey Girl" come readily to mind - but instead I
would like to offer Ben my sincere best wishes in his new film endeavour
... Just kidding! You suck Affleck! (But
"Phantoms" was the bomb!)
"Batman Begins" - After Joel Schum-
acher thoroughly weirded-up Bruce
Wayne in "Batman & Robin" (were the
erect bat-nipples really necessary?), I
never believed that the Dark Knight
would fly again. But with "Memen-
to" director Christopher Nolan at
the helm, this return to Frank
Miller's gothic Gotham of
"Year One" is sure to
be the best super-
hero flick in
years warner Bros.
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NEw KIDS
ON THE
BLOC
INDIE ROCKERS FAIL TO
FIND UNIQUE VOICE ON
DEBUT ALBUM
By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer

Bloc Party will change your life. Bloc Party
are a bunch of no-style hacks. Bloc Party are a
perfect synthesis of old-punk idol-worship and
new-punk execution and fashion. Bloc Party are
Interpol/Rapture/Franz Ferdinand 2005.
None of the above statements are whole truths,
but let's get to the one that is: The arguments over

Courtesy of Vice Records

the merits of British quartet
Bloc Party will be extended,
fruitless and insufferable.
Hipsters and backlash-artists
will be at each other's throats
for months about Silent
Alarm, Bloc Party's debut
album after a series of criti-

Bloc Party
Silent Alarm
Vice

cally lauded EPs and singles. They are the prod-
uct of hundreds of over-effusive weblogs, some
dubious magazine support and, recently, a gush-
ing "MTV News" spotlight.
The star-rating attached to this review - a
mediocre two out of five - would seem to plant
the review squarely in the backlash camp, but
that's only based on the delusional assumption
that Silent Alarm is some sort of revolutionary,
rock-saving paradigm shifter. It is a solid sum-
mation of the most popular indie-rock sounds of
2005, the best candidate for a NOW! That's What
I Call Underground Rock! compilation since
Rooney.
In all likelihood, Bloc Party is infinitely more
sincere about their rock music than any reduction-
ist list of influences would suggest. It's impossi-

Almost as cool as The Killers ... almost.
ble, however, to ingest this music without hearing
the history behind it; Wire, Joy Division, Gang of
Four and Echo and the Bunnymen would all be
obvious touchstones. Bloc Party also inherit all
of the qualities that made recent world-beaters
like Interpol and Franz Ferdinand so susceptible
to backlash: They are young, fashionable, obvi-
ously talented and well-versed in the history of
punk rock music.
But where Interpol overcame their unlikable
qualities with undeniably great songwriting and
Franz Ferdinand made us forget them with a shit-
hot single ("Take Me Out"), Bloc Party fail to
establish themselves as unique, memorable song-
smiths. "Banquet," the centerpiece to the band's
breakthrough EP (and included on Silent Alarm),
is quite possibly the least memorable great song
in history.
Everything seems to be in its right place; the
guitars snipe and slash, the rhythms are bouncy
and danceable, and singer/guitarist Kele Okereke
sing/shouts a bunch of potentially career-defin-
ing lines (see "I'm on fire / You know I'm on fire
so start me up" or "I gave you life / I can take it
away").

But for all the shit Bloc Party throws at the
wall, very little of it sticks. It's doubtful that any
of "Banquet's" energetic defenders can hum the
melody. Many of the 14 tracks on the .lengthy
Silent Alarm suffer from similar identity prob-
lems. "Like Eating Glass" thrills from the get-go,
but a dozen listens in, and it's still barely differ-
entiable from other burners like "She's Hearing
Voices" or "Price of Gas." The slow tracks are
worse. "This Modern Love" is especially flaccid,
its guitar arpeggios and transparently sensitive
lyrics barely outpace a Blink 182 ballad.
When the band pulls out all the stops, they
can lay down some damn thrilling modern rock.
"Positive Tension" flips between terse drum foun-
dations and speaker-rattling keyboard bursts, and
"Pioneers" has the sort of gusto that earns a song
the anthem label.
Despite the talent and the occasional break-
through, it's tough to shake the notion that Bloc
Party are playing Travis to Interpol's Oasis. On
"Pioneers," Okereke shouts "We promised the
world we'd tame it / What were we hoping for?
/ We will not be the last." They weren't the first
either.

Culture sho,
By Hyatt Michaels
and Melissa Runstrom
Daily Arts Writers

Interested in Chicago clubbing, New
York-inspired poetry or the L.A. com-

edy scene? Tonight,i
Show will infuse
this type of urban
sensibility with
Latin spice through
this year's theme
of "Your Country:
Our Cities."
"We were

the Latino Culture
Latino
Culture Show
Tonight at 7 p.m.
At the Power Center

inlueofesu
include Houston and Miami. Traces of
Latino heritage and culture in these cities
are explored through unique and compel-
ling acts that combine dancing, singing
and poetry.
Before coming to the University, Alva-
rez identified herself as Puerto Rican but
after arriving on campus was disappoint-
ed that she was considered a minority.
When others would ask, she felt com-'
pelled to label herself as a Latina instead
of Puerto Rican. She went on to note that
people can get caught in labels, but she
insists there are more than just terms,
there is history and culture as well.
"We want (students) to come away
from the show feeling like they've expe-
rienced what it feels to be Latino," co-
coordinator Melissa Horton said. "We're
trying to show how, as immigrants to
this country, we've been able to establish

visual and musical feast

ourselves and (maintain) our culture."
Despite the goal of education, it would
be wrong to expect a dry, extended lec-
ture from the show. Unique and enter-
taining acts such as Nunuyorican poetry,
from New York Puerto Ricans will be
featured. Alvarez excitedly described
the original stand-up comedy featured
in the Los Angeles portion of the eve-
ning. She said she felt that this comedy
will best represent the experiences of
the larger Latino community because
the stories are personal and very real.
Chicago's club life is also prominently
featured in the finale. According to Alva-
rez, musical styles such as reggaetone,
originating in Puerto Rico, merengue
and bachata from the Dominican Repub-
lic, have been propelled to national pop-
ularity in part because of the play they
received in Chicago nightclubs. The

audience will take part in the show by
determining which couple wins the bach-
ata dance competition. The intense love
story between a light-skinned woman
and a dark-skinned man is featured in
the reggaetone portion. Alvarez said that
the dance scene is important because the
specific aspect of race "also plays a part
in Latino culture."
Unlike previous years, a mariachi
band accompaniment is the only non-
student contribution to the perfor-
mance. Otherwise the show is entirely
organized and performed by students.
The visuals of dance and the sounds of
music will come together in what should
be a unique, memorable night. Alvarez
said, "We want the audience to get up
and dance. It is a big party. I really want
people to walk away (with) what kind of
experiences (Latinos) have here."

trying to highlight Latino influ-
ence in specific U.S. cities," co-
coordinator Sashai Alvarez said.
Other cities featured in tonight's show

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