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October 06, 2005 - Image 8

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Thursday
October 6, 2005
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

(The ihrbigtrn w"a~iIg
RTrS

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8A

. . .. .. ... ..

I

A taste of television

Courtesy of Arts & Crafts

Smells like Canadian bacon?

ON THE SCENE
INDIE LUMINARIES RETURN WITH NEW SELF-TITLED

The one network I can always rely
on to entertain me is the Food Net-
work. Because food is a) required
for survival and b) oh so wonderful, it's
logical to make a channel dedicated to
celebrating sustenance. And man, is it
good.
The Food Network, though specific to
its subject, provides hours of
diverse television. Besides your
regular cooking shows (which
also vary in terms of host,
cuisine and theme), there's
"Unwrapped," a show that
reveals the making of every-r
day foods like ice cream; "Iron
Chef," the perennial favorite of
competitive cooking fans; and M
"Easy Entertaining," which
provides tips on how to plan B
and prepare the perfect party. NG
It's a crash course in kitchen
for the visual learner.
Of course, I've got my favorites and my
not-so-favorites. Though all food is good,
the host of a show is what really makes
or breaks it. Take Emeril Lagasse: When
he first appeared on the scene, I liked him
a lot. He was funny and clever, his food
looked delicious and he used to punctuate
his shows with periodic bursts of "BAM!"
and a quick dash of spices. But today, he's
old news. He's been around so long that
he's become commercialized - he's got
several shows, none of which entertain
me anymore. The man sticks uncooked
sludge into a hot oven and pulls a golden-
brown souffl6 out of the lower rack. Who
can take him seriously?
Same thing goes for Bobby Flay. I hate
him. I loathe-him. He needs to flay him-
self. His smug face and annoying, cough-
drop voice is exactly what I don't want
to see hovering over my barbecue. As a
self-professed barbecue expert, Flay has
pretty much ruined grilling for me. Every
time I stick some ribs onto an open flame,
I picture his face, and I want to poke it
with the grilling fork.
Aside from these bitter annoyances,
I have things that I adore. Sure, Rachael
Ray needs to shut up once in a while, but I
absolutely love her show. She's taught me
how to slice onions, how to make quick
salad dressing and marinades and the best
way to jazz up a burger. After watching
an episode of "Thirty Minute Meals,"
I made some excellent macaroni and
cheese - and not even out of a box! What
I especially love is that no matter how her
food turns out, she actually does cook it
on the show - you get to see the whole
process from start to finish. Finally, a
show that works on a premise other than
little elves in chef's hats slipping finished
food into hot pans. However, she really

EF

needs to stop saying E-V-O-O for extra
virgin olive oil, especially since she has to
explain it every time anyway: "Now I'm
going to add just a drizzle of E-V-O-O -
that's extra virgin olive oil ... " Seriously,
Rach. It's not cute. It's just annoying.
Another show which I enjoy is Giada
de Laurentiis's "Everyday Italian." I love
Italian food and watching
this show has made cook-
ing it a lot easier for me.
Of course, I have some
problems with Giada her-
self - her habit of saying
everything in a pretentious-
ly Italian accent. Parmesan
becomes parmesano reg-
giano, spaghetti becomes
spa-GHE-ti and mozzarella
RNIE becomes MOTZ-a-REL-
UYEN la. But the elegance of the
food she cooks and the
pretty kitchen set make her's one of my
favorites.
One complaint that I have (and it's a big
one, too) is the sheer absurdity of the most
idiotic remake ever to hit the small screen:
"Iron Chef: America." For the uninitiated,
"Iron Chef" was originally an awesome
Japanese series about three chefs, the Iron
Chefs, who fought other cooking gurus in
an hour-long battle over who could cook
the best dishes with a secret ingredient.
When "Iron Chef" first premiered in
the United States a few years ago, it was
addictive - ingredients were usually
flopping around, huge cleavers flashed
and billows of steam issued from every
pot. Excitement! Anticipation! FOOD!
Then some corporate honcho decided
to capitalize on the fabulously foreign idea
and turn it into "Iron Chef: America."
What they didn't realize was that without
the Japanese names ("Fukui-san!"), the
odd-but-entertaining dubbing and the
gaudy costumes, the show would be noth-
ing more than a few pretentious chefs
running around and making excuses for
why their food isn't good enough (ahem,
Bobby Flay). Just don't mess with the
original"Iron Chef." It was golden as it
was, and the watered down American
version just doesn't make the cut.
When it comes right down to it,
though, the Food Network can barely
go wrong. No matter your taste, there's
something for you. I know of no other
channel that can hold my attention and
serve as background all in one. Besides,
it's the Food Network. How could it pos-
sibly be anything but good?

By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer

For as much shit as we give Canadians, they've
proven time and time again
that they can deliver. Apart
from the metropolis of musi- Broken
cal incest that Constellation Social Scene
Records supports, our neigh- Broken Social
bors to the north continue to B cene
produce a succession of hit
records. The New Pornogra- Arts & Crafts
phers followed 2000's Mass
Romantic with the power-pop phenomenon The
Electric Version and most recently, the efferves-
cent Twin Cinema; The Constantines' second
release, Shine a Light, infused new life into the
stagnant rock scene. Broken Social Scene look
to uphold their nation's proud tradition with a
self-titled sophomore attempt, but they can only
pull out so many tricks from the You Forgot It In
People playbook.
In 2002, Broken Social Scene - a group of
accomplished Canadian musicians - released
one of the most expansive, esoteric pop albums

of the last 20 years, You Forgot It In People.
Layers of soaring guitars laid the groundwork
for gorgeous melodies and explosive crescendos.
The album looked to be the new face of indie-pop
and the archetypal sound for subsequent groups
- but then again, lightning never strikes the
same place twice.
The opening three tracks of SIT perfectly
mimic the start of You Forgot It In People. "Our
Faces Split the Coast in Half" has the same pre-
game, warm-up feel as their first album's opener,
"Capture the Flag." "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A
Better Day)" kicks the album into gear in "KC
Accidental" fashion but is unable to recapture
the hype and power of its predecessor. Soft, airy
vocals and an unrelenting percussion section
drive "7/4 (Shoreline)" exactly as they do "Stars
and Sons."
But with the exception of these three tracks, the
album sounds like a collection of watered-down
freestyles from their previous release. Many of the
songs on S/T sound like improvised jams. "Band-
witch" carries on for an unnecessary six minutes,
cymbals splashing through the track while indeci-
pherable hums echo about the soundscape.
Similarly, album closer "It's All Gonna Break"
extends for a mind-boggling 10 minutes. The

track wouldn't be nearly as unbearable if it
weren't for lyrical disasters like, "When I was a
kid / It fucked me in the ass." The melodic nature
and pop-construct of the song simply don't allow
for such insipid, tasteless lines.
Despite all this, Broken Social Scene do ven-
ture into some uncharted territory. "Windsurfing
Nation" begins with staccato, upbeat drums and
random guitars before launching into a bubbly
pop track. Unfortunately, it makes an ill-fated
turn when rapper K-Os spits 16 bars or so and
disrupts the free-flowing spirit.
What's truly amazing about SIT is how good
it actually is - a testament to the excellence of
You Forgot It In People. Even with blatant, dulled
parroting of their previous work, Broken Social
Scene still releases a pop gem. Never once does
SIT feel bogged down or monotonous; the band
keeps you guessing from track to track with dif-
ferent sounds and brief instrumental interludes.
SIT is not the album everyone was hoping for,
but in reality, that album was impossible. Judg-
ing from Bee Hives - a collection of You Forgot
It In People B-sides - Broken Social Scene had
many demons to exercise. S/T may be viewed as a
well-done experiment when Broken Social Scene
finally release their next masterful album.

- Bernie is still searching for
a mint condition copy of "Make
way for Ducklings." Sell her yours
at banguyen@umich.edu.

-..j

OK Go
still can't
get over it
on latest
By Kimbrly Chou
For the Daily
OK Go's sophomore record is smart
and decidedly hip at times; schlocky
and conformist at others. At best, Oh
No invokes trippier Queen with tastes
of Chic, mixes crunchy
guitars with Flea Balzary OK G8
bass - and is outlandish-I
ly catchy. Its first single, Oh No
"A Million Ways," is a Capitol
winner, opening with a
digital dance pattern that could very well
be the band VHS or Beta. The clever lyr-
ics are 100 percent OK Go: "Play that
song again / Another couple Klonopin,"
followed by "Lipstick and callous / And
fishnets and malice." Smartly integrating
prescription drugs and womens' wear
into a song about sketchy lady friends?
This is good for them.

Southern rap er finds Banner for*"
success in solid sophomore effort

By David Kahn
For the Daily

"Ya betta hide your favorite rap-
per 'cuz it's on this evenin' / I've

been rappin'
since Rakim but
I'm still fiend-
in'." David Ban-
ner is a veteran
in the rap game,
and he lets lis-
teners know it

Courtesy orfCapitoI

David Banner
Certified
Universal
immediately on

OK Go - after raiding Prince's closet.
OK Go succeeds at finding hooks and1
throwing in refreshing changes and solos1
when things move toward the boring side.I
Unfortunately, for all of their promisingc
boom-boom-tss drum intros, surprisingP
'50s-style call-and-response series and
singer Damian Kulash's ventures into ar
pretty, Maroon 5-ish falsetto, a number
of OK Go's songs tend to lag and drag;c
they end up sounding very similar. Atc
worst, the songs, such as doppelganger
tracks "Invisible" and "No Sign of Life,"
sound like mid-'90s Weezer and Ever-P
clear rejects.t
It's time for OK Go to find out just howt
far a band can get when they're frontedI
by a lead singer with an uncanny resem-I
blance to comedian David Cross. Cross

look-a-like Kulash, guitarist Andy Ross,
bassist Tim Nordwind and drummer
Dan Konopka have been living quite the
decent eclectic pop-rock life since 1998.
Nabbing the attention of fickle Chicago-
ans even before their first full-length was
released, popping out a radio hit ("Get
Over It") and opening for the late,
depressive troubadour Elliot Smith,
one would assume OK Go would be
garnering buzz for more than just their
well-choreographed dance video for "A
Million Ways" on myspace.com. With
the pleasant Oh No, the guys are closer
to a bigger slice of the mediocre indie-
pop pie, but Rivers Cuomo and those
Playboy Mansion parties are still a
little out of reach.

"Westside," a song from his latest,
Certified. Banner, a Mississippi
native who helped put his state on
the hip-hop map with 2003's Mis-
sissippi: The Album, still sounds
like a hungry, determined artist on
his latest project.
The guitar-laced opener, "Lost
Souls," sets the tone for the entire
album. Banner's gruff, raspy and
angry voice fits perfectly over
the beat. He produced most of the
tracks himself, which enables him
to affect his listeners on more than
just a lyrical level. His use of gui-
tars also adds to the fullness of the

sound on Certified. A highlight of
the record is when Banner teams up
with Chi-town native Twista on its
best track, "On Everything." Ban-
ner and the rapid-fire MC go back
and forth smoothly over a quick,
relentless drum pattern, which is
interspersed with loud trumpets.
Banner demands respect for the
South, as if its artists have not yet
been truly accepted in the hip-hop
community.
The second half of the album gains
momentum by featuring some of the
better songs. "Ain't Got Nothing,"
with Magic and Lil' Boosie, comes
off as an anthem for the broke, which
is a refreshing change from the rar-
efied bling-bling lifestyle.
Banner is joined by Dead Prez
and Talib Kweli on "Ridin'," and
although it's controversial for its
borderline racist lyrics, the guest
stars' verses are exceptional. But
Banner sounds best, spitting lines
like, "I might as well split ya wig
cuz that's just what the massa did
/ But now I'm the new Nat Turner
i/ Spread somethin' to the kids like
Sojourner, man, the truth."
These two tracks are far and away

the most original on the album. Lis-
teners will be hard-pressed to find
this kind of variety and insightful
content on one album alone.
Banner also has the rare ability
to reconnect with his roots when
writing rhymes. He has not forgot-
ten where .he's come from (however
raw it might be), yet he sprinkles
the album with his newly acquired
sophisticated ideals.
Certified is energetic and original
enough to push the boundaries of its
genre following a successful debut,
but you can tell from his skills that
David Banner is experienced in the
booth.

~.'4*t.'.44. .4...4. .,,~,,:x.:4w . 444.,. ~.,,.-, 4' X'*****'44 44 '4

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