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January 11, 2006 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-11

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January 11, 2006
arts.michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily. com

RTmg S


. ...... ...


Waiting for the sun

By Forest Casey
Daily Arts Writer
Early yesterday morning at Apple's annual
Macworld conference, photographers at the
Moscone Center in San Francisco framed Apple
Computer CEO Steve Jobs with his iconic catch-
phrase: "One more thing ..
This is Jobs's 13th year as CEO of Apple, a com-
pany he has built and rebuilt. His catchphrase is
something of a tradition among the Apple faithful.
In the past, this saying has announced the introduc-
tion of the five generations of iPods and the iMac
personal computer. Yesterday it signified a switch
from IBM processors, which have provided the
power for Apple's professional-grade PowerBooks
and PowerMacs for more than 10 years, to proces-
sors from IBM rival Intel.
This shift may not seem like much, but to Apple
loyalists, it is akin to an outright betrayal. Intel
has always been Apple's sworn enemy: Its proces-
sors powered the clone computers of then-rival
IBM. Apple even spent money to produce and run
TV advertisements demeaning Intel's mascots
(which were then a herd of brightly colored rab-
bits), showing the bunnies being "toasted" by the
much speedier Mac processor. Not surprisingly,
that advertisement has since been pulled from
Apple's website.
When Jobs took the stage last year and made
the announcement that Apple had been design-
ing their products to make a quick and easy
switch to Intel processors, the usually enthralled
Macworld audience began to grumble. The plan
was to start the transition to Intel with Mac con-
sumer computers and eventually phase the new
chips into their Pro line.
So the real surprise from San Francisco yester-
day wasn't that Macintosh computers are going to
be built with Intel processors, but that they're going
into a new laptop - the MacBook Pro.
This is huge news - for years, the profes-
sional Mac laptop line has lagged behind its
desktop siblings.
For the ancestry of PowerBooks that had been
creaking along with IBM G4 processors, their
claims of speed no longer compared to compet-
ing laptops with "Intel Inside."
But today, Jobs again revealed his famous
"One more thing ... ": a new Mac laptop with a

Despite a few great albums that
dropped this past year, I feel
adrift whenever I consider 2005's
musical developments. Great works are
popping up in the most disparate places,
but no movement has coalesced around
the best and brightest. It's as though listen-
ers and artists are stuck in some kind of
holding pattern, waiting for the
next life-changing explosion
of musical vision that'll unite
"TRL" viewers, Clear Channel
listeners and underground snobs
alike. Part of the reason for this
is that I've let my expectations
creep a little too high.
Those of us who youthfully
received our musical educa-
tion by emulating our parents
or older siblings know the A ALEX
obsessive joy of plumbing a Jo
back catalogue. There are few
moments during which one's faith in the
world seems so endless as when you learn
that there are more Beatles songs than the
one your dad says he named you after, or
when you figure out that "The Times They
Are A-Changin' " isn't just an unattributed
folk standard - it was written by a pro-
lific master musician with 40 years' worth
of albums for you to discover.
This stuff isn't current, but that makes
it history. You've got to inform yourself.
This background of obsessively observing,
devouring and idolizing music whose cre-
ators and original audience aren't exactly
your contemporaries - yet whose art you
feel so intensely that it's as if it's directed
solely at you - creates in listeners a rav-
enous appetite for more.
Fans like these - like me - aren't just
"listening" to another Velvet Underground
album. We're unraveling a mystery whose
solution seems to become a little more
tangible with each ever-more-lengthy
version of "Sister Ray" we study through
headphones. And after consuming official
releases, we need more to burn through:
More content, more clues to understanding
what's grounded us, inspired us, saved us.
Like any enduring religion, there's a
little guilt under all that exultation. This
music wasn't made for us, and we know
it. What right do we have to feel as though
we're more devoted fans than the giddy,
brash teenagers who visit Bob Dylan's
hotel room in the documentary "Dont
Look Back" (sic)? They're just doing what
was cool back then, we grumble. They
can't understand Dylan's music because
they don't have the perspective we do.
The girls in the documentary visibly
irk a world-weary Dylan as he signs auto-
graphs. But underneath the guilt-induced
sour grapes young fans today feel for miss-


ing the party by more than a few decades,
we idolize fans like those girls, who are
now at least as old as our parents. When
we see moments like this - fans reduced
to fumbling through awkward questions
intended as compliments in the presence
of their idols - we can relate to fans a
generation ago even more. They're us.
We'd do it if we had the chance.
Inevitably, we move on. My
awareness of bands like Radio-
head and Nirvana was eclipsed
with a two-year-long obsessive
preoccupation with The Beatles.
But by high school, I warmed
up to the notion of becoming
a connoisseur, not just a teeny-
bopper whose passion could
have focused on Hanson or
kNDRA horseback riding.
NES But the transition from
pledging allegiance to the
musical gods to test-listening artists who
haven't made it in the industry isn't easy.
Fans at that stage have learned that their
expectations will be shattered in terms
of the sheer volume of work these artists
produced as well as the sky-high stacks of
books there are to read about them.
We've become used to expecting
more than is reasonable. We get pissy
when the Fiery Furnaces bait us with the
one-two punch of Blueberry Boat's Wag-
nerian length and complexity and EP's
danceable hooks. We just think - arms
crossed, eyes rolling - that we shouldn't
have to wait three goddamn years for a
new Shins album.
And that's one reason it was difficult
to warm up to a tepid year like 2005. We
all have our pet projects, and some of my
favorite albums have practically been one-
offs. Of course, the irony is that the bands
hacking away in garages and the under-
ground rappers of today are tomorrow's
Zeppelins and Tupacs, and that decades
from now, kids will be salivating over the
7"s and all-ages shows we had as the con-
temporaries of the artists from back in the
2000s whom they consider legends.
Still, though, we don't give up on
young artists - and artists like Sufjan
Stevens, Dave Berman and the Fried-
bergers certainly haven't stopped trying
to wow us. We keep scanning the horizon
for artists who'll replicate the giddy awe
we feel whenever we dust off that well-
worn copy of Rubber Soul. If you're tired
of the ephemeral trend-shifting of con-
temporary music, remember that a debut
album today can become tomorrow's
super-solid back catalogue.
- Jones hasn't got over her schoolgirl
Dylan crush. E-mail almajo@umich.edu.

LSA sophomore Mirae Shin studies in the reading room of the Union with her iPod Mini.
This model does not support Apple's new video initiatives.

super-bright widescreen display, built-in video
camera, all-new anorexic enclosure and, most
importantly, not one but two Intel chips, creat-
ing a computer that is four times faster than its
predecessor. In an age of microscopic updates,
this is an astounding figure.
Perhaps more noteworthy to iPod owners,
Jobs also unveiled a new deal with NBC that
will bring classic skits from "Saturday Night
Live" and the new hit show "Commander In
Chief" to the iTunes Music Store for $1.99 each,
increasing the number of TV shows viewable on
the new, video-enabled iPod.
Unfortunately, the announcements today don't
seem so thrilling to many University students.
"I'd rather just watch (the programs) on TV," said
LSA freshman Miesha Merati. "I have the iPod that
you can put photos on and I've noticed that I haven't
even used that. I don't think it would affect me."

LSA senior Aman Bhatia and LSA freshman
Stacy Jian agreed.
Though he owns the newest version of the
full-size iPod, which is compatible with the new
service Apple will offer, Bhatia said he probably
wouldn't use the service because the screen is sim-
ply too small.
"I think it'd be better just to watch them on
TV," added Jian, who owns an iPod as well as an
iBook laptop.
As for the new line of laptops, PC user Merati said
she might consider purchasing an Apple computer in
the future now that they include Intel processors.
"Everyone that I know that has an Apple lap-
top has been very, very satisfied. I think I would
probably look into them if-I wanted to buy a new
- Caitlin Cowan contributed to this report.

Up-and-coming rockers focus
on what really matters in music

By Caitlin Cowan
Daily Arts Writer
It was around the time Smashing Pumpkins frontman
and overstuffed asshole Billy Corgan declared he "liter-
ally created the biggest band in the world" in his August
2005 interview with Spin that music fans officially tired
of self-important rock stars. Come on Billy. You're not
John Lennon, and you're not Robert Plant.
The Pumpkins were doubtlessly pioneers in the '90s,
but rock fans the world over are exhausted with the over-
inflated egos of their favorite stars. Corgan is only one
among many.
Onto the altar of snooty rock gods steps Mardo. Named
after the two brothers who make up the group, the band
already has an air of pomposity about it. But as soon as
older brother Aron Mardo opened his mouth, it became
clear that they're more genuine than most.
"If you're going to have the balls to call the band your
last name, you'd better be involved with every aspect of
it," he said of their handle.
And they do exactly that.
"It's a life to us. It's not a job. We named the band
our last name because we do all the artwork, and we're
involved every step of the way."
Cheeky pop-culture essayist and senior Spin columnist
Chuck Klosterman has quipped that there are only two
types of musicians that do interviews, "people who aspire
to be recognized, and people who have lost that recogni-

tion and want some of it back." But Mardo is not ashamed
in the least to discuss the journey to recognition that has
defined their lives. More than anything, they're simply
grateful - a feeling absent from much of the pompous
cock rock on the Top 40.
A rock band born in a city comprised predominantly
of farmers, Mardo had enough talent and drive to blast
out of their agricultural-based hometown of Fresno,
Calif. and onto the stage with the likes of King's X and
"One of the good things that I can say about the town is
that Nirvana ... Well, they don't even know Kurt Cobain
is dead up there," Aron said.
"There wasn't a lot of outside influence, as far as the
'flavor of the month.' So we were always just kind of
allowed to do what we wanted to do without having to
look to the right and the left to see what anyone else was
It was this lack of pressure that allowed Mardo to
develop their sound, which can best be described as long-
haired throwback rock, though Aron insists that they
"hate labels."
The band's self-titled debut album nearly blows open at
the seams with swaggering, head-banging, unapologetic
rock a la Stones without the wrinkles or AC/DC with-
out Brian Johnson's falsetto screech. Though they remain
under the radar for the moment, Mardo has a music video
out for the album's first track "Anyone But Me."
But most prominent is Mardo's humble and driven atti-

Courtesy of House of Restitution

"We are totally the most badass long-haired dudes around."

tude. "This is our life, and we have no other jobs, no other
desires, no other anything," Aron said.
Aron also feels that his music is influenced by the fact
that he was given a second chance at life.
"I was born with a brain tumor," he said. "I spent
the first year of my life at the UCLA medical center. I
wasn't supposed to live past six weeks. So as long as I can
remember, this is what I've felt was my duty. I've been

given two gifts ... a second chance at life, and a musical
talent. So I don't really question it."
Mardo isn't asking for any more than their share these
days; a humble attitude they cling to in a world of pomp-
ous rockers.
"We're just honored to be able to continue to live this
dream everyday," Aron said of he and his brother Robert.
"I hope we never wake up from it."

Posthumous project falls short

JAN. 18 AT b P.M,
JAN. 24 AT 9 P.M. AND
JAN. 29 AT 6 P.M.

By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer
Less than a month after he was gunned down fol-

lowing a 1997 party thrown by
Christopher "Biggie" Wallace's
second major-label record, Life
After Death, was finally released.
With a reputation as one of the
greatest rappers of his generation
and having died with only one
full mnior-lhel record (Read To)

ViBE Magazine,

a Bad Boy release that seeks to close the book of Big-
gie's life but unfortunately falls short of his legacy.
Duets, of course, was highly publicized leading up
to its release. Until now, Biggie's estate has barely been
touched, though his previous lyrics were recycled by such
rappers as Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Lil' Wayne and Lil' Kim as
artistic touchstones. But volume is lacking - Biggie has
only three albums available for purchase, so a new album
seemed like an ideal way to keep Biggie's star shining.
Without many leftover recordings, though, most of
Duets contains remakes of previous tracks with added
bonus verses from another artist. The album brought
forth some of Biggie's former accomplices, such as
Tav-.7 R .Kell and Bone Thio-N-Hrmon. alnno

Duets: The
Final Chapter
Bad Boy




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