January 12, 2006
RTe Michigan Sil
FuNKY Fouu + 1
FIVE TOP PIECES OF POP CULTURE
COMPLIMENTS OF THE DAILY ARTS EDITORS
Marcus Vick - Getting underage girls drunk, elbowing an opposing
coach in the back of the head, flipping the bird to the West Virginia crowd,
getting caught with weed, driving with a suspended license and stomping
an opposing player's knee. Marcus "New Mexico" Vick, the former Vir-
ginia Tech quarterback, took his transgressions to a new level: He started
waving his gun at a group of teens in a McDonald's parking lot because they
made fun of him. Look for him to follow up his illustrious college career
with a string of Court TV appearances. Please don't kill us, Marcus.
Anne Hathaway - Shit, the girl from "The Princess Diaries" becomes
4 hard-drinking cowgirl who jumps Jake Gyllenhaal's bones? She's helped
pave the way for every young, innocent actress to shed her saccharine image
by dropping their shirts and given guys a viable reason to watch "Brokeback
Mountain" when their dumbass friends make fun of them.
"Tristan and Isolde" trailer - OK, so how many people have loved you
before? You're essentially piggy-backing on layers of Persian, Gaelic and
Anglo-Saxon legends of star-crossed lovers. You're banking on James Franco
and an Evanescence jam to anchor your trailer? I'll tell you how many people
are going to love you now: only one. Your fucking mother.
Courtesy of NBC
"Can you give this back to your mom the next time you go home?"
West End Grill - With no real hype (cough ...
Chop House), the West End Grill
has become the most consis-
tently satisfying restaurant
in Ann Arbor. The warm,
austere interior is a quiet
presentation that hides
a selection of Ameri-
can food that's always
'FOUR KINGS' ANYTHING BUT ROYAL
By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
Snacks: The Kila
Cam Tape - Found
through online mix-tape
vendors or, of course,
Canal Street and Span-
ish Harlem, this beast
of a mix-tape culls most
of Killa Cam's nonsen-
sical, giddy freestyles
and album verses into a
disc whose 67 (!) songs
shows that Cam actu-
ally does, in his own
words, "run this circus
As Conan O'Brien often likes to point out in his
own, off-the-wall sort of way, "NBC is in the gutter."
Once the source of the best ____________
comedies on television - espe- Four Kings
cially on Thursday nights
with now-classic series such Thursdays at
as "Cheers," "Seinfeld" and 8:30 p.m.
"Friends" - the network has NBC
been reduced to contrived, for-
mulaic and downright lame attempts at recapturing the
With its new Thursday-night lineup, anchored
by the generally well received "My Name is Earl"
and "The Office," the network hoped to once again
become "Must-See TV" on Thursday nights. But
its latest addition to the Thursday lineup, the forced
yet feeble "Four Kings," will get no new eyes for
the ratings-starved network.
If by some far-off chance you haven't caught
one of the 514 promotional spots NBC has run
the past few weeks, "Four Kings" follows four
childhood friends who become, well, grown-up
friends. If the show is to be believed, they order
drinks at the same coffee house at the same exact
table about every 10 minutes. Eventually, one of
their grandmothers dies, leaving them a house in
Manhattan and they decide to move in together..
Amateurish fat jokes, underwear humor and
stock relationship problems ensue.
Imagine every post-collegiate stereotype.
Then suck the anxious humor and stalled emo-
tional development and put in some dated jokes
and insults. You're getting warmer.
The "Kings" themselves consist of Barry (Seth
Green, "The Italian Job"), Ben (Josh Cooke, star of
another NBC failure "Committed"), Jason (Todd Grin-
nell, "The Dangling Conversation") and Bobby (Shane
McRae, "All Over Again"). Their collective experience
amounts to little. For all their comedic grace and chem-
istry, the characters might as well be four random guys
pulled off the street.
At first glance, "Four Kings" is very similar to
"Friends," but oddly enough, that's the problem. In a
way, "Friends" was the beginning of the end for NBC.
While that show certainly had a large fanbase, its gen-
eral formula, which has been copied several times, is
rather weak: A gathering of inane archetypes perform
the same, stupefying routine every episode. What sold
"Friends" was not especially strong storylines or writ-
ing, but the characters and their delivery. Unfortunate-
ly, "Four Kings" only inherits the prototypical setup of
"Friends" and recycles jokes that carry no weight when
coupled with the show's poorly conceived characters
and everyday delivery. This is abysmally bad stuff,
ramshackle dialogue and shallow settings abound.
It's funny that almost half a decade ago pundits
predicted the death of the sitcom, and even today the
parade of reheated scripts marches on. But still, shows
like "Four Kings" are brought to life like zombies,
plodding around with their blatant deficiencies nakedly
visible to studio executives and fans alike.
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
EE New, sorrowful LP
AWE'RE NOT FRENC EIER. MY SUBS JUST TAir
LM TtEETfER, THlAT'S ALL! I WANTED TO
ja vv* "VO"l-TOL . .. s rock and'sbest
By Derek Barber
Daily Arts Writer
The San Diego instrumental out-
fit Tristeza, which translates into
"sadness" for the readers who opted
out of high school
Spanish, has been Tristeza
ture, psychedelic A Colores
masterpieces for Better Looking
the past seven
years. The contributions of ex-band
member James Lavelle and remixes
by techno-mastermind Jimmy Tam-
borello may account for much of
their early success. But even with
the popularity of their debut, 1999's
Spine & Sensory, and the long string
of tour EPs that followed, Tristeza
had yet to fully capitalize on their
distinct, guitar-based sound.
However, on A Colores, Tristeza
may have finally found their voice.
Avoiding the previous pitfall of try-
ing to capture too many emotions
within just one album, the record
reveals a mood that's continuous
without ever becoming mundane:
12 songs with 12 different shades of
Shedding the bright and cheerful
feelings of past records, each instru-
mental is set in a minor key. Instead
of the usual chiming and lightheart-
ed guitar lines, the dueling guitars
of Christopher Sprague and Alison
Ables create a wonderfully dark call
and response on tracks like "Stum-
ble On Air." As the six strings weave
in an out of each other, they design
an intricate patchwork for the steady
drumming of Jimmy Lehner. Even
Mogwai couldn't make minor arpeg-
gios sound this good.
Although the conversing guitars
often take a customary role as the
foundation for each song, the rever-
sal of this role yields many excit-
ing possibilities. On "Bromas," the
swirling keyboards provided by new
member Sean Ogilvie give the song's
intro a touch of the surreal.
Even a listener who doesn't know
bass clef from treble could easily
recognize the frequent and provoca-
tive use of odd-time signatures. Lis-
teners will have a hard time tapping
their foot along with the twisting
rhythm and syncopation of "La Tier-
ra Sutil." The use of repeated Latin
rhythms give a strange sense of unity
to the album, not only in theme but
also in rhythm and time.
If there already wasn't enough
evidence that Tristeza has moved
away from their earlier, overarch-
ing works, "Abrazo Distante" dis-
pels any lingering doubts. The title
translates to "Embracing Distance,"
which may be a loose reference to "A
Little Distance," the standout track
on Spine & Sensory.
The cascading keyboard line sig-
nifies a movement into this new-
found maturity. Each moment of
sadness on the record reveals that
Tristeza has done exactly that:
They've embraced their own unique
voice, rooted in the melancholy. In
the skilled hands of such an innova-
tive group, sorrow has rarely sound-
ed so sweet.