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January 11, 2007 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-11

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2B - Thursday, January 11, 2007

{the b-sidel

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

TECH NOTEBOOK
Apple unveils Jesus Phone

0

By CAITLIN COWAN
DailyArts Editor
If you have an iPod, chances are
you carry it around along with your
keys, wallet and cellphone. You
might even have a digital camera
or Palm Pilot in addition to all that.
And at the Macworld 2007 key-
note speech, Apple CEO Steve Jobs
unveiled the iPhone, a device that
capitalizes on thatcvery tendency to
own, use and lug around multiple
tech gadgets at the same time.
Apple has rolled the iPod, cam-
era, video camera, browser and
The Holy Grail
of cellphones has
arrived.
cellphone into one sleek, sexy pack-
age with an intuitive touch-screen
interface. The iPhone, which will
debut in June, is first and foremost
a thin, lightweight cell phone. It's

also a digital camera that, like the
iPod photo, allows for easy storage
and viewing of a sizeable amount
of photos that appear crisp and
clear on its widescreen surface. The
iPhone also allows for powerful
Internetmulti-tasking, lettingusers
download e-mail, browse webpages
and scan satellite maps at the same
time with the phone's multi-touch
display..
Apple's latest invention also
makes use of a number of high-tech
features, the most impressive of
which are its unique sensors. The
accelerometer detects when users
rotate the phone from portrait to
landscape orientation and automat-
ically reframes the on-screen con-
tent to match. If you're holding the
iPhone vertically while looking at
a horizontal photo, simply turn the
phone sideways and the photo will
automatically reappear in its cor-
rect horizontal aspect ratio. Can't
see far enough down your favorite
webpage while holding the iPhone
horizontally? Rotate it back verti-
cally and the page will smoothly flip
back to portrait view. The iPhone
also has a proximity sensor that

detects when users hold the phone
to make or receive calls, automati-
cally turning off the large, bright
touch screen to conserve battery.
Basically, this baby does every-
thing short of turning water into
wine.
The price? $499 for 4GB of mem-
ory, $599 for 8GB.
High price aside, there are other
downsidesto the phone thatalready
has critics grumbling, almost all of
which have to do with the exclusiv-
ity of the iPhone's applications and
services. The iPhone works solely
with Cingular and comes with a
two-year agreement, and subscrib-
ers will also have to pay an addi-
tional fee of $10 to $20 per month
for data service. Those who want
an iPhone but are currently under
contract with other wireless com-
panies may also have to break their
contracts, which typically involves
facing a heavy early-termination
fee. Another gripe of handheld
users is that the new iPhone won't
be compatible with a number of
popular third-party mobile applica-
tions. During his Macworld speech,
Jobs stated that the iPhone would

It's like Jesus, only with e-mail.
run Mac OS X, but made no mention
of how stripped-down that version
would be.
No matter what concerns have
arisen, it's impossible to deny the
aesthetic appeal and sheer coolness
of the iPhone, a fact Apple has capi-
talized on with its glossy, minimal-
ist products in the past. Apple hopes
the iPhone will account for around
one percent of the approximately
one billion cellphones sold annu-
ally by 2008. If the hype surround-
ing the iPhone continues, his vision
may just become a reality, whether
the iPhone can satisfy all of its tar-
get markets or not.

MUSIC NOTEBOOK r
When north meets south, everyone wins

The indie music sphere is still
trying to catch up to Neutral Milk
Hotel. Next to the Pixies, no band
has provided more inspiration
for the current indie rock pow-
erhouses. The Arcade Fire, Wolf
Parade and Animal Collective all
offer shades of what the '90s band
concocted when lead singer Jeff
Mangum - who's currently front-
ing Apples in Stereo - and guitarist
Robert Schneider, Rick Benjamin
and Lisa Janssen entered a Denver
recordingstudio in.1996. The result
was an earthquake that jostled to
life an entire decade's worth of
indie rock.
But then Jeff Mangum fell off
the edge of the earth. After a final
show in late 1998, Mangum disap-
peared from the indie scene - not
from a plane crash or heroin over-
dose, but by his own choice - thus
ending NMH. Aside from a sighting
at an Elf Power show, Mr. Neutral
Milk stayed away from the public
eye. Surprisingly, in June 2006, a
statement supposedly from Man-
gum appeared on his former record
company's message board that said
Mangum was making music again
and would soon return to the spot-
light. Could it be a Neutral Milk
reunion? No, just a hoax from an
anonymous asshole, destroying
what could have been the biggest
news story of 2006.
Despite the band's short-lived
career, it still managed to craft two
perfect albums both light-years
ahead of the indie scene at the
time. Overshadowed by the criti-
cally acclaimed follow-up album
Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998), On
Avery Island delicately explores
the workings of Mangum's psyche
and his combination of eerie vocals
and lyrics with a simple, alternative
grunge-folk punch. Whereas Aero-
plane is finely brushed and tightly
ironed on every corner, On Avery
Island leaves the crdases and blem-
ishes intact.
The opening track, "SongAgainst
Sex," with its blistering, speaker-
bursting screeches, may not be the
most accessible recording on the
album. But before long the neo-folk,
strumming and fuzzy bass starts
in to premise the discussion of the

By ANTHONY BABER
Daily Arts Writer
It seemed like 2006 would finally be the year
that rappers from the north (more specifically
the northeast) finally regain their strangle hold
on the hip-hop industry. Ever since hip hop start-
ed at the block parties and discos in New York
City, innovators like DJ Kool Herr, Grandmas-
ter Flash and Afrika Bambaataa ran the show on
the East Coast. But that was a long time ago, and
in recent years the general public has shifted its
attention to the Dirty South.
Power has swayed in such a way that it's more
common to see rappers from the north pair-
ing up with rappers from the south, which was
unthinkable in past years. More Southern rap-
pers have begun using Northern producers like
Just Blaze and Swizz Beats to give their albums
a different feel. More Dirty South and East Coast
artists are working together on tracks and gain-
ing an incredible amount of attention. More
recently, Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli recorded the
song "Country Cousins" with Port Arthur, Texas
natives UGK. And in returning the favor, UGK
included Jay-Z on his album, Trill, for the song
"Get Throwed" with his partner Pimp C and
Young Jeezy.
This year, rappers in the Midwest and East
Coast have lyrically surpassedthe status quo and

brought some serious albums to the forefront.
The most memorable comes from Chicago's
Westside-wordsmith Lupe Fiasco, who, after
months of delays, released one of the best social-
ly conscious hip-hop albums to date. Rap hasn't
been this authentic since the mid '90s (Public
Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest), but just when you
think it can't get any better, Nas finishes the year
with Hip Hop Is Dead, a brilliant concept album
with real lyrical contentcrevolving around what's
happening in hip hop - where it started and
where it's going
But after Young Jeezy and Li' Wayne took
over in 2005, media focus stayed in the south for
2006. T.I. created a completely new standard for
Southern rappers with his album King. No one
knows this better than Tip's only real competi-
tion in the South, Lil' Wayne, who cut an album
with his father, the slow-flow #1 Stunna, Baby.
Weezy's ability to make Like Father, Like Son a
success, even with Baby's lackluster flows and
simplelyrics, have apparently convinced him he
is second to none, and Jay-Z might as well have
remained athome because he's no longer the best
rapper alive.
x.,As far as underground hip hopgoes, the East
Coast completely owns it. New York has been
pumping mixtapes like never before. With his
new Blacksmith label, Talib Kweli has been
bringing attention to artists such as Jean Grae,

Krondon and Strong Arm Steady on the under-
ground circuit. Lesser-known MCs, like Gillie
Da Kid, were able to step into the spotlight when
they showed up on mixtapes by DJs like Clinton
Sparks, Big Mike and Nu Jersey Devil.
Though the South did plenty of mixtape work,
like DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz, and took over
everything released by DJ Envy, most Southern
rappers on mixtapes were already fairly main-
stream. Even Swishahouse - the underground
monster that once held Paul Wall, Mike Jones
and Chamillionaire - has become as popular as
any other label. Even the lamest rappers in the
south are getting record deals (it's crazier than
that damn "White Rapper Show" on VH1).
The main reason the south seems to have so
muchpullisthe slewofsimple,catchy and quickly
worn-out dance moves. "Lean Back" was so easy
it was boring and "Chicken Noodle Soup "is too
complicated for the average party-goer, but the
south knew how to get everyone moving in uni-
son. And just when everyone got tired of "Lean
Wit' It, Rock Wit' It," lights, camera, action and
Yung Jot walks through the door with the ever-
popular motorcycle dance.Itwaseveneasiercthan
the Lean Wit' It, Rock Wit' It and everyone from
Tom Cruise to U.S..soccer player Clint Dempsey
was doing it. It was something more than Dem
Franchize Boyz or D4L could ever contemplate,
and no one could stop it.

end of the world, druguse and por-
nography: "And the first one tore
a picture / Of a dead and hanging
man / Who was kissing foreign
fishes / That flew right out from
this hands." Despite the almost
comical and carnival-like horn sec-
tion, the song explodes with pure
honesty, never more so than in the
final lines of "Because with a match
that's mean and some gasoline /
You won't see me anymore."
The lo-fi, psychedelic side of
Avery shows its drug-infused face
on "Someone is Waiting," as the
simplistic folk guitar gives way to
a climactic chant from Mangum
while he slowly and achingly belts
"AndIloveyouandIwantto/Shoot
all the superheroes from your skies
/Watch them bleeding /From your
ceiling /As their empty anger falls
Mangum may
be MIA, but
his music isn't.
out from their eyes." Despite the
song's depressing lyrics, they never
come across as forced or insincere
before entering into a world of faux-
flowing-water sounds thatare over-
thrown by bleating synth riff and
distorted guitar..
"Avery Island / April 1st" takes a
reprieve from the lyrics addressing
dead superheroes and dead babies
and replaces them with Neutral
Milk's trademark horn section,
which would later become a staple
for current acts such as Beirut and
Architecture in Helsinki.
The track opens with a prototyp-
ical church organ riff, but is backed
byalone muffled trumpet sequence
that quickly transitions into the
hectic and pulsing "Gardenhead
/ Leave Me Alone"a,'tine,,song

6
0

Get the Gift You Really Wanted.

that reflects Mang
self approach to v
Whet your appetite...In a three-session exploration. "This time we rid
into the ocean/W
as we spiral dow
encompass the id
er and desolatioi
offers a modem, RefennJewish perspective on Island so brillian
iu~ odav 5 b,..~n~hia~*hd srroful. Ntem,
living . 'C C world, passionate. Ande
depression and ut
Classesare he ld atTemple Bth Emoth in gum finds beauty
just want to dance
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Sadly, Neutral
Open to the Beginner,Jewishr Not. only recently recei
ty and praise it dese
Mangum and the g
Free of Charge, Space Linted lThough Mangum
Contact Devon at dfftig@templebethemeth.org out another NMH
him well enoughtc
or 734-665-4744 to register. out of luck. But th
Avery Island squa
Co-sponsored by th. Union for Reform Judaism Pixies'Doolittle an
William and Lottie Daniel Commission oi Outreach and Synagogue Community ermind as albums

:, g raig bgt
um's do-it-your-
ocals. The lines,
le roller coasters
e feel no emotion
n to the world"
ea of the disas-
n that On Avery
tly reflects. Not
ao. Just blunt and
even among the
ter chaos, Man-
when belting, "I
in your tangles /
eason to move."
Milk Hotel has
ved the populari-
erves -long after
group disbanded.
has never ruled
album, we know
o know we're shit
is just places On
rely among The
d Nirvana's Nev-
s that should be
ne who claims to
music.

$

dissected by anyor
be obsessed withn

iPod starting at $79
Return the sweater from Grandma,
grab that extra holiday cash, and take
advantage of your student discount.
U-M Computer Showcase, Michigan Union
64-SALES
www.itd.umich.edu/sales
www.apple.com/education/store

01

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