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September 28, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-28

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 7

Chanel and Stravinsky
unsuccessfully linked

Deerhunter combines 'Horton Hears a Who' with 'Hop on Pop.' Elephant not amused.
*Deerhunter 's trophy

'Halcyon Digest'
establishes Bradford
Cox's music mastery
Daily Arts Writer
The votes are in and the jury has
spoken: Deerhunter knows how to
make fucking jangle pop!
After the raw
crystalline sludge
of 2007's Crypto-
grams, the band
cleaned up its Dwhunter
sound for 2008's Halcyon Digest
sublimely hooky 4AD
but still suffi-
ciently dreamy
Microcastle. With Halcyon Digest,
Deerhunter finally pulls out the big
guns, delivering an album of buoy-
antly extroverted, instantly likable
ear candy.
While lead singer and guitarist
Bradford Cox has always demon-
strated an almost Zen knack for
crafting humbly infectious melo-
dies, Digest marks his true debut
as a charisma-spouting frontman.
Stepping out from behind the stu-
dio murk of previous records, Cox's
crystal-clear voice refreshes like an
ice-cold glass of orange juice, spar-
kling with the offhand cockiness of
a genuine indie wunderkind.
Throughout, Cox doles out
incredibly frisky inflections that
hit you in the gut without tapping
you on the shoulder: the way he
drags out the word "out" on "Don't
Cry," culminating in a wet, gushy
"t," or the way he turns "could you"
into a sneezy "k-chew!" on "Reviv-
al." Moments like these are con-

stant reminders that this guy has
been around the block and knows
what the hell he's doing.
The opening half of "Desire
Lines" shows how Deerhunter's
newfound breeziness can occa-
sionally translate to idleness, with
Cox crooning vapidly optimistic
lyrics like "Walking free, whoa-oh
/ Come with me, whoa-oh / Far
away, whoa-oh." But the track's
outro is further evidence that the
band has song structure down to
a T; Cox takes what should be a
10-bar guitar solo and stretches it
over the course of three minutes,
looping each chord progression
into a hypnotic mantra before slyly
giving wayto the next reveal.
While Digest's no-holds-barred
pop style largely sacrifices the
head-washy atmospherics of Deer-
hunter's previous work, the album
- at its best - is anything but
Lead single "Revival," a two-
minute exercise in heart-fluttery
concision, could be the straight-up
catchiest song the band has ever
written - but the arrangement
itself couldn't be fuller. Under-
neath the rubber-gummy bass
groove and nimble acoustic strum-
ming at the track's center lies a
shifty ensemble of fuzzy synth
blasts, syncopated shaker, snare-
roll triplets and guiro scrapes that
sound as if they were recorded
underwater. The song is a perfect
example of Digest's deft melding
of to-fi and hi-fi, a commendable
balancing act that makes for some
incredibly tactile music.
The washed-out harmonica
on "Memory Boy," the frictiony
sax blasts on "Coronado" and the
stringy banjo licks on "Revival" are

further testaments to the record's
textural vibrancy and eclectic
Digest's bookends hint that Deer-
hunter hasn't shaken the experi-
mentation bug quite yet. Opener
"Earthquake" is a memento of the
band's uncanny ability to craft sur-
really enveloping soundscapes out
of just a few well plotted noises
(in this case, an eerie assembly of
reverb-drenched mouth sputters,
crunchy to-fi drum machine hits
that sift intermittently into reverse
and a spiraling guitar melody). And
closer "He Would Have Laughed"
morphs from narcotic afro-pop to
homesick acoustic balladry over
the course of seven minutes.
Unfortunately, Digest suffers
from a momentum-killing three-
song lull toward the end of the
album. "Helicopter" pushes the
envelope with a dazed medley of
sickly sweet harpsichord chimes,
druggy water splashes and shim-
mery clinking noises. But, without
a pop-out central melody, the song
feels like contrived navel-gazing
amid the record's wealth of power-
house hooks.
"Basement Scene" and "Foun-
tain Stairs" both trade in bona
fide choruses for lazily circular
strum-alongs, the former padding
its sleepy-eyed verses with vaguely
soothing "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing"
and the latter inserting a brassy
bridge where there should be an
ejaculatory refrain.
While Digest is probably Deer-
hunter's least cohesive album to
date, it's also the band's most con-
fident. Though purists may be
turned off by the record's conven-
tionality, naysayers will likely find
themselves converted.

Daily Arts Writer
Coco Chanel's and Igor Stravin-
sky's accomplishments don't
have much in
common. The y
name of Chanel
is synonymous COChane
with tailored,
classically chic and Igor
clothing, while StraVinsky
music was any- At the
thing but clas- Michigan
sic and tailored Eurowide
- rather, as evi-
denced by "The
Rite of Spring," it had the power
to incite riots. At one point in time,
however, the artistic spirit fuel-
ing the timelessly elegant Chanel
and the chaotically innovative
Stravinsky were one and the same
- at least, that's how director Jan
Kounen ("a") sees it.
Apparently, Chanel (Anna
Mouglalis, "I Always Wanted to
Be a Gangster") saw Stravinsky's
(Mads Mikkelsen, "Clash of the
Titans") ballet "Rite of Spring"
performed in Paris and was deeply
moved by it. She felt an inexplicable
attraction toward Stravinsky and
his work, and invited the struggling
artist and his family to stay with
her. As a result, Chanel and Stravin-
sky had an affair that supposedly
led to an exchange of ideas between
the fashion and music worlds.
"Coco Chanel & Igor Stravin-
sky" is a movie about ideas, yet
abstract concepts like the forma-
tion of style and music don't trans-
late well onto the screen. It's just
boring. The basic premise behind

the film
a histor
make fo
nel and
cially ii
just sta
to publi
was in
cut off
Coco C
as the'
ion wi
who w
there is
which t
world c
It's h
first. T
on thei:
so, beg
of the c
but onli
In o

would work as a thesis or their relationship is about to fall
'y paper but doesn't exactly apart, Stravinsky says that Cha-
ir a captivating movie. nel's work is insignificant in com-
ne thing, the world of Cha- parison to his own. She works in
Stravinsky is never put into a shop; he writes symphonies. To
tive. The 1920s were imag- the audience, this suggestion is
a pretty wild time, espe- ridiculous. Chanel's work gives
n artistic circles. It was the the movie its structured setting.
of modernism: Picasso had His music works in tandem with
rted painting as a cubist, Chanel's lifestyle and designs.
a Woolf was just starting His bold, rhythmic compositions
ish her work and New York translate visually to Chanel's style
an uproar of the Armory and the mixing of Chanel No. 5.
Yet the world of the film is Still, the film does not articu-
from any sense of context. late what is really shared between
hanel hardly comes across the two. Mougalis and Mikkelson
woman who changed fash- both possess incredible talent but
th her little black dress. their characters seem to be hiding
sky just seems like a man many emotions - whether this is
'rote music for the vast the result of an excellent portrayal
y of the movie. The accom- of artistic temperament or sim-
ents of such revolutionary ply a poor portrayal of the inner
uals are minimizedbecause hearts of these characters is hard
s no sense of the world in to discern. When Stravinsky's wife
(Yelena Morozova, "Hysterical Psy-
cho") asks Chanel if she feels at all
guilty for sleeping with a married
M aking a man, Chanel simply replies "No."
. But the camera focuses on her for a
istory thesis long time afterward, during which
her frustratingly vague expression
Ito a movie. seems to be saying any number of
Of course, this is a consistent
:hey occurred and how that problem throughout the film: Ques-
hanged asa result. tions are raised about motives and
ard to understand why the meaning, but are never answered in
carries any significance at a creative and satisfying way. And
he film tightens its focus raising open-ended questions has
r relationship and, in doing never really been particularly inno-
ins to address the question vative, especially in comparison to
reation and meaning of art the artists portrayed. "Coco Chanel
y as it relates to these two & Igor Stravinsky" simply remains
a compare-and-contrast paper
ne tense scene between about how making a perfume is like
and Stravinsky, just as creating a symphony.

'Running' to stand still

!!! likes shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!
Pig gets pumped with !!!

Assistant Arts Editor
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz
and starring Will Arnett, along
with David Cross in a recur-
ring role as an
Fox's "Running
Wilde" is a veri- Running
table "Arrested
orgy and had Tuesdays at
* all the requi- 9:30 p.m.
site excitement FOX
it. So maybe
the premise was a little weak -
Arnett's fathoms-rich Steve Wilde
is reunited with his childhood
sweetheart, do-gooder Emmy
Kadubic (Keri Russell, "Felicity"),
the two end up living together
and romantic comedy ensues.
But surely, with Hurwitz and
Arnett in control, the show would
pull through with the wacky dry
humor, clever wordplay and self-
obsessed yet somehow loveable
characters "Arrested" fans would
expect, right? Nope - turns out
the "Running Wilde" team has
made a huge mistake.
For starters, all the gravelly
faux porn-star voice and over-
grown naivete in Arnett's reper-
toire can't save a badly written
character. Wilde has all the play-
boy stylings of Gob from "Arrest-
ed," along with a good dose of his
accidental charm: "That's the last
nice thing I'm doing for anyone!"
he shouts in one uncharacteristi-
cally funny scene, then buys his
driver a drink. But unlike Gob,
Wilde doesn't have magician
ambitions or any other quirky
O detail. He's blatant and black-
and-white, nothing but an Adam
Sandler-style manchild with
limitless funds. There's nothing
behind his youthful blundering
for viewers to latch on to.
Russell's Kadubic has a soppy

faith in Wilde's ability to become
a better person. At multiple times,
Wilde lets her down in predictable
ways, and Kadubic reacts with
the kind of surprised disappoint-
ment that even the most idealistic
of world-savers would be hard-
pressed to muster. Russell allows
the character to rest in one dimen-
sion, never really twisting the
lines to make Kadubic anything
more than a hardworking opti-
mist. "You do good for nothing -
and I guess that's what you still
are," she snaps at one point, and
then makes a face, presumably at
the dumbness of her line.
It's impossible to see Kadubic

as any I
tant ign
she's a
but the
build a'
But i
an unre
that the
wants 1
wants t
with hi
ter, doe
so stron
for six

kind of foil to Wilde's bla- want to live in the jungle!" It's
orance. Compared to him, unclear where this burning desire
saint. Sure, she's a little came from, or how not talking will
hteous and unperceptive, help her. Puddle acts like a spoiled
se are flaws that she and brat, but with a mother as unper-
share. That's nothing to ceptive and unobservant as Kadu-
TV relationship on. bic, how did she get that way?
f Kadubic and Wilde are Puddle is also in charge of the
esting protagonists with voice-over narration, for rea-
sons that will go unexplained,
because - well, why is voice-
over narration even necessary for
i Arnett's such a simple premise? It doesn't
explain anything, it never pro-
vides witty commentary on the
s arrested. actiton and Puddle's omniscience
ts arr sted- when it comes to other characters'
thoughts and personalities is kind
of awkward.
ralistic attraction, at least That said, the show isn't
written simply enough unwatchable. Supporting actors
eir motives are clear: He Peter Serafinowicz ("Couples
to get with her, and she Therapy") and Mel Rodriguez
o save him. And also get ("FlashForward") provide some
im, sometimes, in a few laughs as Wilde's competitive
ly placed outbursts of neighbor and his caring driver,
n. respectively. But the show's
le (Stefania Owen, "The premise is boring and its main
Bones"), Kadubic's unfor- characters fall flat. Ultimately,
y hippie-named daugh- "Running Wilde" is nothing but a
sn't even have that much. drab story of a wealthy bachelor
spent her young life in the who had everything and the one
n, Puddle has somehow woman who had no choice but
ed a streak of materialism to keep them both together. And
g that she stopped talking that kind of thing is bound for
months because "I don't cancellation.

Daily Music Editor
With so many of today's punk
bands beingthrownintothe dance-
funk genre, it would be easy to toss
the talented band
!!! (pronounced !!!
"chk chk chk")
into the pile of Tonight at
Talking Heads 9 p.m.
impersonators. Bling Pig
But when $15
rowdy !!! rolls
into town for a show at the Blind
Pig tonight, concertgoers will see
firsthand why this would be a sore
Unlike so many of their buzz-
craving peers, these Brooklynites
have been making their own brand
of funk-heavy, punk influenced
sound for the last decade - and
these aren't the sort of guys will-
ing to change their image in order
to coincide with what's trendy in
today's music scene.
Unfortunately, !!! has undergone
some difficult changes in the last
few years. First, vocalist and drum-
mer John Pugh left the band in the
summer of2007 to focus on his new
project Free Blood. Then in late
2009, the band received the tragic
news that drummer and original
member Jerry Fuchs had died in
an elevator accident. These events
had quite an impact on their latest
album Strange Weather, Isn't It,
full of fittingly dark tracks.
Deep in the midst of a grocery
shopping excursion, !!! frontman
Nic Offer enthusiastically talked
with the Daily by phone about
album names, the pros and cons of
his most ridiculous, drug-induced,
vomit-producing onstage moment.
So where did !!! come up with the
title of its latest record?
"I was watching a movie called
'In the Mood for Love' by Kai War
Wong and the point where the main
couple runs into each other on the

street an
need to s
don't eve
how to ai
all rainy
her is, 'St
just kind
for that u
and elus
heavy al
being 20
stepped 1
was alm
want to t
so dark a
erence to
tive subje
tones br
ing recei
of the b:
disco bea
record !!!
I think1
write, bu
album ar
done - b
est and b
depth an
But th
walk in;
the diffic
with a s
"It ma

id there's so much they ple's flaws because you know them
say to each other but they well, but it also makes you more irri-
n know where to begin or table with their flaws, you know? So
ddress it. So the streets are it kind of works both ways. Every
and first thing he says to record is a sort of struggle to get
range weather, isn't it?'... It along and agree, but there has to
of made sense to me and be some sort of struggle to make a
up the record," Offer said. record - at least for us there does,"
igh !!! is always searching Offer said.
indeniable groove, Strange After slaving away in the studio
proves to be more peculiar for months, Offer couldn't be more
ive than previous hook- ecstatic to hit the road.
[bums, the most notable "I'm really excited. I love getting
07's Myth Takes. out on the road. It's a blast. When
that we've finished it and we started there were so many of
back to take a look at it, it us in a tiny van. A lot has changed,"
ost like you didn't even Offer said.
alk about it because it was While Offer has more than a
nd bitter," Offer said in ref- few memories of rowdy absurdi-
the latest album's evoca- ties onstage - it took him a couple
rct matter. of minutes to cite just one, claiming
the album may be a bizarre "all kinds of crazy shit happens" -
ition of the dark under- he definitely delivered, sharing a
-ought about by shock- story any rock star could be proud
nt events and the display of.
and's affinity for raucous "The first time we played Bar-
ts, it's also Offer's favorite celona, we played at like 2 or 3
has ever produced. in the morning. We just killed
Takes was sort of like a it. The crowd went crazy ... and
Tyler (!!!'s guitarist) gave me half
an ecstasy ... And then I went up
to the DJ and he gives me another
)arently, fans hit of ecstasy. So we go out there
tlove to get ... and then all of the sudden we're
t Oalmost at the end of the song and
i'nited on. I'm like 'Oh my God I'm totally
gonna fucking puke.'
"And there's this rule that James
Brown has that you can do any-
ough for us because we thing as long as you hit the one. So
writing better songs than I just hit the one and puked - just
people thought we could straight into the audience and then
it to me the songs on this I puked again and then just kept
'e the catchiest we've ever singing and then puked one more
ut they're also the strang- time. And I mean it was like, it was
save the most thought-out justlegendary.Andnoonewasmad.
d texture. It's really us and I couldn't do that at every show. But
'Offer said. the crowd was just going crazy and
2e creative process isn't a they loved it. I like to think that's
the park. Offer describes like the ultimate in dance-punk,"
ulties of creating a record Offer said, laughing.
slew of opinionated band Basically, be ready for some
involved. ridiculousness to ensue at tonight's
skes it so you accept peo- show.

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