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September 13, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 7

Growing up on music

Neon Indian shines

Time is a funny thing. Not
a "ha ha" funny or even a
chuckle funny, but more
of a confusing funny. The funny
that when we are so confused,
it produces
a strange
laughter that
feels more
like a shrug.
This is a
high school
funny. One JOE
with a few, DIMUZIO
"Well, a lot of
things have
changed since then, a smile, a
laugh and maybe a bout of star-
ing at the ground. We laugh to
assure ourselves that we've got
a handle on it, we smile in the
face of change."
John Hughes's early films
have plenty of characters
whose smiles seem sufficiently
reluctant. Portraying teens in
the midst of what seem like
world-rending crises of the self,
Hughes's films had teens that
came a long way from "Beach
Blanket Bingo." Their smiles
were hard won.
But not unlike Avalon's teen
beach fantasias, Hughes's films
gave music a sort of hypnotic
power, capable of inducing
superhuman feats of self-
expression: Duckie's crotch
convulsions to Otis Redding
in "Pretty in Pink," the library
dance in "The Breakfast Club"
to Karla DeVito's "We Are Not
Alone" (itself a fine example of
the '80s communion between
dance and rock) taking the
private dance, turning it public
and communicative.
But the most memorable of
Hughes's scenes' pop-induced
hysteria is the madcap "Twist
and Shout" parade scene in
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off," in
which the entirety of down-
town Chicago is rendered
utterly batshit by a lip-synching

trian n
life, I(
and Sh
of Info
quite a
to get
sis of b
good n
it to th
the "H
hoop a
The Bs
calls t
to "Am
its MiI
its sou

ew Broderick, some Aus- What was once an afternoon
milk maids and Ringo's release in downtown Chicago,
. Everybody effervescent, an aural assault that required
sin the dance. Smiles all no words but only hip- and
d. knee-shaking, is now complex,
at this point in my political and somewhere caught
can't think of "Twist between my body and my head.
out" without thinking The two albums I've got
ge Cleaver. Cleaver, the in the Windstar right now,
r Black Panther Minister the Stooges' Fun House and
srmation, presidential Aretha'sAmazing Grace are
ul on the '68 Peace and troublesome to say the least.
om party ticket and On one hand we've got Iggy,
r of "Soul On Ice," had pterodactyl-screeching sex
bit to say about the undulations over blues (black?)
the Beatles and the con- rock and I get hung up on lyr-
ns of how we respond to ics when my body tells me to
In his essay "Convales- just blow out the speakers on
" Cleaver dissects music "Loose." Then we have Aretha
at its racial guts - in par- flexing her tongue in unimagi-
, the fermenting synthe- nable ways for Jesus, where key
slack and white music. changes make my stomach drop
as I question whether or not I
can dig straight-faced preach-
1 ing.
-he always- nWhen I was young, I didn't
have a vocabulary for this stuff.
S n t ne It was all gorgeous noise. Now,
f America's I am the little kid piggybacked
on his father in "Ferris Buel-
vouth. ler" as everybody holds the
J * high note on "Shout," just as it
breaks, holding his ears in con-
was Chubby Checker's Maybe I am one of LeRoi
n, bearing the Twist as Jones's whole "people of neu-
ews, to teach the whites, rotics," Cleaver's "Omnipotent
history had taught to Administrators," labels on bod-
how to shake their asses ies held back from pure, aes-
" he writes, comparing thetic release.
e nervy "head music" of But I think growing older has
ot-Dog-and-Malted-Milk opened me up to those "aural
of the bloodless, square, assaults" on my senses becom-
icial, faceless Sunday ing their own vocabulary - to
ng" white American '50s bathing in the purgatory of this
ous, upon which the hula tension.
nd Watusi became hip This isn't a howl to become
illy) radical ambassadors. child-like. This isn't some nos-
eatles and what Cleaver talgic lament. It is, to me, a way
heir "Body-Based" music of seeing that youth fades, and
e a waypoint on the road how ass-shaking, messy and
serica's attempt to unite liberating it can be.

Chillwave pioneer
stays strange on
newest, 'Extrana'
Daily Arts Writer
Outside of hipster circles
and Pitchfork devotees, bands
like Neon Indian don't earn
much credibil-
ity. The mass-
es demand
instant grati- Neon Indian
fication and
immediate Era Extrana
from their Static Tongues
music - and for
the most part, rightly so. There's
a lot of worthless material in the
fringe of the indie genre, and
who has the time to sift through
it? Who really wants to make the
sometimes-gargantuan effort
that the music truly deserves?
Unfortunately, such discrimi-
nation leads potential listeners
to pass over more rewarding
albums like Era Extrana and go
straight to the pop idols. If only
it weren't so.
Neon Indian's second record
is a foray into synesthesia - an
experiment of making sounds
pop and burst like an electric fire-
works show. The one-man show
that is Alan Palomo brings the
brightness early and often. "Does
it make you feel alright?" he asks
on "Hex Girlfriend," as 8-bit
effects and dark guitars flash in
the background - and it's safe
to reply that yes, yes it does. The
first single, "Fall Out," begins
with bravado, and transcends
into a homey '80s throwback
tinged with bits of modernity. If
accessibility is truly a problem for
the Mexican-born musician, then
"Fall Out" should be one of his
most valuable offerings.
The star piece of the album is
obvious after just a few minutes.
"Polish Girl" begins with a cheery


Only the truly indie still use cassette glove!

synthesizer riff, and adds instru-
ments like ingredients to a sum-
mer stew. The four-minute track
somehow manages to express
conflicting emotions simultane-
ously: A pure, almost childlike joy
is evoked even as Palomo cries out
in wistfulness. It's the rare song
that fits both on poolside "chill"
playlists and party mixes, and
yet is still even better through a
pair of headphones. Don't be sur-
prised to hear "Polish Girl" mak-
ing the rounds at hipster parties
throughout the next year.
The major problem that Era
Extrafla faces is the same for
most in burgeoning genres.
The "chiliwave" movement is
characterized by heavy sound
processing with regard to both
vocals and instruments. While
the grand harmonic landscapes
produced can be quite beauti-
ful, the progressiveness involved
can alienate some listeners. Take
"Future Sick" - the track can be
easily appreciated after a num-

ber of listens, but it seems at first
glance the instruments tend to
run into each other. Only after
careful consideration of the com-
bined to-fi vocals and hi-fi mix-
ing can "Future Sick" actually
be understood and enjoyed as a
variety of electric instruments
that complement each other.
After the release of 2009's
Psychic Chasms, Neon Indian led
the indie community to question
whether the new solo act from
Texas was a flash in the pan
or a permanent fixture in the
chillwave venture. Era Extrana
should prove that Palomo is well
versed in his craft of computer-
ized composition. The question
will no longer be whether Neon
Indian can make a memorable
impact, but whether chillwave is
a legitimate contender as a music
genre. Hopefully the masses will
one day accept it, and if that day
comes, Era Mariana should be
verified as one of the pioneers of
the movement.

nd with its Body, to save
can I see "Twist and
'the same way again?

Dimuzio is shaking his ass and
doing the twist. To dance along,
e-mail shonenjo@umich.edu.


* t ti -E 4. i<
4' r
a ;A

It's Time for Breakfast!
Select Wednesdays during the school year the Alumni Association
rolls out the welcome mat for U-M students.
8 a.m.-noon
FALL 2011
September 14, 21, 28
October 5, 12, 19, 26
November 2, 9, 16
Welcome Wednesdays ore open to al U-M students

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