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October 30, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
ALBUiM REVtEW
Aitl t1oo county

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 5

A virgin's first'Rocky
Horror'Halloween

Bird blends
barn dancing and
solemnity on 'Glory'
By KATIE STEEN
DailyArts Writer.
Andrew Bird's last album,
Break It Yourself was a charming
little thing; the
"it" refers to a
metaphorical
heart. His lat- Andrew Bird
est work, Hands
of Glory, serves Hands of Glory
as a companion Mom & Pop
album, though
"companion"
may not be the most appropriate
word.
Hands of Glory is more of an
alter ego. Even its name suggests
something darker - a "hand of
glory," for those of you not famil-
iar with old European beliefs,
is the pickled hand of a hanged
man. The album still has its share
of jaunty, fast-stringed ditties, but
there's a haunting quality to it
unfound in Break It Yourself.
The recording process for
Hands of Glory involved a group
of musicians in both a barn and
a church, surrounding a single
microphone with their acoustic
instruments. These two loca-
tions are actually quite fitting
given the nature of the album. It
shifts from melancholic coldness
to the warmth and vigor of a barn
dance, then back to the hollow,
reverberating qualities of uni-
form pews and arching marble
ceilings. Opener "Three White
Horses," for instance, is clean
and cryptic, the instrumentation
smoothly weaving in and out of
focus. The song is effortlessly
chilling, an understated premo-
nition of death.
"When That Helicopter
Comes" has a similarly slick feel-
ing. It's a sorrowful song featur-
ing Bird's violin piercing through
the refrain with a delicate cry,
airy oohs hovering in the back-
ground. But the song always
bounces back to a guitar thump-
ing along, Bird's vocals confident
and unwavering.
It's after "When That Helicop-

MOM & POP

"Aww man, Mrs. Johnson gave me a C- on my book report."

ter Comes" that the scene begins
to shift, revealing a hay-filled
room with a lanky Bird and his
troupe of flanneled musicians.
"Spirograph" is a pleasant track
that seems destined for play on
a pickup-truck radio somewhere
in Montana. And Bird seems to
have fully immersed himself in
the hay around the track "Rail-
road Bill."
"Railroad Bill" is a song teem-
ing with country quaintness. It
revolves around this "Bill" char-
acter, who, according to Bird, is a
"mighty mean man." The end of
the track includes a quintessential
hillbilly yell - a throaty, discon-
certing "Waaaooooo!" - and you
have to wonder if Bird's justbeing
ironic. Alas, he's probably not.
But let's get one thing straight
- Bird is an extremely talented
musician, regardless of whether
you're into folk songs, country
tunes, ominous death-related ele-
gies or whatever he's going for on
Hands of Glory. "Something Bibli-
cal" features a long, warm violin
solo - thick and rich as maple
syrup sliding down the bark.
"Orpheo" is a remarkably serene
track that features the soft har-
monics of Bird's violin - careful
and flawless. The song references
"Orpheo Looks Back" from Bird's
last album, but while that track is
snappy, chirpy and whistle-filled,
"Orpheo" is an auditory barbitu-
rate.
While Bird does a wonder-
ful job in assuming the rugged-
folksinger-in-a-barn persona on
Hands of Glory, the album heart-

breakingly lacks his signature
whistling. This disappointment
is made up for, however, with the
last track "Beyond the Valley of
the Three White Horses," by far
the most impressive component
of Hands of Glory.
"Horses" nine minutes
stretches to encompass the span
of a day. The song starts with
early-morning chirping, a few
anxious crickets and pizzicato
- playful and lighthearted and
all over the place - while lower
strings offer a warm blanket over
the plucking.
Ghostly vocals harmonize the
line "three white horses" repeti-
tively, and the strings begin to take
on a heavy quality that transitions
the song into darkness. "Beyond
the Valley" becomes beautifully
eerie, drifting off into a void of
warbling low notes as the "three
white horses" refrain begins to
wander back in. The song is pre-
cise and powerful, evoking some
of Bird's older work, like Armchair
Apocrypha. But most importantly,
it's a welcome relief from the
"Railroad Bill" antics Bird pulls
earlier in the album.
Bird's biggest fault with Hands
ofGlory is the depth with which it
descends into the corny realm of
country, but even then he remains
lovably dorky. He still manages to
meditate upon a number of par-
ticularly gloomy topics, and his
talent courses strong through-
out the*album. Hands of Glory is
peculiar in this sense. You might
cry, but you also might do a barn
dance.

by rot like a ker-
nel of candy corn
between couch
cushions, waiting weeks for that
"Halloweentown" marathon to
end? Why
waste $30.95
on glares
from "sexy"
service work-
ers (God
forbid they
don't mistake
your Alex BRIANNE
DeLarge JOHNSON
costume for
a chick in a
bowler hat, cheap falsies and
the quality lash glue of a '95
stick-on earring)? Why hobble
down Hill Street to a-friend-of-
a-friend's house party if a maid
in a smirk (and little else) waits
at the doors of the State Theater
to brand your fresh forehead
with a cherry-red 'V? Before
these sentences stretch into
November, let's be clear: It's too
late to explore racks of cat ears,
the bottoms of your classmates'
punch bowls or any other option
tonight.
Why not? Because you're
already seated between two
men in silver lame hot pants, a
balloon in your lap and fishnet
tights on your legs. Cheering
for the sacrifice of your maiden-
hood, your neighbors usher you
to the head of the theater, where
the Master of Ceremonies calls
the virgins forth to prick their
balloons and "pop your cher-
ries!"
Scared? Don't be. This isn't a
collegiate cult, nor a shady fra-
ternity basement bash - as any
one of the costumed Columbias
will tell you, it's just another
Halloween at the "Rocky Horror
Picture Show."

"Sorry, we just have to be But, then again, no one can
really thorough." A bin of con- be sure.
fiscated rice packages and toast Dialogue - if you can't hear it
crusts sits at the side of a theater over the hoots of a rambunctious
employee. She shines a flash- crowd, it probably doesn't mat-
light through the purse pockets ter. At least, the dialogue only
of cross-dressed men, women matters in the context of a joke
bedazzled in tuxedo jackets from the man in the third row,
and a priest sporting the scarlet from the flock of lingerie-clad
'V' between his brows. All are females down in front or from
in attendance - "Janet!" "Dr. the early-'40s couple who have
Scott!" "Janet!" "Brad!" "Rocky!" doubtless paraded the "Rocky
(Audience: "Bullwinkle!") - for Horror" scene since its incep-
the midnight showing of the tion. Comments bellow from
1975 cult classic, the audience, punctuating every
minute - and every line, gesture
and pelvic thrust - of the film. A
It'soneof tose fan with so-accurate-its-horror-
It's one of those fi comedic timing devotes his
'you had to be night to asking, "Brad, are you
gay?" After which Bostwick
there' things gazes at his co-stars and mur-
murs, Yes," every time.
It's often the fans and box
office numbers that elevate a
And then there's you, a film to blockbuster-hit status -
"Rocky" virgin for her twenti- look at the Twi-hards. Through
eth Halloween, turning to her blood, sweat, tears and more
neighbor to ask, "Who are Janet blood, they've managed to mold
and Brad?" a mess of lip-bites and lust-laden
One needs only to wait for stares into a vampiric jugger-
the heckles.and chants of the, naut. But how often - with the
audience to make sense of the exception of "Rocky"'s campy,
senseless story and glory of the indulgent October nights - does
"Rocky Horror Picture Show:" the audience ever make the
Newly engaged Janet the Slut movie experience?
(Susan Sarandon) and Brad You rise from your seat to
the Asshole (Barry Bostwick), jump to the left and step to the
stranded by a flat tire, ring the right for the "Time Warp;" you
doorbell of a sweet transvestite, cackle at the incestuous "elbow
Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). sex" (Here at "Rocky," any-
They ask only to use his tele- thing goes.) between Riff Raff
phone, but Frank offers much (Richard O'Brien) and Magenta
more: sex, a Meatloaf dinner (lit- (Patricia Quinn) and slip Rom-
erally a meal of musician Meat ney campaign jokes in between
Loaf's butchered remains), sex, scenes.
tap dancing and sex. Pool sex, As a newly initiated, deflow-
too. But the one thing Frank will ered, member of "Rocky Horror"
not share is his golden, hunky fandom, you're not only invited
creation, boy toy Rocky Horror to partake in the toilet paper-
(Peter Hinvood). See JOHNSON, Page 6

I. HEJ aZZ A NET
INVASIONI
Jazz Planet is a new take on the H.G.Wells novel The War of
theWorlds, and the 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of It.
Go to WV .JAZP.LANET20I2.COM to view and listen to this
exciting Illustrated poason Halloween night.

Happy' cast comes together 'h

By RADHIKA MENON
Daily Arts Writer
Once again, ABC surprised
critics and fans alike in the spring
2012 when "Happy Endings"
was renewed
for a third sea- ***#
son. Though
never privy to Happy
the large audi- Endings
ences of some
other ensemble Season Three
sitcoms, the Premiere
cult comedy Tuesdays at 9 pm
has fashioned
itself a loyal fan- ABC
base. "Happy
Endings" is another one of those
twenty-somethings-living-in-
a-big-city (this time, Chicago
instead of the usual New York
City) shows, but its charm lies
in the chemistry among the six-
piece ensemble cast.
In the season two finale, mar-
ried couple Jane (Eliza Coupe)
and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.)
received a bit of bad news: Brad
was laid off from his job, calling
his full-speed-ahead mentality
into question and causing him to
rethink his workaholic nature.
In "Cazsh Dummy Spillionaires,"
Brad has already found a new job
- but Jane has no idea, and she
loves that her husband has more
time to explore hobbies like cook-
ing elaborate meals for her, taking
bubble baths and practicing his
hilarious ventriloquist dummy
act "SinBrad."
This gives way to great gags -
Brad taking a fully clothed bub-
ble bath and Skyping Jane from
his new office with a cardboard
backdrop of their living room
behind him. But though this plot
works because of Jane and Brad's
uber-competitive and obsessive
personalities, it would have been
nice to see Brad spend more time
caught in limbo.
More consequential to the

. Is this a soul train?

group
tion of
Dave's
tionsh
the ep
casual
trying
the tw
want t
The s
subseq
confin
spendi
they-w
Th
ke4
The
and t
weddi:
makes
interes
This
(Casey
triangl
season
of Pen
no jeal

dynamic was the escala- when Alex and Dave announce
Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and their ridiculous plan to move in
(Zachary Knighton) rela- together again. Penny is perpetu-
ip. After spending much of ally single, which while funny,
'isode harping about their is also a bit grating. The compli-
ness while continuously cated love triangle amongst best
to make each other jealous, friends was a great development
o quickly realize that they last season that will hopefully be
to give it a chance again. revisited in a serious way in the
ituation is addressed and future.
uently resolved within the Max (Adam Pally), meanwhile,
es of the episode instead of didn't have much to do in the epi-
ng half of a season in a will- sode. But pairing Penny and Max
on't-they stasis. together in a storyline is comedy
heaven. The two have visible fun
together, which translates easily
e characters to laughs. Max has been romanti-
cally uninvolved lately and it was
e us 0coming nice seeing him get his groove
ep usC ,g back in the form of Penny's rehab
back. therapist. But it won't translate
into a long-term arc for him -
though this isn't necessarily a bad
thing, a more permanent story-
show's premise sits on Alex line for Max is always welcome.
Dave's disastrous almost- Though there were some con-
ng in the pilot, which tinuity inconsistencies, "Happy
the rekindling all the more Endings" proved itself yet again
sting. as a viable contender in a crowded
s is all in favor of the Penny ensemble TV landscape. What's
Wilson)-Dave-Alex love great about "Happy Endings" is
le that was introduced last that it's a show that just wants
. There was no mention to have fun - a mission that is
my and Dave's spark, and completely on display in "Cazsh
ousy exuded from her end Dummy Spillionaires."

*

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