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November 12, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-12

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6A - Monday, November 12, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Monday, November 12, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Cody Chesnutt's novelty
wears off on new album

s
r
co

In
droppe
album
piece in
Io-fi im
ing qua
the albi
the coc
er," th.
Americ
was rec
Seed,"
graphic
rock 'n'
Pitch
chum,
able re
written
the t
of

oulful artist release, offers this advice to
Chesnutt: "... Cody, I have to say
retreats into it, you are one misogynistic piece
of shit. I get the feeling it's just
nventionality a big joke to you, but I'd be lax
in my liberal guilt if I didn't say
By RAY MALO something about it. Grow up."
DailyArts Writer Still, Masterpiece was widely
celebrated as a wholly origi-
2002, Cody Chesnutt nal offering to the mostly
d his ambitious double dull spectrum of turn-of-the-
The Headphone Master- century soul and rock 'n' roll,
our laps, treating us to 36 praise Chesnutt deserved. His
aginings of wildly vary- was crude stuff, to be sure, but
lity. Among its finest are the gimmick was compelling.
um's most difficult tracks: Expectations for a sophomore
ky "Look Good In Leath- release were high, perhaps
e obnoxious "Boylife in too much so, yet Chesnutt was
a" and biggest hit (once it largely absent in the decade that
orded by the Roots) "The followed his debut.
which presents a rather And so, when I begin to listen
metaphor about birthing to full-length follow up Landing
roll. on a Hundred, it was with a ten-
afork writer Rob Mit- tative excitement. I have been in
in an otherwise favor- Cody's corner from the begin-
view ning, and I'm anxious to see
at First seen on what 10 years seemingly out of
ime the game have done to the man.
the --the filter From the clarity of the opening

guitar riff on*lead track "Till I
Met Thee" to the bright horns
and sweeping strings that intro-
duce its first verse, it's imme-
diately apparent that Hundred
intends to be a more convention-
al-sounding soul record than its
four-track equipped predeces-
sor. One constant, thankfully, is
Chesnutt's silky smooth voice,
which beams through much
more clearly on the new record.
A deeper listen suggests that
Chesnutt has taken Mitchum's
advice. The subject matter is
more worldly and relatable this
time around, and while Cody
maintains his trademark swag-
ger, he's content in the realm of
confidence versus the arrogance
of his debut.
On standout track "I've Been
Life," he takes the headstrong
line, "Since my birth I've been
the greatest / Attraction on
the Earth" and applies it to his
pride for the nations of the Afri-
can continent. Over a "Crazy in
Love"-style horn arrangement,

the line, and the song, kill.
Ultimately though, it's mostly
unsatisfying to hear a conven-
tional follow-up to one of the
least conventional pop records of
the last decade.
The album is sonically pleas-
ing from front to back, a trait I
rarely have a problem with, but
the beauty of Cody Chesnutt's
previous work comes from its
abrasiveness. Tracks like "Love
is More Than a Wedding Day"
indeed sound like the work of a
wedding band.
Even when Chesnutt takes a
chance, especially on "Under the
Spell of the Handout," a cabaret-
style call and response number,
it's far from thrilling. Landing
on a Hundred is pleasant enough
- there was just something
way more charming about the
uneven, flawed Cody Chesnutt
of old.
- The original version of this
article was published online on
The Filter, the Daily Arts blog, on
Nov. 5.

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oI've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty"
Deacon wows
Detroit crowd
By KATIE STEEN and was made to imitate the
Daily Arts Writer interpretive dancethatnthe lead-
__ er performed. A great idea, but
Dan Deacon posted a rather unfortunately my side lacked
ominous status on the night of coordination. Eventually, I just *
Nov. 8: "Detroit! I'm playingthe started doing the other half's
Magic Stick tonight! Help us fill dance, which involved jumping
this massive vacuous space!" up and down simultaneously
I pictured a room with a and looked awesome, especially
handful of overgrown hipsters when done to the manic tunes
aching to dance but too self- of Dan Deacon.
conscious in the unpopulated After we reconvened, Dea-
room. But once I actually got con played some songs from
to the Magic Stick, it became his newest album, America, and
clear that would not be the case then it was time for some more
- Dan Deacon would never let audience friend-making. We
that happen. were told to turn to the center of
The show kicked off with the room and put our hands on
"Bohemian Rhapsody" blaring the head of the people in front
on the speakers, which served of us and close our eyes. I rested
as a nice way to gauge approxi- my hands on unidentified slimy
mately how drunk the crowd strings of hair in front of me,
was. Deacon arrived on stage closing my eyes and becoming
donned in a purple and orange particularly aware of the sweat
sparkly hat, his semi-iconic drops beelining down my face.
glasses and a metal box explod- Dan asked us to consider that
ing with tangles of multicolored everything we do affects at least
wires in his hands. one other person.
Then the audience got in a
massive circle encompassing
the entire upstairs of the Magic *
Participation Stick - all the way to the bar -
and one person was designated
took concert to run clockwise, high-fiving us
all to "Guilford Avenue Bridge"
to w nole from America. He pulled a per-
son in, and that person pulled
new level, a person in and so on, until
the room was a cycling mass
of frolicking bodies. I acciden-
tally stepped on a girl's shoelace
He began the show with a though, so "Guildford Avenue
request: Raise your left hand, Bridge" will now always remind
get down on your knees and me of the time I almost killed
point. More specifically, point someone at a Dan Deacon con-
at the rustiest, filthiest, carci- cert.
nogenic-est nail on the ceiling But of course, this particular
that you can find - the one most tour is for America, and though
covered with dusty dead skin these dancing/sprinting/point-
cells of past bands. This episode ing at nails exercises were fun
of "I Spy" was just the warmup as hell, it wasn't until the end
to a night of bizarre audience of the concert when things
participation. really got American..Displayed
After an unusual amount of on a giant screen behind Dea-
talking time, Deacon kicked off con were images of the West,
with "Of the Mountains" from of American flags spliced into
his 2009 album, Bromst. Next, what looked like family pho-
he delivered "The Crystal Cat," tos and the faces of President
a hyperactive jam I expected Barack Obama and Mitt Rom-
to come out as an encore. There ney zooming toward the audi-
was a decent amount of hopping ence until it was just their eyes.
around in the crowd, but Deacon, Dan played "True Thrush"
apparently not satisfied, paused - his giddiest track off Ameri-
the music and commanded the ca - then added one last group
crowdto forma circle. activity for the night. Every- *
He ordered a man in a mustard one who had a smartphone
costume and a woman dressed as was instructed to open the
a cat (Dan Deacon fans, man) to Dan Deacon app. All the lights
get in the middle of the circle and in the room were shut off, and
dance for 10 seconds, after which the phones began lighting up in
they were to pick new people to different colors, their L.E.D.s
join the circle, and so on. It was strobing and their speakers
surprisingly not awkward to competing against the blaring
watch at all, and I found myself live music.
wanting to be dragged into the Before the last song, there
circle even though minutes ear- was a delay due to technical dif-
lier my movement had been lim- ficulties, so Dan killed time by
ited to stiff shuffling. playing "Ohio," a demo he rare-
Deacon cued an end to the ly performs live that was goofy
dance circle, after which every- and strange, even for Dan Dea-
one somehow knew to sponta- con. The set ended with Acts I,
neously rush the center. The III and IV from "USA." To con-
floors of the Magic Stick were tinue the theme of his tour, Dan
practically bowing beneath our added at one point, "I don't care
weight, and before I knew it who you voted for. I'm just glad
S was amid a moshing frenzy, if you fucking did." But to call

struggling to keep my glass- this concert patriotic wouldn't
es from being accidentally be completely accurate. That
elbowed into my eyeballs. night, Dan Deacon brought
Deacon continued to slaugh- us together in the upstairs of
ter our eardrums (in a good the Majestic - made us dance,
way!) for a few more minutes, touch each other's heads and
then decided to try a new exer- point at a nail together - and
cise. The crowd was divided left partisanship off the dance
in half. Each half was given a floor.
leader (one - The original version of this
of them Fitseen on article was published online on
Dan's The Filter, the Daily Arts blog, on
brother), -the filter Nov.10.

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