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September 04, 2012 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-04

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T g - aTuesday, September 4, 2012 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Cat Power blinds with

"You are getting verrrrrrrrrrrrry sleepy."

passion on Sun.
Daily Music Editor
Take one glimpse at . Cat
Power and .you'll know you're
looking at someone with expe-
rience beyond
years. Every-
thing about
her emanates U Pow
an old, tattered
soul - from Sun
her dark eyes,
framed in even Matador
darker makeup
smears, to the torn flannel shirts
that hang from her frame. But "Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur ...I am so
no matter how weathered Power
seems, the singer/song-writer off. It's a laid-back sound, but quen
will never fade: Her songs and Power makes sure it isn't sugar- of wt
presence whisper ancient wis- coated. The lyrics, too, keep the thec
dom, but flicker with enough song from ever fully leaving the minu
newlife to keep from goingstale. ground: An airy-sounding cho- In
Even now, with nine albums rus is quickly balanced with thel
and nearly 20 years of perform- darker hues, heartbreaking as fult
ing under her belt, the brunette Power wallows in pain, shame plete
beauty is showing no signs of and other brutal honesty. She My (
slowing down. Sun, her newest begs to be "marr(ied) to the sky" instr
release,. is ripe with the same - but only if she dies first. Power rich,
musky sadness that character- has long been the queen of bit- floor
izes her work butis far from fall- tersweet, and "Cherokee" con- song
ing flat: Its blend of peppy beats firms her crown. then
and achy passion swells with The contrast between sor- notic
classic Cat allure. row and pep feels effortless in symb

Bleeps, sweeps, rebuffed by others as nothing
more than a crammed mishmash
creeps coalesce on of malfunctioning loops and
scary screams. The trick to actu-
'Centipede Hz' ally enjoying it is to not become
overwhelmed by the seeming
By KATIE STEEN chaos - instead let the melo-
Daily Arts Writer dies appear over many listens
until the album isn't just com-
Like its creepy, crawly name- binations of sounds but actual,
sake, Animal Collective's latest coherent songs.
album, Centipede Hz, is teem- The album begins with a
ing with mov- bang - several bangs actually
ing parts that - combined with disjointed
will make guitar chords in "Moonjock."
many listeners Animal This song grabs listeners by the
uncomfortable. earlobe from the first note so it
it squirms, ColleliVe can scream that there will be no
thrashes and Centipede Hz "My Girls" on this album. But
darts around amid all the tangles of clamor,
unpredictably, Domino a fairly easygoing melody estab-
more so than lishes itself less than a minute
what fans maybe used to from the into "Moonjock." It's almost as if
group. But rather than squashing the chorus is a psychedelic band
the bugger at first listen, a closer jamming inside the garage while
observation reveals Centipede Hz listeners press their ears against
as a fascinating creature. the wall outside, enjoying the
The album - pronounced song while surrounded by elec-
"centipede hertz" - is the four- tronic jibberish.
some's ninth, so at this point Most tracks on Centipede Hz
the boys have a sturdy follow- begin with glitchy noises resem-
ing - particularly after 2009's bling radio signals, and tend
much-adored Merriweather Post to decay at the end as a snarled
Pavilion. Centipede Hz, however, transition into the next track.
will likely be an album defended This can be partially attrib-
to the grave by some fans, while uted to the group's process of

music-making: jamming each
day, then sifting through hours
of recordings to fuse what they
liked into tracks. Melodies were
constructed around the slices of
those recordings, resulting in a
collage-like feelwhile still main-
taining structure. Songs like
"Father Time" and "Applesauce"
maintain the warm, bubbling
traits of favorites from Merri-
weather, but resemble their dis-
tant, more spastic cousins rather
than next of kin.
But despite the album's almost
constant jitter, it stalls near the
end. Eventually "Mercury Man"
seems to tune itself out like a
beeping video game in the back-
ground. Next comes "Pulleys," a
wandering track that, like "Mer-
cury Man," is easily forgotten.
But the album revives itself in
the end with "Amanita," an exot-
ic, five-minute cruise that melts
down at the end.
Centipede Hz is an album
that deserves to be examined
bit by bit, though overwhelm-
ing at first. Listen to the lyrics
of "Monkey Riches" when Avey
Tare (David Portner) insists, "I
don't want to knock you down."
Hold your ground, give it lots of
listens, and Centipede Hz won't
hurt at all.

ces of life can be a risky can
orms to open - especially in
course of a two-and-a-half
ite pop song.
fact, Sun might shine
brightest when its youth-
tones are dropped com-
ly. Tracks like "Always On
Own" do away with extra
umentation, lettingrPower's
captivating voice take the
instead. It's the simplest
on the album, but it's also
most enticing: Power is hyp-
as she cries out over quiet
bol crashes and a softly sen-
at Power isn't the most care-
musician to strum an acous-
uitar, save for a few drum
and keyboard keys. She
be dark, moody, and some-
s, downright jaded - but
s what makes her so irre-
ble. Sure, she's been around
lock a time or two, but she's
g to keep going and she's
g to keep singing about it.
when you listen to those
s, you'll probably notice the
t, unshakeable feeling she's
rienced more in this life-
than you will ever know.

an eas'
piano k
down j

"Cherokee," but not all of Sun
is so seamless. "Real Life" pres-
ents the solemn idea of identity
crises but sounds too poppy to
iplicity is the be taken seriously. Lyrics about
a"preacher who wants to be
sinister" and a "mother who
wants to be alone" are ultimate-
ly drowned out by the pulsating
synth beat, as is Power's declara-
[e breezy guitars and per- tion that it's perfectly OK to be
kick the album off on unhappy with life sometimes.
ygoing note, "Cherokee" It's normal if you "just don't
to be anything but light- wanna live," she sings, but the
1. Deeper, more pensive gravity of her plea is all but lost.
keys root the music back in the song's nonchalant feel.
ust as quickly as it took The contradictions and conse-

tic g
can t
the b

Listless LaBeouf undercuts
lackluster 'Lawless'

*Perry saves 'Go On'
from its predictability

Daily Arts Writer
When NBC decided how to
pitch "Go On," its new fall come-
dy, chances are that branding it as
Matthew Per-
ry's ("Friends")
return to tele- GoOn
vision was not
the most origi- Pilot
nal idea in the Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
room. Yet Per- NBC
ry's name and
face appear on
every poster; the familiar smirk
evokes memories of a gifted actor
whose presence in our living
rooms remains a pleasure. While
"Go On," may not be remarkable,
Perry is the perfect lead to carry
the new series and charm audi-
ences to come back for more.
One of the less irksome promos
during NBC's Olympics cover-
age this summer featured Perry
leading a support group meeting
with Olympic gymnast Shawn
Johnson. What was completely
unclear in those promos was
the role of these support group
meetings on the show, but the
pilot wastes no time in setting
it up. Perry plays Ryan King, a
radio sportscaster who ends up at
mandatory group therapy to cope
with the death of his wife. At
first, our rogue hero completely
rejects this notion, but predict-
ably realizes that perhaps these
people and these sessions are
exactly the help he needs to go on
with his life.
The cast that puts the "group"
in group therapy is a welcome
surprise. It's your average gang
of misfits but so carefully ran-
domized that you can't help
being intrigued. There's Anne

"No, I can't set you up with Jennifer Aniston. Next question."
(Julie White, "Transformers: especially when they can dress
Dark of the Moon") the steely up as gladiators and chase the
older woman who might just Google Earth car instead. Their
be laughing behind her faeade; only scene together minimally
Fausta (Tonita Castro, "Seeking a uses dialogue and visible emo-
Friend for the End of the World") tion, yet perfectly captures the
who, despite speaking only Span- awkward lingering of tragedy
over even the strongest deflec-
A new band Perry himself makes the show
worth watching, whether casu-
of misfits for ally or on a weekly basis. Unsur-
prisingly, he plays King with the
Chandler Bing dry, self-deprecating humor that
made Chandler Bing one of the
most endearingly dysfunctional
characters in television history.
ish, almost steals the entire pilot It's no revelation, but it's undeni-
with a dance sequence; and Mr. K ably welcome.
(Brett Gelman, "Eagleheart"), a The plot is rife with predict-
textbook nutcase. ability - the inevitable sense of
But it's Owen. (Tyler James community Ryan will find among
Williams, "Everybody Hates his peers, secret vulnerability
Chris") who catches Ryan's atten- over his wife's death, a potential
tion and with whom he immedi- love interest - which puts extra
ately forms a connection. Both pressure on Perry's performance,
have been separated from loved but he might just be brilliant
ones - in Owen's case, an older enough to pull it off. Until then,
brother in a coma - and aren't it's worth watching Perry find his
quite up to sharing their feelings, place among new friends.

Like a fine batch of corn whis-
key, "Lawless" has all the right
ingredients 'for
greatness. But
just as lack of
attention to Wess
detail can turn
white . light- At Quaity16
ning into lead- and Rave,
ridden poison, Theinstein
overflows with Company
oversights that
ultimatelyneutralize everything'
it had going for it.
Directed by John Hillcoat
("The Road") and penned by
the versatile Nick Cave. ("The
Proposition"), "Lawless" tells
the rip-roaring tale of the
Bondurant brothers and their
hooch-slinging ventures in a
small mountain town that shifts
from idyllic to turbulent when
Prohibition opens up the moon-
shine market. Thanks to Forrest
Bondurant (Tom Hardy, "The
Dark Knight Rises") - the most
fearless and fear-inducing of
the brothers - the Bondurant
boys have Franklin County and
its small-time law enforcement
wrapped around their bloody
fingers. But things change when
Chicago-bred Special Deputy
Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce,."The
King's Speech") comes slinking
and sneering into town with his
disdainful Yankee attitude and a
sadistic thirst for violence.
Much of the film's narrative
is occupied by Jack Bondurant
(Shia LaBeouf, "Trattsform-
ers"), the youngest of the
revered brothers. Jack can't
bring himself to shoot a pig,
let alone participate in some of
the business-as-usual, horrors
of Forrest and middle brother
Howard (Jason Clarke, "Public
Enemies") take part in. But after
a bloody encounter with Rakes,
Jack gets the fire in his eyes and

viewers are stuck in a played-out screentime. Despite the broad
tale of milksop-turned-gangster. strokes of liquor-loving, throat-
LaBeouf is far from com- punching Howard Bondurant,
pelling enough to deserve Clarke similarly brings alluring
attention. Jack's courting of a energy to a mostly derivative
Mennonite priest's daughter character.
(Mia Wasikowska, "The Kids Transformed beyond recog-
Are All Right") is lifeless, and nition by shaved eyebrows and
it's unclear if that's because oily black hair, Pearce gives his
of LaBeouf's lack of onscreen most chilling performance to
chemistry with Wasikowska date as Rakes, who doles out the
or just because it's yet another film's most indelible horror. But
of the film's unnecessary side the psychology of the character
plots. Meanwhile, the most remains unexplored and never
riveting aspects of "Lawless" explains why he is so. dead set
remain undercooked. The film is on bringing down the Bondu-
too concerned with Jack, when rant clan. Rakes becomes just
it really should be focusing on another looming Big Bad who's
the silent and severe Forrest, a all fright and no detail.
different role for Hardy that he The. film's greatest asset is
undertakes with magnificent its aesthetics. The lush, roll-
precision. ing landscapes of Virginia are
carefully captured by the pen-
etrating eye of cinematographer
This film Benoit Delhomme ("Shanghai").
The stunning scenery and lyri-
proves that bad cal voice overs evoke a sense
of mysticism, amplified by the
writing should existence of the Bondurant leg-
end that declares the brothers
be outlawed. invincible. The slicing violence
isn't quite as precisely staged,
bordering on clumsy at times,
and the script whips between
Jessica Chastain ("Take Shel- lofty epic and near-primal feroc-
ter") shines as Maggie, a city girl ity with little cohesion.
looking for a quiet life, which If as much attention had been
she hardly finds after becoming paid to the writing as to the cin-
the new bartender at the Bondu- ematography (and if LaBeouf
rant roadhouse. Whether she's a had been replaced by someone
dancer in Chicago or a bartender more on par with the other-
in the South, Maggie can't seem wise talent-rich cast), "Lawless"
to escape sexual violence, a could have been a backcountry
theme that must be too complex "Goodfellas" with some true
for "Lawless" to bother with. grit behind it. At times, it looks
Her backstory is glossed over and feels like the gritty, Coen
and she's reduced to a damsel brothers-esque thriller it wants
in bright period dresses (a look so desperately to be. But bogged
that Chastain however, pulls off down with too much plot and
effortlessly). an oversaturation of LaBeouf
Gary Oldman is unfortunately screentime, "Lawless" suffers
underused as the slick, smooth- structural deficiency and a tonal
talking gangster Floyd Banner, identity crisis that makes it look
but Oldman has always been a like little Jack Bondurant in a
master of making magic with too-big drape cut suit meant for
even the slightest amount of real deal gangsters.



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