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September 11, 2014 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-11

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4B - Thursday, September 11, 2014 the b-side

The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

4B - Thursday, September 11, 2014 the b-side The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Alejandra O'Leary recorded her new album, Heartspoce Timepiece, in Novi, Michigan.
Srggle is
Clha ni WMpi(oiisZof A2

Five years ago, O'Leary was that she thinks of her albums
playing singer-songwriter sets as colors), is another example.
in New York City, but she was The song has all the makings of
always a fan of rock bands and a carefree acoustic strummer,
never liked being a solo act. complete with bright piano and
When her then-boyfriend-now- girl-group backing harmonies,
husband got into law school at but the subject is a person whom
Michigan, her first priority was everyone except the song's
to make a band, which she was narrator falsely believes is a
able to do by using Craigslist. cool, fantastic person. O'Leary
Through the site, she met doesn't sing with scorn, though.
musically proficient Champions She sounds very content with
such as Jamie Church, a herself and her own convictions
Plymouth native with plenty and seems almost amused at the
of previous experience in the wrongness of others.
local music scene, and Jimmy The influence of the Motor
Sindelar, who was getting his City also shines through with
bachelor's in biology at the the new material. The cover of
University. Their front-and- Heartspace Timepiece (or "The
center guitars are a huge part Red One," if you're O'leary)
of the latest record's charm, and features apaintingofthe historic
they were able to fill in on other Art Deco-style David Stott
instruments when needed. Building in Downtown Detroit.
Heartspace Timepiece is the "It was very important to me to
result of work put in during be near a big city," O'Leary says,
one of the most difficult times. "We always like to go to Detroit
of the band members' lives., to see music and play music and
The Champions of the West look at Detroit because the way
practiced and played enough it looks is something I'll never
high-profile shows to be able to get tired of contemplating."
get money to record, but about On the night of the show, the
halfway through, O'leary had to eight or so different Champions
leave Michigan to care for her (depending on how many
ailing mother in Washington, instruments the song requires)
D.C., leaving Church to finish up are squished up against Crazy
the recording sessions. He had Wisdom's window overlooking
to takecthelead inthe studio, and Main Street. O'Leary jokes that
the two mostly communicated "it's like my first apartment
over the Internet as Church in New York." Space is at a
mixed the parts together and premium, and with no risers or
added more instrumental stage, the band is at equal height
tracks. O'leary flew back about with the audience, making
every month or so to record for a very intimate concert.
what was left. Jamie Ascenzo, who recorded
Documentation of this time Heartspace* Timepiece at his
is found mostly in the lyrics studio in Novi, stands at the
of Heartspace Timepiece, not back of the crowd, where they're
the pretty, Beatles-influenced serving tea. Jimmy Sindelar is
melodies. "I think I'm a very unfortunately nursing broken
positive person, and I want to fingers, but he works on the
see positivity, and that's what sound and helps out by playing
music is for me," O'Leary says, the Omnichord on a few songs.
"But I also think that I can't help O'Leary seems extremely
being devastated sometimes in comfortable in this setting.
my life, so you need to get both She's mastered that sort-of-self-
in there or it's not a complete conscious, humble, shy type
figure." On songs such' as the of audience banter, but she's
up-tempo rocker "Positive excited and smiles a lot. And
Drag," she croons lines like . l en she has the opportunity
"being hurt by you was worth to ditch her guitar, she takes
my time" among barbed guitars, full advantage of it. When The
but her sweet-sounding voice - Champions of the West cover
even if it is tinged with a bit of the old standard "I Put a Spell
a Liz Phair drawl - makes for on You," O'Leary completely
a very catchy contrast. "When intensifies her demeanor,
Will They Learn?", a song from singing in a deep, husky voice
the last record ("The Blue One," while putting both hands on the
O'Leary calls it, explaining mic stand and leaning on it as

hard as she can, before taking
an open seat right next to where
the band is playing and letting
them jam. When she introduces
and explains the songs, most of
them seem to be about falling in
love, out of love or both, but an
exception here is "Beat Ohio."
The track on Heartspace
Timepiece with the most clearly
Ann Arbor-inspired name, "Beat
Ohio" is also one of the new
record's highlights. The song
opens the show and also gets a
reprise in the second set, before
which O'Leary explains that
it's about "never being able to
be from here." Syrupy sweet,
O'Leary's vocals sing-song over
aguitarthat's essentiallysoloing
for the entire song. Mandolin,
piano and the mellow trot of the
drums join in as O'Leary seems
to criticize someone who'd
rather be from the East than the
Midwest, telling him "you're
doing it wrong."
This night at Crazy Wisdom is
bittersweet for O'Leary, Church
and the band. "This is closing
the book on a chapter tonight,"
Church says. He's been really
busy with the band and his fap-
ily, but is finishing up a solo
project that he's been wanting to
do for a long time. Sindelar and
Martin Maginity, The Cham-
pions' drummer, are also play-
ing together in a separate band
called The Landmarks. Most
dramatically, though, O'Leary
now lives in North Carolina.
But they remain confident that
they'll continue to work togeth-
er, once the timing gets better.
In explaining the album's
name, O'Leary says Timepiece
comes from the fact that the
year in which the record was
made was seared into the band's
brain, and the album is "a
document of a very specific time
in our lives." Heartspace, she
says, "comes from whenwe were
talking about being stressed out
by personal tragedy, and how
we didn't have the headspace
to think about music sometimes
and how sad that was for us,
and I was like, 'It's not even our
headspace, it's heartspace.' Our
heartspace is not big enough
to encompass all this tragedy."
However, now that the band
has lived through the tragedy,
O'Leary says "I will never undo
the pain of that time, but I feel

Poignant lyrics
propel dedicated
Daily Music Editor
To open her second set,
Alejandra O'Leary decides to
band. Wearing a denim jacket
over a farmers market t-shirt
and jeans, she sits on a stool
with her acoustic guitar as the
packed-in coffeehouse crowd
watches her play a stripped-
down cover of the normally
bombastic, over-the-top "No
Surrender," a Bruce Springsteen
song whose words, O'Leary

says, "perfectly express how I
feel about this band." With all of
the attention focused on her, she
sings, "We made a promise we
swore we'd always remember.
No retreat, no surrender."
This show on the upstairs
level of Crazy Wisdom, a spiri-
tual bookstore on Main Street, is
a homecoming for O'Leary. Less
than a week after the release
of her new album, Heartspace
Timepiece, she's already staring
down a new chapter of her life.
But the Crazy Wisdom show
allows her to bring together
everyone who played on the
record, to celebrate the fact that
they've all made it through diffi-
cult times to produce the fantas-
tic finished product. "It's like the
butterfly that lives for one day,"

O'Leary says. She and her band,
The Champions of the West,
only rehearsed three times for
the nearly two-hour show, but
aside from occasional feedback
from the amps (probably more
the fault of the unconventional
venue than the band), the group
sounds tight, mostly playing an
old-school style of rock 'n' roll,
with odder instruments like the
mandolin mixed in. The fact
that Mich Rickman plays his bass
upright on some songs is indica-
tive of the classic authenticity
of the band's aesthetic. Led by
O'Leary and guitarist Jamie
Church, The Champions com-
municate well and never step on
each other's musical toes. Their
love for music and playing in the
band shines through.




Jake Gyllenhaal is awe-
some. There's literally nothing
to dislike about him - he's a
actor who Nightraler
seems t.31
like the Bold Films
kind of
guy you1
wouldn't mind knocking back
a couple of beers with. He can
rock a great beard and all the
women fancy him. He's got
it all.
Coming across as a real
creep is a surprising addition
to Gyllenhaal's repertoire, but
he performs it with aplomb
in the trailer for Dan Gilroy's
next film, "Nightcrawler." "My
motto is - if you want to win
the lottery, you've to make the
money to buya ticket," says
his character, reminding you
of that overeager know-it-all

The more detailsthat emerge
about Tyrannythe upcoming
album from
Julian Casa-
blancas +The
Voidz, the more Where No
it becomes clear E
that Casablan-
cas is trying to Julian
distance himself Casablancas
from the specter + ThVol&
of The Strokes as
much as possible. Cal
Take the new
video for "Where
No Eagles Fly" and compare it
to the now 12-year-old video for
"Someday." The still-amusing
"Family Feud" interlude not-
withstanding, the "Someday"
video is mostly a collection of
nostalgic shots of The Strokes
and their buddies just hang-
ing out at a bar and having a
good time. Contrast that with
"Where No Eagles Fly." The
grainy, found-footage quality of

who sits in at least one of your
classes. He's desperate for any
job, and jumps at the chance
to become a TV newscaster,
doing whatever it takes to pro-
vide the scoop before anyone
else. But how far will he go in
his quest to do and be some-
While promising themes -
the ethical issues of providing
headline-grabbing news and
the intoxicating nature of suc-

cess that began with despera-
tion - are shown to be the focal
point of the film, the trailer
itself is poorly constructed. A
clumsy montage of clips dilutes
the tension with unnecessary
comedy and even the lip-sync
is way off in some places. Still,
the trailer makes it look like a
watchable film, and then again
- a little bit of Gyllenhaal
never hurt anybody.

the video - as well as the fact
that Jules somehow doesn't look
any older -means that it could
almost come from the early days
of The Strokes. But the shots fea-
ture strobe lights, cheap-looking
dripping-blood on the screen
and'80s public-access-show-
style effects. Watching, "Where
No Eagles Fly," you're not going
to get the warm fuzzies like you
do when you listen to "Is This
It?." Taken with the "Someday"

clip, it'slike the New York of
"The Warriors" compared with
the New York of "Friends."
It is cool, though, that Casa-
blancas is following this new
weird, abrasive style. The depar-
ture from his normal, more
popular sound may be jarring
at first, but it'll be interesting to
see and hear where Casablancas
takes this aesthetic when Tyr-
anny is released.


The trailer for "AmericanA
Horror Story: Freak Show"A
is a bit of a let down. After
weeks of
vague (but B
and teas- Horror'
ers, FX's Story:Freak
trailer Shows
is disap- Oct.8
pointingly FX
Like the Fx
series itself, this trailer is Through the peephole, we get But all is rectified when
a showcase for fancy edit- glimpses of most of "Freak Queen Supreme Jessica Lange
ing and good talent, but is Show" 's main players - the steps from behind the curtain.
ultimately unthrilling and aforementioned bearded Ultimately, it 's Lange's
without substance. (For a Bates, strongman Michael show, and the trailer rectifies
show called "American Hor- Chiklis, triple-breasted Ange- all its flaws in the end by
ror Story," the trailer offers la Bassett, promiscuous Evan reminding us what makes
no actual scares, unless you Peters and finally, Sarah Paul- "American Horror Story" so
count Kathy Bates' beard.) son as a very unconvincing compelling - the campy glory
The trailer offers a cool, two-headed lady. (Seriously, of seeing Jessica Lange under
voyeuristic peek through seg- what is the deal with those the big top.
ments of the big circus tent. shadows on her neck?) -CHLOE GILKE


Sam Smith had a big sum-
mer. Two of his songs, "Stay
with Me" and "Latch" (a
tion with C
Disclo- Im Not the
sure) have
become hits Only One
so inescap- SamSminthft.
able that
even your A$APRocky
mother Capitol
ably knows
every word. His debut
album, "In the Lonely
Hour," features soulful
ballads that highlight the
British singer's impressive
range. Smith's music has pop
sensibilities, with earworm
hooks that get stuck in heads
for days, and lo-fi tendencies
that show off tender song-
Smith's latest single, "I'm
Not the Only One," gets a

refreshing makeover cour- an already enjoyable song,
tesy of Harlem rapper A$AP and should continue Sam
Rocky, who sounds at home Smith's summer of domina-
rhyming over luscious key- tion well into the fall. This
boards. The two-part guest collaboration works seam-
verse features Rocky at his lessly, and it suggests that
smoothest, who once again Smith should handle hook
sounds like the coolest guy duty on more rap songs, aila
in the room with his non- Frank Ocean, to broaden his
chalant flow., audience and to showcase
This odd couple pairing his tremendous vocals.
works to pump new life into -JOSHFRAZIER


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