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May 29, 1987 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly Summer Weekly, 1987-05-29

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Page 10 -The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 29, 1987
Records: Minneapolis bands flourish

Husker Du
Warehouse: Songs and Stories
Prince
Sign "O" the Times
Warner Bros.
Aside from being on the same
label, these records have more in
common than one might think.
Both Prince and Husker Du are
Minneapolis natives, and both have
recently released their second double
albums. Both Prince and Husker Di
achieved their greatest critical
acclaim, and mass popularity as a
direct result of their first double
LP's,1999, and Zen Arcade. For
both acts, the albums since their
last double-albums have been
greeted with mixed reviews.
Warehouse, as its title implies,
is not conceptually unified. It is a
catch-all for Husker Du songwriters
Bob Mould and Grant Hart. Mould
and Hart alternate songs yet paint
the same picture of a gray industrial
world populated by potential losers
whowill fail unless something
happens soon.
Songs range from the anthemic
"These Important Years" which
makes one want to hang out at a
local high school to try and grab
what was missed, to the bluegrass-
tinted "She Floated Away." And the
singing, while subject to obvious
technical limitations, is
impassioned and affecting.
Warehouse is undeniable proof
of Husker D's arrival The records
are characterized by a sure-handed
confidence, even when the band
addresses issues which are best left
only partially addressed. It is a
second milestone. Way to go,
Dides.
While Warehouse's unevenness
is part of its overall charm, Prince's
unevenness on Sign "0" the Times
is, by contrast, grating. While
many reviewers have
characterizedSign as a bold move, it
is actually somewhat of a retreat for
Prince. He has dispensed with the
Revolution, hidden his guitar, and
zipped back to the sparse,
synthesized sound of Controversy
andDirty Mind.
Sign han its moments. "Starfish
and Coffee" is pleasantfluff. "The
Cross" is a ballad which succeeds in
spite of its heavy-handed
religiosity. But the bulk of Sign
suffers because Prince hasn't
bolstered himself with the technical
and creative input which the
Revolution afforded him. As- a
result, the drumming is at times
tepid, and the songs never have the
energy that an eight-musician
session would have provided.
Even so, Sign is evidence of
Prince's willingness to take a big
chance, and he does so with a sense
of humor.
These releases, combined with
the Replacements' latest, make a
strong case for Minneapolis as a

mecca for "bold" musicians. These and sharp guitar work and vintage
records take chances, and are the vocals are the center piece of the
products of musicians who are album and standup bassist Thomas
pushing themselves harder than Yearsley and drummer Scott Camp -
they really need to. Or maybe they bell play right along, never missing
just have nothing better to do when a beat and proving that years of road
they're snowed in. -John Logie gigging do indeed pay off.-Alan Paul

Prince: new album, new look, old sound

Little Charlie and The
Nightcats
All The Way Crazy
Alligator
This debut album for the
Northern California bar vetertans
showcases Little Charlie Baty's
technical mastery of the guitar and
Rick Estrin's expressive vocals and
harmonica playing as well as his
songwriting. Drummer Dobie
Strange and bassist Jay Peterson
maintain a rock steady beat regard-
less of the material at hand. And
Little Charlie and the Nightcats
have a range that few can match:
from the jump blues of "Eyes Like
a Cat" to the rockabilly of "Right
Around the Corner," the rough
edged - power-blues chords of
"Suicide Blues" and the humor of
"TV Crazy" and "Poor Tarzan." An
excellant effort, this does not sound
like a debut. -Alan Paul
The Paladins
The Paladins
Wrestler
After years as a popular south -
western club band, this hard rocking
trio scores big with their debut
album. Though often labeled a
rockabilly band, the Paladins range
from blues to vintage rock and back
again. The album kicks off with the
hard driving original "Hold On" and
plows through two other originals
and covers of artists as diverse as
Gatemouth Brown, Gene Vincent
and Johnny Horton as well as some
classic material with unknown
authors.
Frontman Dave Gonzalez' clear

Dead Kennedys
Bedtime For Democracy
Alternative Tentacles
Bedtime For Democracy is a
formidable swan song from The
Dead Kennedys. Side one lags a
bit at times but is ultimately carried
by some of the album's standouts
like Johnny Paycheck's chicken
rippin' "Take This Job and Shove
It," "The Great Wall," and
"Triumph of the Swill." Side two
may very well be the D.K.'s best
since the flipside of In God We
Trust. Much of the lyrical content
focuses on the "close minded self
centered social club" better known
as the hardcore "scene."
"Chickenshit Conformist" and "An -
archy For Sale" are two such
numbers which hit home, rock.
hard, and ring true.
Bedtime also offers up bonus
fun if the music's not enough.
Free copies of the "Fuck Facts" and
"No Censorship Defense Fund"
newspapers oughta make this disc
well worth your while.
-Danny Plotnick
The Three O' Clock
Ever After
I.R.S.
The Three O'Clock's last album,
Arrive Without Travelling , was a
solid slab of psyched-up pop, fired
by a spotlight duel between
guitarist Louis Guiterrez and
keyboard player Mike Mariano.
Guiterrez left the band for a Bangle,
and the aftermath, Ever After, is
much the worse for his loss,
dropping the band to also-ran
standing for at least the time being,

and perhaps doing them in
completely. The album is synth-
heavy, plodding, and even the once-
endearing Davey Jones-oid tenor of
lead singer Michael Quercio
becomes tiresome as it drones
above a mass of mechanism that
isn't danceable, isn't profound, and
makes one wonder whether Simple
Minds were ever as great as this
band was before sinking to this
kind of blather. Just one more
dance with you...
-John Logie
Tom Petty & The
Heartbreakers
Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)
MCA
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
make the business of putting out
hit singles look easy. Their new
album continues the trend with six
or seven cuts that are strong enough
to enter the singles chart. The
strength of the songs rests on the
playing and arranging of the Heart-
breakers, who play songs that
sound almost as dense as Peter Gab-
riel's hits, without using a lot of
electronic studio effects.
During the long sessions for
Southern Accents, his last studio
album, Tom Petty talked about
possibly recording a double album
incorporating more musical styles
such as country or bluegrass. These
styles have yet to show up as any-
thing more than remote influences
on any Petty album, and this one is
no different. With the exception of
the mandolin playing on the best
track, "It'll All Work Out," the
band stays within the style they
have been developing since their
first album. The thought of a great
band like the Heartbreakers taking
on a project such as Springsteen's
Nebraska is enticing, but for now
Petty fans will be very happy with
another excellent album chock full
of new personal favorites.
- Brian Jarvinen
Holly Near
Don't Hold Back
Redwood
The power of Holly Near's voice
is approached only by that of her
lyrics. Through a long and prolific
career, Near has lent her evocative
throat as a medium to the suffering
and struggling of the world...that
is, until the release of her latest
album, Don't Hold Back.
Don't Hold Back is a collection
of "love songs" whose insipid
lyrics one would think more likely
to emanate from Madonna than an
accomplished and usually sensitive
folk singer. Near's previous releases
have featured simple and stylish
musical arrangements that have
allowed her to' explore the full

richness of her vocal talents. Yet
her new album is dominated by a
monotonous drum beat and bleating
horn section that strangle the
singer's beautiful throat.
What is truly pathetic about this
unabashed attempt at commerciality
is that it fails even by pop music
standards. Those who have never
heard Near before will incorrectly
conclude from this album that the
woman is without talent. Those
who are fans based on Near's earlier
work are bound to feel betrayed.
The reaction of both groups to
Don't HoldBack will undoubtably
be "I wish she did."
-Tim Huet
Divine Horseman
Middle of the Night
SST
Painted Willie
UpsideDownTown
SST
These two Los Angeles based
bands possess similar musical roots
but have since sprung in different
directions. Painted Willie, on the
one hand, stay true hard edged roots
to deliver a powerful sound on
UpsideDownHouse that resembles
Black Sabbath with a sense of
humor. Painted Willie, whose
drummer Dave Markey directed and
filmed that revealing rock ex-
pose/saga/documentary about the
fast paced pitfalls of rock-n-roll,
Desperate Teenage Lovedolls and its
sequel Lovedolls Superstar, ex-
plodes with ever-changing guitar
tempos that are unpredictable
enough to keep listeners on their
toes and aggravate metalheads as
well. The result is delightful
collection of unbalanced, harsh cuts
whose comical lyrics keep it from
getting too grave. Could it be a
message from the Lovedolls?
Divine Horsemen headcheese,
Chris D., has abandoned his origins
at the L.A. punk jounal, Slash
magazine, for a bland country rock
feel (complete with twangin' gitar)
that falls flat on Middle of the
Night. Chris D. is coupled on
vocals with newlywed wife, Julie
Christensen, whose hearty vocals
save us from drowning in her
husbands gurgly, heartwrenching
slop. Chris D.'s howls dominate
Christensen on ballad after country
ballad which are mini novels about
lost love and lost souls, each
begging for a driving riff or at least
a faster tempo. The album's lack of
creativity is showcased on a cover
of the Stone's "Gimme Shelter",
which is a carbon copy of the
original except for Chris D.'s
country fried impersonation of
Jagger. Chris D. would be better off
leaving country roots in the south
where they belong and grabbing on
to his own, more harsh, roots.
-Brian Bonet

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