16 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 6, 1998
By Amy Barber
Daiy A Writer
The last time Ani Difranco came to
Michigan, the unconstrained, staunchly
feminist, self-made folksinger had
acquired virtually no radio airplay
throughout her seven years as a record-
Last Monday at Meadowbrook, Ani
retumed a different woman, having
recently tasted more fame than ever
with the release of "Little Plastic
Castle," which has been sneaking its
way into the mainstream music scene
over the past few months. Ani's altered
career affected Monday's concert both
positively and negatively.
She started the evening off with
"Little Plastic Castle," a surefire way to
excite the crowd right off the bat.
The song pleased both longtime fans
who finally got to see the live perfor-
mance of a long-awaited hit song and
new fans who didn't know more than
one or two songs (this being one of
The new fans made upa notable por-
tion of the large audience, so many
were able to obtain their first heavy
dose of one of music's best kept
The flip side was the reduction in a
feeling of intimacy throughout an audi-
ence of dedicated fans, a factor regular-
ly present in past shows.
And faithful fans didn't get to hear
Don't get pulled in,
by Monster Magnet
Fully equipped with mad fingerpicking and sharp lyrics, Ani Difranco had fans at
Meadowbrook on their feet Monday night.
many of the songs that made them so
devoted in the first place. Nearly half the
songs Ani performed were from her
most recent album which, while certain-
ly a remarkable piece of work, is not
quite as impressive as th(es of the past.
Old favorites such as "Cradle and All"
and "Letter to a John" were spectacular-
ly perfoned - an indication that at
least a few tunes from albums such as
"Not So Soft," "Imperfectly" and
"Puddle Dive" would have been equally
exceptional. Unfortunately, none were
I do not, however, mean to under-
mine the quality of the new songs that
were performed. Full of raw emotion,
beautiful vocals and the combination of
Ani's uniquely astonishing guitar play-
ing with keyboard, drums and bass,
songs like "Two Little Girls" and
"Gravel" couldn't have sounded better.
A few new songs promised that Ani's
next album is sure to be a success.
These songs still mirrored past great-
ness while exploring new territory
"My Country 'Tis of Thee" said that
although people have done so much
destruction to our country and the way
it is run, we should still love the coun-
In "Not Angry Anymore." Ani dealt
with her feelings toward her father for
leaving her and her mother when she
was a child.
Over the past few years, Aii las
become notorious for regularly playing
extremely short sets, disappointing
many fans. So it was a pleasant surprise
on Monday when she performed 17
songs in over an hour and a half - by
no means a record, but better than the
usual hour and 15 minutes.
Although seeing her live may not be
a "s urise every time," it was worth-
while after seven years to see Ani per-
form after finally receiving a bit of
well-eamed mainstream attention.
By Adlin Rosli
Daily Arts Writer
Monster Magnet shares one unques-
tionable trait with the Spice Girls.
People in general either love the band
or loath it.
But even if you loathe Monster
Magnet, a part of you still shamefully
envies the band.
If the members
of The Spice
Girls are the
Powertrip poster girls of
'girl power," the
Monster Magnet guys of Monster
Magnet are the
poster boys of the
*k * power of resent-
&M ecords n, sexual
desires and acid
On their fourth A&M release,
"Powertrip," the boys of Monster
Magnet continue to peddle their brew
of no-frills, power-chord rock & roll.
There's no incorporation of dance
beats or samplers, just good old
loud guitars and plenty of testos-
Singer Dave WN-ndorf throws one of
the most sincere rock signs on the
cover of the albun this side of an Iron
Wyndorf also does not fail to com-
plement his songs with his trademark
sci-fi and devil's advocate lyrics.
"I'm your living crop circle."
Wyndorf proclaims on "Crop Circle."
le later muses on "Bummer" that
"Some people go to bed with Lucifer,
then cry when they don't greet the day
With producer Matt Hyde (Pomo 1
Pyros) and mixer Randy Staub
(Metallica), Monster Magnet has deliv-
ered another album that stays true to all
things that rock.
From the stoner blues sounds ot
"Space lord" to the Pulp Fiction-wor-
thy "19 Witches," Monster Magnet
grooves, rocks and soothes its way
through the 13-track album.
The album, however, lacks the
catchy hooks and memorable riffs
Monster Magnet's previous effo
"Dopes to Infinity."
Despite the amazing lyrics on
"Powertrip," the music this time seems
to just be an exercise of tried and true
rock & roll staples. You see the blows
coming long before the punch is
But ultimately, what makes Monster
Magnet simultaneously endearing and
annoying is its complete embrace 4
rock & roll values.
From the fist hurling riffs to
Wyndorf's delivery of the lyrics, the
band stays completely true to rock &
roll's blueprints. Not a single "Oh
Yeah," or "Baby" is misplaced.
This is a worthy effort, but it exudes
a thick air of familiarity. Kind of like
how the seemingly nesz sound of The
Spice Girls is actually just a recycled,
mass-manufactured Ipsp-machine prod-
Girls and boys will love 'Freak'
-l ,, Y ,". f55ris rra 'Ywr . By Jewel Gopwan .
B 'a'ird .oinr<44 'pyr a Gil/i Daily ArtsWriter
"This is no apocalypse," reveals Girls
Against Boys (GVSB) on its single,
P R K Pk T ' Win a trip for two... "ParkAvenue."It's just "Freak*on*ica,"
the band'slatest album of fierce songs.
It may not be
the end of the
S world, but the
slbu could yey a
well be the end of Freak*on*ieg
- - the p o p song as
we know it. Girls Against
Facing high Boys
. expectations from
a bigger label,
. .and fans accusing DGc Records
"' the band of sell-
Ladies no cover. $1 off drinks all night. ing out, GVSB
Draft beer specials. A s had issues to conquer on
- *u * -"Freak*on*ica." "House of GVSB,"
2'the band's last album, and the last effort
on its previous label, is a powerful col-
M I Ilection that made Girls Against Boys a
more common name.
With "Freak*on*ica," Girls Against
S e p v C e 8s Boys meets the higher expectations,
y ey . ze .offering an equally powerful sound and
$Mt3 No cover charge before P' added experimentation. The band
expands the capabilities of electronics
.."to make keyboards the driving force
..behind every song, which had previ-
ously been the role of the guitars and
two basses on "House of GVSB."
From start to finish, "Freak*on*ica"
is an intense onrush of electronic
hooks. GVSB's first single and the first
track on the album is "Park Avenue," a
song that should be blazing its way up
alternative radio charts. A gateway
leading to McCloud's raspy voice, bor-
derline chaotic electronics, harsh beats
and fearsome guitars, "Park Avenue"
throws listeners into a frenzy.
Although each song carries its own
weight, certain tracks with the mosticre-
ative keyboard work and the fiercest
lyrics stand out. "Psycho Future" begins
like a distorted electronic symphony,
with everything in place. That perfection
only leads to the song's later chaotic
interlude, which warps McCloud's voice
with complex electronics.
GVSB also offers the best in lyrics.
A social commentary at times, the
album features lyrics that require heavy
contemplation but that make sense.
"Vogue Thing" proposes a new look at
materialism. "You're thinking Calvin
Klein/Im thinking skin by Gucci/I don't
care what's real/ I only care how it feels."
McCloud has an appropriate voice to
sing .over the album's experimental
electronic work because one does not
outshine the other. On the downside
lyrically, McCloud traded in his deep,
sultry voice from "House of GVSB"
for raspy, seedy, almost Brando-like
vocals on "Freak*on*ica."
On "Roxy" and "Cowboy's Orbio
Janney, keyboardist and second bassist,
takes on the additional role of back-up
vocalist. Adding variety to those two
tracks, Janney shows off yet another
side of Girls Against Boys.
On "Freak*on*ica," Girls Against
Boys synthesizes raucous ' lyrics,
unheard of electronic hooks and an intri-
cate beatlto make an album that obliter-
ates pop songs and pop stars. GVSB
makes music for the advanced listener.
Cortsyof om uchan o Reod
McCloud of GVSB has created a suc-
cessful album, despite faltering vocals.