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May 23, 2005 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-05-23

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 23, 2005

I

'Woods'
brings
earthy
rock
By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Editor
MUSIC R.EVIEW i i
"Did you ever get the feeling / That you
don't belong" begins a verse of "What's
Mine Is Yours," one of the 10 explosions
of deep, dark rock'n'roll on Sleater-Kin-
ney's latest release, The Woods. It's a feel-
ing Sleater-Kinney has
gotten used to: After
creating an unmistak- Sleater-
able style with a half Kinney
dozen intricate, emo- The Woods
tionally and musically Sub Po
powerful albums, the
3 trio (guitarists/vocal-
ists Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker
and drummer Janet Weiss) resides com-
fortably out of the indie/mainstream
crossover spotlight. The Woods shows
Sleater-Kinney at their best - outspo-
ken, emotional and musically white-hot.
"The Fox" opens The Woods; after a
thick, insistent doubled guitar intro, we
hear Tucker's superhuman wail - per-
haps Sleater-Kinney's most distinctive
calling card - soaring over thunder-in-
the-distance percussion.
Brownstein and Tucker have fattened
up their already-monstrous sound;
although lithe, intricate lines like those

Chappelle stays
biting on DVD

"We're playing The Woods ... In the woods!"

on earlier albums appear elsewhere,
they're creating crashes and screams
rather than the cool, menacing vocal
declamations of previous years.
"Wilderness" follows, centering on the
swiftly sketched tale of a couple in hard
times. As do many tracks on The Woods,
"Wilderness" begins in one tone and
ends in another: The third verse opens
with Brownstein's low, girlish vocals
singing "All our little wishes have run
dry." Four verses later, she ends the song
with a much more aggressive sentiment:
"I'll see you in hell, I don't mind."
Sleater-Kinney peak twice on The
Woods, first on the tight, anxious "Jump-
ers,"then on the l-minuteepic seduction
story "Let's Call It Love." But "Jumpers"
is Sleater-Kinney in classic form; it's a
first-person diatribe akin to All Hands
on the Bad One's "Youth Decay" and
The Hot Rock's "The End of You." This
story of suicide - executed by leaping
from the Golden Gate Bridge - shows
the trio's songwriting ability: "There is a
bridge adorned and framed / ... Whose

back is heavy / With my weight," Brown-
stein and Tucker sing in sweet harmony.
At the end of the journey, the speaker
admits defeat ("I'm not a bird / I'm not
a plane") as the song plunges into repeti-
tion of the last two lines: "Four seconds
was / The longest wait."
The Woods marks the Olympia, Wash.-
based trio's first decade together. Since
their inception in 1995, they've sharp-
ened the impact of a basic rock outfit's
opposite extremes, eschewing bass for
Brownstein and Tucker's fiery lead gui-
tars and Weiss's rumbling, machine-gun
drumming. It's no mistake that a brood-
ing, emotionally complex album like this
one comes at this point in their career:
Much of 2002's One Beat was composed
in reaction to American life post-Sept.
11, but Sleater-Kinney channeled their
frustration into tracks that heralded a
call to action. After simmering for three
years, those still-resonant feelings have
become The Woods. They're exploring
a mysterious, unknown territory; The
Woods is their map.

By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
The Chappelle Show's first season on
Comedy Central worked thanks to its vul-
garity, outlandishness and sly versatility.
In the first season, Chappelle was racy
enough to impersonate a black, blind white
supremacist and light-hearted enough
to make fun of MTV's
"The Real World."
Chappelle jumped from Chappelle
the taboo to the mun- Show
dane from skit to skit. Show:
The second season is Season 2
less racially driven but Paramount
equally as funny and
envelope-pushing.
In the second season, Chappelle veers
away from controversial skits, opting for
impersonations - which have become
his most ubiquitous pieces - and more
invasive humor. Lil' Jon, Prince, Rick
James and even President Bush all fall
under Chappelle's microscope. And yes,
"I'm Rick James, bitch!" has joined the
vernacular of every college student.
While Chappelle still pushes the limits
of racial tolerance in this season, many
times it's destructively over-the-top. Yet
the racial draft is one of the funniest
sketches in the entire season - the Jews
"draft" Lenny Kravitz and the Japanese
"draft" the Wu-Tang Clan.
Another one of the season's great-
est attributes is its guest appearances.
Mos Def, John Mayer, Charlie Mur-
phy and Paul Mooney all shine in their
frequent appearances. Murphy's True
Hollywood Stories and Mooney's

uproarious "Negrodamus" are fan-
favorites. Lil' Jon even makes a long-
awaited cameo when he calls himself
(Chappelle) and they scream "Yeah!,"
"What?" and "OK" back and forth.
In several instances, the season drags
on because of the bizarre, socially out-
landish skits and potty humor. The "first
black man to use a white toilet" sketch is
the worst five minutes of the season. Not
only are the racial and historical slants
botched, but the concept could've been
written by a third grader. "Kneehigh
Park" is another boring but racy sketch.
Chappelle uses puppets of different drugs
and venereal diseases to teach kids a les-
son in a park. It deteriorates into an exple-
tive-driven shock fest.
When these clips and the lackluster
musical performances - ranging from
Erykah Badu to Wyclef Jean - fall short,
the third disk's bonus features remind
everyone of Chappelle's genius. The extra
stand-up from the show - the banter
with the crowd during commercial breaks
- shows how witty, sharp and person-
able Chappelle is. The deleted scenes and
bloopers also show the amount of impro-
visation on the aired material.
In lieu of Chappelle's spiritual jour-
ney to Africa and the tardiness of the
third season, season two has enough
new material to tide fans over. The
hours of bonus material are a great
addition to the already fantastic season,
and Chappelle's intelligently caustic
humor only makes his current absence
that much less bearable.
Show: ***-
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ****

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