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November 16, 1995 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-16

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 16, 1995 -19

Charm Farm
PRA Records
It's always cool when a band from
your hometown gets national air-
play. But, it gives you a warm fuzzy
feeling when the band that makes it
is actually good. Such is the case
with Charm Farm, a band hailing
from our own city of Detroit. With
their new CD, "Pervert," Charm
Farm proves to their listeners that
they can put out an excellent album
while still not forgetting where they
come from.
Right from the start, Charm Farm
proves that they're a force to con-.
tend with in the "new rock" scene.
Managing to combine disco-esque
tunes with a harder, driving edge,
Charm Farm has a sound that's hard
to define. What can one say about a
band that sounds like RuPaul one
minute and like The The the next?
Anyone unfamiliar with Charm
Farm needs only to listen to 96.3
for about 10 minutes before they
will be bombarded with the
groovalicious "Superstar." With
danceable music and lyrics like,
"Everything is beautiful ... all of us
are superstars," one can't help but
be in a good mood after listening to
this particular melody. But, don't
expect the rest of the album to be
one big dance mix. Instead, Charm
Farm swings easily between the
sublime and the raunchy, still in-
cluding everything in the middle.
Perhaps the best song on the al-
bum is "Pain." Though the synthe-
sizers in the background may dis-
tract listeners from the lyrics,
they're worth listening to. "Some-
times I wonder what's wrong with
my image of trust and I don't under-
stand my obsession with lust."
Clearly the band has a ways to go
before they reach the angst of bands
like the Cure and Nine Inch Nails,
but for now they do a good job of
covering themes ranging from
heroin addiction in "Sick" to horny
people in the title song, "Pervert."
Overall, Charm Farm has suc-
ceeded in producing an extremely
diverse album that can satisfy any
range of music listeners. With the
blend of different musical styles,
Charm Farm should be able to eas-
ily accomplish the quote taken from
"Ciao Manhattan," the basis for the
song "Superstar." In Andy Warhol's
words, "I'd like to turn the whole
world on, just for a moment." And,
even if they can't turn on the whole
world, they can definitely turn on
- Lise Harwin

Various Artists
Red Hot and Bothred
This album is the sixth in a series
from the Red Hot organization, which
educates people about AIDS, as well as
funds a cure for the disease, with the
power of popular culture - namely
music. Featured genres in the past have
included dance, country and jazz. This
time, the spotlight's on indie rock. Un-
like most compilations, this album has
more hits than misses.
One of the gems comes from the
indiesupergroup Freedom Cruise, com-
prised of Dayton, Ohio, locals Kim and
Kelley Deal ofthe Breeders, and Guided
by Voices' Robert Pollard. Their track,
"Sensational Gravity Boy," is a giddy,
unassuming little to-fi pop song. With
Pollard's songwriting and the Deals'
lovely backup vocals, it's a great start to
the album.
The Grifters, Noise Addict, and the
Folk Implosion all contribute catchy
and individualistic tracks ("Empty
Yard," "Mouthwash" and
Lisa Germano is her usually wonderful
and poignant self with "The Mirror is
Gone," a b-side off of last year's album
"Geek the Girl."
The rest of the album is mostly enter-
taining, with a few weak songs here and
there, but nothing so horrid as to detract
from the worthy cause and worthy mu-
sic that this album stands for.
- Heather Phares
Mute Records
One can't help but have at least a
grudging respect for those '80s bands
that have managed to stick around into
the middle ofthe'90s. And, most people
feel a lot more than that for Erasure, a
band that consistently produces albums
that have at least one chart-topping hit.
Starting back in 1986 with the smash
"Oh L'Amour," Erasure's brand of
synth/dance pop set them apart from the
other British new wavers. Fortunately,
they have continued on this tradition
with their ninth and newest album, the
self-titled "Erasure."
With "Erasure," Vince Clarke and
Andy Bell have soared to new heights,
adding tracks with a more ambient ap-
peal, sure to attract listeners ranging
from alternative to dance and techno.
With "I Say, I Say, I Say," Erasure
began anew era of music, molding their
airy pop of the last decade into a more
rich and lavish sound. This decadence
continues with "Erasure." Clarke and
Bell now seem to be in an experimental
mode, producing the lengthiest instru-
mental passages to date. But, where

most bands fail in making a change
from pop to ambient and from
hummable choruses to epic ballads,
Erasure succeeds. Perhaps this comes
from the help of producer Thomas
Fehlmann, formerly of the Orb, a New
Wave tranquil sensation. The flow from
the delicately romantic first single, "Stay
With Me," to the lively Latin-flavored,
"Love The Way You Do So" is fluid to
the point of almost being cinematic.
Lyrically, Bell also takes on a newer
and more sensitive position, particu-
larly in the sociopolitical "Grace."
"Looking in the papers makes me sorry
to be human/A little ray of hope won't
hurt at all." Other noteworthy lyrical
pieces are the blissfully idyllic "An-
gel," and the spiritual "Rock Me Gen-

tly," which stand out as Bell's most
touching efforts yet. The latter two are
also assisted by the vocals of Diamanda
Galas, while "Rock Me Gently"-also
features the harmonies of the London
Community Gospel Choir.
Right now Erasure are in an intgest-
ing position. They are at the intersec-
tion of going two different ways with
their music: They can delve even fur-
ther into the trance scene or they can
continue with their poppier melodies.
Whatever way Erasure decides to go,
you can be certain that they will con-
tinue to be pioneers within their genre
and that their music will continue live
on long after the '80s, and possibly the
'90s, are past.
- Lise Harvin


"These guys want to help you. Really.
'ijntinued from Page 18
Various Artists
Jrelp - A Charity Project
'or The Children Of Bosnia
Go! Discs/London
Early morning, Sept. 4, 1995. The
best in what Britpop has to offer
"(and a few others) file into various
recording studios around Europe.
Tho igh miles and hours apart from
each other, and even further away
from the bloody mess of former Yu-
goslavia, these artists, bound by
their involvement in a single music
scene that has not since the '60s
featured such a wealth of talent,
scrambled to put together in one
day a collection of songs to benefit
those bound - not so pleasantly-
and beaten by the chains of hunger,'
injury, rape and murder. The one-
day reap and sow harvested 20 very
uplifting tracks, in both musical and
literal terms.
Kicking it off are Oasis and
Friends doing a slowed-down,
acoustic version of their "Cigarettes
and Alcohol" single's fourth track,
"Fade Away." With Noel Gallagher
on vocals, brother Liam backing and
stalwart and sensitive heartthrob
Johnny Depp on guitar, the band
proves their brilliance once again
through the strength of their b-sides.
Next are The Boo Radleys with "Oh
Brother." Guitarist Martin Carr,
who went from 1992 to 1966 in
regard to his songwriting style, has
now moved up to '72 as he strums
his "Rain Song" under an address to
his mountain-climbing identical
The album cover for "Help," a
painting by John Squire, is to the
Stone Roses' ramshackle version of
"Love Spreads" what his paintings
for their LPs and singles were to
their respective songs: Weedy, as
opposed to superb, corroborating
every criticism hurled by journos at
Ian Brown's vocal performance of
late. On the other hand, new drum-
mier Robbie Maddix shows up the
departed Reni and Squire's incred-
ible slide guitar playing - a pen-
thant acquired at the crossroads, no
doubt - is right on as well, though
iverall, the song sounds like a demo.
'then there's The Charlatans, whose
"Time For Livin"' with organs and
DJ Zero-synth, sounds more like a
decent Roses track than the bona
fide Roses track as far as sound
uality and production (courtesy of
The Chemical Brothers) go, but
song-wise, like most of their mate-
srial, it falls a few feet short of "re-
ally good."
Portishead do the Portishead thing
with "Mourning Air"- the typical
mix of Beth Gibbons' bitter soul
music and "Requiem For A Secret
Agent" spy-thriller themes. Like-
wise, Orbital, Massive Attack and
Stereo MC's do their thing without

yielding anything extraordinary,
though the artists that used this rare
opportunity to do something unusual
came up with the album's most pre-
cious gems. Thom E. Yorke of
Radiohead plays a gamblin' creep
in "Lucky," which is basically Ennio
Morricone Spaghetti-Western meets
Pink Floyd. Suede do Elvis
Costello's "Shipbuilding" and both
Brett Anderson and the sax bleat
magnificently. The always-versatile
Neneh Cherry's collaboration with
Trout, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5," one of the few
tracks with specific references to
the situation in Bosnia, has a "To-
morrow Never Knows" feel derived
from a restless rhythm section and
guitars that, well - pardon the ref-
erence - don't fear the reaper.
Meanwhile, Sinead O'Connor and
The Levellers do what they do best,
dealing in folk material and throw-
ing a Celtic curveball into their
songs, the sweet-timbred, hot-tem-
pered O'Connor seasoning the tra-
ditional, "Ode to Billy Joe" with a
tin whistle and The Levellers add-
ing fiddles to "Searchlights."
The number of artists who went
all-out, and despite the time restric-
tions, turned-out pieces of grandi-
ose, big band and even orchestral
proportions is pleasantly surpris-
ing. Terry Hall & Salad do a charm-
ing "Dream A Little Dream" and
Blur, billed under their original
name Seymour do a number called
"Eine Kleine Lift Musik" in which
piano and '50s doo-wop segues into
strings. Perhaps the most impres-
sive song on "Help" is Manic Street
Preachers' version of the Bacharach
classic, "Raindrops Keep Falling On
My Head," simply because the group
doesn't make the mistake that so
many artists do when covering songs
from other eras and/or genres, and
doing an "ironic" rendition of the
song. "Raindrops" is carefully done,
its simple hooks and lyrical ingenu-
ity preserved and even accentuated
by some very honest, unpretentious
vocals. The Manics even keep the
resounding bass drums and trumpet
solo and consequently ensure that
this one is every bit as good as the
"Help" reaches its finale and
closes out through the joint-effort
of three generations of British R &
B, namely Paul Weller, Noel
Gallagher and Paul McCartney. Al-
though Weller is sounding more and
more like Joe Cocker these days,
although McCartney wrote "Biker
Like An Icon" a few years ago (crap,
for those of you who had the good
fortune never to have heard it) and
still insists on keeping his missus in
the backing band, their rather tame
version of "Come Together" works
just fine.
So there you have it. Twenty
songs, with the sum total of truly
great ones outnumbering the throw-
aways 17 to one. Proceeds to ben-
efit WAR CHILD. Do something
nice for yourself and for a worthy
cause and pick this one up.
-Thomas Crowley

Viva Palace Brothers
Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Songs - whatever you want to call it, it remains
the project of former child actor and country-rock junkie Will Oldham. Oldham's
affection for and understanding of the likes of Neil Young, Gram Parsons and
latter-era Byrds put his work up there with Vic Chestnutt's, the Jayhawks' and;
other current-day country-rock artists. From Palace's first album, "There is No pne
That Will Take Care of You," to last year's self-titled album to the
recentlyreleased "Viva Last Blues," Oldham's spare yet evocative songwriting and
haunting, world-weary vocals have chilled and enthralled listeners. Live, however,
Oldham and crew put on a friendly, homey show. Whether it's on Lollapalooza's
second stage (which the band played in 1994) or Ann Arbor's Blind Pig, the
band's performances are well worth seeing. Lucky for us, Palace returns to the
Pig to put on another undoubtedly great show. Doors for the gig open at 9:30
p.m.; tickets are available at the door or at Schoolkids' Records. For more
Information, call 996-8555.

The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
is now taking applications for
Student Leaders

Student Leaders' responsibilities include mentoring and interacting with underprivileged
Asian American youth from Detroit. Student Leaders will serve as role models for the
students and will challenge them to think about the importance of education. Student
Leaders must possess strong communication, organizational and leadership skills
and have the ability and willingness to be sensitive to the needs of
disadvantaged Asian American students.
Applications and job descriptions can be obtained at
The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
1042 Fleming Building, first floor.
For additional information contact
Marie P. Ting at 936-1055

Lisa Germano is wonderful on "Red Hot and Bothered."



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