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December 06, 1995 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-06

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 6, 1995 -11

Pere Ubu
Raygun Suitcase
Tim Kerr Records
' After what seems like a million
hardAto-find records and almost as
many obscure or collapsed record la-
bels, the almost-always-wonderful,
consistently weird Pere Ubu is back
ih action, unleashing their supreme
ien'e fiction symphonies on the hip
TinKerr label.
'A new label and a new record seem
to' sit the members of the band;
' Raygun Suitcase" is one of their fin-
et-releases in recent years. "Raygun"

mixes the nasty, weird atonal bits that
the group has always excelled at since
they crawled out of Cleveland's in-
dustrial wasteland almost 20 years
ago in a punk/avant project called
Rocket from the Tomb (which also
spawned shockabilly stalwarts the
Cramps) with the gentler pop sensi-
bilities that their latest albums like
1992's "Worlds in Collision" and
1993's "The Story of My Life"
evinced.
There's nothing radically differ-
ent from Pere Ubu's usual plans
from outer space on this album, with

the exception of the warped cover
of the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl."
But that's just fine, since their
sound, style and music are radically
different from almost every other
group out there. All the songs fea-
ture David Thomas' garbled,
warbled, choking vocals and his
decidedly different viewpoints.
Buzzing, droning guitars, clanking
percussion and loads and loads of
theremins flesh out songs like
"Electricity," "Turquoise Fins,"
"Vacuum In My Head" and "Red
Sky" into four and five-minute ex-
cursions into pop weirdness.
There's beauty and charm in Pere
Ubu's pop universe, however; their
space-punk-pop-freaky music re-
veals that this group did weird first
and still does it the best. They're
the masters. Long live Pere Ubu
and "Raygun Suitcase."
- Heather Phares
The Softies
It's Love
K
Beautiful acoustic guitars, sweet,
close harmonies and poignant lyrics
aren't the sole domain of folk-waif
types and VH-I singer/songwriters.
Nope, indie rock can go unplugged

too, and no group does it better than
the Softies.
After some lovely seven inches, the
Softies, also known as Rose Melberg
and Jen Sbragia (formerly of Tiger
Trap), release their debut album "It's
Love," 14 cuts of charmingly melan-
cholic acoustic music. Songs like
"Hello Rain," "I'll Love You More,"
"This House" and "Follow Me" fea-
ture the duo's beautiful voices and
adept guitar playing - and that's it.
No other instruments or players ap-
pear on "It's Love," which gives the
album a special intimacy and cohe-
sion.
"Fragile, Don't Crush" and "Heart
Condition" are two of the best songs
on "It's Love," and feature Melberg
and Sbragia's ironic, poignant sense
of humor along with their abundant
musical skills. The Tallulah Gosh
cover, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction,
Thank God," lives up to that band's
reputation for clever and insightful
pop songs.
All in all, "It's Love" is a terrific
debut. The songs and sound are dif-
ferent than other acoustic-rock albums
but not off-putting to fans of groups
like Liquorice or even the Indigo
Girls. Except, of course, the Softies
are much, much cooler.
- Heather Phares

.

The Softies kick acoustic Indle-rock butt.

, -

MICHIGAN

It's super sci-fi symphonies all the way with weird-rock legends Pere Ubu.
Artist David Hockney
taks ab)Out himself
New show of his drawings and watercolors
Qp ns at the Royal Academy in London
I- NDON (AP)-The best place through the door and my dogs."
$WoTk as an artist, David Hockney Hockney is a Yorkshireman, born
4yg, is Where people don't value in J1937 in Bradford which has been
;.you do. a center of the English woolen in-
For the Englishman David dustry for 600 years. He spent his
Hockney, one of the world's most first 20 years there before going to
popular living artists, that place is art college in London where he was
Los Angeles. He first went there in taken up by art dealer John Kasmin
1964and has been a permanent resi- in 1961. Two of his drawings were
dent since 1978. "1 lived in Paris bought that year for the Museum of
for two years, in the center, and it Modern Art in New York and
was terrific for a while but too many Hockney has been successful ever
people came to call and I couldn't since. "The moment I first sold pic-
work," Hockney said. "In the Hol- tures to earn a living I felt rich. I've
lywood Hills if you're a painter not been rich ever since," he said. "I
manypeople look you up and that's didn't have much money but I did
(ine. I don't want to talk all the time what I wanted. There's a point
cn television about art." where, for an artist, money can be a
Hockney was in London to attend burden. Things could be an abso-
a show of his drawings and water- lute burden. I don't want that to
4olors at the Royal Academy. "I happen. You are a rich 'man if you
$till feel myself very much an artist do the things you want to do."
n the English tradition. I live wher- Hockney has made the freeways,
ever I happen to be," he said at the architecture, gardens and pools of
show. A BMW 850CSi automobile, Los Angeles the subjects of some of
Wvhich the German carmaker gave his best-known paintings. He has
Uockney to paint, stands in the made extensive drawings ofhis trav-
courtyard of the Royal Academy els in Egypt, Japan and China, and
during the exhibition. BMW now designed for the theater and opera.
tas 14 cars painted by renowned "I'm not that connected to an art
4rtists from nine countries to paint world. I live a very quiet life in Los
bars, including Roy Lichtenstein, Angeles and I pursue my own inter-
Frank Stella and Andy Warhol. ests," he said. "Everyone can be
f "I am fascinated by a flat surface taught to draw to a certain extent
and what you put on it and the car quite well. The craft can be taught
has wonderful contours," Hockney but the poetry of it can't be. I hope
laid . "I decided to paint it as though my exhibition can turn someone on
you were looking inside. I put the to draw. Good young artists can
engine on top and the driver visible attract attention," he said.

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