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September 06, 1995 - Image 35

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 1995- 17B
CIV:A band with no se forlast naes

By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
MTV recently put an unassum-
ing New York band named CIV in
their "Buzz Bin." The video for
"Can't Wait One Minute More"
features the band in a talk show
type setting, complete with audi-
ence and special guests. x
Frontman and vocalist Civ
seems to be the host, running
around in a suit and smiling, his
shiny head beaming out positive
energy. So how does being buzzed
affect a band?
"So far I haven't really been
affected by it," said Civ, "because
we've kinda been out on the road
and haven't seen what's happen-
ing. The hopeful effect is the abil-
ity to tour more, play to different
crowds, the ability to have differ-
ent people see the video and buy
the record."
"I've seen it like once," ex-
plained guitarist Charlie. "People
are talking about it, but it's not
like we're sitting at home going

'Oh! There's our video."'
But other people are seeing the
video, and so CIV is getting atten-
tion. In the video, Civ looks like
the happiest hardcore guy in the
world. "Everybody says that,"
confirmed Civ. "Like, 'You're
smiling so hard.' It was a long
day, but I was having fun."
"He was trying to remember
the words," laughed Charlie.
"We'd just finished recording
the song, so I didn't remember the
words."
Charlie explained the speed
with which the video came to frui-
tion: "The whole thing happened
so quick.
"A friend of ours directed the
video, and he'd never directed a
video before. He'd worked in com-
mercials. He came to our apart-
ment and pitched the whole idea.
We just did it for fun, cuz we had
this seven inch on Revelation
Records, and next thing you know
we were all in the studio with our
friends shooting this video. We

all chipped in to get it done. He
cashed in all his favors to get a
crew and a set together."
"We weren't taking it seriously
like 'We have this big budget,
what if it looks like shit?"' con-
tinued Civ. "After 13, 14 hours I
was a little punch drunk from
dancing around like an idiot."
CIV doesn't only have a video
with some success, but a great CD
cover on their album "Set Your
Goals" as well. Consisting of de-
sign elements and colors from the
'50s, the cover pictures the band
in a rear view mirror with fuzzy
dice hanging from it.
"Those were my fuzzy dice,
and they were stolen by the layout
people," said Civ. "Those were
the only fuzzy dice I had, and I
never got them back."
Thievery aside, CIV seems to
have as potent a visual represen-
tation as an aural one. With a video
possessing sufficient visual merit
to be buzzed and such a smooth
cover, CIV must attract visual art-

ists like flies.
But what are C : s Uusical
roots?
Civ listened to "':arisus t ings
from the Cro Mags to th Descen-
dants. I used to listen to the Smiths
a lot, or '50s type of stuff,
rockabilly, metal. Old Sabbath and
stuff like that."
Charlie differs a bit. "I listen
to a lot of English bands. Blur,
Supergrass, stuff like that. I still
listen to a lot of Minor Threat,
that stuff that I'm into."
As for the here and now,
Charlie had this to say: "The scene
in New York is really happening
with hardcore, the new hardcore
thing that's going on. Keep an eye
on it."
Not that everything's
copacetic.
One song on "Set Your Goals,"
"Soundtrack for Violence," is di-
rected against pit brutality.
"Dancing hard is OK," said
Charlie, "but you've got to look
out for each other. Don't be a

Civ (front middle) of CIV is the happiest hardcore guy in the world.

bully, or punch people in the back
of the head."
Stf1, for the mjiost part CIV
seems pretty happy. They're from
a healthy scene and MTV is not

averse to them.
Maybe if everyone is very
good, they'll replace Green Day.
on the youth popularity circuit and
we can all sleep a little bit better.

RECORDS
Continued from page 161
nine inch nails
Further Down the Spiral
nothing/Interscope
It's a new Nine Inch Nails remix
album that has the price of a single.
But don't be fooled, it clocks in at
well over an hour and boasts a fine
cast ofpeople who aren't Trent Reznor
mucking about with NIN songs.
The first track, "Piggy (Nothing
Can Stop Me Now)" features engi-
neering by Barkmarket frontman Dave
Sardy as well as guitars by Dave
Navarro of you-know-who making
for a cool loopy sound. Other artists
ofnote include ambientwizard Aphex
Twin creating "At the Heart of It All"
and part B of "The Beauty of Being
Numb" in his very non-NIN yet still
appropos way. J. G. Thirwell ofFoetus
fame remixed "Self Destruction Part
Two" and "Self Destruction Final" in
his energetic style.
The best track is "Eraser (Polite),"
a nearly lullaby version of the song
with Reznor's voice dominating the
song and it overlapping itself in a
beautiful and almost alien manner.
This is one of three tracks that were in
some unexplained manner related to
John Balance, Peter Christopherson
and Drew McDowall of Coil with
Danny Hyde. They seem hell-bent on
creating delicate evil songs, and suc-
ceed well in their endeavour.
All in all, it's pretty good. Unfor-
tunately, the more pricey import ver-
sion has several different songs, in-
cluding a live version of "Hurt" that
fans will certainly want. Well, we
can't have everything.
- Ted Watts
HI-Five
Hi-Five Greatest Hits
Jive Records
No, your eyes are not playing tricks
on you. The five-man (once, five-
teen) group, Hi-Five, has produced a
greatest hits record after only three
gold LPs. These Waco, Texas natives
(not related to the Branch Davidian
bunch) have sang some legitimate
hits inthe past including the semi-fast
"I Like the Way," the slow and beau-
tiful "I Can't Wait Another Minute"
andthenice, smooth-sounding"Never
Should've Let You Go," (from the
"Sister Act II" soundtrack). These
songs can be found in this "Greatest
Hits" CD, as well as nine other songs.
While this CD has its legitimate
hits, including "She's Playing Hard
toGet" and "Quality Time,"."Hi-Five
Greatest Hits" also has its share of
songs that'll make you go, "huh?"
The inclusion of such musical stink
bombs as "What Can I Say to You"
(also featuring Nuttin' Nyce of"Down
4 Whatever" fame), "That Was Then,
This Is Now" and "She Said" suggest
that this CD was put out moreso to
make a quick buck than to honestly
tout Hi-Five as the musical power-
house it very well could be.
But why would Jive Records do

that? Hi-Five could produce another
release, right? Maybe not. Already,
member Tony Thompson is getting
much airplay of his solo debut "I
Wanna Love Like That." This solo
attempt by Thompson, as well as the
release of this "Greatest Hits" CD,
could very well be the signal to Hi-
Five lovers everywhere that the group
may not be around much longer.
- Eugene Bowen
The Young Gods
Only Heaven
Interscope Records
If you like ambientnew wave from
Switzerland, you're gonna like the
Young Gods. You have tried Swiss
ambient new wave, haven't you?
Well, this is as good as anyplace to
start. A beautiful yet strong album,
"Only Heaven" is everything Ameri-
can music never was. "Donnez Les
Esprit" especially takes some great
ambient and overlays it with some
inspired gutted vocals. Despite the
apparent inanity ofthe line "For those
of us living in the cloud, is it blue?",
it is voiced in quite possibly the per-
feet way, expressing a certain amount
of sadness and wonder while at the
same time possessing an almost evil
element. It's anall too short six minute
and 15 second experience.
That is balanced out by the con-
siderably longer "Moon Revolutions."
At longer than 15 minutes, it is a
wonder that the song doesn't bore.
Based on a strong beat, the track sim-
ply progresses, then changes dramati-
cally to quiet keyboard strains which
vary to almost warlike violence.
"Only Heaven" is a fine album
which reaches towards various ele-
ments of the musical stew. At times
violent, at times beautiful, it is often
both. What more does there need to
be?
- Ted Watts
Mercy Rule
Providence
Relativity Records
"Don't ask me what I believe in/
Right now it's everything," shrieks
Heidi Ore in the title song of Mercy
Rule's "Providence". In spite of its
ambiguity, that statement reveals a
lot about Mercy Rule. Even though
their music has the guitar buzz of a
typical modern-rock band, they are
the antithesis to the majority of alter-
native bands, those ones content to
whine about how little they believe
in.
That's a refreshing stance, but
unfortunately "Providence" fails to
translate it into meaningful music.
Bassist/singer Ore dominates most of
it with her acidic growl, a wild, un-
tamed instrument that either connects
emotionally with the songs or comes
off as histrionic. On the best songs
("HeyNow" and"Stumble"), she rides
triumphant tides of melody to power-
ful effect. A whole record full of
songs like those would be worth some
attention, but "Providence" goes flat
about halfway through with songs
that grind loudly but make no impact.
- Brian Duignan

Keith Martin
it's long overdue
Ruffhouse Records
I don't know where this magic
dust that flying about in the 1995'
atmosphere that's slowly healing a
rather seriously ailing R&B market
came from, but whatever it is, I hope
it doesn't dissipate. Only a few
months ago, this dust brought us
Chicago native, Jesse, with his amaz-
ing debut release, "Never Let You
Go." Now we have singer
extraordinaire Keith Martin kicking
out from beneath some obscure rock
to share with us what that stingy
piece of granite has had to itself for
much too long - 14 of the most
beautiful cuts in recent R&B history,
packaged together under the very
truthful title, "it's long overdue."
I can't think of a single bad thing
to say about Martin or his debut LP.
This man's voice is so smooth, any
negative comment hurled at it would
simply slide off and away into noth-
ingness. If you want to improve your
modern R&B collection a thousand-
fold, this is the CD to get. If you've
never owned an R&B CD, there's no
time like the present.
From its mesmerizing music to
the harmonious background singers
to the ethereal majesty and beauty of
Martin's alto-dripping voice, "it's
long overdue" is R&B perfection
incarnate. KeithMartin will give your
CD player's repeat button the most
use it has ever seen.
-Eugene Bowen
Speedball
Do Unto Others, Then Split
Energy
Local boys make good. Detroit's
veteran hard rock heroes score with
national indie Energy Records. But
there's always that fear that comes
with local bands signingup for the big
time: "Is there a God?" Oops, make
that "Even though they're from De-
troit, could it suck?" But thank God,
Speedball delivers a rush of much
needed high dose rock 'n' roll jolt to
the system (that was what we rock
critics call aplay on the band's name.)
Maybe you've heard "Hog" on
89X, and were surprised that straight
ahead biker rock was back in vogue.
As that single and other rebel outlaw
songs like "Gypsy" prove, the cliche
of "beer-soaked three chord rockers"
can still be effective. No punk. No
thrash. No dreamy alternative. No
industrial. Simple effective rock mu-
sic about the road and women, varied
enough to escape tedium but still
working off the tried and true formula
of three chords and an amp that goes
to 11.
Chuck Berry did it, Kiss did it, the
Ramones still do it, andnow Speedball
makes a welcome addition to the
genre.
- Kirk Miller
Various Artists
Barnyard Beat
Rhino Records
Ever wonder what a group of dogs

gathered together to bark out "Wild
Thing" would sound like? Or, what if
a variety of animals teamed up to
perform "The Lion Sleeps Tonight?"
To satisfy these pressing questions,
we now have "Barnyard Beat," a 12-
cut CD which features songs sung in
every language not known to the hu-
man species. Barks, meows, grunts,
neighs, clucks and moos are the only
sounds you'll hear coming from this
Rhino Records release.
Puns are the order of the day, as
you'll soon realize. Only Rhino
would consider grouping cats to-
gether under the title Mew Kids on
the Block and having them perform
Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Al-
most famous names like Ewe 2, Lion
L. Richie, The Red Hot Chili Dogs
and Cuds N' Roses are other humor-
ous inventions of some obviously
twisted Rhino workers.
"Barnyard Beat" has won, hands
down, the title for most unusual
release this century. While no DJ in
his or her right mind would play a
song from this CD at any event other
than Pee Wee Herman's birthday
extravaganza (to appear on MTV,
of course), it can be guaranteed that
this CD will have you in stitches
while leaving one nagging question
in the back of your mind: Why is it
that these computerized animals
sound better growling the songs than
you do singing them?
- Eugene Bowen
X-Cops
You Have the Right to Re-
main Silent...
Metal Blade
From the people who brought you
Gwar comes the X-Cops, a beauti-
fully disgusting project. The band is
made up of evil has-been police offic-
ers, the songs are their skewed take on
their world, and you are the object of
their twistedness.
For instance, "Cavity Search" con-
tains the line "But Iam here to protect
the souls / Of the people who pay me
to look up your hole." More to the
point, and found in the songs title, is
"You Fucked Up," a tune detailing
the various mistakes you've made
and the consequences this merits with

the police.
The core ofthe album is its heavily
laden metal licks, performed by art
students at Slave Pit Productions.
Often slower and more grinding than
related band Gwar, X-Cops delivers
some great over the top music and
lyrics to accompany their stage pres-
ence.
So get the album and let loose
some aggressions. Go to the track
"The Party's Over" and swing out to
the words "Sacrifice a goat, slit your
fucking throat/That's rightpunk, I'm
also onjunk." It's like there's a horror
comic inmy CD player and everyone's
invited!
- Ted Watts
Various Artists
Tube Tuzes of/he 70's &
80's (volumes 1-3)
Rhino Records
Listening to the credit songs of
some of the most well-known shows
of the 70s and 80s, like the Maude
theme (sung by Donny Hathaway)
and The Jeffersons (Ja'net Dubois
and Oren Waters), I feel very old.
Other than the sick feeling of
buying dentures and no longer being
interested in sex, "Tube Tunes" of-
fers nothing but nostalgia and back-
ground music for answering machine
messages. Think about how many of
them will be able to treat you to The
Facts of Life or Good Times
- Eugene Bowen
Wayman Tisdale
Power Forward
MoJazz Records
"I think this album is going to
surprise some people," Tisdale once
said. Considering the legacy of pro-
fessional athletes turned pathetic
musician it would, and should, come
as a surprise that this 6'9", 260-pound
member of the Phoenix Suns roster is
a stellar bassist.
MoJazz knowsjazz, and company
President Steve McKeever's signing
Tisdale onto the label is proof."Power
Forward" is one of the most emotion-
ally fulfilling jazz releases since
"Buckshot LeFonque," and unlike the
latter, Tisdale relies exclusively on
jazz's melodic flow sometimes inter-

mingled with the soul-paralyzing
melodiousness of R&B.
"Circumstance," the CD's
first of 13 cuts, immediately
establishes "Power Forward" as
a must-hear release.
The title track, as well as the
cut "Gabrielle," will tug at you,
not only through the sounds of
Tisdale's bass, but also (and
even moreso) through the power
of guest jazz artist Kenny
Garrett whose saxophone
abilities would turn the most
obstinate person into a Garrett
groupie.
On the vocal side, Tisdale
was sure to work with the best.
He produced "You," arguably
the CD's best song, with R&B artist
extraordinaire Brian McKnight.
Though Tisdale's vocal prowess
isn't all that great, he still doesa
pretty decent job singing
background in "Jazz in You" and
"Amazing Grace."
When comic Jamie Foxx
released the R&B-filled "Peep
This," many criticized it as another
Eddie Murphy-type flop. It wasn't.
Now, Wayman Tisdale, the Jamie
Foxx of professional sports, has
produced something which makes
up for the obviously lacking
musical (if you want to call it that)
attempts made by athletes like Dion
Sanders and Shaquille O'Neal.
Maybe there's some hope after all.
- Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS, page 18B

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