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October 25, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-25

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Unplugged in Ann Arbor
Calling all acoustic musicians: Ann Arbor's home of acoustic music, the
Ark, will be hosting an open mic event tonight. The show is open to
everyone. Musicians may begin signing up to play at 7:30 p.m. The
show starts at 8 p.m. and costs a measly 3 bucks. Come play and
check out other local acoustic folks.

Page 9
Wednesday,
October 25, 1995

Design of a decade: new Pumpkins release soars
On 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,' lead Pumpkin Billy Corgan finds his muse

By Mark Carlson
Daily Arts Writer
At a time when stripped-down roots
rock and two-and-a-half-minute pop
punk songs dominate the airwaves, who
would think to release an elaborate 28-
song double'album full of majestic su-
'per rock? With the much anticipated
release of "Mellon Collie and the Infi-
nite Sadness," The Smashing Pump-
kins have dared to do just that. And
there ain't no small potatoes here. From
beginningto end, everythingon"Mellon
Collie" is done on a large scale. Sweep-
ing string arrangements, epic rockers
and ballads, harps, pianos, and eclectic
song writing all point to the same thing:
The Pumpkins are playing for keeps
with this one. They're pulling out all
the stops and are willing to rise or fall
based on this album as the cornerstone
of their career.
Chief Pumpkin Billy Corgan has
taken a lot of heat in recent years for
what has been perceived as a certain
ego-centric, bitchy attitude brought on
by hard times in the studio and on the
road. Corgan has been ripped by more
hip alterno-stars than Ticketmaster. He
-knew that all eyes would be on him this
time around, and he knew that if he.
stuck his neck out with a double album,
the critics would be ready and waiting
to swing the ax.
It would seem that Corgan decided
Would you like to win a
pair of free tickets to an
advanced screening of
the new supernaturally-
charged drama 'Powder'?
It stars Sean Patrick
Flannery (pictured right)
as a young man who is
discriminated against
because of his dead-
white skin until he
discovers the secret
behind his unusual
birthright. Come check it
out. Just stop by the
Daily (420 Maynard)
today or tomorrow and
tell us two other movies
that feature 'Powder' co-
star Jeff Goldblum.

r..
Smashing
Pumpkins
Mellon Collie and
the Infinite Sadness
Virgin
not to give a damn. He decided to write
songs that would please himself and the
rest of the Pumpkins. He decided to go
into the studio with producers Flood
(U2, Nine Inch Nails) and Alan
Moulder, producers known for chang-
ing people's expectations of bands, and
make the rock album that he wanted to
make. What he came out with is a won-
derful piece of art and probably one of
the best albums of the decade.
The first disc, "Dawn to Dusk," starts
off quietly with the title track, a pretty
piano instrumental with some strings
thrown in for good measure. Things get
rolling with the second track, "Tonight,
Tonight," a grandiose song of hope and
beliefpacked full of clean guitar strum-
ming, climactic drum rolls, and orches-
tral movements. These first two songs
really convey the message that the al-
bum is going to be quite a journey.
Next,just to remind you that they are
Smashing Pumpkins and they do rock,
they throw out an old-school rocker,

"Jet lybelly." The riffing is fast, furious,
and unpredictable, propelled mainly by
Jimmy Chamberlin's powerful drum-
ming and Corgan's incredible palate of
crunching guitar sounds. This is what
Smashing Pumpkins' rockers have al-
ways been about. It's not as much about
riffing as it is about the groove that they
construct. And though the sounds that
they make would seem to have nothing
to do with any sort of "groove" music,
almost all Pumpkins tunes are built on
this powerful organic rhythm.
From there, the disc spreads out in
several directions, both familiar and not-
so-familiar. There are gorgeous slow
songs ("To Forgive," "Galapogos"), an-
gry jams ("Fuck You- An Ode To No
One"), and even a few rock anthems
("Bullet With Butterfly Wings,"
"Muzzle").
More than ever, the songs focus on
Corgan's vocals and lyrics, throwing him
even further into the spotlight. He comes
through with beautiful melodies, blood-
curdling screams, and thoughtful lyrics
throughout the entire album. On "Zero,"
he captures all attention with the line
"Emptiness is loneliness andloneliness is
cleanliness/ and cleanliness is godliness/
and god is empty/just like me."
Other Pumpkins James Iha and D'arcy
seem to have more contributions than on
previous albums, though Corgan remains
the main songwriter. D'arcy's bass play-

ing is still more rhythmic and supporting
than melodic, but she fills her role nicely
without being flashy. Iha sings the final
track on the first disc, "Take Me Down,"
a nice little lullaby that he wrote with
Corgan. His singing is often off-key and
pretty weak overall, but quite endearing.
The second disc, "Twilight to Star-
light," starts out very dark, with the evil-
sounding "Where Boys Fear To Tread"
and the urgent"Bodies."Next are acouple
of Corgan's semi-acoustic, soul-search-
ing songs "Thirty-Three" and "In The
Arms Of Sleep." On "Thirty-Three," he
sings "Tomorrow's just an excuse away/
so Ipull up my collar and face the cold/on
my own."
From there the Pumpkins leave all in-
hibitions at the door and jump from style
to style, covering territory that they never
have before. The fifth track, "1979," is
puzzlingly Sonic Youth-esque. The seven
minute long "X.Y.U." could be a death
metal cover. "Lily (My One And Only)"
is some sort of homage to country music
and the totally bizarre "We Only Come
Out AtNight" is reminiscent ofThe Resi-
dents.
Corgan pours his heart out on every
one of the 28 tracks on "Mellon Collie"
and the band is sounding like a finely
tuned rock machine. Beyond that though,
"Mellon Collie" captures the magic of
rock music that only a few of the great
double albums in history have before.

Would you like a free Smashing Pumpkins poster? Well, come by the Arts room at
the Daily, 420 Maynard St. in the Student Publications Building. All you have to
do is answer this question: What was the first single released off Smashing
Pumpkins' Virgin Records debut, "Siamese Dream"? Offer good while supplies
last.
For more cool prizes from Virgin Records and Paramount Pictures come to
the Virgin Party at Not Another Cafe this Thursday from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Promotional gifts for Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, Lenny Kravitz, Maids of Gravity,
Ben Harper and "Vampire in Brooklyn," the upcoming film starring Eddie Murphy,
will be given away by Virgin Record's own big stud Ryan Goble. Don't miss itl

Stand up and declare your Independence

By Paul Spiteri
For The Daily
Quick quiz: When you decided on
your major, how much of an influence
did your parent's approval have? And
since being here, how often do your
family's problems chain your thoughts
when they should be on your next Cal-
culus midterm or even just making a
date for Sweetest Day?
This weekend's production of Lee
Blessing's "Independence" addresses
these issues of struggling against the
strong and sometimes smothering ties
of family. Director T. Adam Hess,
sophomore in the Musical Theater Pro-
gram (MTP), put it this way: "Espe-
cially in a college town, with students
trying to find themselves, these issues
ofresponsibility,duty and personal free-
dom versus loyalty to your parents are
important."
Taking place in the small town of
Independance, Iowa, the action follows
four women, a mother and her three
daughters. Evelyn (played by Allison
Lane, MTP '96), the ultimate dominat-
ingmother, has already been abandoned
by her family and her husband. She has

only her three daughters left.
"Throughout the play, the mother,
Evelyn, wants at least one of her daugh-
ters to stay - bringing in the theme of
sacrifice," Hess said. "Blessing, then,
strings out the suspense of which of the
three will stay with the mother. He
presents this picture of a family and lets
the audience decipher its meaning and
decide the winners and losers."
The eldest daughter, Kess, is played
by Allison Buckhammer (MTP '96).
Kess' sexual orientation (she is a les-
bian) and focus on career leaves her as
a strong-willed but only intermittent
character in her family's life. "Their:
father left when she was 14," said Hess.
"Kess' conflict comes from her guilt,
blaming herself for the breakup."
Brenda McEldowney (MTP '96)
plays Jo, the middle child and rock of
the family. Viewing herself as a "sacri-

ficial lamb," she struggles for the cour-
age to stand up for her burgeoning self-
awareness in the face of the unknown
life outside family.
Sherry, the baby of the family, is
played by Laura Heisler (MTP '97).
Sherry fills the role as the artist of the
family. In her rebellious, sexually-ac-
tive past, she also becomes the rebel-
child. "But," said Hess, "by trying to
find attention through these means she
becomes more isolated and more de-
pendent on her family."
Each daughterbrings indifferent aims
and ambitions to a family desperately
in need for the sacrifice of some of these
individual desires. In watching, no
doubt, the feelings of each member of
the audience will be parceled according
to the tiers of importance he/she gives
to the goals of the characters. The
women on stage all represent particular
themes that run through the play. The
experience of finding out with which
person you empathize the most might
reveal something of yourself. At least
you can have fun disagreeing with the
friends you bring along. And ifyou dare
to bring them, your parents.

Jonatha Brooke & The
.Story
Plumb
GRP Records
Let's take a trip backwards in time
for a moment, back to the days before
the creature known as Sinead wreaked
her havoc on the music industry. Not
too long ago, in a decade known as the
'80s, the majority of female singers
were mere facades, lip-syncing to pre-
recorded dance tunes on "Solid Gold"
every Sunday night at 7:00p.m. Oh sure,
there were female singers in the music
industry who wrote beautiful, intelli-
gent songs, but they weren't popular.
With a shaved head and a heartbreaking
wail called "Nothing Compares To
'You," Sineaad O' Conner single
handedly turned this notion of the popu-
'ar female singer on its ear, taking a

forgettable ditty written by Prince and
making it her own. Thousands were
inspired, and anew era of female rock-
ers dawned. Unfortunately, as we see
in the recent examples of such whiny
female artists as Jill Sobule, Alanis
Morisette, and Ms. Brooke, it may be
due time for a Solid Gold revival.
This album sucks. Jonatha Brooke
& The Story's complaints (which shall
be hereafter referred to as "songs")
make Tori Amos sound like Little Mary
Sunshine. The instruments are stan-
dard-alittle acoustic guitar here, some
piano there - too quiet to cover up the
lousy lyrics but loud enough to be way
annoying when one is trying to fall
asleep. The role of the mysterious
people known as The Story is debat-
able, as Ms. Brooke's breathy vocals,
stale acoustic guitar riffs and "why-
do-you-hate-me?" lyrics are the focal

points of the songs. Just for something
different, she tosses in a backwards
guitar lick on "Charming," then quickly
obscures it with the lyrics and acoustic,
as if to say, "Hey, those were some
pretty damn experimental two mea-
sures!"
And man, are the lyrics bad. In the
too long (6:52) "Inconsolable," Jonatha
announces "I love you because I love
you." Later, in "Full Fledged Strang-
ers" she comes to the shocking realiza-
tion that "love is love - it could have
gone either way/ Cause it is also love
that walks away." Jonatha at her deep-
est still sounds like an alienated high
school poet. One has no desire to guess
what she means when she says "You'll
try to hide me under the mattress with
all your other short sins / But I'll come
back, the click in my spine / will order
our lives like a metronome."

Although Sinead's success did a lot
of good for female artists with depth,
she instilled the belief in a lot of sec-
ond-rate artists that the record buying
public wanted to hear their problems,
too. Unfortunately, the recent overnight
success of Alanis Morrisette tells the
record companies that the second-rate
artists were right. Until the next big
thing hits, you can find me in my room,
sipping on a beer and watching "Solid
Gold" reruns 'til I pass out from happi-
ness.
- Jeffrey Dinsmore

Brother Cane
Seeds
Virgin Records
Oooh. Generic 'white trash. What a
novel and delectable concept.
Brother Cane's second lovely album
entitled "Seeds" is an enchanting blend
of Candlebox, Journey, Foreigner and
every other generic terrible rock band
thrown into a blender with a few turds
added to make it just a bit worse. Its
scraping melodies and terrible drone
are obviously what attracted its first
single "And Fools Shine On" to be put*

on none other than the highly-acclaimed
"Halloween VI" soundtrack.
On their first record, Brother Cane
sounded like a poor Aerosmith rip-off.
On this one they sound like a poor
Candlebox, Alice In Chains and Journey
rip-off. Maybe by the next record they'll
progress as far as Green Day. Or maybe
they'll get a clue and stop recording.
Maybe Virgin Records will be the ones to
get a clue and drop da Brother faster than
I can say piece o' crap.
- Brian A. Gnatt

See RECORDS, page 10

Career opportunities
at J.P. Morgan
for U niversity of 3chigan
Liberal Arts students (underg'raduate) &
Business students (undergraduale) interested in
Equity Research Associate
human Resources
Investment Banking
Municipal Finance
Please plan to attend our

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