INSIDEBEAT APRIL 22, 2010 • VOL. 28, NO. 12
THE WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE OF THE DAILY TARGUM
Warm weather brings out RU’s most stylish students
April 22, 2010
Inside Beat • Page 2
The Big O BY MICHAEL MALVASIO ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Avid watchers of Oprah Winfrey’s show can recite the format of a typical episode: the episode starts and Oprah introduces a woman who has divorced her husband and written a book. Then Oprah shows some clips with intense music playing in the background. Next, the interview starts and Oprah asks all the right questions. Finally, the guest breaks down, cries, picks herself back up and says, “That’s my story, but now life is great: go buy my book!” The audience gets a free copy, the guest is unburdened and the credits role just in time for the five o’clock news. As I mature, I realize that my life and all its wonderful issues could never be unpacked and solved in an hour. This realization is a tough one to accept because I’ve always secretly dreamed of having my Oprah moment: I tell my story to the world while all the 50-year-old housewives in the audience nod in agreement. And then poof—all my problems are solved. That magic solution is clearly not realistic. Still, I have always felt that Oprah is amazing. I know a lot of people agree with me, but lately I find myself having to defend Ms. Winfrey from friends and even strangers who seem to have a general disdain for her. Their arguments include that she is egotistical, has her own agenda, and enjoys brainwashing. Has
Oprah been trying to trick me into buying the “Oprah” brand with her “You’re all getting one!” moments and therapy-like interviews? Well, maybe. I have to admit: I bought the books, I’ve tried the Acai berries and I watch Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz (Dr. Phil, not so much). The anti-Oprah movement can also be seen in the recent release of a book simply titled Oprah. The author, Kitty Kelley, claims she has proof that the queen of daytime lied about aspects of her past, including that she had been molested at a young age. The author also says that Oprah is a complete diva behind the scenes and rumored to have ordered crew members to tie her shoes. Could this be true? Is Oprah a liar and a diva? I can accept her being a diva, but a liar? I think not. I feel Oprah is far too honest, caring and passionate on her show to be a liar (she can’t be that good of an actress). Sure, she does have her plugs and promotions, but I have seen her cr y, laugh and truly empathize with guests ranging from male-to-female transsexuals and handicapped children to famous authors and high-powered politicians. Ultimately, I think I have come to a conclusion about my feelings on Oprah Winfrey and can offer some advice to those struggling with this: don’t overdose on Oprah—moderation is key. She is really good at what she does. But sadly, she does not have all the answers.
EDITORIAL BOARD S TACY D OUEK ....................................... EDITOR MICHAEL MALVASIO............................ASSOCIATE EMILY SCHACHTMAN.........................ASSISTANT
ARIBA ALVI...............................................................TV EDITOR JASON STIVES.......................................................MUSIC EDITOR NATALIA TAMZOKE........................................THEATER EDITOR ROSANNA VOLIS...............................................FASHION EDITOR AMANDA LITCHKOWSKI.........................................ART EDITOR ADRIENNE VOGT....................................................COPY EDITOR RAMON DOMPOR.................................................PHOTO EDITOR EMILY SCHACHTMAN............................................FILM EDITOR NIDHI SARAIYA...................................................BOOKS EDITOR THIS WEEK’S CONTRIBUTORS TO INSIDE BEAT : Amy Rowe, Aubrey Sherman, Emily Gabrielle, Jason Pearl, Theo Jones, Zoe Szathmary Cover photo courtesy of Marielle Balisalisa
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Art • Books • Theater
April 22, 2010
Inside Beat • Page 3
Cabaret Theater | B+ BY NATALIA TAMZOKE THEATER EDITOR
Last weekend, Cabaret Theatre wrapped up its production of Godspell to a sold-out house. Packed with energy and excitement, the production sets the bar high for student-run shows. Written by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and John-Michael Tebelak, the musical chains together Biblical parables (mostly based on the Gospel of Matthew) and rocked-out traditional hymns. Because there are no stage directions, no character names, no assigned songs and no given plot points, the text is up for interpretation. The version staged at Cabaret Theatre places the show in a bustling, urban setting. Judas stands in the busy streets spreading the word of Jesus while handing out tickets to prospective believers. Those who are swayed by him meet up in an unknown, abandoned location and become actors putting on a show. Though the idea was original, it seems reasonable to question the plot points. Most predominantly, there is a disconnect as to why the actors would want to follow Judas, as most of the actors’ characterizations did not hint at any personal reasons to find faith. In the end, the setup almost made the death of Jesus artificially dramatic. But the acting and energy of the performers made these details
almost forgettable. Marc Mills’ portrayal of Jesus was natural and crafted into an all-loving religious figure. Jake Esformes was pensive, carefully layering Judas’ emotional complexities. Other cast members, including Lauren Sagnella, Amanda Rich, Alexandra Bancroft, Chelsea Cortes, Priscilla Pagan, Anna Zailik, Joseph Asaro, Virgil Cabrian and Christopher Pasi, crammed vitality into the black box theater. Even the trio of nonbelievers (Rose Flahive, Mark Piltz and Eddie Souaid) effectively molded themselves into their respective roles. Musically, Godspell was impressive. Musical Director Matthew Brady successfully helped each actor develop a specific voice amid the sea of talented vocalists. He also led pit members Kevin Tobia, Greg Salmon, Ryan Salmon and Aaron Allen to flawlessly tackle the rock score. Director Sarah Esmi combined many elements to thoughtfully execute the musical. Jesus symbolically wiping heavy black makeup off of an actor was a nice touch. Additionally, the final scene evoked chaos and loss as the characters were robbed of their props, wall paintings and spiritual leader. Though the text and concept lacked harmonization at times, the talent and energy that went into creating Godspell overshadows its flaws. The production was creative, upbeat and an overall good time.
Bite Me A Love Story Christopher Moore | B+
BY AUBREY SHERMAN STAFF WRITER
Contrar y to what popular opinion would have you believe, not all vampire novels are created equal. Aside from one of its characters coincidentally being named Bella, Bite Me: A Love Story, written by best-selling author Christopher Moore, shares little else in common with the vampire literature currently dominating America’s bookshelves. Bite Me, released on March 23, is the final installment in Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends trilogy. The stor y follows the adventures of two vampires, Tommy and Jody, and their human friends as they attempt to stop a vampire cat named Chet
from wreaking serious damage on San Francisco. Along the way, some old enemies return to make saving the city more difficult. Add to that mix the colorful character of Abby Normal, a hilariously wacky teenager, someone named Vampire Wannabe and the novel’s occasional firstperson narrator, and Bite Me lacks a single dull moment up to the ver y end. While the book is a comedy, it features elements of seriousness and depth in the characters’ interactions that prevent it from fully entering the realm of camp. It is filled with laugh-out-loud moments, facilitated by Moore’s use of dialogue, analogy and slang terminology. His stylistic emphasis on speech and descriptions of movement keep the action fastpaced. The characters are welldeveloped, but all are overtly fashioned around stereotypes. To highlight a few, there’s a beautiful red-headed vampire, a rebellious teen that speaks as if she is text-messaging aloud, and a biochemistr y genius who develops couture that can kill vampires. Even so, the stereotypes work successfully because of the book’s satirical undercurrent. may be part of a trilogy, but it can also be enjoyed on its own. Thanks, Christopher Moore — it was high time someone wrote a vampire novel that could laugh at itself and leave us laughing too.
COURTESY OF NAKEYAB.COM
BY AMANDA LITCHKOWSKI ART EDITOR
New Brunswick-based Collaborative Arts’ exhibition Identifiable is dedicated to the question of “Who am I?” — but there are no easy answers. Identifiable, which opened last Thursday, is the second exhibition in coLAB’s recently acquired Bayard Street gallery. Located a few floors above the smoky Kairo Kafe, the exhibition fills two small rooms but tackles expansive questions about the nature of self-definition. The show centers on the photographic work of two Mason Gross School of the Arts students, drawing ties between the lives of students and local art. The first room of the gallery is lined with photographs by Mason Gross senior Nakeya Brown. Her photo series, titled No Entry, captures her relationship to her surroundings — specifically the city of Newark. Although not from
Newark, Brown described the city’s infrastructure as worthy of artistic attention. Her work, purposefully void of human figures, aims to capture the traces of activity in a city “lost in the American dream.” Brown’s photographs are arranged in diptychs, or two photographs mounted side-by-side. She constructs relationships of abandonment, history and community based on composition and her feelings. “Newark’s Finest,” a diptych of a corner grocery store and a police station, stands out as especially haunting. In the second room of the gallery, larger photographs by Mason Gross fourth-year student Terri Beckles require second glances from gallery-goers. Beckles, who draws inspiration from gender-confronting documentary photographer Catherine Opie, manipulates her work to suggest human presence but avoids outright portrayal of individuals. Her photographs depict domestic settings
with blurred human-shapes — an intriguing and eye-catching photographic technique. Beckles’ focuses on women and gender identities, which she believes are constrained by the social categorizations used to define them. All of her pieces are left untitled; only parenthetical labels of their settings (e.g. “Dinner” and “Laundry”) specify the differences between them. Particularly appealing is an entire wall dedicated to the “Dinner” series printed on transparent boxes as to suggest the dynamic relationship between time and identity. The issue of individual identity runs rampant in coLAB’s space, as viewers provide personal interpretations of the exhibition and discuss New Brunswick’s art scene. Identifiable, which runs until May 20, is a strong installation that leaves viewers questioning the ways in which they define themselves and anticipating coLab’s future plans. It’s diverse, engaging, and intelligent — a must-see for local art fans.
BY NATALIA TAMZOKE THEATER EDITOR
Regardless of your stance on animal rights, increasing evidence shows that diets free of meat tend to be much healthier. According to studies by the American Heart Association, vegetarians “have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.” Though the idea of tofu or soy milk may seem daunting, vegetarian and vegan chefs are stepping in to prove that delicious animal-friendly meals and treats do exist. QUICK & EASY Quick-Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals in 30 Minutes or Less by Robin Robertson Let’s face it. Most college students are constantly on the go. Spending time to make a savory dish is just not as important as plunking out that six-page English paper in an hour or a cramming for that dreaded calculus exam. Fortunately Robin Robertson comes to the rescue with Quick-Fix Vegetarian, a cookbook filled with delicious vegetarian meals for people with busy lives. His recipes take less than 30 minutes and pair flavor with simplicity. The cookbook also provides 150 different recipes, so there is always room for variety. Recipes include “Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Quesadillas,” “Chipotle-Kissed Black Bean Soup,” “Mediterranean Orzo Salad” and “Beat-the-Clock Lasagna.” PARTY PLANNING The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau You’re probably thinking, “Well if I have a party, who wants to be stuck nibbling on boring vegetables all night?” Probably no one. But even if that cheesy nacho dip or cherry cheesecake is absolutely to die for, who really wants to leave feeling like a whale? No one! Colleen Patrick-Godreau has created an array of mouth-watering meals that fit perfectly with the party-planning standard of tasty food. In The Vegan Table, full-course meals are outlined to match any occasion. Called the “vegan Martha Stewart” by VegNews magazine, Patrick-Godreau truly exhibits her expertise in this cookbook. Recipes include “Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke and Pesto Sandwiches,” “Pasta Primavera with Fresh Veggies and Herbs,” “African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew,” and “South of the Border Pizza.”
SWEET TOOTH Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule & Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero Choosing an animal-friendly diet doesn’t have to mean giving up on the good stuff, especially when it comes to desserts. Highly-acclaimed vegan chefs Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero team up in these two vegan sweet treat cookbooks to fill your veins with sugary bliss. The cookbooks are informative and reveal a range of tips, from the science of baking cookies to perfect cupcake ingredients. While most of the recipes still manage to reach the upper crest of caloric intake, low-fat alternatives are also provided. The good news is that it is all cholesterol-free. Recipes in these two cookbooks include “Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cupcakes,” “S’mores Cupcakes,” “Mucho Margarita Cupcakes,” “Magical Coconut Cookie Bars,” “Peanut Butter Crisscrosses,” “NYC Black & Whites” and “Key Lime Shortbread Rounds.”
Rutgers Street Style
BY ROSANNA VOLIS FASHION EDITOR
An unseasonably warm April was the backdrop for Inside Beat’s annual “Street Style” issue. We stalked the College Avenue campus with photographer Marielle Balisalisa on the prowl for Rutgers’ best-dressed collegians. The girls who don’t just don Uggs, a Northface and leggings on the trek to class, the girls who like to stand out in brightly colored frocks, vintage accessories and killer shoes. The guys who wear something other than a Rutgers sweatshirt, basketball shorts and sneakers. We searched for guys unafraid to pair brightly colored sneakers with skinny jeans, guys in brights wearing boat shoes, and guys who weren’t just another face in the red-clothed crowd. The results of our endeavor turned up over a dozen stylish students who proved that fashion is possible anywhere and on any budget.
Classy in Khaki
y Edgy & Trend “ I love to be as edgy as possible. “
Name: Mario Lee
I’d spend up to $300 on a staple piece because I’ll use it forever. “
School: SAS Junior
Name: Christine Chan
Major: East Asian Studies
School: SAS Junior
Personal Style: “It varies...one day I’m very preppy, other times I am dressed down.”
Major: Political Science Personal Style: “Simple and Pretty.” Favorite Magazine: “People and Seventeen”
Favorite Brand: “I love Diesel for day-to-day. I love Gucci, but I can’t afford it yet.” Shoes from Zara
Romper and shoes from GAP
“ My personal style is “ I don’t have one specific style. “ vintage. “
Name: Name: Kylie Coghlan
School: Mason Gross School of the Arts Junior Major: Graphic Design Favorite Designer: “I love Anna Sui.” Favorite Magazine: “Cosmopolitan.” Style Inspiration: “I like Urban Style, but not Urban Outfitters.” Vintage boots
School: SAS First year Major: Genetics Most money spent on a single item: “I would say no more than $40.” Favorite Stores: “I really like this small store called the Back Door...and Kohls too.” Classic, worn-in Converse add edge to any look.
Close up: Accessories ress Little Black D
David Bell SAS Senior Political Science and Criminal Justice
Joanna Minh SAS Junior Labor Studies and Economics
Primar y Color s
utical a N d n a y v a N
Gennady Spirin University College Senior Criminal Justice & Ashley Phanor Alumni Class 0f â€˜09 Journalism and Media Studies
Immanuelle Amofah SAS First Year Philosophy
ve Springtime on College A
Get The Look
Brittnee Bynoe Rutgers College Senior Journalism and Media Studies
Mike Ginsang Rutgers College Senior Communication
Luke Tully SAS First Year Genetics
Mixed Floral Maxi Dress $32.80 Forever 21
Check Out RU Street Style Blogs Eric Hedvat SAS Junior IT and Psychology
Chris Rowlings & Adam Kishbauch SAS Seniors Physics (Chris) & Music (Adam)
Page 6 • Inside Beat
April 22, 2010
Film • TV
COURTESY OF ALLMOVIEPHOTO.COM
Matthew Vaughn | B-
COURTESY OF ALLMOVIEPHOTO.COM
BY JASON PEARL STAFF WRITER
Kick-Ass is a comic book movie based on the series of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The original series took an interesting and realistic look at what the world would be like if regular people decided to dress up as superheroes and fight crime. The movie does the same at first, before moving further and further away from realism until it becomes flat-out unbelievable. The protagonist, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson, The Illusionist), is just an average New York teenager. He has a couple of close friends, a crush on the popular girl and an affinity for comic books. His life is unremarkable in every way, and he knows it. After being mugged while an onlooker does nothing, and inspired by years of idolizing superheroes, Dave decides to create a heroic alter ego. Calling himself Kick-Ass, he attempts to fight crime despite having no superpowers, Batarangs, or even rudimentary martial arts training. This leads him into several conflicts with a drug cartel operated by gangster Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes), and later the villain Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad). Along the way Kick-Ass also meets the highly-disciplined heroes Hit-Girl (Chloë Moretz, (500) Days of Summer) and Big Daddy (Nicolas
Cage, Ghost Rider) who have made it their lives’ work to take down D’Amico and his gang. As is the case with many adaptations, many of the script’s flaws are due to diversions from the source material. While it’s difficult to pinpoint specific problems without spoiling some of the twists, if the screenplay had followed the comic book more closely, Kick-Ass would have been a much better movie. On the other hand, Matthew Vaughn’s (Layer Cake, Stardust) style of direction was a perfect fit for Kick-Ass, with some very interesting fights scenes and camera angles. The acting was at least decent all-around, with Cage’s campiness and Moretz’s amusing and sadistic persona particularly standing out. The over-the-top violence and language in the film, which has lead to some controversy because the HitGirl character is only 11 years old, was greatly exaggerated. While some may find it offensive, Kick-Ass is really no worse than many other modern movies in terms of graphic violence or profanity. Overall, Kick-Ass could have been much better if it had stuck to the plot of the original series, but it isn’t terrible. There are many scenes in which the flaws outweigh the strengths of this anti-superhero movie, but for the times when you’re not rolling your eyes, Kick-Ass does provide some enjoyable mindless entertainment.
Date Night BY THEO JONES STAFF WRITER
Date Night will either meet or exceed your expectations; the trailers did little to instill confidence that it would be good, but the comedic talent of Tina Fey and Steve Carell offer hope. Based on those factors, Date Night may surprise many. Expectations won’t be too high for what results in a hit-or-miss comedy made of moments that go on too long, as well as one-liners that land squarely. Fey and Carell star as a typically middle-class, suburban couple with two kids, steady jobs and little time to themselves. They have regular date nights that often involve the same restaurant, meal and conversation. When one of their married friends announces they are getting a divorce, they begin to look closer at their own situation. In an attempt to rekindle the fire, they decide a fancy night on the town is necessary to break up the monotony. But things go awry when they get caught up with some thugs working for a Manhattan mob boss, throwing the night way off track. Fey and Carell work well together, and the only misfires are when a scene runs too long, such as
Some quips we loved from the show we’ll miss: “I’m not the emotional type, but you can write yourself a nice note from me.” — Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams), after Marc (Michael Urie) tries to give her a hug when he gets the junior fashion editor job “I’m this close to splitting a Cobb salad with Sarah Jessica Parker and talking about shoes.” — Daniel (Eric Mabius), feeling emasculated after spending a day fruitlessly waiting for a call from Sofia (Salma Hayek)
BY ARIBA ALVI TV EDITOR
BY JASON STIVES MUSIC EDITOR
Not many people remember George Lazenby’s only performance as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. However, since the film’s release in 1969, it has grown to be one of the definitive representations of the Bond series, thanks to its diehard fans, stylish cinematography and bare bones espionage structure. The film follows Agent 007’s continued pursuit of evil genius Ernst Stavro Blofeld, last seen blasting his way out of his hideout in 1967’s You Only Live Twice. After failing to make any further progress in finding the SPECTRE mastermind, Bond is granted a leave from MI6 to pursue Blofeld on his own terms. In his pursuit, he acquires the affection of a woman named Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg), as well as partnering with her father Marc-Ange Draco, head of a European crime syndicate. The notoriety that precedes this classic Bond film lies in the less-thanstellar performance by Lazenby as Bond, attributed to his lack of prior acting jobs. Still, Lazenby’s Bond achieves what Connery’s Bond never accomplished. With all his acclaim as
the best James Bond ever, Connery’s wry sense of humor and penchant for womanizing never could have allowed him to fall in love the way that Lazenby does. It is perhaps because of this that Lazenby could never be the persona of James Bond that general audiences know and love. After being a second unit director for the Bond franchise for so long, Peter Hunt’s directorial effort in OHMSS is cinematic bliss. While his first unit work compiles a great love story and an indepth ’60s spy thriller, his help on second unit work, mainly Bond’s visit to Blofeld’s lair Piz Gloria, is amazing, providing sweeping panoramic views of the Swiss Alps. Outside of The Spy Who Loved Me’s opening sequence, OHMSS has the best ski battle out of the series thanks to the handheld camera shots. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, unlike other spy films, could easily be a Greek tragedy. It combines the best elements of theater, including humor, suspense, romance and tragic fate. Had Lazenby had more acting chops, he could have become one of the best James Bonds. However, history has decided otherwise. Instead, he will just have to settle for being background noise to one of the greatest spy thrillers of all time.
a pole-dancing segment toward the end that should have been probably should have been cut. However, this is an ensemble comedy co-starring Common, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig, Mila Kunis, Ray Liotta and William Fichtner (Crash). Of the bunch, Franco and Kunis share a glorified cameo that almost feels more like a rushed Saturday Night Live rehearsal run, but still remains funny. And while Wahlberg’s appearance is a rather one-note joke, it does inspire some funny moments, especially an over-thetop parody of technology in film. Date Night is a cobbled together from standalone scenes that serve as a whole. It’s nothing more than a comedic date-night diversion, but kudos to director Shawn Levy for keeping the running time down to 87 minutes. Levy dives quickly into a story filled with all the screwball antics you would expect, and that’s rare these days. Improvised one-liners from Fey and Carell keep the story fresh, and the film benefits from their shared charisma. Date Night is a slightly-above-average comedy fitting into the landscape exactly as it should, hardly disturbing the water on either side of right-down-the-middle.
Goodbye, Ugly Betty!
VINTAGE FILM: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Shawn Levy | C+
“Looks like a gay version of Star Trek.” — Hilda (Ana Ortiz), getting her initial look at Mode magazine headquarters
ABC closed the doors on the show Ugly Betty last Wednesday. After four witty and thought-provoking seasons, Betty said goodbye to America (literally). The show may have hit a creative wall, but all in all, it was well worth watching. Whether it was raising awareness on issues like female body image in the media industry or mocking the frivolity of some fashion trends, it really made an impact on viewers’ lives. It is hard to forget the gleaming contemporary halls of Mode magazine or the crazy schemes that Wilhelmina worked up in order to take over Mode. Throughout the four seasons, the performances by America Ferrera, Mark Indelicato and Ana Ortiz kept audiences engaged. Ferrera made Betty a strong character regardless of her lack of traditional beauty. Indelicato wonderfully portrayed Justin as a gay teenager, who despite not coming out until the second to last episode, still gave us some great moments to look back at. Ana Ortiz’s performed fantastically as Betty’s older sister Hilda, who had to go through the pain of having her fiancé, Santos, shot in a robbery. There was also a crew of memorable supporting characters like Daniel, Gio, Henry, Ignacio, Claire and Marc who kept the show amusing, if nothing else. These entertaining minor characters left us with great memories, like when high-maintenance snob Amanda (Becki Newton) gets a second job at a pizza parlor in order to pay off her financial debt. Noted guest appearances include Lindsay Lohan as “Kimmie” Keegan, Betty’s childhood nemesis and manager of Flushing Burger, who backstabs her way into a job at Mode. Ugly Betty was sometimes pretentious, but in a good way. It was a reminder that real life exists, and it delicately folded in issues with its overzealous plot lines. But Ugly Betty was clever — in fact too clever to boot. Ultimately, ABC killed Ugly Betty by moving it to the Friday night death slot. But in the end, it was a bittersweet finale. The writers left the show with an open ending in regard to the relationship between Daniel and Betty. It faded out by taking away the word “ugly” and just leaving “Betty,” leaving what we all have known from the beginning: Betty was never ugly, inside or out. PHOTOS COURTESY OF (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP): GOLDDERBY.LATIMES.COM, WATCHINGUGLYBETTY.COM, DAILY-MAIL.CO.UK, FANPOP.COM
April 22, 2010
Inside Beat • Page 7
Sisterworld | A
COURTESY OF PRODUCTSHOPNYC.COM
BY ZOE SZATHMARY STAFF WRITER
Experimental group Liars recently released Sisterworld, the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled album. Band members Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross have largely turned away from the garage-rock antics of their previous work, focusing instead on putting unexpected elements into their music. Sisterworld, the Liars’ fifth studio album, is eerie, mystical and ultimately captivating to ambitious listeners. Right from the get-go, the band shows that they’re not scared of toying with expectations. The opening track “Scissor” constantly juggles with harmonized singing, rapid-fire drums and guitar. The listener is pulled in all directions, waiting for more and each part of the song works. “Here Comes All the People” starts off with a mysterious, Robert Rodriguez-inspired
guitar and develops with menacing hisses and string instruments. The song becomes increasingly sinister, as though the listener is succumbing to a nightmare. Many of the songs reveal the group’s current interest in slow buildups and sitar-like guitar. A notable example is “Proud Evolution,” a five-minute track, in which lead singer Andrew repetitively chants, “Proud evolution/Proud evolution/you should be careful/you should be careful.” The mysterious lyrics, coupled with heavy synthesizer and ambient sound effects, make this piece truly otherworldly. The notable exception is “The Overachievers,” which is a straight rock track. This song feels out of place with the others and while enjoyable, it is so frenzied it seems to be more fitting with their previous album. Yet the rest of Sisterworld flows nicely from song to song as a trip through the subconscious. Whatever music Liars records next will definitely be sublime.
COURTESY OF ELEVEN MAGAZINE
BY AMY ROWE STAFF WRITER
Angst-punk band Titus Andronicus is blowing up everywhere, thanks to critical acclaims for their Civil War-concept album, The Monitor. The band, hailing from Glen Rock, N.J., formed in 2005, and they derive their name from a minor Shakespearean tragedy. They released their first album, The Airing of Grievances, in 2008. It is rife with pop culture references, most obviously the album’s title, which refers to the fictional holiday “Festivus” from Seinfeld. Just like many bands from the Garden State, Titus Andronicus’ lyrics detail a few choice words about their hometown — mostly about getting out of there, which they did. Although Glen Rock is only a short distance away from The Big Apple, Titus Andronicus created their own New Jersey indie scene in their early years with various basement shows. Frontman Patrick Stickles hosted the “Patstock” shows in his own house, with notable performances from the Vivian
Girls and Real Estate, who went to high school in neighboring towns. But Stickles won’t ever forget where he comes from, which is abundantly clear right off the bat with the first track “A More Perfect Union.” It starts out by referencing the Garden State Parkway and goes on to mention the Newark Bears and a “new New Jersey.” Stickles’ voice is particularly vulnerable and scarily reminiscent of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst. Titus Andronicus’ music is raw and punkish, undoubtedly influenced by peers like No Age and Yo La Tengo. Titus Andronicus could honestly make any Jersey kid fist-pump and dance, as sentiments like these are heard throughout The Monitor. Most of the band’s songs are packed with high energy and have fast tempos, but they do have a few slower and softer songs. Titus Andronicus’ future looks bright with their rising fame taking them out of New Jersey and around the country. The band currently resides in Brooklyn, an environment that allows them to creatively thrive outside of suburban New Jersey’s confines.
Must Downloads • “A More Perfect Union” • “Titus Andronicus Forever” • “Theme From ‘Cheers” • •“No Future Part Three: Escape from No Future”•
COURTESY OF CIRCASURVIVE.COM
Laura Marling I Can Speak Because I Can | A
COURTESY OF DIRECTCURRENTMUSIC.COM
BY AUBREY SHERMAN STAFF WRITER
A lot has changed for British folk singer Laura Marling since she first made her appearance on the music scene in 2007. At 16, she already amassed an ever-growing fan base through MySpace. Her debut album, 2008’s Alas I Cannot Swim, showcased her songwriting talent with the spotlight on her unassuming yet commanding vocals and strikingly honest lyrics. Fast-forward to 2010, and Marling has left behind the shy teenager for a more mature woman, who faithfully delivers on her newest album, I Speak Because I Can. Marling sings seemingly without any effort, exemplified in the powerful first track “Devil’s Spoke,” which shows her deftly alternating between urgent and solemn vocals. While the songs
are complemented chiefly by acoustic guitar, they also feature a banjo, piano, cello and members of the band Mumford & Sons as backing vocals on the album. I Speak Because I Can is a beautiful folk album in the authentic British vein. Lyrically, Marling focuses on images of the English landscape: love, loss and introspection. “Goodbye England (Covered in Snow),” a song that unfolds like a hypnotic lullaby, and “Blackberry Stone,” featuring Marling’s poignant vocal delivery, are the album’s stand-out tracks. There is not a weak song to be found here. On “Hope in the Air,” she defiantly sings, “My life is a candle and a wick/you can put it out but you can’t break it down/In the end, we are waiting to be lit.” These are the words of a determined soul, one that has already made huge creative leaps in a short amount of time. I Speak Because I Can will leave fans eager to see what Laura Marling will come up with next.
Blue Noise Sky | B
BY EMILY GABRIELE STAFF WRITER
Blue Noise Sky definitely reveals a side of Circa Survive that hasn’t been seen until now. For veteran listeners, there is a clear distinction between this album and their others, especially their previous release, On Letting Go. Though it may be difficult to initially decipher whether the change is bad or good, it is nonetheless a change, which is a respectable element of the band’s evolution.
The album’s lead single, “Get Out,” begins with a strong vocal display from singer Anthony Green, followed by hard-hitting percussion and guitar parts that are an instant draw to the song. This song stands out the most on the album, and it is an excellent introduction into the rest of the record. As a whole, the album has more pop appeal and contains a lot of tracks that have a softer sound than we’re used to from the Philly quintet. The lyrics in the album, however, have stayed true to the band’s traditional topics regarding relationships and wrecked feelings.
Though it sounds as if his voice has gotten a tad bit deeper, Green continues to sing very passionately throughout all of the songs. Despite all of the group’s efforts, it seems as though they have yet to fully grasp the ability to make a complete album that captures the element of melodies that get stuck in the listener’s head. Besides the single, there are no other monumental tracks displayed, but the diversity that Blue Noise Sky offers undoubtedly leaves listeners wanting to give the album more than just a few listens.
Published on Apr 23, 2010