The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 20th

Bryan Reed


News

Giant: Music for music's sake

There's a sense of epic urgency that spills from Giant's music. Guitars clash, surging against each other as they propel melodies to soaring heights. Powerful drum hits fill the space, nailing shut the lid as Isaac Jones' gruff vocals battle against churning waves of sound - exasperated, desperate. But when the fury recedes - even if only for a moment - it leaves a raw, vulnerable haze of gorgeous melody and melancholic atmosphere. As the opening band at Cat's Cradle tonight, Giant should prove a tough act to follow.

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News

Experimental act pushes buttons

I find it interesting how our pop-trained ears (and brains) crave melody to such a degree that when deprived of it, listening can become a challenging, even painful endeavor. When familiar concepts of melody are manipulated or exploited - even altogether abandoned - we consider the music to be avant-garde, inaccessible, unmusical. But only through challenges and explorations can our ideas be solidified, and the concept of melody truly defined with any degree even approaching adequacy.

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News

Though rock-heavy, Haale soars on ethnic melodies

With No Ceiling, her full-length debut (following two 2007 EPs), New York singer/songwriter Haale guides her band through a solid set of smooth psych-rock melded with Persian influences. The blend becomes almost seamless as the Middle Eastern elements are pronounced mostly in the melodic phrasing of the songs and in the lyrics borrowing from Sufi mysticism and poetry. Three of the album's 10 songs simply set the words of the Sufi poet Rumi to music - and it's these songs that lend the most audible excitement.

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News

'Heretic' not Mtn. Goats' proudest LP

It's impossible to consider Heretic Pride without the context of the two albums that preceded it: 2005's The Sunset Tree and 2006's Get Lonely. See, both of those records were so inescapably personal, so paralyzingly powerful, so great. They're the kinds of albums that don't just inhabit a spot on the shelf or in the stereo, but gradually become indelibly attached to anyone who's ever cared to listen. They get in your bloodstream, and no matter what you do, there's no cure.

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News

Romero's fifth 'Dead' movie just part of zombie horde

In 1968, George A. Romero turned zombies from ambling, carnivorous corpses into vehicles for sharp social commentary with the classic "Night of the Living Dead." He did it again 10 years later with the critical hit, "Dawn of the Dead" (not to be confused with Zack Snyder's dumbed-down remake). And throughout the resurrections of his "Dead" series (now in its fifth installment with "Diary of the Dead"), Romero's eye on society has never been far from the foreground.

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News

'Films of R/Swift' gives life to electronic music

The very name, Instruments of Science and Technology, carries the perfect mix of enigmatic sci-fi nerdity to act as the moniker for popsmith Richard Swift's eerily propulsive electronic project. The title carries an evocation of distance and coldness, almost stereotypical of electronic music. But with Music from the Films of R/Swift, Swift's music is given room to breathe, becoming something akin to human, despite the notable absence of truly human elements in the arrangements.

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News

Raleigh metal act bangs out Colossal fun

Critiquing acts whose primary purpose is to faithfully resurrect a particular (and largely dead) style brings with it its own particular challenges. Colossus, Raleigh's troupe of New-Wave-of-British-Heavy-Metal revivalists, creates all these sorts of critical challenges with its debut LP, ...And The Rift of the Pan-Dimensional Undergods. Since the band's primary mission is to recreate the sound of the NWOBHM, we can say outright that the effort isn't pushing into any new musical territory.

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News

'Bricks' sinks in lame excess

Kate Nash is at her absolute best singing along to the plinking toy piano chords of "Foundations." On the standout track from her debut, Made of Bricks, the British songwriter predicts an argument with a poetic specificity that belies the conflict's frequent nature and the fragility of the relationship in question.

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News

Taste: Why everyone can't just get along

We came late to the party. What can I say? It's almost halfway through January, and we're just now getting around to printing our Top 10s. You're probably asking yourself, "What gives, Dive?" Maybe you're even asking, "Why bother?" Well, for critics, the year-end list, as arbitrary and divisive as it inevitably turns out to be, is an important ritual. It's a chance to show some real enthusiasm for the art forms we spend our lives trying to know intimately. But -- most importantly, for the sake of this column - it's also a measuring stick for our readers.

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News

Joy Division's classics untainted

It is impossible to consider Joy Division in 2007 without framing it through the context of lead singer Ian Curtis' 1980 suicide. That said, Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) - both recently re-released, untainted, with a bonus disc of live recordings - still stand as remarkable specimens of the post-punk era, chilling in their distant gloominess, and all the more haunting given Curtis' tragic biography. The Collector's Edition versions don't change the original track listings, preserving the integrity of the already essential albums.

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