May 2012 | broncobeat.brophyprep.org
Musician’s Exchange: Battle of the bands and Beyond
CLUBHOUSE SHUTS DOWN SHOOTING LEADS TO Closure
INTERVIEW: LOCAL FOLKPUNKS HAYMARKET SQUARES VENUES: IS BIGGER BETTER? REVIEWS: OF MONTREAL - LANA DEL REY - AND MORE
Page B2 | May 2012
The Bronco beat
What’s inside ►Interview: Haymarket Squares
See Page B3 ►Cover Story: Musician’s Exchange and the Battle of the Bands See Page B4 ►Commentary: Big vs. small venues See Page B6 ►Commentary: Country music trending? See Page B7 ►Feature: The Clubhouse closes in wake of shooting See Page B8 ►Reviews: of Montreal, Graffiti6, Andrew Bird, Heems, Cloud Nothings See Pages B10-15 ►Concert: Radiohead at Jobing.com Arena See Page B15 ►Concert Listings See Page B16
On the Cover: Photo by Julian De Ocampo ’13
Brophy Musician’s Exchange band You Wouldn’t Believe plays at the annual Fine Arts Extravaganza.
The Bronco Beat
A Music Publication of The Roundup Brophy College Preparatory 4701 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85012 (602) 264-5291 email@example.com
Managing Editor Julian De Ocampo ’13 Layout Roan Enright ’13 Photo Editor Kevin Valenzuela ’13 Copy Editors Joshua Galvin ’13 Brett A. Mejia ’13 Contributors Alex Gross ’13 Hayden Corwin ’15 Charles Dominguez ’14 Phillip Rapa ’14
Jared Balboa ’14 Brendan Bohannon ’14 Gabriel Lopez ’13 Pratap Jayaram ’13 Kevin Cabano ’12 Andrew Marini ’13 Alex Stanley ’12 Colin Marston ’13 Anchal Jain ’13 Bronco Beat Co-Adviser Mr. Steve Smith ’96 Roundup Adviser Mr. Mica Mulloy ’99
The Bronco Beat seeks to correct any printed mistakes in a timely and public manner. Please e-mail corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bronco Beat welcomes news, opinions, sports, entertainment and photography submissions and ideas. E-mail jdeocampo13@broncobeat. org or see Mr. Mulloy in Eller Room 331. The Bronco Beat is a student publication of Brophy College Preparatory. Copyright 2009 Brophy College Preparatory’s The Bronco Beat No material may be used without permission from the editors and adviser. Some material courtesy of American Society of Newspaper Editors/MCT Campus High School Newspaper Service. Photos from Flickr used with National Scholastic a Creative Commons license. Press Association
The Bronco beat
May 2012 | Page B3
Haymarket Squares blend music and activism By Colin Marston ’13
The Bronco Beat
h, oh, oh/I’ll get him hot, show him what I’ve got/Can’t read my, can’t read my/No he can’t read my poker face” - “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. “Don’t stop, make it pop/DJ, blow my speakers up/Tonight, I’mma fight/Until we see the sunlight/Tick tock on the clock/ But the party don’t stop, no” - “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha “We don’t live in a democracy, and I’m sure that we never have/ Electoral college means that your vote doesn’t count and that it never has/Money is the high influence, which means that you will never be represented - “Oligarchy” by the Haymarket Squares. Wait, what? Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and the other divinities of American consumer culture garner tens of millions of views on YouTube, see their albums reach platinum status and ride on a cult of personality wave. But when was the last time people stopped groaning about contemporary pop music and gave a listen to their local anarchist If you had to, how would you classify your band? In what genre? We classify ourselves as punkgrass, which of course is punk rock and bluegrass. We are not a bluegrass band, which is how a lot of people think of us (except for bluegrass musicians). Your band name is an obvious allusion to the Haymarket Square affair during the 1800s. Why did you choose that for your group’s name? We like the name because it sounds rootsy and old-timey, kind of like a lot of our songs, but it has a meaning that resonates in the hearts of those who fight for human rights and for those who know the history of that struggle. Adding the plural makes it slightly self-deprecating, which is kind of like us saying, “we’re not trying to be cool.” What is your opinion of the Phoenix independent music scene, and do you see a vibrant future? The Phoenix music scene is pretty
punkgrass band? The Haymarket Squares are a local Phoenix band consisting of three members. Mark Sunman plays the mandolin and accordion; John Luther Norris plays the guitar, harmonica and banjo; Marc Oxborrow plays the bass and all three of them sing. The band’s name, the Haymarket Squares, is an allusion to the 1886 Haymarket affair, where several Chicago anarchists were executed in suspicion of detonating a bomb. The Haymarket Squares describe their influences as including This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Against Me!, The Clash, Flogging Molly, Elvis Costello, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Woody Guthrie.The band is politically oriented to the left and their views are lucidly expressed in their song lyrics and in the song names themselves. “Oligarchy,” “I Wish There Was a God” and “We Got a War” are just a sample of some song names. The band’s website is www.myspace.com/haymarketsquares.
accessible for such a large city. You can really throw something up the flagpole and if it doesn’t suck, people will salute. Therefore you get a lot of stuff that is unique and unpretentious, but you do also get some stuff that’s, well, less easy on the ears (I’m trying to be nice). I don’t know what the future holds for the Phoenix music scene, and I really don’t care to be honest, as long as I get to have fun playing shows and connecting with people through music. The Phoenix music scene is fun and I hope it stays that way for a long time. What are some musical inspirations for your group? Where do you get encouragement? Do you get inspiration from any great past icons of music? The three of us have a wide variety of musical inspiration, but to name a few of our favorites: This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Against Me (older stuff), The Clash, Flogging Molly, Elvis Costello, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones,
and probably a fair amount of classic rock and assorted hippie music. Woody Guthrie stands as a shining example of somebody who used music to represent the people. Your band features songs with very politically charged themes. What do you think is music’s place? For ascetics, politics, beauty, all? I think I started writing political music because I found it easy to write about stuff that pissed me off. During the Bush administration, I started writing anti-war songs on my mandolin and that’s how the whole thing got started.We’ve stuck to the theme of picking out things that are really messed up with the world (the drug war, the war on terror, capitalism, religion) and writing songs about them. There are a few songs that are positive, so we try not to be all doom and gloom. I think art just reflects what’s in your heart and your head. If you are going insane because of all the ways we are destroying the world, it’s going to come out in your art.
Online: The Bronco Beat podcast, hosted by staff members, features discussions and music reccomendations. Two episodes online already at broncobeat.brophyprep.org
The Bronco beat
Page B4 | May 2012
Musican’s Exchange goes digital
Photo by Andrew Marini ’13
Musician’s Exchange members pose for a photo before a weekly meeting in Mr. Lane McShane’s ’82 room. By Roan Enright ‘13 & Julian De Ocampo ‘13
THE BRONCO BEAT
The amps begin to buzz, the feedback begins to rise and the crowd begins scream as the guitarist hits his first note. These sights and sounds are familiar for members of the Musician’s Exchange, a Brophy club moderated by Mr. Lane McShane ’82, that aims to promote student musicianship and performance. The typical Musician’s Exchange production features an eclectic assortment of music aficionados: indie rock fans, poppunk prodigies and the occasional metal head. The music is diverse and the students’ tastes varied, but the one thing that unites them is the fact that they even have a defined musical taste. These are students who are bonded together by their common love of songcraft; the type who enjoy music enough to want to be playing it in front of a crowd of their peers. The bands continue to undertake their weekly march to the second floor of
Brophy Hall to meet in Mr. McShane’s room week after week on Mondays, ready to precisely craft the next great Brophy showing.
From humble beginnings to booming institution Musician’s Exchange was conceived as the brainchild of alumni Dan Parker, a student musician who Mr. McShane said had a “near-encyclopedic” knowledge of Brophy student musicians and bands. “Dan knew everyone on campus who was in a band,” Mr. McShane said. “He was always getting asked questions like ‘Do you know someone who plays this?’ or ‘Who plays that?’” It was then that Parker, armed with the performing experiencing of opening for such noteworthy acts as Motley Crue and NSYNC, had the idea to start a gathering and organizing Brophy musicians into their own garage bands. He called it the Musician’s Exchange. Things began simple—a list of names on a paper with talk of putting together a live
show floating around campus. “Dan said that we should go ahead and start a Battle of the Bands, but I said no because I thought it was going to be too much chaos to have a concert on campus,” Mr. McShane said. The Battle was turned into a fundraiser and proceeds generated would go to support a charity aimed at aiding those with cystic fibrosis. Mr. McShane changed his mind after hearing Parker’s proposal, and the battle was on. “Once we did it for charity I was motivated—and all of the band of the battle of the band shows essentially well and for charity,” Mr. McShane said. Since then the Musician’s Exchange has blossomed over its 12-year lifespan, growing to play numerous Brophy events including Friday Night Lights, Homecoming and the fabled Battle of the Bands. The Battle of the Bands continues to be the club’s flagship event, drawing several bands together each year to perform and be voted on by their peers. The winner is
THE BRONCO BEAT named the year’s champion and usually given a prize in addition to the prestige. Throughout the years, the club has slowly been growing in numbers and in magnitude—this year the band reported playing a handful of shows such as the Fine Arts Extravaganza. Mr. McShane said that the introduction of the Blackboard system helped revitalize the club by allowing students searching for bands to communicate. “If someone is looking for a bass player, they can send me an email saying they need a bass player and I’ll send a message to the club saying what that band needs,” Mr. McShane said. But largely, Mr. McShane said the club throughout the years has always remained true to its purpose -- to unite Brophy musicians and grant them opportunities. “I always feel like one of these years that we will fade away—but it doesn’t,” Mr. McShane said. “We have a lot of talented people. The club will go on.”
Battle of the Bands goes digital Battle of the Bands has always been an event shifting forms each year. It’s been held in the Plaza, the second floor of the gym and one year in the middle of the football field. But this year the Musician’s Exchange transported the competition to a whole new realm: cyberspace. Due to scheduling conflicts the club found an innovative way of hosting the Battle of the Bands and they resolved the calendar conflict by presenting it completely online. The bands had to record themselves playing a series of three or four “live performances” on video. Then after they finished their performance, they posted it on YouTube for Brophy students to view and vote for on a Google Doc spreadsheet. “There’s nothing like playing in front of a live audience, but I hope that these videos will be enough to promote the event so in coming years we can bring it back to life,” said Jarred Grady ’15, a member of the band The Kards.
May 2012 | Page B5
Photo by Julian De Ocampo ’13
A coalition of various Musician’s Exchange members play a set at the Fine Arts Extravaganza.
Who Entered Battle of the Bands? Finalists City Kids Joe Weiss ‘14, Van Cummerford ‘14, Jared Balbona ‘14, Brendan Bohannon ‘14 Octopus No.9 Max White Roland Corwin ’12, Hayden Corwin ‘15, Connell McCreary ‘12, Tres Mayfield ’12
Other Bands in Musician’s Exchange The End of the Line Kevin Cabano ’12, Robbie Sirven ’12, Zach Cox ’13 The Kards Jared Grady ’15, Habib Sabbagh, Lucas Aiken, Jacob Williams You Wouldn’t Believe Alex Gross ’13, Anchal Jain ’13, Greg Goulder ’13, Pratap Jayaram ’13 Once Upon a Time Keaton Leander ‘13, Mark Miller ‘13, Andrew Long ’10, Jamie DiCarlo, Bryan Wong
Looking to the future with big plans This year’s Battle of the Bands was just a prelude of what’s to come—Mr. McShane said next year’s Battle of the Bands is going to be much, much bigger than past years. In fact, it’s so big that it can’t be contained in Brophy -- it’s spreading across the Valley. Mr. McShane said the club plans to expand the Battle of the Bands to include bands from Catholic high schools in the area. Each school would send two to three representatives who would then duke it out to be named king of the Valley’s
Catholic schools. The idea was pitched by Scheduling Director Mr. Tony Oldani, who will oversee student activities next year and is looking to take Brophy musicianship to a much larger audience than previously possible within the context of the club. “Next year is going to be big—we’re going to do a lot of stuff,” Grady said. That means bigger and better shows for the burgeoning club, according to the club’s members. And more shows mean more opportunities for the community of musicians that have already established themselves as the school’s premier rockers.
Page B6 | May 2012
The Bronco beat
Various sized venues have many merits By Anchal Jain ’13
THE BRONCO BEAT
As frequent concert-goers can attest, the setting of a concert has a huge impact on the feel of the show. The difference between a large, arenatype venue and a smaller location can be quite significant. Many people who have never had the opportunity to see one of their favorite musicians in a small setting might not see the appeal in comparison to a huge arena. Within the Valley, I have seen concerts at most of the big locations, such as US Airways Center, Cricket Wireless Pavilion (now named Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion) and Jobing.com Arena. All of these locations feature huge stages with intricate lighting rigs, enormous video screens and, of course, extremely loud sound systems. Concerts in this type of setting are typically high-energy and very theatrical, often with over-the-top stages and pyrotechnics. The standing-room area “pits” are densely packed with people trying to get as close as possible to the stage, while the seats provide the peace of mind of easy access and exit throughout the show. Being in the pit at a big, exciting rock concert can be an amazing experience, but it’s not for everyone. In order to get close to the stage, people with pit tickets usually have to stand and wait for hours before the show starts. Anyone who wants to go to a concert in a more casual manner should probably stick to seats instead. Arena shows aside, why would anyone ever want to go to a show in a small venue such as the Crescent Ballroom, the Marquee Theatre, or perhaps the Venue Scottsdale? These standing-room-only locations all hold around 1,000 people and make for very different shows when compared to the large arena shows. From personal experience, the reason I prefer small locations is the intimacy with the band. While a stadium of 10,000 screaming
Photo by Jason Thompson via Flickr
Venues like US Airways Center offer large scale concerts at the cost of intimacy.
A Sampling of the Valley’s Music Venues By Julian De Ocampo’13 & Roan Enright ’13
THE BRONCO BEAT
US Airways Center - Better known for hosting the Phoenix Suns, this colossal arena is easily the largest venue aside from The University of Phoenix Stadium in which bands coming to the Valley like Green Day and Muse can play at. Crescent Ballroom - This recently opened downtown Phoenix hotspot, backed by booking giant Stateside Presents, has recently played host to a number of midsize acts such as M83, Girls and St. Vincent. The Rhythm Room - Originally opened as a jazz club, this small-sized venue doubles as a bar and features a variety of emerging and rising talent. Some shows are 21-and-older only, but many are still all-ages.
fans is obviously exciting, nothing can match the feeling of standing five feet away from the members of your favorite group while they perform your favorite songs. At most 1,000 people or less music venues, the entire audience has an up-close view of the stage. For someone who wants to be fully immersed in a musical performance, an intimate, small setting is ideal. Typically, shows like this lack the theatrical element that large shows are defined by. The stages are usually simple, with less complex lighting. Also, it is definitely worth noting that small venues such as the Crescent
Ballroom, the Marquee, or the Venue have excellent acoustics, as they lack the strong echo that can sometimes make large arenas sound muddy or boomy. As a general rule, it seems that small venues are best for someone looking to be close to the action and focused on the music; large venues are best for someone who is interested in a full sensory experience and who likes the energy of thousands of excited people around them. The next time you learn that one of your favorite artists is coming to Phoenix (see Page B16 for concert listings), take a minute to note the venue of the show so you know exactly what to expect.
THE BRONCO BEAT
May 2012 | Page B7
Country music sweeping campus, airwaves
Photo courtesy of MCT Campus
Country artists like Direks Bentley, shown here performing at the Country Music Awards, have been growing in populatirty in recent years. By Andrew Marini ’13
THE Bronco beat
A music sensation is sweeping Brophy and it’s not hip-hop, rap or even rock; its country. The works of those such as Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton have slowly been gaining popularity on campus, especially since our country themed homecoming dance in 2009. Even as recently as this year’s HoopComing, students were found twostep dancing throughout the dance floor. According to Billboard.com, “42 percent of the population is a country music fan, which breaks down to 95 million country music fans in the United States.” To give perspective to this number, U.S. country fans account for two and a half the population of Canada. At Brophy with a student body of approximately 1,250 students, there are 525 country music fans walking the halls.
“I love country music probably more than anything or anyone.” —Hank Hay ’13
“I love country music probably more than anything or anyone,” said Hank Hay ’13. “I’ve noticed two things in my time as a country music fan. One, it is usually a love or hate relationship when it comes to country and two, country fans almost never match the stereotypes.” Some typical stereotypes that have appeared over the years are that country fans are southern-born, poor, uneducated and only sing about bad relationships and farm equipment. The truth is country fans are not all lower class people and, in fact according to Billboard.com, one in two
people with a salary of $100,000 or more are a country music fan. “While I’ve noticed girls tend to be bigger fans then guys, you can still tell that it is growing fast at Brophy,” said Connor Tobin ’13. “I think we can attribute that to people finally coming to their senses and realizing that music is better when the lyrics make sense and the music comes from an instrument rather than a computer.” Now the point is while country music is growing faster currently than other genres, it isn’t necessarily superior. It just seems to be currently gaining popularity at Brophy quite rapidly. A handful of Brophy and Xavier students will show their country music dedication when they went to Country Thunder on April 12-15 in Florence, Ariz. The concert featured artists such as Blake Shelton, Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen and Big and Rich.
Page B8 | May 2012 |
THE BRONCO BEAT
Saying goodbye to Tempe venue closes following shooting, owner arrested By Jarred Balbona’14
THE BRONCO BEAT
The Clubhouse music venue in Tempe was a sweaty hole-in-the-wall that many loved. The atmosphere of the club was indescribable. Its small size allowed fans and performers alike to share an intimate and up close experience; one could enter the venue with 200 strangers, but by the end of the show, leave as a family. Since entering the Tempe music scene in 2003, the Clubhouse has been entertaining the masses with nightly all-ages shows of both local artists, as well as well-known performers. Its stage has been graced by a vast range of artists, from The Proclaimers to Sleigh Bells, causing it to be a home to concert goers of all types. In addition to all of this, they served pizza. This all came to an abrupt end. March 2 when an altercation between two rival gangs took place outside of the club before rapper Nipsey Hussle was scheduled to perform. According to media reports, the fight concluded with one man firing gunshots into a crowd of people lined up to go inside, injuring 16 in the process. While the shooter was arrested, two of his accomplices managed to escape and are still being pursued. This was not the first shooting to take place at the Clubhouse, and as a result, an investigation of the nightclub’s safety precautions was initiated. One week after the shooting, police arrested the Clubhouse owner for
Staff view: “The Clubhouse feels like chaos, but in the best way possible” Julian De Ocampo `13
“The Clubhouse made it feel like you were a part of the band and the experience of the show.” Roan Enright `13
“I’ve never been there for a show. I went once, but that was because I had to use the restroom. The soap was good... It made me wish I had seen a show there.” Charles Dominguez `14
violating the security plan, according to The Arizona Republic. Shortly after, it was announced that the venue would be closing. Although it is gone, however, it is far from forgotten. My Personal Clubhosue Story My first and only experience with the Clubhouse was during my freshman year when I saw Matt and Kim. It was my first concert. My brother and I had walked to the venue from his dorm at ASU, and immediately upon seeing the club, I was overcome with disappointment. I had expected a glorious arena, surrounded by an angelic glow. This was a small, weird building in the middle of a small, weird strip mall, in Tempe nonetheless. I was even further disillusioned when I
entered the building. It was about the size of two In-N-Out Burgers, and without the celestial smell. An oversized bar awkwardly bifurcated the all-black venue, further adding to the closeness of the environment. I felt uncomfortable and out of place, surrounded by people in their element. The crowd grew, as did my claustrophobia, and the temperature skyrocketed. When Treasure Mammal, a band who cites “Spandex” as their genre, entered the stage, I was pretty sure I was hallucinating. Three of their members were in zebra print wetsuits, while a fourth donned a white Mark Twain-style outfit and a giant rabbit head. Each member had evidently done some damage at the bar before the performance, as they muddled through some songs about friendship. Before I could even discern what had just happened to me, they finished their set, and Matt and Kim took their places. The euphoria emanating from my body was reciprocated by each member of the audience, as well as the band on stage. In the hours that followed, an abundance of dancing, moshing, crowd surfing by the entire crowd had taken place, as our resounding voices replaced all of our sad feelings with happy ones. After the show ended suddenly and we exited that sweaty box of hell, I found myself loving all of the aspects of this place that I had earlier caused me so much disappointment. I also began to consider the possibility that my life had just peaked, and that every subsequent moment would be disappointing in comparison. None of that was important, though. What was important was that I had just had the greatest experience of my life, and that the Clubhouse was responsible.
THE BRONCO BEAT
May 2012 | Page B9
Photo by Adam S. Fuller via Flickr
The Clubhouse played host to a number of rising and underground acts such as Portugal. The Man, shown here playing in October 2010.
Many from the Brophy community have had the pleasure to visit the Clubhouse.
I loved it.” Jeremiah Johnson ’14
Michael Cullen ’12
When asked about their Clubhourse memories, while some did possess a strong dislike for it, most reflected back with nostalgia, and ended their response with the phrase, “in a good way.”
“The last show I went to there was Modest Mouse back in 2003, and Modest Mouse was not very good. However, the opening band, which I had never heard of before, was really impressive, and afterwards, I really got into them. So, (the Clubhouse) was pretty good with introducing new bands that I would have never found otherwise.”
“It was not the worst venue in Arizona.”
“That venue was great because it was one of the few where you would get to see the bands walking around and you would be able to talk to them or just see them up close. It was a unique experience and I will definitely miss it. Mr. Matt Smith ’06
“The sweat was like, palpable the instant you walked in. And
Mr. John Damaso ’97
“The Clubhouse had really good sound. I definitely liked the venue, though, I really don’t know why. It had some
indefinable quality, I guess.”
Jordan Bohannon ’12
“I just got a great feeling from there. Everything is so tightly weaved and it just feels like a family.” Brendan Bohannon ’14
“The best thing about the Clubhouse was the diverse bands and artists they brought. There was some good talent.” Jackson Dangremond ’14
Page B10 | May 2012 |
The Bronco beat
of Montreal’s ‘Paralytic Stalks’ is uninspiried, though multi-dimensional By Jared Balbona ’14
THE BRONCO BEAT
of Montreal - “Paralytic Stalks” 6.5 out of 10 of Montreal’s greatness lies within its members’ unique ability to create experimental pop music. Their tracks possess an overwhelming density, yet they maintain their infectious appeal with each listen. While the group evolves musically with every album, lyrically, front man Kevin Barnes never loses sight of his two favorite topics: relationships and Kevin Barnes. Structurally, “Paralytic Stalks” is no different from the band’s previous endeavors. It opens with simplicity and clarity, only to later erupt in an explosion of chaos and self-hatred; the record is accentuated with Barnes’ realizations about himself and of society. In many ways, it is just a typical of Montreal album, and what is wrong with that? This same sequence has repeatedly proved successful in the past, so why not? “Why not?” is exactly the problem. of Montreal has begun creating albums because they can, regardless of inspiration or originality. Consequently, the listener repeatedly finds themselves subject to Barnes’ further elaboration on feelings he has already described in excruciating detail on previous albums. Frankly, it grows tiring. However, it is this same aspect of emotional overload that causes it to be his most personal album yet, which is a quality that is much harder to condemn. Barnes is evidently aware of this muse, or lack thereof, and makes the attempt to compensate through his instrumentation. Although many parts of the album resemble the collective’s distinctive “folktronica” sound, they do manage to implement new elements and genres into their music like never before. “Wintered Debts” uses steel guitars and
Photo by Amiralsplast, Berlin via Flickr
of Monteral plays a set in 2010 at Amiralsplast, Berlin.
honky-tonk piano riffs to emphasize the monotony of the singer’s frequent overpartying, and the problems that arise as a result. This country shuffle provides a much needed contrast to the in-your-face psychedelic funk provided by the other songs on the album. Similarly, “Exorcism Breeding Knife” was described by Mr. Barnes in an interview with Spin Magazine as “definitely the most unconventional arrangement I’ve ever created.” This is impressive, considering that he has released a new record nearly every year since 1997. In this track, he creates an inharmonious
atmosphere through the hyperimplementation of classical instruments. As usual, the group is quite ambitious, but they do manage to deliver most of the time. The narcissism involved in these records creates feelings of both admiration and agitation. It’s an uncomfortable paradox. Selfreflection is difficult, and inevitably, you will run out of things to discover. “Paralytic Stalks’” maximalist attempt to mask this lack of inspiration is frustrating to say the least. It’s an interesting album, but it makes no attempt to distinguish itself from the rest of the band’s repertoire.
THE BRONCO BEAT
May 2012 | Page B11
Graffiti6’s ‘Colours’ utilizes broad palette By Pratap Jayaram ’13
THE BRONCO BEAT
Graffiti6 - “Colours” 9.0 out of 10
Photo by Marco Smeets via Flickr
Graffitti6 performing at Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands in June.
the melancholy “Over You.” Despite ending on a bit of a downbeat, the overall feeling of “Colours” is more difficult to describe. The songwriting on this album is fantastic, as different sounds are showcased brilliantly and each track serves as a sort of microcosm of the whole work in terms of the many layers they contain within them. I was particularly impressed by Jamie Scott’s vocal ability, as his voice seemed to carry a huge amount of emotion and added a great deal to the songs. Scott also is able to bring a light and playful air to the more upbeat parts of the album so that the listener is ultimately left feeling neither exuberant nor morose but content. My overall impression of this album is that it was, quite frankly, pretty awesome. I’ve always been a fan of albums and songs that have great dynamics to them, and “Colours” gives just that. There are songs on this album that fit practically every mood, and while the lyrics may not have blown me away, I was still able to appreciate Scott’s vocal skills and instrumental talent. There were some moments on the album that I didn’t particularly enjoy, mostly the songs that seemed to have been most influenced by soul and R&B, but in general I’m not a huge fan of that type of music so my view is a bit polarized.
For the most part, I felt that the album was a great medley of different styles and sounds, and it seems to me that Graffiti6 have hit upon a creative and unique style that manages to please almost everyone. However, the album did have one major failing: it lied. In fact, by the time I was done listening, I was absolutely not “over” Graffit6.
Jared Balbona ’14 “Atlas” - Battles Julian De Ocampo ’13 “I Belong in Your Arms” Chairlift Pratap Jayaram ’13 “Let There be Light” - Justice Phillip Rapa ’14 “As She’s Walking Away” - Zac Brown Band Gabe Lopez ’13 “Anna Sun” - Walk the Moon
Wh at W e’ re Li s ten in g To
I wouldn’t really describe myself as “indie.” When it comes to the music that graces my ears, I’m a pretty average rock fan. But sometimes, when I’m feeling rather adventurous, I’ll happen upon something extraordinary by accident. Graffiti6 was one of those accidents. Back when turntable.fm was what all the cool kids were using to share music, a friend of mine played a track that caught my attention. Within a week, I was hooked. Made up of singer/songwriter Jamie Scott and producer TommyD, Graffiti6 was like nothing I had ever heard before, and I couldn’t get enough. With the release of their first album “Colours” earlier this year, my hunger has been temporarily sated. The album truly lives up to its name, hosting the perfect mix of energy and mellowness. It switches seamlessly from fast-paced tracks that make you want to jump up and dance to bluesy grooves that leave you swaying to the rhythm. The album starts off strong with “Stone In My Heart,” a peppy tune that immediately captures the listener’s attention. The energy continues with “Annie You Save Me” and “Stare Into the Sun,” two songs that had already been released but made it onto the debut album. From there the album slows down a bit, and the multifaceted nature of the band truly begins to show. Relaxed (dare I say “chill”) songs such as “This Man” and “Calm the Storm” flow perfectly into soulful, emotional tracks like “Free” and “Colours.” After a short repose, the album finds its way back to the energy with which it began, particularly with the song “Stop Mary” and its fast-paced excitement. The album comes to a close with the slow, spacey “Lay Me Down,” and finally
Page B12 | May 2012
THE BRONCO BEAT
Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’ rises above media madness By Julian De Ocampo ’13
THE BRONCO BEAT
Lana Del Rey – “Born to Die” 9.0 If you haven’t yet been initiated into the madness of the Lana Del Rey saga, do yourself a favor and refrain from searching her name on Google News. The top of the page bears a quote from Del Rey: “I’m not naturally controversial.” Then why all the fuss about Lana? The same page bears headlines like “Del Rey cancels tour after SNL performance,” “Lana Del Rey tired of Lana Del Rey” and – my favorite –“Del Rey admits her lips were digitally enhanced in ‘Video Games’ video.” The New York City native has been dogged by controversy from the start – her breakout single “Video Games” topped many publications’ year-end lists in the midst of hundreds of blog posts doubting her authenticity as a musician. Del Rey, seemingly perpetually aloof to the ramifications of the interviews she generously doles out to the press, continued to startle music journalists by comparing herself to Kurt Cobain, Britney Spears and – perhaps the most widely quoted label – a “gangster Nancy Sinatra.” And when she flubbed her way through a Saturday Night Live performance before the release of her album, she just became too big of a problem to keep on the Internet. Del Rey suddenly became a household name and gripped the music world by becoming an international tabloid staple (the latest headlines reveal rumors of a secret British boyfriend). And, in the eye of the storm, the polarizing songstress dropped her debut album, “Born to Die” to the tune of 800,000 copies sold worldwide. Not bad for someone accused by publications such as The A.V. Club and Tiny Mix Tapes of blatantly pandering to a niche indie audience, right? These publications have misinterpreted Del Rey’s music as a 21st century assault on gender equality, a caricature of outdated gender norms, pandering to
Photo by Jérôme Coppée via Flickr Lana Del Rey croons to a packed crowd in Cologne, Germany’s Gebäude 9.
twenty-something college guys who Liz Phair exposed in “Exile in Guyville” almost 20 years ago. But in reality, Del Rey – hip-hop percussion and glistening strings in tow – pulls one of the greatest spectacles in modern music: a 50 minute manifesto of role-playing. Del Rey deftly jumps into her role as a gooey-eyed coquette, rarely breaking character save for a sly wink here and there. Whether or not “Born to Die” will command your attention depends on the level of cynicism with which you approach the album. Del Rey’s detractors accuse her, who had formerly released music under her given name Lizzy Grant, of being spurious; this is a lady singing about money and fame, they claim, sometimes even spinning wild yarns out of thin air. But she embraces the critique as she does
the falseness: it builds onto her persona. Del Rey understands music as a medium; she understands that the best music is often overblown and grandiose, viewing the world through a romantic lens. And so Del Rey uses this exaggerated compositional style to her own benefit. The song craft beneath the flashy lyrics is consistently strong, an eclectic melding of hip-hop rhythm sections, swirling strings and vintage vocals. “Radio” free-falls with a dreamy quality before being ripped in half by contemporary rhythms that seem to exist simply to complement the gorgeously constructed hook. On “Born to Die,” Del Rey is coy and smug, cooing about love and devotion in a relationship that is just so wrong the listener can’t help but wince, a reaction often construed in a negative light by listeners unwilling to accept the character study that Del Rey constructs.
THE BRONCO BEAT Del Rey plays every naïve little girl who’s ever fallen in love with the bad boy, helplessly singing “Do you think we’ll be in love forever?” on “Diet Mountain Dew.” And in that sense, it’s thought-provoking. Del Rey dons her damsel-in-distress shtick in such a convincing way that the listener is lured in by the makeup and high heels
May 2012 | Page B13 she sings about, but keeps listening for the rich insight her persona helps the listener attain. And when she gives a wink and smile on “Video Games,” she comes close to hinting at the true viciousness and malice beneath the ultra-feminine posturing. On “Off to the Races,” she quotes
Vladimir Nabakov’s seminal novel “Lolita,” reminding the readers that beneath the innocent demeanor, she’s elusive and unknowable. She is our Lolita, and we’re just playing the fool while missing the point, infatuated and often infuriated by her hollow charms.
Andrew Bird’s ‘Break It Yourself’ respectable, nothing new By Alex Stanley ’12
Andrew Bird – “Break it Yourself” 7.0 out of 10 Andrew Bird’s first album since his 2009 release “Noble Beast,” “Break It Yourself,” is typical Andrew Bird. The folk musician from the Midwest has an incredibly particular style, filled with violin playing, whistling and complex, poetic lyrics. He has steadily been gaining popularity
over the years, with perhaps his most famous song being “Fake Palindromes.” The latest installment of Bird’s music is “Break It Yourself,” a non-deviation from his classic style. The only difference is perhaps a slower and mellower sound on the majority of songs. The only somewhat upbeat song on the 14 song album is “EyeonEye,” a more typical indie rock sounding song. The rest of the record is Bird doing what he is used to doing. It takes a couple listens through to digest
the album, as the gentler songs don’t quite catch the listener’s attention at first. Having done this, the album is quite good with standout songs being, “Give It Away,” “Sifters” and “Desperation Breeds”; the latter an interesting song using the world’s bee demographic as the subject. The only down side to this album is that there are not nearly as many memorable songs as his earlier releases. Overall, it is worth the buy, but not as good as previous albums such as “Noble Beast.”
Tom Waits perfects sound on ‘Bone Machine’ By Hayden Corwin ’15
THE BRONCO BEAT
Tom Waits - “Bone Machine” 9.5 out of 10 When Tom Waits screams, the room quiets down. His voice growls to the fringe of control, but he somehow pulls it back and stays in pitch. The guitars become a perfectly muffled mess. The percussion instruments accent the overall melody as well as Waits’ raw vocals in “Bone Machine,” his 14th studio album. “Bone Machine” was released in 1992. It documents Waits’ struggles with growing old and fearing the loss of his youthful qualities. It is an appropriate topic, seeing as even in the ’90s he had already been involved in the music industry for about 25 years. The album really takes the listener places as it is experienced. Tracks like “In the
Colosseum,” “The Ocean Didn’t Want Me Today” and “That Feel” possess an ambience that makes the listener. “In the Colosseum” sets up an eerie Roman coliseum that is empty and makes many hasn’t been in use for years. “The Ocean Didn’t Want Me Today” gives the feeling of being on the shore at the turn of the century looking out into a gray sea with a looming sky above it. Conversely, “That Feel” shifts the setting to a small blues club with a soulful man on a giant black piano and no microphone, singing the story of never losing passion. Other tracks on this album like “Goin’ out West” and “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” are truly great songs. “Goin’ out West” is the perfect example of male testosterone with lyrics like: “I’ve got hair on my chest/ I look good without a shirt on,” and “I know karate/ Voodoo too.” On the other hand “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” perfectly describes what this album is about: getting older and accepting new
responsibilities when a certain age is reached. Waits sings: “Well when I see my parents fight I don’t wanna grow up They all go out and drinking all night And I don’t wanna grow up I’d rather stay here in my room Nothin’ out there but sad and gloom I don’t wanna live in a big old Tomb on Grand Street” It’s easy to see why this song is on this album; it fits in perfectly with his overall themes. Overall, this album is for people who have a flare for the unusual. Waits’ sound is very different from any other musician out there today. Along with a different sound, “Bone Machine” has fantastic instrumentals to complement his fiery vocals. Even in the early ’90s Waits was well into his career, but with the release of “Bone Machine,” it seems he finally mastered his sound.
THE BRONCO BEAT
Page B14 | May 2012
Das Racist’s Heems solo effort ‘Nehru Jackets’ offers charming, familiar sound
Photo by Atticus Finch via Flickr
Rapper Heems performs with his group Das Racist in New York’s Highline Ballroom Feb. 3, 2011 By Charles Dominguez ’14
THE BRONCO BEAT
Heems - “Nehru Jackets” 7.5 out of 10 “Nehru Jackets” is the first solo effort from Heems, member of New York based hip-hop outfit Das Racist. Although the group’s funny man has been establishing a name for himself since 2010, last September marked their first official release, “Relax.” While the album offered heightened production value and a new direction, it lacked a lot of the personality and wit that made their free mixtapes so endearing.
Thankfully, Heems has taken it upon himself to change this trend. “Nehru Jackets” is a return to form, shining the spotlight on the humor that makes me want to follow Heems, while still pushing forward the ideas that “Relax” ushered in. Clocking in at just more than 70 minutes, a lot of content is packed into this mixtape. Luckily, the production of Mike Finito keeps each track both smooth and consistent. Although he is relatively new to the production scene, Finito is a friend of Heems and has worked with Das Racist in the past. Credibility and interest are added to the
tape with solid guest spots ranging from Action Bronson to Childish Gambino. Yet while the production and guest spots are certainly a nice incentive, Heems is the real reason to listen to this tape. Throughout the course of 25 tracks, he explores several dynamic sounds, personalities and styles, displaying versatility that just wasn’t evident with Das Racist. While Heems chooses a laidback flow on “SWATE” and “Bad, Bad, Bad,” tracks like “Alien Gonzalez” offer a heated, energetic delivery. In addition, the rhymes and references themselves are better than ever. Along with the usual wit (case in point: his reference to Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” in opening track, “Thug Handles”), there is plenty of social commentary, infused with personal ideologies. “Nehru Jackets” is proof that Heems can stand on his own as a hip hop artist. However, while I think the sheer amount of music is managed very well, I can’t help but feel that only half the album is worth returning to. The short, two-minute tracks peppered throughout the mixtape just do not have enough impact outside of a full listen. While there are plenty of tracks worth multiple listens, the sound bites flow best when sampled from start to finish. Overall, “Nehru Jackets” is a great mixtape; it offers Heems’ trademark charm injected with relevant social commentary. But perhaps best of all, it offers more from a rapper that I love.
Cloud Nothings ‘Attack on Memory’ displays new diversity By Roan Enright ’13
THE BRONCO BEAT
Cloud Nothings - “Attack on Memory” 8 .0 out of 10 As 2011 was coming to a close, people started to arrange their New Year’s resolutions; I guess you could say that Cleveland indie rockers Cloud Nothings
just wanted their music to rock harder. With the release of “Attack on Memory,” the band’s third album, front man Dylan Baldi has brought his project from his parent’s basement to earning a spot on a spot on Pitchfork’s 2012 Best New Music. Baldi’s Cloud Nothings are black when they should be white; the Cloud Nothings change their musical style like an insecure teenager changes their look.
With the release of their first single “No Future/No Past” I thought they were going from a warm poppy style to a slower more profound style. But no one anticipated the diversity that “Attack the Memory” displays. Once “Attack on Memory” came out, one question formed on my mind: Why did they go soft? One possible reason for the sound shift
THE BRONCO BEAT could lie in their experience touring with bands with softer styles. In any case, it’s a welcome change: the album sounds great. Songs like “Wasted Days” and “No Sentiment” contain fuzzy lo-fi guitars in a constant battle with a cacophony of cymbal and snare drum. On the other hand, the moods calms considerably with “Stay Useless” and “Cut
May 2012 | Page B15 you,” which harness their previous fast paced, velvety pop akin to bands like Tokyo Police Club. Regardless of the different styles in the album, each song warrants a head shake and a head bob. But a few outstanding selections make you want to punch a hole in the wall out of sheer exhilaration. Needless to say, this isn’t the relaxing
comfort album that we all enjoy but even with its uneven pacing and panicky feeling it is a good listen. Even if you don’t care for the stressful sound you have to respect the energy they put into this album and into their shows. The band performed in the Valley Feb. 28 at the Crescent Ballroom and I’m still kicking myself for not going to the show.
Radiohead pleases all at the Jobing.com Arena Critically acclaimed rock group pleases fans at sold-out show in Glendale By Julian De Ocampo ’13
THE BRONCO BEAT
Radiohead has always been a band of contradictions. Through the years, the group has achieved enough recognition to become a household name without feeling dated or overhyped. Their albums have topped the charts repeatedly over the past decades despite bearing very few tracks traditional enough to penetrate the mainstream. They are a stadium-status rock band without the sound that typifies stadium rock. This quickly became apparent as the group took the stage at the Jobing.com Arena March 15 to a sold-out crowd of thousands of cheering fans. The band took the stage quietly as a multitude of screens hung precariously over their heads and began to display live video feeds of each of the band members. Above the screens, a massive lighting rig towered over the crowd, ready to light up the venue in time with the music. After opening with recent “King of Limbs” track “Bloom,” spasms ran through Thom Yorke’s body as the band began the proto-funk skittering of “In Rainbows” standout “15 Step.” The screens rotated and adjusted between each song, and the color of the lighting would alter to match the mood, turning a cool blue as the band began a string of slower songs that included
Photo courtesy of MCT Campus
Radiohead front man Thom Yorke headline Coachella Valley and Music Festival in April.
“Pyramid Song” and the “Daily Mail.” The setlist came evenly from the past decade of the band’s career, drawing heavily from their terse and divisive 2011 album “The King of Limbs.” Radiohead also played “Amnesiac” deep cut “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” for the first time in more than 10 years before treating the crowd to an entirely new song called “Identikit.” After an energetic performance of fan favorite “Idioteque” whipped the crowd into a frenzy, the band took their leave before quickly returning for an encore that started off slowly with a rendition of “How to Disappear Completely” before gradually building into the manic energy of “Bodysnatchers.” After yet another extended respite, the band returned to play “Give Up the Ghost,” “Reckoner” and their perennial classic “Paranoid Android.” “Paranoid Android” appeared to be a
breaking point for the crowd’s reserved appreciation and prompted the loudest cheers and yelps the entire night. By the time the band finished the song with guitarist Johnny Greenwood’s searing guitar solo, the crowd was ecstatic. Several audience members had spent the entirety of the concert flailing their arms and some removed their shirts in approval. But for every 20something hipster in the crowd, there were at least a few older fans just glad to be in the presence of the band. One license plate in the parking lot suggested that several fans had driven in from Mexico to attend the concert, further reinforcing the diversity amongst the audience. And perhaps that is Radiohead’s biggest paradox of all. They are a band that can fill a stadium of people of various backgrounds and leave them breathless in the span of a few hours.
Page B16 | May 2012 |
THE BRONCO BEAT
Musician’s Photo of the Month
Photo courtesy of The Kards Jared Grady ’15, on right, performs around the valley with his band The Kards. The rest of the band attends other high schools but practice with Grady Regularly.
Upcoming Concerts Drake – Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion – 5/10 Drake is on his Club Paradise Tour in support of his album “Take Care.” Snow Patrol – Comerica – 5/14 Snow Patrol’s current tour is behind their album “Fallen Empires.” Roger Waters – US Airways Center – 5/15 Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, will stage a recreation of Pink Floyd’s The Wall Tour, including a full performance of their album “The Wall.” Rammstein – Jobing.com Arena – 5/18 The German metal group brings their best of tour to America. fun. – Mesa Arts Center 5/31 Gaining popularity with thier new single “We are Young” they will be playing a concert as a part of their Spring tour. Van Halen – US Airways – 6/16 Fresh off their first studio album with original singer David Lee Roth, Van Halen is ready to deliver new songs and old hits for their 2012 tour. Funk-pop legends Kool and the Gang open. Vans Warped Tour 2012 (Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, The Used, New Found Glory, et al.)– Camelback Ranch – 6/28 The massive annual tour will make its usual stop in Phoenix, this time at Camelback Ranch. Miranda Lambert – Salt River Fields at Talking
Compiled by Kevin Cabano ’12
Stick – 7/3 The country singer is touring behind “Four The Record,” her fourth studio album. Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead, Anthrax, et al.) – Ashley – 7/6 The annual touring heavy metal festival hits Phoenix again, bringing newer bands such as Slipknot alongside metal legends such as Slayer and Motorhead. Foster the People – Comerica – 7/6 The group responsible for the hit “Pumped Up Kicks” are on their first major tour after the release of their first album “Torches.” Last Summer on Earth Tour (Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler, Cracker) – Comerica – 7/25 Yet another tour of popular ’90s alternative acts comes to Comerica Theater this summer. Iron Maiden (w/ Coheed and Cambria) – Ashley – 8/6 The English heavy metal legends are on their Maiden England World Tour, which is a throwback to the original tour behind their 1988 album “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.” Motley Crue and Kiss – Ashley – 8/10 The two ’80s hair metal giants are on a dual-headlining summer American tour. The Black Keys – U.S. Airways Center –10/09 Coming out with their seventh album “El Camino” are coming to town for their North American Tour.