fortnightly student magazine
volume 17 â€” issue 7
Best Donut Shops in the Twin Cities
Q&A: Ben Noble
Purple Reigns On
Are New Yearâ€™s Resolutions Worth It? p. 20
Running a Painting Business
A Theater of the Impossible
MAR 2 @ Orchestra Hall
Presented by our Student Ambassadors
Debussy’s La Mer Rachmaninoff’s powerful Third Piano Concerto and Debussy’s shape-shifting picture of the sea, La mer.
EXTRAS FOR STUDENTS:
FREE with your ticket: • Complimentary refreshments • Ocean-themed activities & games • Meet the musicians!
STUDENT TICKETS NO FEES! Buy online.
#mnorch / minnesotaorchestra.org/studentrush / Orchestra Hall PHOTOS Courtney Perry (left) and Greg Helgeson (right)
VOLUME 17, ISSUE 7 EDITORIAL: Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Cities Editor Voices Editor Music Editor Online editor Copy editors Multimedia Editor Multimedia Producer
Emma Klingler Jake Steinberg Megan Hoff Tala Alfoqaha Liv Martin Alex Wittenberg Chris Shea Kikki Boersma Gracie Stockton Julie Malyshev
Editorial Interns: Emily Ness, Hannah Haakenson, Luci Bischoff
PRODUCTION: Executive Director Production Manager Creative Director Finance Manager PR/Ad Manager Social Media Manager Art Director Designers
Web Manager Distribution Manager
Holly Wilson Olivia Novotny Kate Doyle Rakshit Kalra Sophie Stephens Grace Steward Katie Heywood Andrew Tomten Kellen Renstrom Megan Smith Laurel Tieman Cassie Varrige
Production Interns: Darby Ottoson (PR) Art Interns: Emily Hill, Jade Mulcahy, Jaye Ahn, Lauren Smith,
Mariah Crabb, Natalie Klemond, Peyton Garcia, Sophie Stephens, Stevie Lacher
ÂŠ2017 The Wake Student Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Established in 2002, The Wake is a fortnightly independent magazine and registered student organization produced by and for students at the University of Minnesota. The Wake was founded by Chrin Ruen & James DeLong. Disclaimer: The purpose of The Wake is to provide a forum in which students can voice their opinions. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not representative of the publication or university as a whole. To join the conversation email email@example.com . The Wake Student Magazine 126 Coffman Memorial Union 300 Washington Avenue SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
Writers Alex Wittenberg, Annalise Gall, Ben Schroeder, Chris Shea, Claire Redell, Cody Perakslis, Emily Ness, Emma Klingler, Hannah Haakenson, Hannah Olund, Liv Martin, Karl Witkowiak, Megan Hoff, Olivia Novotny, Sylvia Rani, Taylor Krech, Yelizaveta Babashova Art 1 Will Hanson, 2 Peyton Garcia, 3 Olivia Novotny, 4 Peyton Garcia, 5 Will Hanson, 6 Jaye Ahn, 7 Claudia Dube, 8 Tessa Portuese, 9 Jade Mulcahy, 10 Stevie Lacher, 11 Jade Mulcahy, 12 Claudia Dube, 13 Ruby Guthrie, 14 Katie Heywood, 15 Ruby Guthrie Cover by Katie Heywood
wink! one page magazine
Enjoy these Haikus Then read the rest of the mag: Now you are cultured. BY ANNALISE GALL AND EMMA KLINGLER
I Dare to cross the line Everything will be okay Says my dove wrapper II
February is Groundhogs and valentines and caucus and heartbreak
Check out our website Tons of exclusive content Boy howdy, it's fun.
Net neutrality Take away our liberty But god, not our memes
A pyramid scheme Recruits with false promises Work hard play hard, right? VI Why did Tim Hortons Have to call his donut holes Timbits...I must know.
FEB 19â€”MAR 4
Letter from the Editor
Best Donut Shops in the Twin Cities
A Good Time for the Truth
Rock Hop featuring deM atlaS and THOMAS ABBAN
8 9 10 11
Do USwing? Purple Reigns On Art by Megan Smith When Your Summer Internship is Running a Painting Business
Panel discussion on race relations in Minnesota with the authors of A Good Time for the Truth.
Curated art show featuring over 50 local emerging artists in Minneapolis
Art by Maureen Amundson
Q&A: Ben Noble
Open and Neutral
Celebrities and Second Chances
Are New Yearâ€™s Resolutions Worth It?
The Politics of Weeds: Opening Reception C
Evision: RAW Art Showcase A
A Theater of the Impossible
Art by Jaye Ahn
Minnesota History Center
Two Mile Hollow
w/ Ayvah, Seaberg
In collaboration with artist Bo Zheng, SEACHINA, and local artists and political organizers, the exhibition explores how we work with plants to transform politics; how we propagate cultures of resistance, resilience, and reimagination. Katherine E. Nash Gallery, West Bank
Co-production with Theatre Mu, a comedy satire exploring a dysfunctional family with brutality, awe and compassion
Mixed Blood Theater
2/17 Pho w/ Dirty Revival, Jessica Manning Turf Club
Alain Crepin & Twin Cities Saxophone Orchestra w/ U of M Sazophone Ensemble Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall
Letter from the Editor Dear Readers, I’m writing to you from my bed where I have been simultaneously battling the flu and working on my senior project. Despite this less-thanstellar start to my final semester at the U, I am determined to make the most of the next few months since who knows what will happen after that. So, in the spirit of the new year, I’d like to make a resolution for The Wake (to read one writer’s take on New Year’s Resolutions, check out p.20). It was right around this time of year that as a freshman, I followed a friend of mine to check out that magazine that had chalked in front of Coffman. We sat in the back of the room at the first pitch meeting, and I picked up a 300-word review of Mesa Pizza. Did I have any idea while I was thoughtfully chewing my first slice of that good, good mac and cheese pizza what a huge role The Wake would come to play in my college experience? Of course not. But here I am with only five issues left before passing on the title of editor-in-chief to our current Voices editor, the brilliant Tala Alfoqaha. I feel so lucky to have found this home on campus, and whenever we gain a new writer, artist, or intern, I am hopeful that we can be that place for them. My resolution for The Wake is to keep chasing the stories that interest students, to find new ways to open up conversations, and above all, to continue working with any student with a voice and an interest in the creative process. I call on all young creatives out there—it’s a new semester, so why not try something new? Even if writing/art isn’t your thing, check out one of the meetings from the ten or so other groups whose email lists you are still subscribed to. Or start your own group and let us know so we can help you promote it. Keep looking for opportunities you can make your own this year. And if you’re months out from being done like me…cheers, and good luck to us. Emma Klingler Editor-in-chief
FEB 19—MAR 4
The Battle Rages On
Check out the final round of Battle of the Bands to see who will reign supreme BY CLAIRE REDELL
Best Donut Shops in the Twin Cities Find out where to get the most delicious donuts in the area BY YELIZAVETA BABASHOVA I am a strong believer that a delicious donut and hot cup of coffee can lift even the lowest spirits. Who doesn’t love waking up to sugar and caffeine? For any of you donutenthusiasts out there, here are the best bakeries in the Twin Cities. Tim Hortons With such a convenient location so close to campus, Tim Hortons is a tough competitor. Their donuts are fresh, inexpensive, and delicious. My favorites are the Boston cream and apple fritter, but you can never go wrong with their bite-sized Timbits! Glam Doll Donuts While Glam Doll has been criticized for their prices, their donuts are still wonderful. The décor is probably the cutest thing about the shop, and their Northeast location isn’t too far from campus. I recommend the flirty Frenchie with espresso cream cheese and chocolate icing! Hy-Vee I don’t know how familiar Minnesotans are with the Iowabased grocery chain Hy-Vee, but they’re popping up around Twin Cities area. They have a bakery with some of the most delicious gourmet donuts I’ve ever had! With better prices than Glam Doll, their wonderful creations are sure to satisfy even the most decadent cravings. I love the bananas foster and maple bacon. The only downside is that the closest current location to Minneapolis is in Brooklyn Park. But if you’re willing to make the drive out, you won’t be disappointed!
With Spring Jam™ preparations already under way, students were invited to Coffman’s The Whole on Friday, Feb. 2 to escape the cold and warm up to the sounds of the Battle of the Bands. The competition includes four “battles” to determine which group will be granted the opportunity to kick off the Spring Jam™ concert on Friday, Apr. 20. The first round featured Nick Check and the Dead Century, Savage Oranges, niiice., and Papa Velvet & the Good Ghost. Nick Check and the Dead Century is a folk-rock quartet that grabbed the audience’s attention with smooth vocals and high-energy originals. It seemed as though much of the crowd had some prior connection to or knowledge of the band as they nodded along to their setlist and happily submitted their ballots after their final song. Following up the first act was Savage Oranges, who appropriately took to the stage with “(I Wanna Be) Savage.” The alt-rock trio has noticeable influences of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Clash. Savage Oranges has a classic garage band sound that would be sure to excite those in attendance at this year’s Spring Jam™. Next up was niiice. who surprised the audience upon the first note with screaming vocals that instantaneously caused a small mosh pit in front of the stage. With over 1200 “likes” on Facebook, it is clear they’ve already established a small and dedicated following. However, it is unsure whether the emo-punk ensemble would please the majority of those in attendance at Spring Jam™. Closing out the night was Papa Velvet & the Good Ghost, who ended up taking the crown that night. Frontman “Papa Velvet” most closely embodied the demeanor and appearance of Father John Misty with his sly commentary and impressive vocal control. To vote for the final contestants in this year’s Battle of the Bands, head to The Whole on Friday, Feb. 23 to cheer on your favorite band and get excited for this year’s Spring Jam™! 2
Dancing the night away with throwback styles
BY MEGAN HOFF
What I Did Instead of Watching the Super Bowl
My northern strategic avoidance adventure BY OLIVIA NOVOTNY As soon as I heard the Super Bowl was coming to Minneapolis, I knew I wanted to be out of town for it. I didn’t have any specific plans; I was just looking for an excuse to skip town and avoid the fateful weekend. On Friday morning me and a pal hit the road to Duluth with one goal: visiting the aquarium. We threw all the blankets from our beds in the back of the van and headed north. Of course, on the way up we had to stop at those nice thrift stores in the ‘burbs: the giant, warehouse-like ones that have quality shit like flannel-lined denim you never find in the cities. Once in Duluth we entertained ourselves by checking out the diviest diners, stopping in every antique store we saw, and poking around the huge industrial train yards at the base of the hilly city. We climbed over a locked gate at the entry to a tower that overlooked the land, and the view at the top was 100 percent worth it. At night we drove to the nearby Jay Cooke State Park and parked in an empty campsite to sleep in our car, in our cozy nest of blankets. While the first night was bearable at a balmy 0 degrees, the second night the temp was -20 and I was constantly shivering, aching for the morning, half-laughing and half-crying at the fact that we were out there trying to sleep. Sunday we were all smiles despite the cold as we went to the Great Lakes Aquarium, boasting the title of the largest sturgeon touch tank in North America. And let me tell you—that touch tank was amazing. The sturgeon seemingly loved it and would continuously circle around and swim up to my hands, their big smooth bodies gliding under my palms, their spiky spines brushing the tips of my fingertips. We stayed there all day before driving back to the city Sunday night, successfully evading the Super Bowl in its entirety. 6 Mission accomplished.
The University of Minnesota’s swing dancing club, USwing, held a dance on Jan. 26. As a frequenter of USwing myself, I made sure to clear my Friday night for this. The theme was “Swinging Through the 20s” and had a Great Gatsby-esque vibe, with a few people in elaborate costumes, mocktails, and even a photo booth. The event was open to all; there was no need for any prior experience. There was a lesson at the beginning of the dance and another one about halfway through for latecomers. For those who aren’t familiar with this style of dancing, it originated in the 1920s with the rise of jazz music in Harlem. Some popular styles still around today (and that are taught at USwing) are Lindy Hop, Charleston, and East Coast. If you watch Dancing with the Stars, you can see examples of some of these. A lot of them can be fast-paced whirlwinds, although slower songs can be just as fun. If you didn’t make it to the event in January, do not fret! There are many opportunities to learn how to swing in the area, all year long. USwing meets on Thursdays from 8-10 p.m. in Peik Hall during the semester. It is not exclusively for students, so if you have a friend who doesn’t go to the U they’re still welcome. The first hour is a lesson followed by an hour of social dancing. You don’t have to stay for the second half, but it is a great way to practice what you just learned! Rhythm Junction, located at the Four Seasons on Hennepin Avenue, meets on Mondays at 8 p.m., and with a student ID admission is only $5. If you’re looking for a new hobby and want to meet people, put on your dancing shoes!
FEB 19—MAR 4 4
Purple Reigns On The Weisman Art Museum’s Prince exhibit BY EMILY NESS stations were hesitant to play music from a black artist for fear of alienating white America. It seems that Prince’s spirit is as alive as the artwork depicted in Weisman Art Museum’s newest exhibit. The trademark display, filled with treasures of all kinds, tells the tale of an artist who was just as political as he was poetic, popular as he was powerful, and passionate as he was prolific. Hailing from the city of Minneapolis, Prince Rodgers Nelson is arguably the most famous musician to emerge from Minnesota. The artist, who passed away in April of 2016, was not only an amazing singer and songwriter, but a composer, producer, and performer as well. The exhibit at Weisman museum contains evidence of this by depicting Prince in a number of roles and settings. One of the first things that viewers will see upon walking into the exhibition is a collage created by Turkish painter Burhan C. Dogancay. The piece, titled, “Grego morphing into Prince,” brings street art and sophistication together, as Dogancay blends pictures, stickers, fliers and paint together to create a whirlwind of messages. “Ghetto Revival” and “Impeach Bush for War Crimes” are just a few of the radical slogans. Prince broke a great deal of barriers throughout his musical career—the first of these being racial. Although segregation legally ended in 1964, Prince had to work far harder than his white counterparts to make it to the mainstream music scene as an African American. After all, many TV and radio
Prince, however, never believed that his music was limited to a particular race. In fact, to him, music was seemingly boundless and unequivocally universal—something that artist Troy Gua highlights in a collection of photographs, showcasing sculptures that he created in honor of the star. In these sculptures, titled “Le Petit Prince,” an animated rendition of Prince plays a variety of instruments, such as piano and guitar, and portrays him singing and dancing. Many of these images depict Prince in his exquisite outfits, immaculate hair styles, and glamorous makeup—all of which created a powerful on-stage persona that made some question his gender and his sexuality, yet another barrier that he broke. In fact, Prince has always openly supported gender and sexuality equality. In his 1984 song, “I Would Die 4 U,” he sings: “I’m not your lover/ I’m not your friend/ I’m your messiah and you’re the reason why/ I’m not a human/ I am a dove/ I’m your conscience/ I am love.” In these lyrics, Prince suggests that he is something beyond a man, a woman, or even a human—a concept that Rock Martinez, a well-known muralist, expanded on in his own piece, also titled “I Would Die For U.”
signs—sits behind him like that of an aura, while psychedelic colors and patterns surround him like the music itself. While Prince’s music shattered barriers of race, sexuality, and gender conformity, it also broke barriers of religion. By stating that he is “your Messiah” in the above song, for example, Prince shatters the pervasive notion that God is white. Instead, he suggests that God could be of another race—a possibility that many never consider. This idea can also be seen in Lillian Colton’s portrait, titled “Prince.” Here, the star is depicted up close and personal, wearing a white cloak, eerily similar to that of Christ, along with facial hair—a style that he seldom rocked, further suggesting that this portrait recognizes him as a savior of sorts. Collectively, Prince’s legacy is one of many things. As a man, he was brilliant, progressive, and unique. As an artist, he was daring, creative, and fresh. And as an activist, he was able to project people’s prejudices back onto themselves. With 40 albums, 7 Grammys, and numerous monuments, memorials and exhibits, including the one at Weisman Art Museum, Prince’s spirit and the music that he left us reign on.
This piece depicts Prince wearing one of his ornate outfits and playing one of his custom guitars. The artist’s notorious “love symbol”—which incorporates elements of both male and female astrological
summer int er ns
nning a s ru pi hi
ou r y n
College Works Painting claims to offer a selective and lucrative summer internship, but some students have had a different experience. BY EMMA KLINGER, LIV MARTIN, AND ALEX WITTENBERG
You’ve probably been in this freshman setting: A large lecture hall with more than 400 students waiting for class to start when two students enter early to make an announcement. The professor lets them speak, and you, along with a hundred others, decide whether Instagram or the pitch is more worthy of your time. They tell you about a selective, lucrative summer internship opportunity— the details going unsaid—and in a minute, you’re handed a contact information card. You fill it out because you’re a freshman in search of opportunity, and by now you’re well accustomed to putting down your email. Next week your inbox contains something new: not an H&M ad or another neighborhood safety notice—it’s a recruitment pitch for College Works Painting. College Works Painting offers an internship a typical student would probably find attractive. According to its website, CWP uses mentors to work with students through the academic year to train them in skills highly applicable to a budding professional: owning a business, managing a team, and fostering interpersonal skills. Then students are set free to run painting businesses in the summer. An intern’s success is in their control, but CWP claims even an average intern will net about $10,000 each summer. The most successful, though, can make over $30,000, along with the choice of a $10,000 cash bonus or a trip to Cancun. A summer job yielding $10,000 on average is certainly something to pique a student’s interest. And while CWP doesn’t deny the difficulty of the program, the experience for some has gone beyond what would constitute a fair degree of intensity. Former University of Minnesota student Olivia Wicklund was trained as a CWP intern during the 2014-2015 school year. She left the program before it officially started after her assigned mentor took her and a group out on a practice door-to-door sales run. Wicklund said she was pressured by her mentor to take energy shots before door knocking until 10:30 p.m. in winter. Another member of the group was on crutches, Wicklund said, and after a few hours going doorto-door, she fell and further injured herself. Fed up, they left the training session despite their mentor saying they couldn’t leave. Wicklund, and the person on crutches, quit soon after.
Another University student—a junior who interned with CWP after her freshman year and asked not to be named— said she made $36,000 in sales during summer and fall 2016 but was never paid for it. Even if she were, she said, she was uncomfortable with the sales tactics she was taught to use. “The company teaches you to say that you have ‘professionally trained painters,’ when you really just ask all of your friends to work for you,” she said. CWP co-CEO Matthew Stewart said interns are trained at a Sherwin-Williams store by its employees. “Our safety training well exceeds OSHA requirements, and they’re trained on safety every week,” Stewart said. “As far as the actual methods of painting houses, they are trained, and probably trained just about more than any other painting company.” Junior Samuel Boundy was one of those professionally trained painters during summer 2015. He was working 40 to 45 hours per week under the management of an intern he felt was unqualified. “He didn’t have many happy clients ever. It almost always felt like we were stealing from them, to be honest. It was a very negative workplace,” he said. Boundy said his managing intern cut corners during painting jobs. “We wasted so many hours trying to fix mess-ups … like dropping paint on this guy’s deck and having to scrape it off because my boss didn’t give us enough drop cloths,” he said. The junior student said she had an experience similar to Boundy’s. “They taught me how to stain in a 15-minute demonstration and then I had to B.S. how to do it with my crew when some poor woman hired me to stain her deck.” Dangerous health situations were also a concern. “We were supposed to have a plastic sheet to catch the lead particles from a really old house we were scraping lead off of. [My boss] didn’t give me gloves to paint that house either. I could have gotten lead poisoning,” Boundy said.
Conﬂicting Realities Stewart said the company’s compensation is fair. He explained interns are paid by commission from the sales they make but are guaranteed a minimum of $4,000 for completing the internship. Stewart said a student who makes $36,000 in sales should be compensated despite not finishing the internship, and they should still received a 5 percent commission—$1,800, in the junior student’s case. Despite that policy, the student said she was never paid anything. She reached out to her manager and the branch’s vice president but still was never compensated, she said. Nonetheless, Stewart said an experience like this one does not fall in line with company policy. The general campus sentiment regarding CWP echos these three students’ experiences and is often characterized by students warning one another to avoid the internship here and at other universities. A search of the University of Minnesota Reddit page yields scores of warnings. And CWP’s reach goes far beyond the University of Minnesota. According to its website, CWP internship programs operate in over 35 states. An op-ed published in The Badger Herald, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s newspaper,
“I didn’t understand why they were trying to recruit engineers to paint houses.”
alleges the company scams students and misrepresents itself. “Student managers flood into freshmen heavy lectures, speak vaguely of ‘a dream internship opportunity’ and sway wide-eyed young students, who are desperate for internship experience, into giving them contact information,” the article’s author, Luke Schaetzel, wrote. Stewart denies the article’s allegations. And some students recount a better experience working for the company. Alexandra Sitka, a CWP employee for three years of her undergrad at the University, said she made over $25,000 in six months her freshman year through the program. However, she did not see any money until the last two months of her internship, a fact that neither troubles her now nor did at the time. “That is what starting a business is like,” she said. “You don’t make money right away, you make sacrifices.” Sitka said that hard work lends itself to success in the internship, and it’s not uncommon for students to be turned off by its demands. At least half of interns will quit before the summer starts, she said, a fact reiterated by Stewart. “An intern is giving up weekends to work and spending some evenings calling leads to fill up their schedule. I worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. I only took a weekend off if I had planned it out with my district manager to make sure I didn’t get behind,” Sitka said. Factors like these strict time demands led to Wicklund’s decision not to continue with the internship. Both Wicklund and the junior student, in fact, said their mental health suffered as a result of the
program. “My depression and anxiety were so bad by the time I quit that I was constantly suicidal,” the junior student said. “If you have unstable mental health, this will put you over the edge.” In response to these dreary accounts, Stewart said a part of the internship is indeed learning resilience amid stressful situations. “Life is stressful for 20-somethings nowadays,” he said. “Part of the reason people can’t handle the stress and the time demands is because they don’t have enough practice.” A mission of CWP, Stewart said, is providing that kind of time-management training for students, something he says they’re not learning in high school. According to Stewart, former interns five years out of college are making five times as much money as their peers because of the training the internship provides. “Our people get placed,” he said.
College Works in the Classroom Although Stewart said CWP provides ideal entrepreneurial training, its internship opportunities are not to be found on official, University-sponsored job databases. The company is currently barred from recruiting through the University’s student and alumni database, GoldPass, said Becky Hall, director of Career Services. “College Works interns are expected to pay an up-front investment to participate in their internship program or are asked to purchase supplies for which they are not reimbursed,” Hall said. According to Hall, this practice disqualifies them from representation by Career Services. “We do have a fee review process as we’re looking at organizations,” Hall said. “College Works fits those criteria, so we don’t work with College Works.” CWP staff visit classrooms each fall on campus, freely asking for two minutes of a class’s time to give their pitch while distributing interest forms. Although classroom visits to promote business opportunities are permitted at faculty members’ discretion, distributing materials in the process is not. According to Hall, this falls under the university’s “Distribution of Information through Publications, Banners or Chalking” administrative policy, which states as its purpose to “minimize disruption of the educational mission and learning.”
Complaints against CWP are typically made retroactively, according to Hall, and though enforcement of this policy does not fall under the purview of career services, she has had professors reach out following a visit. “We are not made aware of that until after the fact, and so we’ve gone back and have shared this University policy language if there’s a faculty member who’s wanting to say ‘no, actually, you’re not allowed to do that.’” The policy violation is one matter. While the two-minute intrusion may be a bargain for CWP seeking recruits from a captive audience, it’s costly when it cuts into a large-enrollment class. If one calculates the average tuition per credit between in-state and out-of-state students as a little more than $591, a 476-student course like Intro to Psychology has a collective cost of $511.66 per minute. So CWP’s two-minute pitch costs students just over $1,000 of their tuition money—all for the company’s gain.
Contradicting Messages Melanie Sumiec, a junior at the University, dropped out of the recruitment process after she was made aware of the negative student perception of CWP: “I didn’t continue on with the process because word eventually got around that this company was sketchy and just wanted college kids who were worried about money for cheap labor.” Stewart credits the negative perception of CWP to students like Sumiec who only participated in the interview process or knew someone who did. “When you read those Reddits, they saw us in a class and they’ve got something to say about it, or their friend went to an interview,” Stewart said. “But they’re not ever people that really worked here, for the most part.” While a mission of CWP is to train students in skills crucial to budding professionals, the experience is hardly right for everyone. With such broad recruitment tactics despite the program’s demands, negative experiences are to be expected. Though students like Wicklund had experiences different from their expectations, others were more keen to question the merits of a program that claims to be selective yet recruits so widely. “It all felt very strange and shady,” Sumiec said. “I didn’t understand why they were trying to recruit engineers to paint houses.”
Art by Katie Heywood
FEB 19â€”MAR 4
Maureen Amundson THE WAKE
Ben Noble BY LIV MARTIN
Many people say they’d love to quit their desk job to pursue their true dreams, but not many end up doing it. Ben Noble was one of the rare few who did. After years of obsessing over music, he has recently launched a solo career as a singer-songwriter. Noble’s intimate sound and lullaby-like melodies set him apart in the Twin Cities music scene. His debut album, Whisky Priest, is out now.
The Wake: What made you want to start a solo career? Ben Noble: Honestly, it’s been a thing for a long time. Basically, since high school. But, I never really got serious with it until about two and a half years ago. I was working at a job, and I hated it. I hated everybody there—well, not everybody. I hated a lot of things about working there, and so I just quit. I was just like, “All right. Nothing is going to ever happen with my music unless I make a drastic change.” I had a bunch of friends who were doing freelance music as well. I was like, “If they can figure it out, I can figure it out.” I have a daughter and she’s three now. She was almost one at the time, so I was like, “OK. I just quit my job, and I’ll do the stay-at-home Dad thing, and work on music.” Then I started thinking, “I should make an album.” That’s when it started being an actual thing. I’ve been writing songs for years. I always had dreams about making an album and never put the time in. : How has your family supported you throughout the process? How does your daughter factor into this new step you’ve taken in your life?
Image courtesy of Ben Noble
BN: My wife has been awesome. She’s a teacher, at a high school. She teaches high school English and works really hard. My daughter goes to daycare three days a week. And, that gives me time to do the stuff I have to do. I do other stuff besides working on my music, too. I do gigs, I teach guitar lessons and I work at a recording studio. I’m definitely busy. But, having space blocked off and deciding how to spend it has been important. My wife has been amazing. She believes in it. : What is the best experience you’ve had performing live so far? BN: A few weeks ago I played a show at Honey. And, I don’t really like that venue. It’s basically just a grungy basement. But, I was like… screw it. I’m not going to bring all of my crazy, computer production stuff. I’m just going to bring my guitar and just be on stage, and just play all of my soft songs. And, just be confident—even though I don’t feel good about it. And, it was great! It was just nice because, when you play music really softly you’re totally taking a risk. You have to actively
FEB 19—MAR 4
trust the audience to not be raucous. Two things can happen… one, the music sucks and everybody is like, “This is uncomfortable. I’m just going to talk through it.” Or, “Wow, this music is pleasant to listen to. It’s not something I would usually get in a bar, and so I’ll shut up and listen.” For a long time, the biggest struggle has been being comfortable in my own skin. I feel like one way to combat that is just to get a full band to play really loudly and rock the fears away. But, I don’t think that is the solution for me necessarily. I have to face the struggle of playing bedtime music at a bar. : What is the story behind the name of your first album, Whisky Priest? BN: The big inspiration for an album was this book called “The Power and the Glory” by Graham Greene. In 1930s Mexico, there’s this anti-Catholic church purge happening. Basically, they’re hunting down all of the priests and either killing them or making them renounce Catholicism. There’s one priest left and they call him the Whisky Priest. He has a drinking problem. It’s just a really powerful story to me because he’s just this guy who obviously has issues but all along the way he does a lot of admirable and selfless things. He struggles with guilt and shame. I find it really powerful. He has an illegitimate daughter with a woman and sees her for the first time seven years later, and then just has all of the feelings [laughing]. I really resonated with this character, and the idea that we are all so much more complex. You can’t just slap labels on everybody because there are good things and bad things about everybody. And, I just like the contradiction of the words whiskey and priest next to each other. To me, it’s just like the juxtaposition between good and bad. : I read that you recorded this album in a cabin. Why did you choose that location? BN: Well, I’m a huge Bon Iver fan so I’m going to be completely shameless and in saying that that’s why. I went there for a few days to record the first batch [of songs]. It’s such a serene and inspiring place. The first batch was mid-spring… end of April. So, trees were starting to bloom. It’s over in rural Wisconsin, on a lake. It was my first time seeing rural Wisconsin, which is actually a surprisingly beautiful place. I went back up there towards the end of summer to record the
second batch. That was great because it was in the summertime. I could have some coffee on the dock. There’s something about being by yourself in a cabin… Maybe the walls start talking to you or something. I feel like I’ll probably try to go up there once a year to do a writing thing. Maybe I’ll record all of my albums there? We’ll see. : What is the story behind the album art? BN: My friend’s brother is a graphic illustrator who lives in Seattle. He is on a similar journey… just like a year further down the road. He quit his job and is just doing art. He also has a kid, so he understands that piece of it. Basically, I told him what the album is about and he was like, “Alright, man.” I gave him this picture of me and my daughter, just walking. Maybe base it off of this, but feel free to do whatever you want with it. I told him to put a bottle of whiskey in my hand, because it’s complicated. Some people might think it’s offensive, but, whatever. I don’t care. It’s just the idea of walking through life with my issues and having a kid looking up at you, being like “Tell me about the world! What do I need to know?” when I don’t have my issues all together. And, that is what the album is about. : Your music is not really head banging, jumping-up-and-dancing music, but much more sentimental and low-key. What does your ideal audience look like? BN: That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I definitely recorded it to be an album to listen to, probably late at night while driving in your car, when you’re a little bit sad. I’m still trying to figure out what I want the live show experience to be. I’ve had quite a few shows this year, and I’ve been experimenting with it a lot. And that’s ranged from just me with an acoustic guitar all the way to a full band, using tracks and going overkill on the production. I’m trying to find a good sweet spot for it. Live, I kind of rearrange the tunes a little bit. I don’t have strings, because I cant’ bring an orchestra on stage. Pretty much every time we play live, it’s a little bit different. How do we take this album and put it in this other context? I don’t know yet. But, it’s a lot of fun and I don’t get bored with a live show because I’m always thinking about it. In future albums, they might be produced more in a way that will immediately translate to
the stage… to produce them for a full band. But, with this album, that was never my goal. I just wanted to make something. : What kind of tools do you use to produce your music? Have you ever experimented with a vocal harmonizer like Bon Iver uses? BN: Yep! But, I didn’t use anything on the album. My rule with the album was that nothing fit. The only thing I could put on it were things that I could record with one microphone… not any electronics at all. So, that was my box. It was actually really nice, because then I focused so much more on the music than on the toys. After the album was made, I found this thing called a TC-Helicon VoiceLive 3. It’s a big vocal pedal board. It’s pretty nerdy, but it’s super cool. You can do any vocal effect on it. It has a harmonizer on it. And, you can set it to specific keys, which is great. It’s almost like using intelligent harmonies. Then, taking the next step in nerd territory… you can also control harmonies with a mini keyboard. So, it’s almost like a Vocoder. That’s what Bon Iver uses. Basically, you just you’re your chords on the piano and you sing and those chords come out. When I play live, I use that thing a lot. Track 2 on the album, called “Healer Might,” is all acapella with no instruments. I do that one live and I use that thing. It’s pretty similar to the song “CR∑∑KS” by Bon Iver. : What do you have in store for your next big project? BN: At this point, I’ve mostly figured out all of the stuff I need to do routinely: playing shows, and publicity, and that stuff. So then, what’s next? Basically ever since I came out with my album, I’ve spent almost all of my time just learning production and buying new things and experimenting. I’ve not been in the season of creativity just because I’ve been learning all of these tools. But, I’m getting to the point now where I’m starting to actually know how to use them! I’m guessing in the next 6 months the creativity spark will come back. And, you know, it is interesting, because you do an album… when you sit down to do another album, you have to reinvent yourself. Ultimately, each year of our lives we are a slightly different version of ourselves.
Open and Neutral BY CODY PERAKSLIS
We are entering an internet utopia or dystopia; we just can’t agree which it is. This is the extreme undercurrent of the net neutrality debate. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in December to undo the 2015 Open Internet Order that classified the internet as a common carrier and they have since embraced the implications of that decision. This sounds relatively innocuous, but let’s dive in to what it means. Common carrier is somewhat of a vague term. The NARUC I Test for the FCC states that a company is operating as a common carrier if it offers its service indiscriminately to the public, or it should be required to do so for the public interest. Under this definition, a company can be acting as a common carrier even if it doesn’t face common carrier regulation. What it carries could technically be anything, but this debate centers around the transportation of information. Being labeled a common carrier puts a company under the regulation of Title II of the FCC. This cements the service of the carrier, ensuring fairness at the cost of rapid development. Common carriers must provide extensive documentation on their company, which is not the main pain point. Common carriers must file their charges, practices, classifications, and regulations with the FCC. To change any of those aspects of their business, they must submit a request to the FCC with a 120-day notice. Also, companies must request a certificate from the FCC to construct new lines (wires that send
What is happening to the internet information), extend lines, or acquire lines that are interstate and longer than 10 miles. The request must demonstrate the present or future public convenience or necessity of the line, and a similar certificate is needed to dismantle a line. This is the real hindrance to companies of Title II regulation. The internet was not originally listed as a common carrier, which worked well for its development. Eventually the internet became foundational to society, so in 2010 the FCC released the Open Internet Order that added transparency of internet providers and enforced no blocking traffic, no throttling traffic, and no paid prioritization. Verizon successfully sued in 2014, claiming these regulations, specifically anti-blocking, could only be enforced for a common carrier. However, the court did uphold the new transparency rules. The FCC retaliated in 2015 by making internet providers common carriers. There is a problem with this ad hoc reclassification of the internet: it doesn’t quite fit. Part of the carrying of a common carrier is it is from a defined point A to a point B. But let’s look at what happens when you visit a website. You go to www. wakemag.org, a Domain Name Service (DNS) Provider gives you an IP address to connect you with that site (220.127.116.11 in this example). Some sites have multiple IP addresses and alternate where they connect you per request. Often websites are cached, so other requests to that page don’t need to go all the way to the server. So, there isn’t a clear point B. This is one of the reasons cited in the recent FCC decision. Let’s follow the implications of that decision. The FCC now claims to have no authority to enforce anti-blocking, anti-throttling, or anti-pay-for-play in an ex ante manner, or before harm has been shown. Instead, having the internet under Title I allows the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce good practices in an ex post, after a harm is committed, manner. Some see this as giving more freedom to service providers, allowing for more innovation and inviting more players into the market. Others see this as giving free reign to service providers to shake down consumers and big companies at the expense of the open internet. This is the utopia/dystopia distinction, but I don’t foresee either extreme happening. Already some of the bigger companies have tremendous power over the service providers, even after this decision. Still, many states are calling to re-enact the lost powers at the state level, a move that adds too much complication to be credible. Many people are paying attention to this issue— and for good reason. The real dangers to freedom are the things we blindly accept.
FEB 19—MAR 4
Celebrities and Second Chances Is cancel culture always justified? BY CLAIRE REDELL
Whether or not one believes that humans are inherently good, the idea of a second chance can be difficult to give to individuals living in the public eye. Recently, the concept of “cancel culture” has become particularly relevant in the age of social media where users are quick to call for the end of a celebrity’s career after a scandal. To some, policing others’ behavior online can be advantageous by holding those in prominent positions accountable for their actions. Many discussions in the aftermath of a controversy involve the decision as to whether or not an apology is sufficient. Above all, the question remains whether actions truly speak louder than words. Oftentimes, consumers of media will base their stance on a controversy based on the first instance of it they see. Unfortunately for the subjects of the story, this can create holes and speculations regarding what truly happened, causing occasionally irreversible damage to individuals who were possibly not deserving of it. If utilized carefully, social media platforms can be useful for issuing apologies and clearing the air regarding a matter. A possible exception to this subject can best be described with the recent controversy surrounding the future of Logan Paul’s career after he posted graphic content on his YouTube channel. Weeks ago, Paul shared mostly uncensored footage of a deceased victim in Japan’s suicide forest on his channel. The boundaries he overstepped were
clear and undebatable considering the evidence of the incident. This mirrors backlash aimed at other YouTube personalities like PewDiePie, Kian Lawley, and Shane Dawson for having a track record of controversial, racist, and inappropriate content that cannot be defended. Following the incident involving Logan Paul, he posted a written apology to his Twitter followed by a video uploaded to YouTube in which he revealed his regret for his actions. Both responses made by Paul were met with a significant amount of backlash by those who believed he could not fix the damage he had already done. Additionally, those same respondents wonder whether this regretful facade would fade as he transitioned back to his clickbait-centered content. Considering the number of dedicated followers some celebrities have, many believe that they should be exhibiting their best behavior at all times to set a positive example for others. On the other hand, some argue that regardless of the magnitude of a scandal, everyone deserves a second chance. Then there are those that land somewhere in the middle, who seek to grant forgiveness to others as long as they are able to admit their wrongdoing in a timely and open manner. Someone who has recently been at the center of this discussion is comedian Aziz Ansari, who was the subject of a sexual assault account from September of this year. This story produced a
rather definitive cut between those who believe Ansari’s career should be discontinued with others who believe there is a lack of clear documentation to draw any conclusions. While it can be easy to make snap-judgements in a case of sensitive material, conclusions on the Ansari story cannot be supported with complete factuality. This is not to discredit the allegations made by the victim, but to serve as a reminder that in this instance, the only two who know what truly happened are those who were there. In cases like these, the lines of cancel culture are especially blurred. Should Ansari’s career have been immediately “cancelled” after such allegations? Or should he be offered a chance for redemption? Perhaps most important about individuals faced with criticism are their steps moving forward. To some, an apology is the most important response following such a matter, to take responsibility for their actions in a straightforward and vulnerable way. To others, it is the actions performed in later days, weeks, and years that are most meaningful in order to prove their words through behavior. As long as social media dominates our world, users will be faced with constant pressure to remain conscientious of their actions and words. Unfortunately for some, the delete button cannot put a stop to discussions once they have begun. For now, the potential termination of a public figure’s career will likely remain in the hands of those online.
Are New Year’s Resolutions Worth It? Is January just another month, or is it really the time for change? BY YELIZAVETA BABASHOVA “What are your New Year’s resolutions this year?” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked this question in the month of January. We habitually make these new rules that we want to abide by when the biting cold of January sets in. However, according to a Forbes article, only 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions. So, what’s the deal? Of course, most everyone wants to improve themselves, but how can we make these changes permanent?
For the year of 2018, I made my first serious New Year’s resolutions. I say serious because there have been many years when I make resolutions with no real intention of ever following through. But this year was different. I wanted to make the most out of the rest of my time at the University of Minnesota. I am a transfer student and last semester was my first one here. The adjustment from a small community college to one as large as the University was difficult and took time. I didn’t get involved in any clubs or attend many events, and I barely utilized services offered by the recreation and wellness center.
wake up on Jan. 1, they’re going to have the drive and determination to stick to your goals. Reality check: you’re still the same person you were the day before, only now you write 2018 next to your signature instead of 2017. You can begin a new goal in May or October—the timing doesn’t change anything. What it comes down to is motivation and mindset. But how can you put checks in place to make sure you don’t fall off the rails?
I decided that spring semester would be different. I was going to get involved in clubs, attend events, and go to the workout and yoga classes at the recwell. And I actually did. I joined The Wake (obviously) as well as the Russian Student Speaking Association (RSSA), scheduled some campus events on my Google Calendar, and went to recwell classes at least three times a week. So how can it be done and what’s required?
Start small and make it realistic. If your big goal is to work out five times a week then start by going three times a week and slowly build from there. If your goal is to be more social and attend more events, then start by going out two or three times the first month and slowly increase. The reason so many resolutions and self-improvement goals flop is because we feel defeated by the small failures. But this is a part of any road to success and in order to succeed we must get up, dust ourselves off, and try again. And again, and again, and again. Resilience is key here. Life is full of disappointments and let downs, but if we stopped trying then we wouldn’t even be living anymore.
First of all, the timing of the year does not matter. There’s this magical idea that the second they
But the most important factor of all if you want to change your life in some way? Mindset. This is the reaction that people have to bad news and daily inconveniences. By changing the way you view things that happen, you will ultimately change your overall mood. What’s the point in getting upset that you spilled your coffee? It happened, it’s done, it’s over. You can’t go back in time to stop yourself from knocking it over, so what’s left to be done? Clean it up and move on. Since we can’t control everything that happens to us in life we need to focus on the things that we can control. And that is the way we perceive the things that happen to us. What’s the point in letting your mood go sour over a mild annoyance or daily irritation? You’ll be happier and healthier when you learn to let go of your false sense of control, accept what happens, and enjoy the ride. 8
FEB 19—MAR 4
A Theater of the Impossible Our story begins not in a colorful town in northern Italy, but in a drab one in southeastern Wisconsin. There, I used to hide in my bed with a weathered MacBook and watch all the gay movies I could find for free online. Each had its own cinematic nuance, but a common thread united them nonetheless: from “Speedway Junky” to “Head On,” all depicted queer relationships as inevitable failures leading only to heartbreak. Whether friendly or romantic, the relationships I saw taught me that I would live an unhappy, unhealthy, and unfulfilling life, distracted only by the pursuit of increasingly promiscuous interactions. And herein lies the first problem with “Call Me by Your Name.”
The problem with Call Me by Your Name BY BEN SCHROEDER
Although the setting and cinematography are more gorgeous than its predecessors, “Call Me by Your Name” is still just the same heterocinematographic viewpoint on homosexual and queer relationships with a facelift. Sure, the moviegoing public has become more comfortable with the idea of two men kissing on screen than they were in 2006 when “Brokeback Mountain” appeared in movie theaters, but not comfortable enough not to pan away from anything beyond that. When Elio and Oliver go to bed together for the first time, the camera swings toward a tree just outside the window. However, we see a bird’s-eye view of the conjugal heterosexual relationship between Elio and Marzia, seventeen-year-olds having what could otherwise be called a cliché, teen-movie, sexual awakening. No matter how you interpret the filmic merits of an arborescent effacement of homosexual intimacy, there is a clear gap between how heterosexual and homosexual relationships are depicted early on. Despite this, Luca Guadagnino still has an argument for his exclusion of the Elio and Oliver sex scene: “I refuse with strong firmness that I was coy in not showing that, because I think that Oliver and Elio…displayed a very strong intimacy and closeness in so many ways and it was enough (Guadagnino, quoted by Dry).” It is both disheartening and othering in a subtly harmful way that Guadagnino speaks about gay sex as though it were somehow outside of the closeness and intimacy he describes.
Though by itself the lack of a visually explicit sex scene is unimportant, juxtaposed with an in-yourface heterosexuality, the difference becomes problematic, distracting the viewer with the implicit—that a gay relationship should be secret, invisible, unspoken—and pushing them out of the film’s world. What we end up with is a theater of the impossible centered on a foregone, and ultimately broken, conclusion. What we lose is a valuable meditation on desire as it is eclipsed by the specter of cliché. And that is the tragedy of “Call Me by Your Name’s” failure as queer art. It espouses the same view of queer relationships as inevitably flawed in light of the ideal, heterosexual relationships flourishing around them—a fundamentally clichéd perspective. Clichés teach us nothing new about how to look at the world, which is exactly what, if you see no other value in us, we marginalized peoples can bring to art: new perspectives. I understand that straight artists have often misunderstood and misrepresented us as being sex obsessed, single-faceted characters interested only in the physical, but that is precisely why Guadagnino should have included the sex scene. By his own logic, the sex would have been intimate and close, a perspective on gay sex unfamiliar to straight audiences. It would have complicated both “Head On’s” final monologue centered on casual sex and “Speedway Junky’s” depiction of queer friendship, which still ends in a dramatization of unattainability that cinema had already decided was inherent to queer lives. As such, when “Call Me by Your Name” ends with Elio crying alone after learning Oliver will marry a woman, viewers are shown that same cliché. But that is not our story, and if we want a truly queer cinema, we must demand better. We must demand nuanced queer stories where the presence of societal pressures does not determine the possibility of our relationships. Queer desire should be put carefully and lovingly on display, probed and interrogated until it gives us something beautiful and new. In “Call Me by Your Name,” desire again tried to show us what it could teach but got lost in the comfortable rhythm of telling an old story the same way.
The Killers @ the Xcel Energy Center
Trip Jhené Aiko BY SYLVIA RANI Jhené Aiko’s latest album, “Trip,” is a grief-fueled journey of the body, mind, and spirit. Three years in the making, the album follows the death of her brother, Miyagi Chilombo. A heavily emotional album, Aiko’s lyrics explore life, death, and love in a gentle and personal way. She tells the painfully honest story of looking for love in others to fill the void left by her brother: “I don’t know, it’s weird / It feels like I’ve known you my whole life / I know what it is / You remind me of my brother.” Aiko seems to defy genres as her soulful voice floats above moody beats and meditative melodies. The theme of psychedelia runs throughout the album, with songs titled “LSD,” “Sativa,” “Psilocybin,” and “Trip,” as well as its brightly colored 70s-style cover art. It’s clear that Aiko is seeking enlightenment through its various forms and turns to introspection to achieve this. The album also features the voices of Rae Sremmurd, Swae Lee, Aiko’s father Dr. Chill, her daughter Namiko Love, and Big Sean, her boyfriend of two years. Dark at times, yet hopeful, Aiko shows listeners her vulnerable side in this intensely personal album.
BY TAYLOR KRECH The Killers are a unique band because they attract such a vast audience. When you think of them and their music, you can’t pinpoint their fans as being in one age group. The Killers concert on Jan. 17 at the Xcel Energy Center was filled with people of all ages singing their hearts out. Among the crowd, there were middle aged couples, clusters of teen girls, and flannel-clad college students all bopping to the music. The Killers realize why they’re famous and what songs get the crowd going. So, fittingly, they played some of their most popular songs from the early 2000s. Originally from Las Vegas, the band incorporated aspects of their hometown in their staging, such as the iconic Las Vegas sign reading “Drive Safe,” which was an aesthetically pleasing touch. At various points during the concert, everyone was suddenly covered in confetti while songs such as “Mr. Brightside” and “When You Were Young” played in the background, adding to the excitement of the well-known lyrics. The Killers have great music and what makes them an even better band is that they know how to perform it. They know when to pause and let the audience echo their lyrics, what visual effects make their music pop, and they make it obvious that they’re enjoying putting on a concert as much as the audience enjoys being there. You can tell that they give it their all with each song and that they aren’t the least bit sick of the songs they’ve been performing for years. The Killers love for their craft made the concert an even more enjoyable experience for me. I’ve seen them multiple times, and they never cease to put on a “killer” show.
Ephorize cupcakKe BY KARL WITKOWIAK It’s always refreshing to see an artist as unapologetic and entertaining as cupcakKe. The Chicago rapper gained some popularity this year over her incredibly bold personality and sexual lyrics. On “Ephorize,” her third album, she doubles down on what made her popular in the first place, but also expands outward to make an album that is part sensitive and part hilarious, but still maintains cupcakKe’s signature sexual yet earnest approach to rap. First things first, cupcakKe is nothing short of a fantastic MC. Admittedly, her flows tend to blend together at times, but when it comes to energy and even lyrical experience, she’s on top of it (in more ways than one, if you know what I mean). She continues with her super-sexual and sometimes brutal lyrics in “Duck Duck Goose” and “Navel,” but chooses to expand on more conscious material in “2 Minutes” and “Self Interview,” where she reflects on her life. “Crayons” is an LGBT anthem which promotes the sentiment “like who you like.” Then there are songs like “Cartoons” or “Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” where cupcakKe goes off. She exhibits some strong lyrical prowess and as always, heavy doses of humor in “Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” where she unabashedly says she came up with the idea for the chorus just because she was hungry. Her songs also shine when it comes to hard-hitting, epic production, such as on “Cartoons” or “Navel.” “Ephorize” is an album that cements (or at least should cement) cupcakKe as a powerhouse female MC, even usurping a lot of the male MCs in mainstream hip-hop right now. Though many of her songs are tongue-in-cheek, cupcakKe’s talent for rapping is nothing to laugh about.
FEB 19—MAR 4
RET RO R E VI E W
Daydream Nation (1988)
BY CHRIS SHEA
Of Mice and Men
When music historians pinpoint the exact moment modern alternative was born, they will find that it was on Oct. 18, 1988. This was the day when Sonic Youth released their fifth studio album “Daydream Nation.”
BY HANNAH HAAKENSON
This album helps create sound which would forever help shape the potential of indie rock. Yes, there was plenty of indie music prior to 1988 such as college rock, punk, and various avant-garde regional scenes, but the genres had yet to fully converge into the modern alternative sound that exists today. Impact aside, “Daydream Nation” is great because the music itself is great. The album’s opening track, “Teen Age Riot,” starts with a soft, dreamy opening with bassist/vocalist Kim Gordon putting the listener into an almost trance-like state. The soft dream is then completely shattered by one of the coolest guitar riffs of all time and some of the most deadpan vocals ever by guitarist/vocalist Thurston Moore. This is the aesthetic which exists throughout the entirety of the album. One moment, guitars are melodic, the next there’s nothing but the sound of Gordon, Moore, or Lee Ranaldo talking or screaming over the feedback of a guitar amplifier. Accompanying the music is lyrics which are either completely oblique, poetic, or imagine a world where the guitarist/vocalist of the band Dinosaur Jr. is the president. For any fans of alternative music, this album is a must-listen, not only because of its historical significance, but because it still sounds great nearly 30 years after its initial release. It sounds even better on vinyl.
I scream, you scream… Of Mice and Men scream? By dropping their new album, “Defy,” at the end of January, the members of Of Mice and Men demonstrate what their voices are really capable of. Bassist Aaron Pauley steps up to the mic in place of former lead singer, Austin Carlile, who left the band because he is currently battling Marfan syndrome. The first song of this new album, fittingly named “Defy,” opens up with guitar chords that set a quick pace for the rest of the song. After a brief pause, in which I checked Spotify to see if it was buffering again, Pauley’s throaty scream filled the air. His passion to defy things such as “this hopelessness” and “your callousness” along with refusing “to march into an early grave” is heard over the pounding drums and fiery guitar strums. As the first verse melts into the chorus, listeners are briefly exposed to the kinder voice of Pauley, who pleasantly substitutes singing for screaming. A gruff growl that turns into a full-on shout signaled the end of the chorus, and honestly, it was a bit frightening. From there, the band repeats their method of viciously playing their instruments while Pauley pours his heart out into the mic through a fierce mixture of singing and screaming for 10 out of the 12 songs on their new album. If you’re a fan of heavy metal screamo, I highly recommend this album. However, if you fall into the other 98 percent of us who are not, do not subject your ears to this kind of pain. My throat can’t help but hurt every time I think of this aggressive band’s music.
Heartworms & The Worm’s Heart The Shins BY HANNAH OLUND “Heartworms” struck me as an album I would love as soon as I started listening to it. The music is dynamic, captivating, and fits so well with the vibe of the band. Released on March 10, 2017, “Heartworms” is The Shins’ fifth album and their first studio album released in five years. There’s an overlaying chill and moody vibe across the entire album which is a trademark of The Shins’ music, yet each song has its own unique aspect. The first song on the album, “Name For You,” is upbeat with simple instrumental music and a dynamic range of vocals overlaying a consistent, ebullient background beat. The tracks “Mildenhall” and “Fantasy Island” have classic beginnings, simple tunes, and meaningful lyrics focusing on the past. “Cherry Hearts,” however, has a faster beat with a lively and compelling sound, compared to the other songs on the album, to convey the feelings of unreciprocated love. After “Heartworms,” The Shins released “The Worm’s Heart” in January of this year, and it is essentially a flipped version of the original. The premise is the fast songs are slow, the loud songs are played quieter, and vice-versa. Even the order of the songs is the complete opposite. The album is entirely reimagined and is a unique listening experience in and of itself. I enjoyed the original version of the album more than its flipped counterpart, but other than having the same lyrics, they are completely different listening experiences. When viewed separately from each other, they are both great albums.
K(NO)W MORE Fund Aurora 2018 | April 15 - 21
Published on Feb 12, 2018