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Battle of the Bands Opened by Past Winner WinterHaven
Written by Ainsley Fraser Last Thursday, four groups competed at our semi-annual Battle of the Bands, presented by KJACK Radio and hosted by the Orpheum Theater. After great performances by everyone, Gone Before Us was declared the winner by the audience, earning free time at a recording studio and a Tiny Desk Concert in our booth. WinterHaven, a pop-punk band from Flagstaff, won the contest in the spring of 2019. This year, they returned to open the show and wish luck to the ones after the trophy. The lead vocalist, James “Jack” Hernandez, started their set off with, “Anyways, here’s ‘Wonderwall’.” Once the room settled their laughter, the four-piece band erupted into a symphony of drums and guitar. Since their success in this competition two years ago, WinterHaven has released two full length albums called “Apparition” (2020) and “B3” (2021). Some of their music has even been played on both local and state radio stations. Said to be heavily influenced by Blink-182, Pierce The Veil, and other bands, they want to, “Bring music they’ve fallen in love with back into the mainstream.” Just as they rocked the house this week for primarily NAU students, they have no plans of stopping anytime soon. With having shows in places like Mesa and Prescott recently, it will be no surprise when you see them playing across the country a year from now.
Young roster set to shine for NAU volleyball
“Trying to earn MVP, that has always been a goal of mine, but winning a conference championship is something I really want this year,” Jacobsen said. Part of that leadership comes from the lone senior on the team in Harris. She was named to back-to-back Big Sky All-Conference First Teams in 2018 and 2019. Even though she missed 11 games in the 2019-20 campaign, she is looking to come back stronger than ever, which may be difficult with the success she attained last season. She finished second on the team in hitting efficiency last season and is seventh all-time in NAU volleyball history in hitting efficiency at 30.3%. Even though Harris is the oldest on the team, she likes to view herself more as the “fun aunt” rather than the mom of the group. Murphy has only one losing season in his NAU tenure that began in 2013, but that team still went 9-7 in conference play during the 2017 season. Murphy has a 69.4% winning clip through seven years at NAU, while winning 73% of the time in conference games. The Lumberjacks look to continue their strong seasons under Murphy while only playing in conference games. “I like what I’m seeing in the gym,” Murphy said. “We are getting better and better every day.” The expectation for this team is a championship. They do have a leg up on some of the competition as they were able to practice last semester, while other teams couldn’t. Murphy said he hopes to lead them to another Big Sky Championship as they lost in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament last season. He has led them to two conference championships throughout his NAU tenure. Murphy can lead the Lumberjacks to the Big Dance for a third time with a conference title. The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship will take place in April with the national semifinals and national championship game scheduled for April 22nd and April 24, respectively. There are high expectations for the season and the Lumberjacks will look to make a push for the tournament with the leadership of Harris and Jacobsen. NAU’s schedule consists of back-to-back games against their Big Sky opponents. The only conference teams they will not compete against are the University of Montana and Idaho State University due to the shortened season. The 2021 season is scheduled to begin Jan. 24 at home against California StateUniversity, Sacramento. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement of the NAU volleyball team’s season as the Big Sky Conference moved all fall sports to the spring. For all NAU and Big Sky fans, spring is arriving and sports are returning. NAU volleyball has a lot to look forward to this season as they will play a 16-game, conference-exclusive schedule. With the Lumberjacks having only conference play, a sense of optimism is in the air as they finished third last season in the Big Sky with a conference record of 13-5. The Lumberjacks will host eight home games this season, which may bode well for them as they dominated at home last season, posting an 11-1 record. With modifications from the pandemic, no NAU fans will be able to attend games at the Rolle Activity Center. Fans can still watch as all Big Sky sports will be broadcast on Pluto TV. The team, however, looks very different compared to past rosters as they are a young group who lost two key players from last season. Abby Akin and Sydney Lema, two of the team’s former veteran leaders, both graduated. Lema is still with the Lumberjacks as she is now a graduate assistant for the team. They will rely on their young stars to help make a push for the postseason. Head coach Ken Murphy spoke highly of the team’s leadership despite its youth, as did senior opposite Heaven Harris. “The freshmen proved they can play with the rest of us,” Harris said. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Jacobsen, who was named to the 2019 Big Sky Volleyball All-Conference Second Team, excelled last year as she finished second on the team in total kills. Now, with a whole year of experience under her belt, she will look to take her game to the next level. Jacobsen said she wants to step into a bigger leadership role with this team. Story courtesy of The Lumberjack
Artist Profile: Father John Misty
Josh Tillman, better known as Father John Misty, is an American singer, drummer, producer extraordinaire. His career took off when he joined the indie folk band, Fleet Foxes. Fleet Foxes had moderate success in the alternative scene, but when they split in 2012, Father John Misty went on to hold a steady solo career. Father John Misty’s solo act began with the album Fear Fun. He has released a total of four full-length albums under this moniker. The Great Father is known for his cynicism and Machiavellian view of the world. With admittedly pretentious undertones, his music is larger than life and beautifully crafted. Every album is an experience — each album tells a tale. His sophomore album, I Love You, Honeybear, is a sweetly cynical tale of love. From beginning to end, the track list holds diversity and consistent musical and lyrical strength. The album begins with two love songs, juxtaposed by opposing undertones. The titular track “I Love You, Honeybear,” is an ironic anthem of dark love. The first chorus is, “Everything is doomed / And nothing will be spared / But I love you, honeybear,” which is a perfect indicator of the mood of the album as a whole. The following track, “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C For Two Virgins)” is an explicit love letter to Tillman’s wife, Emma. Nothing but sweet, this song is a highlight for me. Despite Father John Misty’s misanthropic nature, this album is a perfect display of his ability to love and to be loved. Other notable tracks, such as “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me,” are unadulteratedly sweet. If I were to describe this album in two words, it would be sweetly cynical. As we move down The Father’s discography, the cynicism grows. Pure Comedy, released in 2017, is significantly angrier than its predecessor. In many ways, Pure Comedy is a response to the political climate in America after the 2016 election. Pushing the themes of love aside, Father John Misty focus on the fatalistic realities all around us. His social commentary, while oftentimes controversial, is comedic and significant. One line in particular that hits the nail on the head is, “Bedding Taylor Swift / Every night inside the Oculus Rift.” As you could imagine, Taylor Swift was not a fan of this sexual jab. Pure Comedy is Father John Misty’s shot at a grandiose view of reality, stepping away from the romanticism of I Love You, Honeybear, and he hit the bullseye. Father John Misty exudes a type of angst that isn’t often displayed in music. He views the world through a less juvenile and more realistic lens than what we usually think of when angst comes to mind. If you’re trying to escape reality, avoid his discography, but if you want a brutally honest and crippling perception of the world around us, Father John Misty is the artist for you.
REVIEW: "Be the Cowboy" by mitski
Mitski’s latest album, "Be the Cowboy," is a musical, heartfelt masterpiece. Mitski is often crowned as the Queen of Sad Alt Pop, in a sense. Her lyrics are as cutting and brutal as they are gentle and honest. With "Be the Cowboy," Mitski makes a shift to being the centerpiece of her own music. Her vocals are not drifting, fleeting, or in the background. She is belting, so clearly, it feels like she is right next to you. With this more intimate shift, the lyrics walk the line between fact and fiction. Mitski has always been honest with listeners, but not everything on "Be the Cowboy" is first hand narrative. Some tracks, such as Nobody, are visceral and painfully real. Mitski has described the development of the chorus as her on the floor in a “semi-fuge state” saying “nobody” again and again. However, tracks like “Me and my Husband” tell narratives, not far from Mitski or the listeners, but ones that remain only stories and fictions. The tracks on "Be the Cowboy" emulate show-tunes at times, carrying a realistic story that is clearly influenced by Mitski as a writer and a human, yet are at arms length from her personal experiences. Mitski allows her listeners to live in a fictional world, not too different or less painless from the real one, but one crafted for us, the listeners.
Artist Profile: Prince
With his flamboyant image and noteable far-reaching vocal spans, the most consistent artist in the world of contemporary music continues to bring millions and millions of people across the globe boundless pride, entertainment, incentive, and of course, pure joy. Creating a unique mixture of soul, punk, rock, R&B, psychedelia, pop, and new wave, it’s fair to say he has left his mark on a broad field of musicians. Prince Rogers Nelson, more commonly known simply as Prince, was well-loved for his diverse set of skills from flawlessly presenting and performing an array of talents to creating a safe space for the LGBTQ community. Prince always knew how to wow the crowd as he would display breathtaking versatility within his productions. Not only had he mastered nearly two dozen instruments, but he would work alongside his bandmates to create such elaborate performances that few people could manage to balance. In addition to his various instrumental skills, vocally, his range could fulfill all areas of articulated talents. He could sound innocent, lonely, bluesy, humorous, lustful, seductive, desperate, robotic, and mysterious- all within his own verbal capacity. A few of my personal favorites from Prince that highlight such flexibilities include “Do Me Baby,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Little Red Corvette.” However, this icon wasn’t only admired for his vast production skills, but for his fluid attitudes of persona. He stimulated our rigid country long before gender had even become such an everyday dispute of society. Prince’s lyrics, fashion, and provocative dance moves had collectively depicted a sort of sexual freedom and immunity. He was explicitly desiring and aroused--as he confirmed with his selection of apparel--and was even bold enough to be completely or partially stripped from these clothes on stage. Or, on the other hand, he’d do the exact opposite with his stylistic choices by flaunting his facial perfection and lavish, dazzling shirts accompanied by heaps of sparkles and color. Overall, very few artists of his prestige are as functional and skilled in one area as Prince is in many. This immensely valued figure was a man of many eternal compassions. From his extravagant productions to his expressive acceptance, his spirit will always be remembered and embraced. All in all, today’s culture is so incredibly lucky to have been glamorized by the many talents and endless amounts of love from this revolutionary icon-- may Prince’s essence and soul be carried on forever.
Abbey Road: 50 years later
Published June 3, 2019 The Beatles are an international cultural cornerstone and have been since the early 60s. 2019 marks Abbey Road’s 50th birthday, an event I’m sure most find arbitrary, but an opportunity for me to talk about The Beatles, nonetheless. The history and discography of The Beatles is a long, strange trip. Abbey Road is arguably the most iconic Beatles album — it’s been celebrated for the last half century and I’m going to continue the festivities. Abbey Road is The Beatles’ eleventh — and penultimate — album. It is the start of the resolution to the Beatles’ story, following years of surreal experimentation and not to mention, their first and only flop, Magical Mystery Tour. Their LSD-fueled releases of 1967 marked a shift for the band. In Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour, the psychedelic themes fully reared their heads. They came down in 1968 with the White album — otherwise known simply as The Beatles — having changed, but remaining the same. Before the trippy themes appeared, Paul, John, Ringo and George were the world’s sweethearts. They spread like wildfire, charming everyone and their mothers. Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour were changes of pace. The fresh-faced boys we all know and love evolved into the most notorious trip guides of all time. The seven-year journey that was The Beatles ended with 1969’s Abbey Road and 1970’s Let it Be. These last two albums are an amalgamation of everything The Beatles were, ending on a comprehensive note. Tracks like “Something” and “Oh! Darling,” hold the charming romance that kept fans in love with The Beatles, but the drippy guitar licks and musical disorientation of Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour linger. From “Oh! Darling” to “Octopus’s Garden” to “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” Abbey Road never stops changing pace — back and forth between love and LSD. The Beatles’ didn’t make albums to be cohesive experiences, but an experience made up of several smaller experiences. Each song is a different trip, one moment under the sea in an Octopus’s Garden in the shade, the next in golden slumbers. Everything — vocal techniques, instrumentation, lyricism, tone — changes from song to song. Yet, they belong alongside each other. As the album comes to an end, they change their minds again. They carry “Golden Showers” into “Carry That Weight,” finishing with “The End,” beautifully flowing one track into the next using common chords and melodies, assisted by consistent tempo and alternating drums to bond the tracks. Listening to any of these three songs independently should be a crime. Despite the title of “The End,” it isn’t the final song on Abbey Road. The album concludes with the short and sweet “Her Majesty” — what I call an “end-credits song,” one of which also appears on Sgt. Pepper. It sounds as if the album is over, they’ve said goodbye, but if you wait a moment, they’ve left you a gift. Abbey Road was the beginning of the end for The Beatles. It’s a beautifully constructed and internally diverse album, but it is the preface to a goodbye. Abbey Road’s 50th birthday is insignificant simply because the music will never die. Over the last five decades, The Beatles have influenced countless people and have transcended three-plus generations. As long as we listen, The Beatles live on.
The Concert Constitution
Concerts are awesome. But that goes without saying. They’re a great way to get closer to the music you love, bond with friends and dance. However, many concert-goers don’t all play by the same rules. Often times, there’s that one annoying person who ruins it. Either they push in front of you, won’t let you stand in front of them even though they’re a foot taller than you or kick you in the face while crowd surfing. I’m taking this plague of concert douchebaggery into my own hands and creating the official Concert Constitution, an official denotation of concert etiquette. Those who are not in the mosh pit like it that way. Mosh pits are dope, but exponentially un-dope when you’re there against your will. Go HAM, but attempt to keep your arms and legs inside the pit. The borders between the pit and everyone else can be blurry, but attempt to respect those who are making a clear effort to move away and/or avoid the pit. Additionally, the pit should never reach the barricade. If you are not in the band, don’t crowdsurf. I know, guys. I’m sorry. No one pissed in my Cheerios this morning, I just have strong concert morals. Fun for one does not constitute pain and displeasure for many. Crowd surfing looks fun and exhilarating, but I cannot count the amount of times I have seen bodies dropped on heads or feet to the face. I’m sure it’s fantastic and I, myself, would love to try it, but I don’t because my body weight is not an unexpecting stranger’s responsibility. Please don’t push your way to the front as if you’ve earned it. This one should be obvious. Generally, the people at the front were there first. They waited in line. Don’t skip the opener and then expect to be let into the crowd or towards the front. Get there two hours early like everyone else or accept your place in the back. Be aware of your surroundings. Dance hard, as hard as you can, but keep an eye on your limbs. The people around you want to have just as much fun as you are having and being an inconsiderate crowd-goer with limbs with minds of their own can hinder that. Be aware of your hair. Unruly locks can be a side effect of dancing, head banging, jumping, et cetera. But if your hair is long, please pay attention to it. I don’t think anyone wants a stranger swallowing their hair, and I don’t think anyone wants to swallow hair. If someone looks as if they’re going to faint, clear the way. Just move. It makes me sad when you film the whole show. Take some pics for the Gram, post a Snapchat, text your mom, I don’t care. But don’t film the whole show. This rule has many exceptions. I’m specifically talking to people at the barricade or relatively near the front who are watching the show through their phones. Life hack: If you look up the location and date of the show on YouTube, chances are someone else filmed and uploaded it. So you don’t even have to film it! Respect the band, the venue and the staff. And please respect the opener(s). Please. If you break any of these rules, purposefully or not, simply be aware and apologetic to those around you. Have fun! :-) Honestly, despite all this, do whatever you want. Concerts aren’t a place to be policed, they’re a place to release your inhibitions and have fun. But just know, if you’re an ass, you’ll be seen as such. So just avoid kicking people in the face.
Artist Profile: Mitski
Mitski Miyawaki was born on September 27, 1990. On stage, she just goes by Mitski. Mitski is a Japanese-American singer, musician, and songwriter. Growing up, she moved around and lived in 13 different countries before she and her family decided to stay in New York City. Unlike many stars, she didn’t start her musical endeavors early in life. She began making music while attending the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in New York when she was 22- years-old. Not much else is known about Miyawaki’s personal life, as she is a private person and (luckily) people have not done much to violate that. Her break-through into the music scene began with her albums Lush (2012), Retired from Sad (2013), and New Career in Business (2013), the latter two both self-released. Miyawaki did a quick stint as the vocalist for the band Voice Coils, while working in her fourth album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek. This album was released in November of 2014 with the help of record label Double Double Whammy. Miyawaki decided to sign with the record label Dead Oceans in December of 2015 and has produced all her albums to date with them. Following Bury Me at Makeout Creek, she released the albums Puberty 2 in 2016 and Be the Cowboy in 2018. Miyawaki worked with Patrick Hyland on producing Puberty 2. She shared two singles from the album, “Your Best American Girl” and “Happy,” before the album dropped in June of 2016. Mitski surprised us with Be the Cowboy, as it wasn’t announced but was made available for pre-order in May of 2018. Again, she released multiple singles before the album was officially made public. These singles were “Geyser,” “Two Slow Dancers,” and “Nobody.” Mitski has also been included in multiple partner projects. She began by touring with the Pixies in 2017. This was followed by her participation in a 100-song collaboration album titled Our First 100 Days. For this, she did a cover of “Fireproof” by the popular band One Direction. The second collaboration album she participated in was called 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood, also during 2017. Her contribution to this album was a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “I’m a Fool to Want You.” To top 2017 off, she opened for Lorde’s Melodrama World Tour at select locations. Mitski’s most recent collaboration was with the band Xiu Xiu in 2018 for the movie How to Talk to Girls at Parties. For the soundtrack of the film, they created the song “Between the Breaths” together. Mitski has not released any new music since her latest album.
Artist Profile: Lana Del Rey
Elizabeth Grant – better known as Lana Del Rey – is an American singer songwriter. She’s appeared in commercials and has modeled for brands such as Gucci and H&M. Though the star first appeared on the mainstream music scene in 2011 with her debut single “Video Games,” she started singing in her church choir when she was just a child. From there, she began performing in the underground music scene of Long Island, New York. She started playing club shows at the age of 18 and continued to do so until she went off to college. She picked her music career back up in 2005, then known as Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, with an extended play release. In 2008, she released an EP titled "Kill Kill" under the name Lizzy Grant while working with producer David Kahne and 5 Points Records. Her first complete album, Lana Del Rey, was released in early 2010. At this point, she was still going by Lizzy Grant. Grant went through multiple stage names before sticking with her iconic front. Shortly after the release of Lana Del Rey, Grant bought the rights to her demo back from David Kahne and 5 Points Records. She then met the managers she still works with today, Ed Millett and Ben Mawson. She got an amazing opportunity in late 2010 when she was a featured artist on the MTV Unplugged concert in Berlin. The next few years would be big for Grant. She debuted both “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” on her youtube channel in 2011, both turning out to be almost immediately popular. She received a Q Award for “Next Big Thing” because of “Video Games,” as well as an Ivor Novello award for "Best Contemporary Song" in 2012. Her next EP, Paradise, was released in late 2012. It was also in 2012 that she signed with Polydor and Interscope Records. Together, they began working on Born To Die. From there, Grant gained more and more popularity. She worked on a song for The Great Gatsby, and well as having her song “Summertime Sadness” end up at #6 on Billboard in 2013. Since then, she has released 3 more albums: Ultraviolence, Honeymoon, and Lust for Life. With the anticipation building for her sixth album, titled Norman F*cking Rockwell, she has released the singles “Venice Bitch,” “Mariner’s Apartment Complex,” “How to Disappear,” and “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing For a Woman Like Me To Have- but I Have It.” Her newest album is expected to be released on March 29th, 2019.
North Coast by Goth Babe, an EP Review
His second EP of 2020, Griff Washburn, otherwise known as “Goth Babe” delivers another collection of Northwestern United States-esque dream pop indie songs. Taking his name from the Surf Curse song, Washburn currently lives out of his mobile home, exploring the great Pacific Northwest, with his lovely dog Sadie. Goth Babe is one of those artists who knows just what sound they want to create and North Coast might be his best example of this so far. Arguably his strongest release to date, North Coast perfectly captures the sound of the Northwestern United States. This is not just limited to Oregon and Washington however, as any of the three tracks on this album fit perfectly while walking through the forest here in Flagstaff, Arizona. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this EP track by track. “The Trees:” Starting us off, “The Trees” is a vibey MGMT-esque indie bedroom pop track that takes you on Washburn’s spiritual journey. From Goth Babe’s official Instagram “The Trees” is about “a tough but growing relationship with God, along with the struggles and life that comes with it.” Easily one of my favorite opening tracks off of any Goth Babe project, the part that stands out the most here would have to be the chorus. Repeating the line “You want my heart and I want more,” the melody here is ethereal and if there is a God, it sounds like they helped Griff out a little here. “As She Dreams:” Definitely my favorite song on the EP, from Goth Babe’s instagram, “As She Dreams” is about “an argument with my partner on NYE that led to understanding each other better.” With an instrumental driven by strummed acoustic chords and layers of synth and keyboard, “As She Dreams” takes you on a journey and will have you thinking about that special someone. Grabbing your attention from the start with another Goth Babe signature banger chorus, Washburn again doesn’t miss here, especially during the flawless transition to his falsetto as he sings “Only for a moment, I want you to know that, I will only be right back.” “Moments/Tides:”No stranger to outdoor activities, Washburn loves to surf and “Moments” is Goth Babe’s “ode to the ocean” for all the “life and clarity” it gives him. As the final track on the three song EP and most listened to on Spotify, “Moments” once again proves that Goth Babe simply does not miss. With an instrumental driven by vocal melodies and atmospheric keyboard, Washburn has created yet another vibey North-Western dream pop song that would fit right at home on a playlist for your next roadtrip. North Coast is an EP that always makes you a little sad when it comes to an end, but it’s just short enough so you can listen to it again and again. An artist who has yet to release a bad song, Goth Babe seems to keep improving with each new release, and I can’t wait to hear what he puts out next. Final score: 9/10
One To Watch: Maude Latour
Maude Latour's music is like a perfect mashup of Lorde and The Strokes! She is a college student at Columbia University making music out of her room and has curated a small but loyal fan base of young creatives. Her songs encompass the experience of life and love as a teenager so specifically, but in a poetic way unlike anything I have ever heard before. She’s been slowly making her way onto Spotify’s new teen music playlists. I truly think she’s someone to watch, and anticipate her music becoming very popular soon!