Category Archives: A&E

Following Highlander Band: Marching band jolts audience awake at Columbus North

Photo by Sophia Perigo

Story by Gracie Vanover

Beep. Beep. Beep. This past weekend the Marching Highlanders woke up audience members in Columbus, Indiana at Columbus North High School for the first competition of the season. The band unveiled their show SynchroniCITY for the first time for the competitive marching season and was ready to take the win.

The band played Friday evening at the FC vs Vincennes Lincoln game the night before the morning of rehearsal for contest. Friday was the first time FC supporters had seen the show at a game this football season.

“I think we did alright, everyone was in high spirits once it started,” said junior Tatum Schaefer. “Musically we could’ve done better as a whole just because we got off time and separated by sections. Other than that I think it was a very good first performance and gives me hope for the rest of our season.”

For freshmen this was their first experience on a field other than their own and for sophomores the first time they marched on Columbus North’s field since last season the performance was rained out and moved inside. 

“Last year was stressful from the rain making our performance iffy, but marching against our competition was nice to see what we had against us,” said sophomore Ryan Gude. “However, we did win most of the awards, so I feel confident that we’ll do good this year.”

Of course with any show some had the pre-show jitters but they did not allow that to stop them in their tracks. 

“[At first] I was nervous but then I realized I didn’t have to be [since we’ve worked so hard],” said freshman Faith Andres. 

This year the Highlanders have progressed farther than they have in past years even though they did not reveal it all on the field.

“I feel like we are much farther along than previous years,” said junior Abbey Taylor. “Getting our music and drill much earlier than previous years has definitely made a major impact on our progress.”

Although the band did not reveal everything they have on the field this weekend they won multiple awards including best auxiliary, best percussion, sweepstakes, and 1st in Open Class. The band will continue their season this weekend at Lawrence Central in Indianapolis. To find out where the band performs and their schedule for other competitions check out their website: www.floydcentralband.org 

 

Anchored in Quality

Art by Sam Haney

Story By Daniel Anderson

As stated in the previously published review, progressive metal has been taking over independent labels recently due to the intricate and pristinely-made sound that bands of the genre typically produce. Bands such as Meshuggah and Periphery set a bar for the genre, known as djent, that many bands have since tried to copycat.

But as is for many genres, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Take Baroness for instance.

While still labeled as a progressive metal and rock act, this Savannah, Georgia based band has taken an opposite approach to the genre than most current prog acts. Instead of attempting to make their sound as clean and precise as possible, Baroness (as well as other contemporaries like Mastodon and Torche) combine the genres of sludge metal, alternative rock, and heavy psych into their sound.

It would seem that they have reaped the benefits from this. Since 2007, every new Baroness release (all color-coded, by the way) has been celebrated by the hard rock and metal communities. Their first two outings, The Red Album and Blue Record, were highly praised for their combination of heavy and compressed production of sludge with the technicality and finesse of prog rock.

In 2012, their double-album Yellow and Green, saw the band going in a more accessible direction. Despite still being well-received, these two remain a bit divisive among fans for going on that route. One could release the single “Take My Bones Away” in the mid-to-late 90s and it would be seen as another Foo Fighters-esque radio rock tune.

With their next release in late 2015, Purple, Baroness almost had a return to form. It served as a middle ground between their first two hard-hitting releases and the accessibility of Yellow and Green. The album was a tremendous success for the band, earning great sales, the adoration of fans and critics, and even a Grammy nod for the lead single, “Shock Me.” 

Because of this, it was no surprise that many, such as myself, were anticipating their newest release, Gold and Grey. And, unfortunately, opinions on the results have been split once again.

Like with Purple, it would seem Baroness is once again attempting to meld heaviness and accessibility. However, the accessibility has been slightly turned up a notch, perhaps not to the same level as Yellow and Green, but it is still a bit noticeable.

Should their approach be slightly tweaked, tracks such as “I’m Already Gone” and “I’d Do Anything” could probably released as pop rock ballads in the early 2000’s. 

Not to mention, there is also the tenth track, “Emmett – Radiating Light,” which comes across a Baroness’ attempt at an acoustic singer-songwriter track (like the poor man’s Mount Eerie or Sufjan Stevens). Yet the boring, deadpan vocals, and its inconsistency compared to the rest of the tracklist could make the listener question as to why the band would include this in the album at all. 

Speaking of which, one of the most irritating detractors of this record are the absurd amount of short, mostly-instrumental interludes it contains. Not only do most of them sound lazily composed, but they contribute nothing to this record in terms of pacing. If anything, these tracks all but kill the flow of the album.

Be not mistaken, this record may be laced with flaws in its tracklist, but that does not mean that Baroness went into this project without bringing some quality to the table.

Tracks such as “Tourniquet” and “Borderlines” demonstrate the fantastic songwriting, soaring vocals and tight instrumental composition that most people associate with this band. The thirteenth track, “Broken Halo,” which is a typical song by Baroness standards, is executed well enough to where it could be placed on the tracklist of Purple.

The eleventh track, “Cold-Blooded Angels,” particularly stands out among the other tracks by showcasing the band at their most dynamic. The track goes through numerous passages and transitions while still keeping up a top-notch vocal performance from frontman John Baizley.

Despite this, the most major misstep on this record prevented me from enjoying this album any further: the production.

For most, if not the complete duration, this album is absolutely plagued with a jarring amount of technical flaws. On the opening track, “Front Toward Enemy,” the guitars and the bass are mixed together in such a way that they sound as if they are falling over one another. Also, the drums get so lost in the mix that the cymbals are really the only parts that are noticeable.

Even worse, the vast majority of these tracks suffer from the same or similar issues in production. Perhaps the worst case of these drums comes about with the final track, “Pale Sun.” Not only is it unfulfilling for an album closer, but the cymbals near the end of the track border on being white noise.

On some tracks, the opposite issue is also present. With the third track, “Seasons,” the drums finally become noticable, but that comes at the cost of the guitars and bass, which are consequently buried beneath them. The latter is also drowned out significantly on “Borderlines.”

Issues with this album’s production could potentially continue for another few paragraphs, but underlying all of this is the most frustrating aspect to me: 

Baroness has never been known for being the best-produced band out there. The difference here is that the muddy and compressed mixing of previous efforts was a part of their charm. Purple, for instance, has a level of production that is almost as messy as what can be heard on Gold and Grey. But unlike this new release, Purple at least had a slightly gruffer approach in overall composition, so the mix compliments the album well enough.

Sadly, this is not the case for Gold and Grey. To have decidedly grimy production is one thing, but to dial it to a higher degree for a selection of songs that simply do not fit well with it is completely unnecessary.

This album could have been good, maybe even great when accounting for its highlights. What a shame that its greatest fault is something that could have been so easily prevented.

Standout Tracks:Tourniquet,” “Cold-Blooded Angels,” “Borderlines”

Score: 6/10   

Tracklist:

  1. Front Toward Enemy
  2. I’m Already Gone
  3. Seasons
  4. Sevens
  5. Tourniquet
  6. Anchor’s Lament
  7. Throw Me an Anchor
  8. I’d Do Anything
  9. Blankets of Ash
  10.  Emmet – Radiating Light
  11.  Cold-Blooded Angels
  12.  Crooked Mile
  13.  Broken Halo
  14.  Can Oscura
  15.  Borderlines
  16.  Assault on East Falls
  17.  Pale Sun

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kqi3ECPn2xHvZh4_pKWD-DxvdQAKcT3QQ

 

Just because Twitter said it does not mean it is true

Art by Sam Haney

Story by Gracie Vanover

Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. However, for some male Marvel fans, it appears to be the latter. With the new movie Captain Marvel being released on March 8, many have something to say about the male opinion of this movie. Feminists across platforms like Twitter seem to have the strongest say in what they think about their male peers who dislike the new female lead superhero movie.

After the new movie was in theater for a few days, talk around our school and social media grew with likes and dislikes of the movie. The issue of “men being sexist” against the movie came to my attention one day at my lunch table as it was the discussion topic. One of my peers said he did not entirely care for the movie, as it just was not as good as others to him. His real issue with sharing his opinion, however, was the fact that many female friends took what he was trying to say the wrong way. They felt as if he was saying what he said due to the lack of “sexualizing” a woman hero. In his defense, that was not the cause for dislike, but many insisted on that as the base of his dislike.

With many women in the Marvel fandom adoring the movie and female lead Brie Larson, it is somewhat reasonable to see how they incorrectly interpreted what these men are saying. In the movie, Captain Marvel does not appear as the average woman hero, as her costume is more “bland” compared to others. I think with the change of her costume many assume the dislike is solely due to “non-sexualisation” of  Larson. Although many men have clearly stated this is not the case for their dislike, some women keep pushing to say it is when it truly is not.

When it comes down to the actual costuming of the women, Marvel is actually very respectful in making them feel comfortable. But in doing this they also are decently consistent with the comics and their design. To bring the original example back, Larson and her producers agreed on how the original comic book suit would not fit for the movie style but they did not completely obliterate any connection to the comics. When it boils down to the fans as well, no one is angry because she was not shown in sexy spandex. In specifics, not just male fans but many fans were displeased with mainly the plot, according to reviews from metacritic.com.

It seems like many are quick to attack male viewers when it comes to female superheroes and their opinions on them. However, as mentioned beforehand, the dislike is never due to the lack of sexualization. With the world we live in now, many ads in media are meant to sell as sex appeal. Of course with brands like Marvel, DC, or other productions, that is not the intended case. These brands are dedicated to the viewers and bringing them quality content over the basic and easy sex appeal that most everything is branded with.

The fanbase has no right to be mad at the lack of sex appeal because that style of branding is never the focus of the Marvel brand of movies. The idea of male viewers being angry at the lack of sexualization is a false accusation on other viewers’ parts. For other fans or outsiders to accuse the fanbase of that is unjust and a false accusation. Not only is it making that part of the fanbase look bad, but it makes the entire fanbase as a whole look worse as well.

Overall, people use media to claim statements that a lot of time are not true. Even though in this society sex appeal sells content, this is not always the case. Marvel fans were the most recent target of the “only care about sexualized content” facade but it will not be the last. So before people accuse others of this, they need to take a step back and look at the whole picture.

 

Fans rain praise on The Umbrella Academy

Art By Sam Haney

Story By Eleni Pappas

A day beginning like every other ends with the world forever changed when something strange occurs to women all over the globe.

Dozens of mostly-single women conceive, carry, and give birth within a matter of minutes on the same day, at the exact same time. The children of these women are special in more ways than the circumstances of their instant birth and conception. Not only do they grow up to display miraculous abilities, but these children are destined to save the world.

It was a day beginning like every other — that is, until Netflix premiered “The Umbrella Academy” on Feb. 15. Based on the comic written by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, who also serve as executive producers for the show, the series centers on the seven adopted super children of eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The show stars more than a few notable names, including Robert Sheehan (Misfits), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), and Ellen Page (Juno).

The story opens up in the year 1989, with an anonymous narrator describing the inexplicable births of 43 children all over the world. Sir Hargreeves make it his mission to adopt as many of these children as possible and manages to find and adopt seven of them. He raises them in the Academy to train as heroes rather than live as kids, and only when he builds them a robotic mother are they given real names.

Number One is Luther (Tom Hopper), Two is Diego (David Castañeda), Three is Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Four is Klaus (Sheehan), and Seven is Vanya (Page). In the present the unnamed Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), has been missing for many years after he used his time travel ability to disappear into the future. Number Six, Ben (Justin H. Min), is stated to be deceased, presumably murdered on a childhood mission.

In the present, all the siblings are now 30, estranged from each other and the team long disbanded. Each of them are messed up in their own unique ways due to the strange nature of their upbringing. The sudden death of Sir Hargreeves brings them back together for the funeral, but things remain highly tense between the siblings. However, they are reunited in a common purpose when Number Five returns from the future, still a boy, and informs the team that the world ends in eight days. At first they think he might be crazy, but it soon becomes clear the fate of the world lies in their less-than capable hands.

“The Umbrella Academy” is a smash hit, complete with deep and complex characters, dark humor, tear jerking moments, great acting, and an incredible soundtrack. The shows continuing plot mixes those from the first few volumes, but still honors the source material while standing on its own. Gallagher, who is only 15, has been picked out as one of the most impressive actors on the series. Sheehan is another fan favorite, with arguably the most compelling character exploration as the show draws on. Sheehan as Klaus made fans both laugh and cry, being a source of much comedy in the show while also playing an addict who uses to numb his ability to speak with the dead.

On the negative side, some fans are disgusted with the perceived incest within the show. Throughout the show it becomes obvious two of the Hargreeves children have romantic feelings towards each other, which have made certain viewers uncomfortable. Other fans have defended this by saying they are not real siblings, as they are adopted, and were not raised as such. Instead, fans say they were raised simply to fight alongside each other, but not as regular siblings. Either way, for some, the romance felt unnecessary and did not fit with the rest of the show.

Do they end up saving the world and stopping the apocalypse? To find out watch all ten episodes of “The Umbrella Academy” on Netflix.