Category Archives: A&E

Daughters Return with an Absolute Vengeance

By Daniel Anderson

A key factor to a successful artist is their ability to hone their skills. It is a gradual process for sure; changes will inevitably occur in one’s work. But so long as that change can be managed and controlled, then they can still sound as good as ever.

Such has been the case for the Rhode Island-based noise rock group, Daughters.

This band first built their sound off of grindcore music. For their first two releases, Daughters did not exactly become the biggest band in the world (after all, grindcore is a genre that makes an art form out of songs that can be less than 10 seconds).

But somewhere along the way, something about the band changed. With the release of their self-titled album in 2010, Daughters abandoned their extreme, Dillinger-Escape-Plan-esque style. Instead, the sound which they embarked on leaned closer to a much more industrial vibe, while still maintaining the savagery and abrasiveness of their prior work.

For a long while, that album was considered to be the band’s swansong, as they were not heard from for years on end. But that all changed in 2015, when the band announced online that they would be making new music.

Fast-forward to 2018, and the band released the teaser tracks “Satan in the Wait,” “The Reason They Hate Me” and “Long Road, No Turns” for their newest release. All three of these tracks provided a chilling example of what was to come (the term chilling would probably be an understatement, really).

That level of uneasiness coming from those three tracks would only intensify with the long-awaited release of their comeback, You Won’t Get What You Want.

The title was well applied, as it insinuated what was to come.

Right from the get-go with the first track “City Song,” the listener is greeted with a horrifying presence. The drums open so randomly and so deafeningly in this track that it comes off a lot like a jumpscare — and it works just as effectively as well.

As the thunderous instrumentals drone on for a good portion of the track, somewhere around the four-and-a-half minute mark, they implode into a shrieking nightmare made sound. It should also be worth mentioning that Alexis Marshall’s almost spoken-word vocals combined with the sounds of him seemingly having a nervous breakdown in the background make this track even more manic and horrendous.

That was just the first track on this escapade and already this album can make even the most adventurous of listeners quiver in fear.

The ride only goes downhill from here.

Almost every track following seems to follow some sort of template, in fact one might even bear able to tell based on the song’s length. The fourth and fifth tracks, “The Flammable Man” and “The Lords Song,” both travel at blistering tempos and are the shortest tracks on the album. `

That still does not undermine the terror that these tracks bring. The crushing drums and guitars which almost sound synthesized both combine on these tracks to make the listener quake in their boots.

Although these tracks are still raw and untamed, “The Lords Song” does hinder the pacing of this album by a little bit. This is due to its placing after the “The Flammable Man.” If it came after a track longer than itself, such as the seventh track, “Daughter,” then perhaps the track would appear a bit more forceful than it already is.

Given the majority of Daughters’ discography, one might think that these shorter tracks are the ones that the band would fancy the most on the album. But, strangely enough, the biggest highlights of this project are the much longer tracks.

Now that more time is given to the band to focus on expanding their sonic boundaries, they have since crafted some of the most harrowing listening experiences of the past few years.

Tracks such as the previously mentioned second track, “Long Road, No Turns,” and the monstrous ninth track, “Ocean Song,” not only help give the album some weight in its tracklist, but are each as spine-shivering as the track before them.

“Ocean Song” in particular may just be the most defining track on the album. Lyrically, it paints an unhinged image of a man named Paul who returns home and is struck by a sense of unreasonable fear, causing him to run away. All the while he feels as if there will inevitably be something that catch up and grab him by the shoulder, “Knocking over trash as he makes his way/Sprinting like some wild animal/A blur beneath the streetlamps/Overhead, a terror-scream.”

Once again, the instrumental work on this track still makes the listener feel as if several needles are slowly, agonizingly piercing them from all sides and directions. It kind of feels like the album in a nutshell: a sense of overwhelming yet unexplainable fear grasping for the listener ever so frequently.

However, none of the other tracks have balanced the sheer malevolence of this album with just the slightest tinge of serenity quite as well as the lead single to this album, “Satan in the Wait.”

The track still welcomes the listener with as much paranoia as they would expect. The driving force of the drums gives off the feeling of some monstrous beast stomping ever nearer. It does not help that what’s delivered through Alexis’ crazed vocals mixes seamlessly with lyrics that resemble the inner ramblings of a madman, “Some faces not even a mother can love.”/ Says the spit and spatter of broken glass from above/ “There’s a tombstone where your headboard used to be.”/ They tell him every night before sleep.”

Even throughout the lunacy, there is still a well placed and, one would dare say, serene instrumental interlude during the chorus. It is this fill that provides comfort (or lack thereof) to the listener during such a demented experience.

But for the listener, it all changes during the final section of the track, when the instrumental that once provided them a shimmer of light during the chorus turn completely south, becoming part of the horrific experience that looms over the experience of the album.

What was once an illusion of serenity has now shown itself to be a hideous murder scene.

And that’s what makes this such an unforgiving experience. The album is like a stalking killer: no matter the efforts, there is nothing that the listener can do against the sheer force that this album brings.

Even during the sixth and seventh tracks, the “slowest” points on the album, “Less Sex” and “Daughter,” there is a bigger feeling of uneasiness and paranoia than most of the other tracks.

Yet, after all that, the album will not let up its animalistic nature. The final track, “Guest House,” goes full-throttle on the ears. Every bit in the instrumental with its panicking drums and guitars make the whole track sound like an alarm signifying the end of the world. It is as if some violent creature has escaped its prison, and has set out on a merciless rampage.

At this point, Alexis’ vocals have reached peak hysteria. On this track in particular, the lyrics he flat-out yells in this track go along perfectly with its desperation, especially with the repeated “let me in!” mantra.

This album, in its entirety, is the perfect recipe to make the listener uneasy. The insane and frantic vibe that it gives with its haunting instrumentals and yelping vocals make this perhaps the most electrifying audio experience this year; like a David Byrne album from hell.

While it is not as weird or experimental as something like Death Grips’ Year of the Snitch, it still should be noted that casual listeners would probably not be fond of sitting on the edge of their seats.

Even still, those looking for a challenge with their listening experience will surely suffice. With this album, the band has reached a milestone in the evolution of their soundscape.  Daughters fulfilled the title of their latest release, they didn’t give what the fans wanted. But what they did give was more riveting than what they could have ever imagined.

Verdict

Production A
Instrumentals A
Vocals B+
Lyrics/Songwriting A+
Accessibility D+
Final Score A-

Favorite Track: “Satan in the Wait”

Least Favorite Track: “The Lords Song”

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch v=5NB7RBZ1yGY&list=OLAK5uy_lRNKcLYcmtc-CHuytwrTRoGgiX54MasxE

Christmas movie reviews: Elf

By J.D. McKay

A human raised by elves strolls down a busy New York City street. A brightly lit LED sign reads “World’s best cup of coffee.” The innocent human elf views this as a child would, literally, and barges in exclaiming, “You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job everybody! It’s great to meet you.”

“Elf” starts by showing Buddy’s (Will Ferrell) youth and how he originally got to the North Pole. But after being the worst toy maker in the North Pole he makes a startling revelation-he is not an elf. After learning this, he goes to find his real dad, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), in New York City. He first finds Walter, who works in the Empire State Building. After a DNA test several days later, Walter accepts that Buddy is his son and takes him home to meet his wife Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and his son Michael (Daniel Tay). Michael’s first impression is that Buddy is an odd person. But the next day after a snowball fight only a human raised like an elf could have, Michael decides his new half-brother is cool and even helps Buddy get a girlfriend named Jovie (Zooey Deschanel).

The acting in “Elf” is terrific. Playing a role like Buddy could be an interesting challenge. The actor would need to act innocent and like a little kid in a city, and yet not act dumb. Ferrell pulls this off perfectly. There are very few other people who could play Buddy the Elf as well as he does. The rest of the actors also do a great job of working off Buddy’s quirks to make the scenes as funny and cringey as possible.

The directing in the movie also adds an interesting element. Obviously, this movie was made in the 2000s so Jon Favreau could make some pretty high quality animations, but instead he takes a page out of Rudolph, one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time. Instead of animating the artic animals that wave goodbye to Buddy as he starts his long journey, Favreau makes the characters look similar to claymations. Plus, some of the funniest scenes are funny because of the good camera angles that make Buddy’s actions just as awkward as possible. He also does an excellent job of using the actors’ tone to add humor.

This movie is mostly silliness, as are most movies Will Ferrell stares in, but this movie also shows strong family values. While Buddy might originally be hated by his father and thought of as a weird dude by his half mother and brother, their opinions on this weird elf eventually change and they love him.

The movie also shows that some parts of life are more important than a good job and chasing money. Walter starts the movie as a man completely obsessed with his job and not spending much time with his family. However, after a Christmas Eve meeting, he leaves his job and goes to help find his son and spend Christmas Eve with his family.

This movie has been out for 13 years and does not seem to be becoming unpopular, so it would not surprise me if it became a Christmas classic like Frosty of Rudolph.

The same human elf that loves sugar gets his first taste of the big city literally. As he skips down a busy street, he notices gum stuck to the bottom of a handrail and goes at it like an elf in a candy store.

Q&A with senior guard members

Photo by Kate Zuverink

Story by Gracie Vanover

Senior Emily Ford

  1. How long have you been in guard?

I have been in guard since 8th grade. I joined the winter season of 2014.

  1. What was your first marching band show? Winter show?

My first marching band show was Hexagon in 2015. My first winter show was Turning Tables (2014).

  1. What is your favorite thing to toss?

My favorite thing to toss is rifle.

  1. What’s your favorite guard memory?

There are so many memories I’ve made with this team it’s hard to just pick one. But if I had to choose just at least one, it would be back in Hidden (2016) when a couple of the guard members had to push really heavy and big props. This was the first day we had gotten the props and they were really hard to push. So our coach, Charles, was really trying to help us push them, but we were pushing them too slow and Mr. Yankey got mad at us. Then Charles yelled, “We are not Hercules” very loud and aggressively to Mr. Yankey. After that, I accidentally hit Charles with my prop.

  1. How does it feel knowing this is your last FC winter show?

Knowing this is my last FC winter show makes me really sad and upset, but I know that at my last performance I will walk off of that floor accomplished.

 

Senior Camryn Schneidau

  1. How long have you been in guard?

I’ve been in guard for four seasons now (seven seasons of marching band and winter guard), and I’ve loved almost every bit of it.

  1. What was your first marching band show? Winter show?

My first marching band show was Hidden (2016) and my first winter guard show was Through the Trees (2016).

  1. What is your favorite thing to toss?

My favorite piece of equipment is flag because I feel more connected to the audience when I spin a beautiful silk.

  1. What’s your favorite guard memory?

There are so many memories, it’s so hard to choose just one, but going to WGI last year is one I will never forget.   

  1. How does it feel knowing this is your last FC winter show?

I am very sad that this is my last show as an FCEG member but I’m excited for the future of this program and I hope that we all give this season all we’ve got because I know that we can do great things together.

 

Senior Ashley Wilder

  1. How long have you been in guard?

I have been in guard eight seasons going on nine.

  1. What was your first marching band show? Winter show?

My first marching band show was Hexagon (2015) and my first winter show was Turning Tables (2014).

  1. What is your favorite thing to toss?

I love to toss rifle and saber.

  1. What’s your favorite guard memory?

I honestly can’t pick a favorite memory.

  1. How does it feel knowing this is your last FC winter show?

It’s bittersweet. I’m very sad to leave this incredible program but I am also excited to see what the future holds for the Floyd Central Emerald Guard.