by Audrey Avril ’19
It feels like we’re closing in on winter. The leaves have fallen, the birds have flown. The days are short now, and the warm vibrancy of early fall is long gone. You watch the sun set under a shroud of darkening grey clouds. It has gotten colder.
There is nothing like the end of fall to put you in a bit of a sentimental gloom, and there’s no one better to add a touch of sweet to your late-fall bitterness than Françoise Hardy. A more mature twist on the themes and persona of the 60s French yé-yé style of pop artist, Hardy brought a unique voice and perspective to the scene. As a songwriter, she would grow to forgo the cutesy (considered such at the time by predominantly male songwriters) innuendos and specific romance clichés of the genre in a way that transcends the decades in which she predominantly wrote. Her feelings are entirely her own, which makes it so much more passionate a listening experience. Through her often introverted, sometimes insecure lens, she is a woman half consumed by longing and half lamenting the loss of love. A little melodramatic? Maybe, but maybe that’s what this time of year needs. Here is a short playlist to bring a little life to this dull, dark time of the year.
By Charlotte Freccia ’19
Picture me on a Thursday evening in a booth at Wiggin. I’m all alone save for the textbooks, loose papers, and other academic paraphernalia that surround me. It’s been an exhausting week. I’m surviving––barely––on Amish granola and caffeinated beverages. I haven’t seen a dog in weeks.
Suddenly, by fate or God or Spotify’s spooky sixth sense: “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette comes on. And I’m crying. I’m crying. In Wiggin. I don’t have it all figured out just yet, either, Alanis. But you’re right. It’s gonna be fine, fine, fine. In the days to follow, I rediscover the wonder that is “Jagged Little Pill” and realize that the wildly-underrated Alanis has created a sassy, spunky song to fit just about any early-adulthood emotional situation.
How can you come enlightened, as I now am, to her infallible wisdom? Take this quiz to find out which of the Canadian songstress’s classic works is right for you.
By Charlotte Freccia ’19
Thanksgiving is a wildly underrated holiday. Overshadowed by its domineering cousin, Christmas, Thanksgiving is the time of year in which families come together to put aside differences, ignore the historical implications of the day, and tuck into a grotesquely caloric meal culminating in a game of football or, in my family’s case, a trip to the movies. This year, I’m making the trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving at my sister’s place, which, she has informed me, will be pie-themed: she’s an excellent chef and is preparing two savory vegetarian pies and two dessert pies. My mouth is watering already. Luckily, there’s a just-as-delicious, diverse group of artists who have blessed us with unique songs that convey the feeling of gratitude that characterize the season of Thanksgiving. Tuck in and tune in.
By Stephanie Holstein ’18
John Mayer and Bob Weir shredding in Columbus, OH, at the Nationwide Arena on Nov. 13. (credit: Stephanie Holstein)
This weekend, my sister, Katie, and I saw Dead & Company and were sent to another dimension. As every music outlet has covered the resurgence of the Grateful Dead in this new group and configuration–primarily made up former Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and stand-in, John Mayer–we were wary of how this change of line-up would sound. Given that most of the Dead have now retired from music or passed away–most notably, patron saint of jam bands, Jerry Garcia–it was definitely a different show than the concerts Katie and I have watched videos of, from the prime of the Grateful Dead’s career. And yet, Friday night they put on an unbelievably amazing show.
By Maddie Farr ’18
I am really excited for Wednesday’s Horn show – and you should be too. This week Kenyon will be welcoming indie star Frankie Cosmos and Ohio-bred All Dogs. If you are familiar with these groups, you are probably thoroughly thrilled by now. If these are new names to you, read on to discover why, this Wednesday, the place to be is the Horn Gallery.
By Devon Chodzin ’19
Much like Skylar Spence fans, fans of Grimes have been through a lot in the past few years.
After the wild success of 2012’s Visions, Grimes’ growing fan base has been clamoring for more. After all, her most devoted fans know that she’s capable of releasing a ton of material in a short amount of time. Between 2010-2012, Grimes released three studio albums and a collaborative EP, containing hits such as “Vanessa,” “Genesis,” and “Oblivion.” Claire Boucher, the heroine behind Grimes, kept hinting at a new album for 2014, even releasing “Go” with Canadian-American pop artist Blood Diamonds.
But then she scrapped it.
Finally, over a year later, Grimes fans can listen in disbelief to Art Angels, a 14-track masterwork that is unapologetically pop.
By Stephanie Holstein ’19
Coldplay generally falls into that category of bands that have had such long careers they become easy to criticize (think U2/Bono), but let me clearly state now that I love Coldplay. Living in London as a little girl, Parachute and A Rush of Blood to the Head were not only my family’s collective jam but a religion. They are one of the few bands that I will always go back to, one of the bands that I have the full discography of on iTunes (!!!) and yet, they are making me very, very sad.
By Devon Chodzin ’19
If there’s one thing I miss about home (besides my dog), it’s driving. I don’t have my own car so I couldn’t bring one to campus. By far, my favorite part of driving was the music. It’s almost like artists these days are coming up with music specifically meant to be listened to while driving.
Here are a handful of tracks that make me want to step on the gas and drive as fast as my dad’s Hyundai will let me:
“Not In Love” from Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith
By Kevin McKinney ’16
I’ve been in touch with banjoist George Stavis for the last few months leading up to his performance at the Horn Gallery after discovering that he was still performing regularly in a YouTube comments section. George Stavis is quite probably the greatest living unknown banjoist and his 1969 album, Labyrinths, is easily one of my favorites. His compositions are beautiful, haunting, and mysterious. I was lucky enough to conduct an interview via email this week—read on to hear what Mr. Stavis has to say about the banjo as a world instrument, his influences, and his musical history.
WKCO: When did you start playing banjo? What were your earliest memories of music?
George Stavis: I started taking classical piano lessons when I was six, and stayed with that for about five years. It seemed a bit square, so I moved to a teacher who was into boogie-woogie, a rage at the time. When I was about 14, my older brother brought a guitar home from college, and I started picking that up. A year later, he brought a banjo home, and from there on I was gone.
By Maddie Farr ’18
I (like many Kenyon students) have been a big fan of SPORTS for a while. I fell first for their debut album Sunchokes, which still perfectly recalls the fidgety anxiety and promise of freshman year. Seeing them perform live was always an experience, a sweaty room of bouncing kids singing every line back to the band. It’s not an overstatement to say that this album soundtracked my first year at Kenyon.
A lot has changed since then. Four of the five of SPORTS’ members have now graduated–Catherine Dwyer ’14, Carmen Perry ’15, James Karlin ’15, and Benji Dossetter ’15–leaving Jack Washburn ’16 still at Kenyon. But before they scattered, SPORTS recorded a sophomore album — this time in Philadelphia, with rising producer Kyle Girlbride. The result is the rousing 20-minute All of Something, which proves that both everything and nothing has actually changed.