• Giving praise to Shakey Graves

    Whoever thinks good music doesn’t come from Texas is profoundly mistaken. I’m not a fan of the pop-country fusion you hear at bars that serve buckets of Bud Light and offer mechanical bull rides. But I do love the timeless twang of more classical folk and country.

    Shakey Graves—or should I say Alejandro Rose-Garcia—is more or less the king of Americana, the one-man band and the suitcase kickdrum (yes, that’s apparently a thing.) When I first heard his “Roll the Bones” on a music blog, I immediately googled it to find out what this soulful roots band was. I don’t know what surprised me more: That it was merely one person, or that this one person played “The Swede” on my family’s favorite show, Friday Night Lights. And let me tell you, he has grown up.

    Rose-Garcia’s voice unpredictably shuffles between a soothing croon to a near wail, but always reaps a sincerity that feels directly aimed at your soul. His lyrics speak the hard truths of life, heartbreak and the long journey to our physical and metaphorical homes. Perhaps the best part of Shakey Graves is the literal “shaky” aspect of Rose-Garcia’s music. You never quite know when the pace will pick up for slow down, when his voice will heighten or suppress, but that’s the beauty of it. You have faith that it’s going to be good, and it always is. see more


    April 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm

  • How you know it’s the final countdown

    It is finally April… which means that school ends in less than six weeks. WHAT?

    Where did the semester go? Between January craziness, Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, and March Madness — Spring 2014 simply flew by.

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    March 31, 2014 at 10:01 pm

  • Celebrate April Fools Day with literature

    This post contains spoilers about various literary works.

    While snow continues to fall on the east coast, spring has arrived in Arizona. Flowers are blooming, the sun shines beautifully. March and April are notorious for stunning weather. April also houses one of the silliest, most mysterious days of the year – April Fools Day!

    April Fools falls right after my birthday, and I usually forget the holiday exists because of all of the birthday excitement. This year is different. I was fooled pretty badly last year, and this year is my chance to fool in return. see more


    March 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm

  • Album talk: It’s music season

    A couple days ago while I was sitting at my desk and scrolling through Twitter, I read words that had been missing from the world since 2011. The Black Keys was finally going to release a new single. It’s one of those bands I can’t say I still listen to very often. However, I fostered an addiction to them my sophomore year in college while walking from the light rail to my English class in Tempe. It was a long stretch of ground to cover coming from my internship downtown, and I had a solid hour and a half of peaceful solace to listen at will. The Black Keys albums would be on shuffle the whole span.

    Can anything compete with “Lonely Boy”? I held my breath Monday as I sat and pressed play on the new single, “Fever.” It was good. It wasn’t great. But hey, they’re back, with an anticipated album release date of May 13 for its “Turn Blue” album.

    It’s a good time to love music. A couple of weeks ago, Lykke Li decided to drop a spontaneous bomb on Facebook with the unexpected news of a new album for the first time since 2011’s “Wounded Rhythms.” She released a video teaser for the album as well, with the tracks “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone” and “No Rest For the Wicked” to follow. She is a true visionary with dramatically heart-wrenching power ballads and video imagery. The album “I Never Learn” is scheduled to release May 6. see more


    March 27, 2014 at 8:13 am

  • Poet Ariana Brown knows how we feel

    “I have become a woman who writes poetry. I believe in my words, and therefore myself because of this.” – “Thank You For Taking Me To the Library” by Ariana Brown

    Meet Ariana Brown, a college student at the University of Texas – Austin. She is a lover of books, poetry, and people. And she is a spoken word artist.

    I subscribe to the Button Poetry channel on Youtube, and there I discover a plethora of spoken word poets and artists. This is where I found Ariana Brown’s “Volver, Volver” performance at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Her piece illustrates the struggle to love and identify herself in the midst of those who judge and criticize. see more


    March 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

  • The five stages of college graduation

    Life is funny because it moves on even when we want to stay in a moment forever. I’m in the second semester of my senior year and it hit me last week that this is almost over.

    I’m about to be thrust into the world with none of my safety nets. It’s as much a thrill as it is terrifying. We’re less than 50 days away from graduation. Grad fair is happening on Tempe campus as as we speak and many of us aren’t quite ready to let go of the college scene.

    You know that you’ve come to this realization when you experience the five stages of graduating into a big kid. see more


    March 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

  • Find frivolous intrigue in the Rococo period

    “They’re Singing Ro…co…co, Ro…co…co, Rococo”

    Excuse me for my awkward Arcade Fire reference, but every time I see this period in art, that song pops into my head.  Rococo, aside from being Arcade Fire’s muse, is also my most favorite period of art history. The frivolousness and ridiculousness of it all holds a very special place in my heart.

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    March 26, 2014 at 10:02 am

  • Kings of Leon and venue talk

    I’m not one for huge concerts. There’s a certain intimacy that you get in small to mid-sized venues that leaves arena shows feeling more like miniature festivals or sports events. My comfort zone dwells somewhere near the stage, surrounded by meshing conversations and the lingering scents of beer and cigarette smoke. Assigned seats miles from the stage—who needs them?

    There are a couple of rock bands I’ve wanted to see perform since I was in high school, one of them being Kings of Leon. When I heard they were coming to Phoenix for their “Mechanical Bull” album tour, I swiftly handed over my 40 bucks and committed to lawn seats. The last time I settled for lawn seats, I was 17 and seeing Coldplay circa their “Viva La Vida” days. I remember lots of big, yellow, balloon-type things floating over the crowd during “Yellow,” waves of confetti, band members rising from the crowd on a platform and taking cover in my hoodie as it down poured. All in all, it wasn’t a bad time. As for Kings of Leon…

    …decent. They performed well enough in the sense that they sounded good and played a variety of songs that satisfied both the diehard fans and recent converts. (Can’t forget that they opened the set with “Charmer”—a bold choice that probably only made me happy.) Other noteworthy picks included “Temple,” “The Bucket,” “Pyro,” and to close, “Sex on Fire.” It wasn’t until I read a pretty scathing concert review on that I realized the problem: no passion. The fire was gone, presumably left in a hotel room, on a plane, or let’s take the assumptions a step further and say, next to a bottle of booze. see more


    March 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

  • Paula McLain creates unique literary experience with “The Paris Wife”

    I had another lit-filled weekend and I hope you all did as well.

    Last Thursday night, I went to the premiere of Divergent to celebrate the end of spring break with my cousins. It was an action-packed feature, and I am impatiently anticipating Shailene Woodley and Ansel Egort’s roles in one of my favorite books. You guessed it: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.

    Recently, I’ve turned my attention to an equally riveting read by Paula McLain called “The Paris Wife.” see more


    March 25, 2014 at 8:36 am

  • Folk I’ve found: Sons of an Illustrious Father, Little May

    “Sweet enough to make Tom Waits cry, mean enough to beat up CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young).” I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is what Sons of an Illustrious Father decided to put as its band description on Facebook. I first heard this band only the other week, but it was one […]


    March 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm