Category Archives: features/arts

Yo gusta La Tengo

Indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo have been churning out noisy guitar rock since 1986. Fade, their 13th album, came like a welcome treat from a pastry chef who’s been baking yummy sweets for years. Like its bright album artwork suggests, Fade is a lush, catchy, and vivid record, perfect for starting out the New Year on a positive musical note.
Fade opens with the irresistible shuffling guitar riff of “Ohm.” Rich with beefy neo-psychedelia, youthfully earnest ensemble vocals, and even a fuzzy guitar solo to wrap everything together, “Ohm” is a fun and energetic celebration, bringing together the spaced-out pop of the sixties with the deadpan guitar rock of the nineties.
“Is That Enough” compliments “Ohm” with cutesy love-struck lyrics, sweet violins, and a pillow of warm fuzz to rest in. It’s the kind of song you could hear on the Juno soundtrack, except a little more rich. “Well You Better” continues the low key, adorably innocent atmosphere of “Is That Enough” until “Paddle Forward” blasts back into the grungy, crashing power chords that were so gloriously exhibited in “Ohm.”
After “Paddle Forward” buzzes out its final guitar splashes, Fade settles into a series of low key, chill-out grooves. “I’ll Be Around” introduces flavors of folk guitar picking, reminiscent of Fleet Foxes or early Bon Iver. “Cornelia and Jane” features percussionist Georgia Hubley on vocals, complimenting the track with a nice feminine touch. The retro “Two Trains” has more Sonic Youth noise rock in it than any other song on the album, mustering up a hint of Yo La Tengo’s 80’s roots. The record closes with the echoing, melodic “Before We Run,” accompanied by a psychedelic atmosphere built off of deceivingly mixed horns, singing violins, and pummeling kettle drums.
Yo La Tengo has always been a great band, and Fade is just one more great album in their catalogue. Fuzzy guitars, melty horn ensembles, candy-sweet violins, and youthful, heartwarming vocals all come together to form a thick smokey, psychedelic grunge album that even the most skeptical listeners will not be able to resist. I just hope Yo La Tengo will still be baking up their unique twist on indie rock for years to come.


LONG.LIVE.A$AP: Trash this CD A$AP

LONG.LIVE.A$AP may be the headstone to mark the grave of Rocky’s career as a rapper.
A$AP Rocky proclaimed his potential late in 2011 with his mixtape Live. Love. A$AP. I was enticed by the mixtape, particularly his single, “Peso,” which could prime the pump for any party worth attending. Both through his lyrics and production, he obtained an intensely raw and intriguing feel that set him apart from the big-box rap that currently dominates the pop music scene.
After multiple release delays over a year of anticipation, A$AP’s debut studio album promised to invigorate the new year. However, I’m incredibly disappointed in A$AP and his team. They completely fell short of the potential demonstrated on his previous releases.
Though the lyrics on his mixtapes were nothing to tweet about, Rocky puts even less thought into the lines on his record, which recycle the same women-money-drugs theme through almost every track and fail to sustain any depth whatsoever. His references are strikingly predictable, such as Bill Gates on the subject of money or Kurt Cobain when discussing suicide. His lack of depth, diversity, and the slow flow of his delivery render him unintelligent. Even “Phoenix,” the only song displaying significant introspection, is laced with cheesy metaphors and a sporadic form.
The first four tracks live up to the production quality on the mixtape. Clams Casino’s production, “LVL,” is by far my favorite track on the LP, furnished with an abrasive chillwave synth and a phaser that will collapse your lungs. But the majority of the second half of the album fades into something other than hiphop.
Many tracks would be better off on a teen pop album. One song, featuring Santigold singing a jaunty pop chorus, is decent, but Rocky is completely out of place. Despite A$AP’s gnarly vocals, it feels like a Nelly Furtado song with the sub dropped. And there’s the eerie pop song, “Fashion Killa,” where A$AP spreads vogue brand names and raps about shopping with his girl. It’s for sure a song pitched to the females, sounding like it belongs on a Keysha Cole or Brandy album.
The album’s flagship single, “F**king Problems,” disgraces the entire genre of hiphop. The single went on to top charts with its catchy chorus and expansive collection of featured rappers. But I wonder what middle-aged, white-collar producers and writers diminished A$AP’s originality and potential after he was signed to RCA Records. The track is cheesy beyond description. The atrocious pop song contains the same chord progression found in Justin Bieber’s track, “Eenie Meanie,” and One Direction’s “Live While We’re Young.” What once sounded like raw authenticity now sounds like a Disney cartoon edition of The Human Centipede.
The track “Wild For The Night,” Skrillex and A$AP’s duet, which starts as a laid-back Rocky track and then suddenly napalms into a typical Skrillex malfunction that leaves one wondering, where did that come from? From here the album is straight up boring and often feels like A$AP is running out the clock. There are a couple laid-back attempts at sentiment that ramble until you plead for them to end.
Rocky is an exhibitionist, writing for the sake of writing without deliberation or inspiration, but what he manages is simply asinine obscenity. I consider rap an art. Poetry, in fact. If licking the sole of your shoe is art, then congratulations, Rocky, you stuck your entire foot in your mouth.
Whatever originality and audacity Rocky previously displayed is now thoroughly whitewashed. What once promised quality, backslid to the lewd women-money-drugs cliché that was better off when it was uttered from some middle-school guy friends.

~Jake Lunsford, staff reporter

Scholarships: get the most bang for your buck

College tuition is steadily on the rise, along with expenses such as textbooks, housing, travel, and food. In a recession, paying for college is one of the hardest challenges that young people face, and the average student loan debt for 2011 graduates is $27,000, according to CNN Money. Many high school students, however, just don’t know how to take advantage of all the financial resources available.
“Between the local and national scholarships, the amount of money that students can potentially receive is really unlimited,” said guidance counselor Julie Kirk, who coordinates the scholarship program. “If you look deep enough, there’s something for everyone.”
Indeed there is – between local and national scholarships, college-granted scholarships, and full or partial tuition, last year’s senior class earned a whopping $2,019,240 in scholarships. That figure doesn’t even include the loans and other forms of need-based aid, such as work-study programs, that students received. So, to get you started on your quest for aid, here is a short list of financial resources available. Good luck!
1. National Scholarships, and Zinch and Fastweb are online sources for scholarships and student loans. Both require users to fill out specific information about their academic and personal lives to match them with the appropriate scholarships. Zinch is an affiliate of Chegg, which lets college kids buy and sell used textbooks for classes at a fraction of the price from traditional bookstores. It matches you with scholarships from all over the country, and lets you formulate a list of which ones to apply for. Zinch sends you an email when a scholarship deadline is approaching, or when a school is interested in you. The best part? If you win a scholarship that you find on Zinch and send in the documentation, the site will match the scholarship amount to double your money!
Fastweb doesn’t match scholarship funds, but it has a more accurate scholarship matching system. You don’t get repeat information, and you don’t have to sift through hundreds of scholarships to find the ones that you’re actually eligible for — it eliminates them for you. Fastweb also continuously searches for new scholarship matches, and it will send an email every time a new match comes up, listing the deadline and scholarship amount. And remember, transcript requests for scholarships, whether local or national, are absolutely free.
3. The FAFSA – Many students don’t know much about the Federal Application for Student Aid, but it allows applicants to be considered for all types of federal, state, and college-specific loans, grants, internships, programs, and need-based scholarships. The FAFSA asks students to input family income and tax information to determine individual levels of need, automatically qualifying students for low-interest loans, work-study programs, and other types of aid. Even if you don’t qualify for any of the federal or state aid, colleges look at the FAFSA to determine the amount of money that they will give you in grants or scholarships.
4. Fauquier High School Scholarships – Guidance frequently announces scholarship deadlines and reminders in the mornings and afternoons. You won’t find these scholarships anywhere online, except on guidance’s tab on the FHS website.
“The scholarship list is posted on the guidance website and nobody looks at it,” Kirk said. “Students should check it weekly because it’s updated all the time. We have around 40 right now, but we should hit 80 by the end of it all.”
Guidance counselors are there to answer questions about each scholarship, help you with the application, and give you information about where to turn it in and when to submit it. Many scholarships go unclaimed each year because students don’t apply for them.
“Some scholarships are for people on specific teams but no one applies,” Kirk said. “And that either keeps committees from giving the scholarship at all, or they choose someone from a different high school in the county. We don’t want Kettle Run or Liberty getting our money!”
Most of the scholarships offered through guidance are local, and many are specific to sports teams, trade and technical students, or academic achievers in Fauquier County. The lowest scholarship is around $250, while the highest is around $4000 or $5000. As an added bonus, students applying for local scholarships do not need to fill out a transcript request at all – guidance automatically submits one along with your application.
“I just hope that everybody applies,” said Kirk.

~Fiona McCarthy, staff reporter

“Richard III” to debut this weekend

Shakespeare Troupe’s production of “Richard III” will be performed in the new cafeteria on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.

Written in 1591 by William Shakespeare, the tragedy follows the rise to power, as well as the short lived reign, of Richard III of England

“[Richard III] is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s most famous and entertaining work,” troupe director senior Marina Finelli said. “It is culturally enriching, gut wrenching, and exciting.”

Strong acting by troupe members is reason enough to come out for the show, according to Finelli.

“They interpret the language so well that audiences won’t have to focus to understand the plot,” Finelli said. “They also make the twisted manipulation and raw emotion so realistic that it has me on the edge of my seat every day, even though I’ve watched them perform countless times.”

~Abby Seitz, online editor

How to beat the winter blues

Dreary skies, bitter air, the remembrance of the Christmas past, and nothing to look forward to but Spring Break; after Christmas winter can hit hard sometimes after Christmas. So, this begs the question, how does one beat the winter blues?

Every year, about 15 million people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can cause weight gain, cravings for carbohydrates, and low energy. Plus, our bodies naturally put on weight during the winter, so along with eating excess carbs, we go into bikini season looking like bears.

1. Exercise– there’s no better way to feel good about yourself,  maintain your weight and stay healthy. Also, exercise fills your body with good chemicals and releases all the negatives ones.

2. Sleep as much as you can. When school starts after break, it’s nearly impossible to get over sit hours of sleep, but 7 or 8 hours is recommended. Go to bed at the same time, to maintain your sleeping schedule and you’ll have more energy throughout the day.

3. Eat Healthy! Eating properly has a lot to do with energy level. Unfortunately, bodies naturally crave processed foods, which lack nutrients and leave us in a negative mood. Incorporate complex carbs, like whole wheats, veggies, and fruits, and drinks tons of water.

~Maddie Lemelin, features/arts director

Polka dots, cardigans and sweaters: Oh my!

The weather outside is frightful… so dress properly. It is always difficult to dress comfortably in winter and remain warm at the same time. And some days you just don’t feel like dressing to impress. Fight that urge. I am firm believer in “look good, feel good,” dress well to feel better about yourself later in the day. Here are some new trends to keep in style this season.

1. The classic trench coat is a basic wardrobe component, but this season it’s really making a come-back; it’s a great way to stay warm and look good.

2. Lace dresses are hip and happening: dress one up with a wide belt, tights, flats or heels and you’ve got yourself a trend.

3. Cardigans and button downs are also popular this season- especially, boyfriend cardigans and denim-collared shirts. Match these up with a pendant necklace, another staple in winter style, for something a little extra.

4. Block patterns sweaters are arriving straight from the 80s; match patterned sweaters with a solid scarf for extra warmth this winter.

5. In addition to block patterns, polka dots are a total asset. Wear them on sweaters, shoes, and even pants!

~Maddie Lemelin, features/arts director

Couples support PDA; Teachers, lookers digress

DSC_1524For many, there are lots of lovely attributes to having a high school sweetheart. Nevertheless these special moments are sometimes seen as inappropriate by the faculty, staff, and even some students.
“It’s definitely a class change occurrence,” math teacher Paul Reynolds said. “Some of them even act offended when I ask them to stop. I try to use my judgment. A kiss is fine, but if they elongate, I intervene. I stand very close to them and watch; I like to embarrass them.”
Public displays of affection do not easily fall under the radar with teachers who stand outside their classes during the class changes. Teachers try to make sure that there is no over-the-top displays in the hallway.
“I personally feel very awkward anytime I see children involved in PDA,” Reynolds said. “Maybe it’s because I still see you guys as 10-year-olds.”
The school handbook states that “excessive displays of affection and/or sexual behavior” is prohibited, but what is excessive is open to interpretation.  Some teachers have a much stricter approach to PDA.
“No kissing, no groping; I think a friendly hug is alright,” Math teacher Rosanne Lantz said. “There is a time and a place for that sort of thing, and this is neither the time nor the place.”
Affection in the hallways is not the only issue; risque and suggestive dancing at homecoming or prom can quickly earn a time-out for some couples.
“There were a couple people at homecoming that we had to speak to,” marketing teacher Diana Story said. “There were some girls standing on their heads, basically, with their butts in the air, and that’s not appropriate.”
Story agrees with Lantz that school is not the place or time for PDA. She has established certain criteria for students who wish to participate in such displays.
“My rule is three feet or three days,” Story said.
Many couples can attest to getting reprimanded for being too close.
“We used to kiss a few times in between classes, but we got in trouble by Mrs. Lantz,” said junior Sarah Delaney about her boyfriend, senior Andrew Warzinski. “So now we just kiss outside and not in the hallway.”
Students are known to avoid teachers by finding “secret” spots to mingle, like stairwells and rarely traveled hallways.
“I’m mean school is, like, one of the only places we get to see each other so we go places teachers don’t find out…we don’t want teachers to find out,” junior Sofie Kasteroff said.
However, not all students feel their PDA should be an issue.
“We hold hands or put our arms around each other,” senior Samantha Cooper said about her boyfriend, Louis Heisler. “But we don’t do anything out in public to where it’s not appropriate.”
Most couples feel that spending a small amount of time reminding a significant other how much they care is an acceptable form of PDA.
“It’s okay to a certain extent,” senior Colin Diehl said. “Like, a kiss or a hug goodbye is fine.”
However, witnesses to PDA can be offended and feel uncomfortable around a couple’s passionate encounters.
“Kissing is fine, but I don’t’ want to see making out,” freshman Juliana Magalhaes said. “Save that for your bedroom, no one needs to see that.”
~Maddie Lemelin, features/arts director