Broken Bicycles in The Cabin


Tucked away in UW-Eau Claire’s The Cabin, The Broken Bicycles returned to campus on Sept. 14. The band is comprised of Turkeyes Laffity on keyboard and vocals, Thomas Maddux on electric guitar, Jason McLauglin on bass guitar and Kelsey Wefald on drums.

“I grew up listening to a lot of Tom Waits, and one of his songs is named ‘Broken Bicycles,’” Maddux said. “The band thought the name was cool; we started with a name, and built off that.”
After getting together as a four-person band, they pulled together and made a list of their favorite artists. They tried to base their sound on whichever bands aligned, Wefald said.
Maddux said The Broken Bicycles is currently going through a sound change. The first two albums were just ukulele and vocals.

The third album was ukulele, drums, vocals and bass. Currently their fourth album, “Physics of Sound” includes bass, drums, guitar, keyboardand vocals.

“We went from cutesie indie pop to new-wave indie rock,” Maddux said. “I think people like the change a lot; they always come up to us and say ‘I love your new sound.’”

“Our song, ‘Beacon’ is a really strong opener, and writing it just fell together,” Maddux said. “It was like falling off the top bunk into a pair of pants that were already zipped up.”

McLaughlin said after playing most of their shows in Minneapolis bars, The Cabin seems much more intimate, and he really likes
playing here.

“I think one of the biggest differences between Minneapolis, where we’re from, and a lot of the other music scenes out there, is that no one has just one band,” Maddux said. “Having one band is like having one shoe; it’s just not going to work.”

Rebecca Lawrence, a senior world politics major, and Dani Schmalz, a sophomore business administration major, are co-chairs of The Cabin Committee, which is a part of the University Activities Commission. Schmalz and Lawrence are heavily involved in seeking out the acts that play in The Cabin.

Schmalz said The Cabin Committee likes to bring bands back to Eau Claire if students receive them well.

But generally they have a policy that bands need to wait a semester to play again, which allows for greater musical variety.

“We look up bands on Facebook, and we get in contact with them,” Schmalz said. “The co-chairs are the ones who actually schedule the bands, but as a committee we field band suggestions and see if we can bring them to campus.”

The Broken Bicycles are one such band, having played in the fall 2012 semester, Lawrence said.

Schmalz said The Cabin Committee tries to look for local bands in the Eau Claire or Minneapolis area, which is really similar to what she wants to do after graduating — being behind the scenes of music business.

Anna Schwanebeck, a sophomore comprehensive political science major, went to hear the Broken Bicycles perform, and she said she enjoyed the group’s set.

“I thought they sounded really good together, and vocally (Laffity’s) voice had this Aimee Mann sound to it, which I really dig,” Schwanebeck said.

Because of UAC, there is always something going on the weekends; The Cabin Committee is just one of many. There are films and festivals, and as long as students are going to something, Schmalz said, she
is happy.