The Flash in My Pan

Kathlyn Hotynski

So, it’s a new year, a new semester and a new column written by yet another smarmy young college jerk who wears collared shirts and sweaters way too often. I know that all of you have probably had your wide-eyed enthusiasm beaten out of you by stone-faced professors with overzealous name games, but I’m hoping that we can get through this together. You help me, I help you. Anyway, since you’re probably as sick of introductions as I am, I thought we’d just jump right in to it.

I can’t foresee the future, tell you what you’ll get in Pols 150, or predict whether or not you’ll ever go out with your roommate’s girlfriend (probably not), but there are a couple of things I can predict.

Using carefully constructed scientific models, I’ve come up with a couple of guarantees for the year that is 2007. So here I stand before the court, calling my shots. Think of this as a reverse “year in review.” Hopefully, at least half of these come true, but if not … well, let’s just say this column will probably be wrestled from my grasp before we ever find out.

Guarantee #1: The Shins’ “Wincing the Night Away” will sell a billion records to mopey twenty-somethings who will, for the first time ever, be completely right.

Now, I don’t want to come off like I’m a Shins hater. Quite the opposite, I really enjoyed both of their last two records. The Shins consistently write some of the most thoughtful faux-folk-pop on the indie scene. For all of that, I never thought that The Shins had it in them to write something that was more than just a soundtrack for paging through your high school year book and quietly weep.

“Wincing” breaks out of that mold, breaks back into it, and then right back out again. From the first track to the last, “Wincing” is a complete musical thought. A strange, feverish dream of a thought, but a thought nonetheless.

I don’t know if traditional Shins fans will enjoy this record as much, as the musical melodrama that typically pervades a Shins album is enhanced with strings, keyboards, and even electronic backbeats; but that’s neither here nor there. Simply put, this album is great and you are right for wanting it.

Guarantee #2: Eau Claire will have a lot more reasons for students to not drink alone in their dorm rooms. Eau Claire has gone through a “transition” period in terms of local music. After local favorites Amateur Love and Deyarmond Edison left, the local scene crawled. Luckily, there are a lot of signs on the horizon that this is a temporary problem, and that before long you’ll be out of your dorm room (drinking alone) and into a venue (drinking with many, many other people).

Racy’s coffee shop on Water Street recently announced that it bought the business next to it and plans on turning it into an all-ages venue. This is something that Eau Claire has needed for years. I hope to write more on this as the details become more and more clear, but now at least you can sleep at night knowing that EC is just a few months from having affordable, cool shows that everyone can go to.

Venues are nothing without good music, and EC has plenty of this to go around as well. The Daredevil Christopher Wright has long been the one bastion of shining indie rock here, and with a new record due out this year, it looks like they will continue to … glow? Shine? One of those. Also, newcomers Meridene, Only the Sea, and Laarks also have records coming out later in the year, giving credence to the theory that Eau Claire can still have a vital and relevant music scene. Speaking of, Meridene, Only The Sea, and Daredevil will all be playing with White Light White Riot (of Minneapolis) at the House of Rock on Feb. 2. If you’re at all curious about what is going on musically in your own city, I highly suggest that you go. If not, well, I guess you’ll always have “Grey’s Anatomy” to keep you occupied.

Guarantee #3: Justin Timberlake will continue to make singles that grown men will be embarrassed to say that they like. This is self-explanatory.

So there you go, the year in review in reverse. Sort of. If any of these predictions are wrong, I blame science. 2007 looks to me to be the year that we take back Eau Claire, the year that we stand on buildings and cry out, “This is not enough!” Either that or it will just be the year that we get more music than we know what to do with.

Just remember guys, we’re in this together, so let’s make the best of it. As The Zombies once sang, “This will be our year, took a long time to come.” Indeed.

Jacoby is a junior print journalism major and a columnist for The Spectator. “The Flash in My Pan” appears every Monday.