Music Profiles

On HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, Chief Broom Get Esoteric


Formerly standing at the foot of Bogus Basin Road in the north end of Boise, Idaho, there used to be a mansion called the Simplot House. The 7,370 square-foot, Mediterranean-style villa crowned the top of a hill, with a massive American flag towering a hundred feet over it. The mansion was constructed by billionaire potato farmer J.R. Simplot, who became the French fry supplier for McDonald’s in 1967 on a handshake deal with founder Ray Kroc. Erected a decade and some change later, the mansion was visible for miles across the Boise valley, Simplot Hill rising 200 feet above Bogus Basin Road. In winter 2013, a 10-year-old child sustained serious injuries sledding down the snowy hill and skidding into the road, colliding with the side of a passing car. Citing excessive maintenance costs, the mansion was demolished in 2016. The American flag continues to fly over the hill.


Across the cover of HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, the debut record from Boise-based band Chief Broom, is a mansion with a “For Sale” sign in front of it, marked “SOLD.” It looms over a crummy little home out of which the grim reaper steals a soul away. One of many projects coming out of the mind of Shadrach Tuck, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT wrestles with the odds of witnessing the people and places within his provincial suburb transform and deteriorate before his very eyes. Though Chief Broom’s origins date back to 2014, the debut album only became fully realized after the devastating loss of Tuck’s brother and drummer, Tanner “TJ” Tuck, to a fentanyl overdose in 2021.

TJ’s death became a wakeup call; the grief, mobilizing. “It’s taught me a lot about how I take my time for granted,” Tuck admits. “I think that’s why I’ve been so dead set on trying to push myself and bust my ass.” He broods on this regret throughout “if only,” a hazy, slow-trodden shoegaze track that opens with a desolate guitar, eventually unfolding into a forlorn and cyclonic landscape of piano, clarinet, flute, cello, viola, and saxophones.

Open in Spotify

The song’s production echoes the shifting landscape of Boise and its rapid gentrification over the last 20 years—a shift that is deeply felt by Tuck and his friends who grew up in the valley. “I look around and I see different places where I’ve gone and been with friends and done different things, and either they still exist or they don’t exist at all,” Tuck laments. “You have these fucking really rich people who come here to make this their fucking playground or whatever, and then you have kids who grew up here who can’t even afford to fucking live here.” He continues, “It’s like an erasure of our past, of our childhood, and [of] our coming to adulthood here.”

This sentiment is further felt on “DFAH,” in which the sight of Tuck’s changing environment resembles a mirage and causes him to declare, “I don’t feel at home in this place anymore / I feel so alone.” His strained vocals atop a robust, fuzzy production harken the traditions of Midwest emo and post-hardcore. The album’s tight drum tracks were recorded by TJ before his death, and now serve as both a memorial and a reflection of Tuck’s efforts to preserve that which has been lost. 

Tuck’s desperation to overcome the ruin of mortality and pay homage to his friendships is not only felt on HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, but has also inspired a greater project at hand: the formation of an indie record label. Beginning as a twinkle in his eye during a manic bipolar episode, Mishap Records came to fruition in 2020 after what he referred to as a “pilgrimage of self.” Finding a sense of stability, mentally and materially, allowed Tuck to return to musical projects and ideas that had developed but had never been fully realized with his brother and friends throughout the years. “I just wanted to finish what I started,” he says of Mishap’s formation. “Regardless if anyone hears these songs or not, at least we have somewhere to put them. . . [I]t’s for legacy, it’s for posterity, and it’s also for self-actualization.” The label’s logo, a rabbit bleeding with its foot cut off, serves as a reminder of the costs accumulated in the pursuit of good fortune. 

Open in Spotify

Chief Broom continues to grapple with the dice of fortune in the brutal track “saved (?),” wherein he recalls praying feverishly in Bible study class for the recovery of a friend with terminal bone cancer. A church organ drones languidly behind him, with guitar and drums that play acrid and sludgy. “God, are you on your way? / I think I feel you / I think you’re on your way,” he wails through the wall of sound. Though written and tracked with TJ’s drumming several years ago, Tuck decided to add a sparse acoustic bridge to complete the song following his brother’s death. “The middle half of the song is his absence, essentially.” The song closes with a dizzying guitar solo, and a surprising melodic uplift like a beam of sunlight cutting through a dark cloud.

Chief Broom’s dissonance is no deeper felt, however, than on the sprawling, 10-minute epic “bless my ignorance (outskirts),” which also contains TJ’s most exhilarating drum performance. Frantic and anguished, the track seems to crawl on bloody hands and knees towards the grave of innocence and into the ground where maggots will consume its remains. Tuck finds himself in the limbo between intoxication and reality, getting high in a warm Honda on the street outside of a party. The instrumentation journeys from heavy and noisy, to torpid and delicate, and then U-turns back to heavier and noisier. The whiplash will make your stomach churn.


The mansion is gone, but the flag billowing over the snowy hill remains.

Reflecting on HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, which has been so many years in the making, Tuck says, “The album is kind of like a love letter, but also kind of like a sorrow. . . [documenting this] trauma here in Boise.” Now that he’s finished what he started, Tuck is determined to continue honoring his brotherhood by funneling efforts into the expansion of Mishap Records at large, and making his mark on the Boise music scene by supporting and folding in like-minded artists. Despite the grief, Chief Broom looks out on the hellscape and still manages to see the sunrise emerging over the desolation: “From the outskirts we tell the world what’s true / ‘cause on the outskirts we’ve found a better view.”

Sienna Kresge
Sienna once drank a cup of bleach as a toddler and has believed time to be a flat circle ever since. Her style goal is Agent Dale Cooper from TWIN PEAKS and her life goal is to live in forested seclusion à la Henry David Thoreau.

    On THERE’S A PLACE I CAN REST, cursetheknife Remake Themselves

    Previous article

    On Steve Lehman, Hannah Diamond, And The End of PC Music

    Next article


    Comments are closed.

    Free ebooks Library zlib project