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Love Your Local Band

Music - Love Your Local Band

Midnite Mojo

Midnite Mojo

For Marissa Valera and her brother, Millard, the act of listening can be a wellspring of inspiration for songwriting. Many of the lyrics they write for their local band, Midnite Mojo, are autobiographical, but they also get ideas from observations and other people’s stories. “[Sometimes we] listen to people when we go out, and hear their stories and think, ‘That guy’s story sounds like a pretty cool song—we could totally write that,’” Marissa says. The band began as a duo in 2007, with Marissa on guitar/vocals and Millard singing and playing upright bass.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Joint Chiefs

The Joint Chiefs

During the Persian Gulf War in 1990, local guitarist Don Caruth was working a construction job in San Jose when his best friend Ken Colby (aka KC) phoned him and told him to hurry over. KC had been bringing some friends together for a new unnamed musical project that focused on roots funk music. Minutes before Caruth arrived, KC and the other band members overheard a television newscaster say, in reference to the war, “the Joint Chiefs are in session.” KC knew they had stumbled upon the band’s name.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Siren Solstice

Siren Solstice

For Andrew Kunz, Siren Solstice is more than just a passion project, it is also a way for him to help shine the spotlight on some of the area’s great musicians. “I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for about four years and have come to realize how many really awesome, talented people there are here,” says the pianist. “I figured it would be amazing to collaborate with [some of them], utilize and showcase everybody’s talents, and highlight what they’re all about.” The psychedelic jazz fusion band released its self-titled debut EP in August, and its penchant for hypnotic repetition one minute and improvisation the next is a treat.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Rick Walker

Rick Walker

Rick Walker is a jack of all trades. The percussionist/producer/live-looping pioneer has played with bands that specialize in everything from British Invasion-style rock to world music, from jazz fusion to electronica, and has never been content to stick with one thing for very long. A lot of this stems from moving around a lot during his youth. “I was an air force brat, and in the first nine years I lived, my family moved nine times,” Walker says. “We saw a lot of exotic things, and I became a xenophile.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise

Wasted Noise, a progressive reggae/hip-hop band from Salinas, is bringing together the young and the old with its activism, socially conscious lyricism and dynamic beats. Family is at the heart of the band as Hank Macias lays down the bass and his brother, Ruben Macias, keeps the rock steady on lead guitar. Alex Cortez pounds the drums while Hector Hurtado jams on rhythm guitar and Kyle Dunn sings, raps and plays the keyboard. Though the band formed in 2004, the current line-up has been active for four years. What keeps Wasted Noise fresh and interesting over the years is the diverse musical background of its members.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Neon Satori

Neon Satori

What’s in a name? For Neon Satori, everything. “A big element of our music is combining an epic, spiritual [sensibility] which makes you reflect on life, with a fun, funky dance aspect,” says Nate Stein, who contributes percussion, synths, and backup vocals to the Santa Cruz trio. “That’s the intent of Neon Satori: the fun of neon, but the consciousness of Satori.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men

The Coffis Brothers and the Mountain Men is the latest example of Kickstarter making dreams come true. After completing a successful fundraising campaign during the fall, the local band is preparing to unveil a new record, called Wrong Side of the Road. “We didn’t know what to ask for and were kind of scared,” guitarist/vocalist Kellen Coffis says of their Kickstarter experience.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Remy Le Boeuf

Remy Le Boeuf

As one half of the Le Boeuf Brothers, Remy Le Boeuf has helped liven up jazz by infusing it with indie rock and electronic sensibilities. But there are some more exciting things on the horizon for the Santa Cruz native, including a debut solo album. “We’ve talked about this a bit, about branching off and doing our own thing,” Le Boeuf says of his and his brother Pascal’s musical partnership.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Native Sibling

The Native Sibling

It’s been almost two years since GT last checked in with local brother-sister folk duo The Native Sibling, and during that time, the band has been busy. Ryan and Kaylee Williams have finished recording their full-length debut album—Letters Kept to Ourselves—a follow-up to their 2012 EP, Water Too Deep, Words Too Shallow. “It’s very raw,” Ryan says of the album, set for release this spring. “Kaylee and I are both very introspective writers, so there’s a lot of songs about memories, places we’ve been together and the inner workings of family and friendships.” One of the new songs, “Oh Sing,” has already received some radio play on KCRW in Los Angeles, and the duo recently released a video for “Carry You.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Kalae Miles-Davis

Kalae Miles-Davis

Although he was raised in the tropical paradise of Oahu, these days Kalae Miles-Davis is a denizen of cooler climes—literally and figuratively. Now living in the much chillier Santa Cruz, the man who once intended to parlay his love and knowledge of traditional island music into a teaching career, and for a spell went by the moniker The Jazzy Hawaiian, has ditched his ukulele to pursue his newfound passion for the chillier sounds of straight-up jazz. "Moving to the mainland has really opened up more of a jazz interest in me," says Miles-Davis, who, despite his hyphenated last name, was only recently turned on to Miles Davis the jazz legend.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Amy Obenski

Amy Obenski

Amy Obenski is used to doing things out of order. She went to music school as a child, only to get a 9-to-5 job as an adult, which made her realize she wanted to forsake a steady paycheck in favor of making music. She's been doing that for 12 years now. But instead of working from her longtime home of Santa Cruz, she decided to fly to France three years ago and then work her way back. Since then, Obenski has built a transatlantic following devoted to her emotive, contemplative, folk-rock sound with the help of her new group, The Carbone Band, whom she met in France.

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