What happens when four teachers and a principal get together in a garage one night? No, there’s no punchline—it’s local Americana/rock band Crooked Branches’ origin story.
Engineering other bands at Paradise Recordings gave drummer Will Kahn a unique perspective on forming his own group. Not only did he want to avoid the more popular ’70s funk jams, playing instead ’50s and ’60s soul and gospel, he also wanted to do it with the best players possible—which he found thanks to the studio.
On Sun Maiden’s Facebook page, there’s a link to lead singer Johanna LeFever’s Soundcloud page, where she’s uploaded a handful of tunes. This is all that currently exists of Sun Maiden’s music. These are stark, melancholy folk tunes LeFever recorded in 2009, which she made just before hitting the road to go travel as much as she could—this travel bug is incidentally how she got her band name. A friend dubbed her Sun Maiden, as she was constantly chasing the sun in her travels.
Falling somewhere between the early ’70s metal of Black Sabbath and late ‘60s psych-rock, locals Mountain Tamer (Sometimes spelled MTN TMR) mix heavy riffs, experimental structures and pop hooks with an eerie, almost sinister sound. It’s not easy to understand the lyrics, but it almost doesn’t matter—they are obviously dark.
Jim Lewin’s latest band, Edge of the West, is an eclectic group. Their influences include Americana, bluegrass, jazz, reggae, and the psychedelic folk-rock sound from ’60s Haight-Ashbury. At the center of it all is country music, but not the kind of country music most people think of.
“Hall Pass” might sound like an ’80s screwball comedy, but really it’s a local cover band—and not even an ’80s cover band. The name Hall Pass refers to the fact that two of the members are teachers. The other two are parents of kids at their school.
On a stage adorned with plants and giant magic mushrooms, a cowboy lays down a mean drum solo, which is followed by a funk-slapping bass lick dropped by what appears to be an Aztec frog in a psychedelic shirt. Soon, a wizard begins tearing it up on the guitar while more animals float on and off stage.