Sixteen years ago, guitarist Mike Sapunor, mandolin player Mahlon Aldridge and guitarist Brad Manosevitz started playing acoustic jams every Sunday at the local nursing home Pleasant Care, calling themselves the Frequent Flyers.
Anyone who has heard Folivore knows the intense feeling of dread their music produces. Formed in 2010 by guitarist Kyle Kessler and drummer Chris Patzke, Folivore—named as an homage to sludge metal act Weedeater, and because “sloths are the most metal of animals,” according to Patzke—was designed to unite their Holy Trinity of metal.
Singer-songwriter Hod Hulphers has no illusions about it, he has a weird name—but he doesn’t try to fight it. In fact, he’s chosen a moniker that’s even weirder: “And Hod,” which is a result of always being the opening act for years and seeing his name listed at the very end of the flyer as “And Hod.” He just thought he’d go with it.
It’s been a short two years since the inception of Rat Trap, and the release of their 2012 sophomore album, Blueprints of a Paper City. But in that time, the group’s been through a lot of changes. Initially, Grant Simmons started the band as a two-piece garage rock cover band, which turned into a five-piece indie-folk band (including a violin). By the time they jumped in the study to record Blueprints of a Paper City, Simmons had traded his acoustic guitar for an electric, and started listening to a whole lot of post-rock bands like Sigur Rós and Explosions in the Sky.
When we met up with Oliver Tree Nickell last year, the 20-year old producer and sometimes DJ was riding high from the release of his three-song EP, Demons. Nickell—who performs under his middle name—had earned the blessing of Thom Yorke to remix and record his own version of Radiohead’s “Karma Police,” was flown to England to record, and started to work on his first music video, for the song “Rabbit Hole.”
People spend their whole lives perfecting their jazz chops. But for Santa Cruz pianist Alex Raymond, who fell in love with the genre only a year and a half ago, it’s been an accelerated process. Nowadays, he plays out with his trio, the Alex Raymond Band, five times a week at the Red Room (Wednesdays), the Blue Lagoon (Thursdays), Lulu Carpenter’s (Saturdays), the Tannery Arts Bar and Café (Sunday mornings), and Louie’s Cajun Kitchen (Sunday afternoons). The gigs started about the same time as his love affair for jazz began.