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Aug 30th
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Features

Life Distractions

Life Distractions

Santa Cruz gets whisked away by The Mantles

An amusing thing happens when an artist releases a new record. Suddenly, there’s a mad dash to define the album and the artist themself. The xx has become synonymous with make-out music, Adele is the go-to heartbreak healer, Daft Punk brings the dance party, Robin Thicke brings the sexism—you get the idea.

So when the Oakland/San Francisco-based quintet The Mantles released its sophomore LP in June—Long Enough to Leave—the Internet was quick to label the lo-fi album (albeit the most polished and poppy Mantles release to date) as the ultimate summer soundtrack, due to jangly, glimmering guitars and forlorn, searching lyrics.

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Love Your Local Band

Lara Price and the Velvet Plum Band

Lara Price and the Velvet Plum Band

Local singer Lara Price is constantly redefining herself as an artist. “I’m always trying to grow and evolve,” she says. “I feel like I still haven’t really found my voice yet. I’m still looking for it.” In her search to find her elusive voice, Price has joined a variety of music projects. In addition to her own blues and unplugged endeavors, Price has teamed up with Militia of Love and the Santa Cruz Sirens Burlesque, and performs with Girls Got the Blues and the Velvet Plum Band. She’ll share the stage with the latter on Friday at Michael’s On Main.

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Features

Making their Mark

Making their Mark

Eliquate dusts off, releases ‘A Chalkboard’s War Against Erasers’

The road to success is littered with obstacles that many artists never overcome. But where others stop and think, Eliquate charges ahead; bumps, scrapes, and the once looming threat of homelessness be damned. “To put it in perspective for you,” says Elliot Wright, lead vocalist/MC, “on our first tour, we left right after getting evicted out of our house … the first, second, and third tour were like that. We came back and were totally, like, shit homeless.”

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Love Your Local Band

Asher

Asher

Listening to his upbeat, upstroke-heavy, acoustic tunes, you're more likely to think about spending a relaxing day at the beach, soaking up sun, surf and good vibes than anything remotely negative. But according to Asher Stern—known to his fans simply as Asher—his current sound is a far cry from the stuff he was playing when he first picked up the guitar. The long-time Santa Cruz denizen says he was an angry adolescent—"mad at the world"—when he began writing music at the age of 16. It could have been his distaste for high school or the prospect of an adulthood dominated by a soul-sucking 9-to-5.

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Features

Roky’s Road

Roky’s Road

To hell and back with Roky Erickson

In the spring of 1969, hot on the heels of a bust that would earn Timothy Leary a 20-year prison sentence for the possession of two marijuana roaches, Texas authorities brought the hammer down on another prominent psychedelic drug advocate: 22-year-old Roky Erickson, vocalist for the first group ever to bill itself as a psychedelic rock band. For the possession of a single joint, the 13th Floor Elevators frontman faced a potential 10 years of incarceration. After pleading insanity to escape this sentence, Erickson was sent to Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he lived among people who had committed some of the most mind-boggling atrocities imaginable.

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Love Your Local Band

Sasha Dobson

Sasha Dobson

For Sasha Dobson, the release of her new album, Aquarius, comes as a huge relief. “It’s a beautiful mountain to have crossed,” she laughs. “It’s been quite a hike!” During the recording process, Dobson stretched her creative wings, broke free from her jazz lineage—her father is the late, famed Bay Area pianist Smith Dobson, and her mother Gail Dobson, was a prominent jazz singer—and found her true passion. “I’m coming from being a jazz singer, and when I got hired to play guitar for Norah [Jones], that was ridiculous because I’d never thought that’s what I’d end up doing,” Dobson says.

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Love Your Local Band

Love Eternal

Love Eternal

From 2003-2010, Love Eternal released a new album or EP on an almost annual basis, but the band has gone quiet since 2010’s True Peace. Fear not: New material is on the way. “We are working on a double album,” says lead singer Jahred Namaste. “We’ve just started the basic planning for it and we’re really excited about it. There’s going to be a lot of new material, as well as some old material we never got around to recording.”

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Features

String Beings

String Beings

Kronos Quartet continues to broaden musical horizons at 40

For David Harrington, the 40 years he has spent as violinist for the Kronos Quartet have been magical. “It’s incredibly satisfying to be a part of Kronos and the work we’ve been able to do,” Harrington says. “The music we’ve been able to explore, and the variety of experiences that have become a part of our concerts and our work, is totally thrilling and has kept me on the edge of my chair all these years.”

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Love Your Local Band

Stormy Strong

Stormy Strong

“My life has been extremely crazy,” Stormy Strong laughs. “I don’t know, maybe it has to do with my name!” The local rock ’n’ roll singer-songwriter associates the word “crazy” with a variety of things—from relationships to the number of near-death experiences he had as the son of a commercial fisherman. “Crazy” also perfectly describes the music video for “Jumpstart the Heart,” off his latest EP, Take Her Down, which features vintage footage of daredevils doing acrobatic tricks on the edges of skyscrapers.

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Features

Music Worth Cherishing

Music Worth Cherishing

Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies reflects back on the Celtic quintet’s 29-year career

Joanie Madden—the flute and whistle player of arguably the world’s foremost Irish-American Celtic group, Cherish the Ladies—knows the band has been neglecting California.

“We haven’t been down to Santa Cruz in years,” Madden laments. “I can’t even remember the last time we were there. We’ve had a lot of people complaining to us, ‘When the hell are you coming back?’”

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Love Your Local Band

Michael Gaither

Michael Gaither

“With any genre of music, no matter what side of the microphone you’re on, it’s connecting people,” says Michael Gaither. In an effort to relate to people through his music, the local singer-songwriter tells (often humorous) stories with his lyrics. His fan-favorite Americana folk track “Highway 17,” for instance, offers a hilarious perspective on bad drivers and horrible commutes.

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Features

Back in Full Swing

Back in Full Swing

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies battle identity crisis and pigeonholing and come out on top

Steve Perry, the lead singer of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, never thought the band would make it as far as it has when the members first joined forces in 1989.

“Oh, hell no,” Perry laughs. “At our first show there was so much of an us-versus-them thing going on. We gave ourselves an ironic and off-putting name to keep people away. We didn’t want people to see our show, so we didn’t think there would be people who would like us.”

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.